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The Nubia Red Magic 6 is here, with the best screen of any gaming phone

Nubia Red Magic 6
(Image credit: Nubia)

There are a few big gaming phone brands that battle it out for dominance each year, and now the 2021 race has begun - Nubia has shown off its Red Magic 6 (as well as a Red Magic 6 Pro), and has some unique specs we've never seen before on a smartphone.

The Nubia Red Magic 5G topped our list of the best gaming phones for quite some time, so we were eagerly anticipating this next-gen model. This smartphone was revealed at an event in China, but the company confirmed a global launch is coming too.

Plus, a Nubia Red Magic Watch was unveiled too. That is a new 1.39-inch lightweight smartwatch with sleep tracking, a heart rate monitor, health rings, 5ATM waterproofing and more. 

Some features of this have already been teased, including its 16 sports modes and soccer-pitch heatmap.

Global availability of the Red Magic Watch is currently unknown, though previous Nubia wearables like the Nubia Watch have previously been launched in various countries. Its prices start at CNY 599, which roughly converts to $90 / £70 / AU$120

We'll run you through the Nubia Red Magic 6's specs below, but it looks to be an exciting device that the Asus ROG Phone 5, Xiaomi Black Shark 4 and Lenovo Legion Phone 2 will compete with closely.

A little bit of (Red) Magic (6)

Nubia Red Magic 6

(Image credit: Nubia)

The Red Magic 6 blows the competition out of the water in the display department - it's the first smartphone to have a 165Hz refresh rate display, beating the 144Hz a few phones use, meaning the display refreshes 165 times per second. 

That'll make the enemy creeping around the corner in a battle royale game appear as soon as possible. There's also a 500Hz touch input rate, another spec that beats other phones, meaning the display picks up your touch 500 times per second, so games should feel super responsive.

The actual screen is 6.8 inches too, so it's pretty big but all the better to see things with. It's said to have a new-and-improved fingerprint scanner, which is 50% faster than the Red Magic 5G's.

Looking beyond the screen, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset here, the newest and most powerful Android chipset to date, ensuring fast speeds for games. There are also physical triggers, which a few gaming phones have, so you can replicate the feel of using a games controller.

As with most gaming phones, there's also gaming-dedicated software, so when you're gaming your phone's notifications will be muted and the device's processing power will all be focused on the game.

New software on the Red Magic 6 includes the ability to stream your game easily onto a PC screen, which should be useful for streamers.

According to pictures of the Red Magic 6, it has three rear cameras - we only heard about the main one, though, which has a resolution of 64MP. Presumably at least one of the others is an ultra-wide snapper, but we can't say for sure.

The Nubia Red Magic 6 has a big 5,050mAh battery, and snappy 66W charging, which Nubia says will power up the phone in 38 minutes. If you think that's fast, just look at the Red Magic 6 Pro - its 4,500mAh battery might seem smaller, but with 120W charging, it'll get to full in no time.

The main other difference between the Nubia Red Magic 6 and 6 Pro seems to be an improved cooling system in the latter, to better prevent overheating during long gaming sessions.

So how much does the phone cost? Unfortunately, Nubia didn't detail that at the launch - that's not too bad, though, because it would have been a Chinese Yuan price, and conversions of those rarely reflect launch prices in other countries. Let's just wait for a full roll-out to see if the price matches the specs.

The Nubia Red Magic starts at CNY 3799 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, and that price converts to $590, £420, AU$750 - there are also many options with more RAM and/or storage.

The Red Magic 6 Pro starts at CNY 4399 for 12GB RAM and 128GB storage, a price which converts to $680, £490, AU$870, and again there are loads of options, including an 18GB RAM beast for CNY 5299 (converts to approximately $820, £590, AU$1,050). The Chinese prices of phones tend to be lower than global costs though, so take these conversions with many pinches of salt.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.