Nubia’s Red Magic 5S is now available to pre-order for $579 (Update)

nubia red magic 5s

Credit: Nubia

Update: August 26, 2020 (7:37 AM ET): The Red Magic 5S is now available to pre-order if you live beyond the borders of China. Although it’s taken the phone a little over a month to be made available internationally, prospective buyers can now book their devices before they ship on September 2.

The Red Magic 5S will be available through its own store starting at $579 for the 8GB/128GB model jumping to $649 for the 12GB/256GB version. The Red Magic store also has a swathe of accessories on offer, including cases, docks, and cables for the gaming phone.

Original article: July 28, 2020 (4:30 AM ET): ZTE’s Nubia brand isn’t going to sit idly by while the Asus ROG Phone 3 and Lenovo Legion Phone Duel threaten its place in the gaming phone world. The company has introduced the Red Magic 5S, a refinement of the Red Magic 5G from earlier in 2020.

The new model still has its 144Hz, 6.65-inch 1080p AMOLED screen as well as a Snapdragon 865 processor (no 865 Plus here) with 5G data. It should be considerably better-suited to extended gaming sessions, however, thanks to an improved cooling system. Copper foil and silver on the back cover help dissipate more heat, while the air duct area is about 56% larger.  You can even clamp on a box with an 8,000RPM fan to further cool the phone while charging your phone and provide a more convenient headphone jack.

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Apart from that, the most conspicuous improvement is an option for a model with 16GB of RAM and slightly upgraded UFS 3.1 storage. You’ll still have a 64MP Sony primary camera, an 8MP ultra-wide cam and a 2MP macro sensor. Battery capacity hasn’t increased beyond 4,500mAh, although the 55W fast charging support could help make up for that limitation.

Nubia will start selling the Red Magic 5S in China starting on August 1. An entry version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will start at 3,799 Chinese yuan (~$542), while a top-end variant with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will sell for 4,999 yuan (~$714). An international release is due in September, so don’t despair if you’re eager to try this yourself.

The decision to stick with the regular Snapdragon 865 is an odd one when Asus, Lenovo, and others are moving to the 865 Plus. Given that rivals also have 144Hz displays and 16GB of RAM, there isn’t as much to help the Red Magic 5S stand out. While prices outside of China aren’t available as we write this, Nubia may have to count on value if it wants to offer stiff competition in some parts of the world.

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