The REDMAGIC 9 Pro is dubbed as "The Chill That Never Quits", but ironically, receiving mine in the mail promptly reduced any chill I had to zero. Holding the device in my shaky hands had that effect, mainly because I couldn't contain my excitement at the opportunity to test the next powerhouse in REDMAGIC's line of massive hits - and understandably so, because the 9 Pro's Cyclone variant boasts a whopping 16GB RAM and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor I couldn't wait to give a go.
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There are no more pesky camera bumps here, which was the first thing I noticed as soon as I popped the device out of its packaging. Thanks to the transparent design of the Cyclone variant (transparent aesthetics + RGB = happy me), I spent a good chunk of that morning just staring at the phone in exhilaration.
I also appreciated how the device now sports a circular power button, along with the typical volume adjustment buttons all lined up on the right side of the phone. This effectively eliminates accidentally hitting the volume buttons when I've got my phone propped up on a stand in landscape mode - something I had a bit of trouble with in the previous model.
The high-speed turbofan also has its own light strip, which is a good indicator of whether or not it's turned on - an absolute necessity for me now given how incredibly quiet the fan has become (operating at a mere 4DB - thank you, ultra-thin blades). This perfectly complements the 10-layer ICE 13 Cooling System, an upgraded version of its predecessor that supposedly zaps the overall temperature of the REDMAGIC 9 Pro by up to 18°C.
While I haven't experienced the phone heating up during a game (there is one exception, which I'll talk about later on), I did notice the temperature rising during Max Charging even with Turbo Charge turned off, which wasn't the case with my REDMAGIC 8S Pro. It's a minor thing though, especially since, in my experience, it only takes 10 minutes to charge 18% of the massive 6500mAh dual-cell battery (it's advertised to last up to 56 hours on a full charge).
The included Type-C cable and charger, by the way, are also powerful enough to charge my Lenovo Legion R7000 laptop when it's turned off - if that doesn't tell you how beastly REDMAGIC's hardware is, I don't know what will.
One particularly pleasant surprise I stumbled upon while diving deep into the treasure trove of features within the phone is the virtual pet you can set on your home screen - it doesn't really add any value to gaming performance, but it's a nice touch for people like me who easily get distracted by cute things.
Casting is now even more painless with Z-SmartCast - all I had to do was scan devices and I could easily connect to the compatible ones on the same WiFi network. Wired connections work on the Red Magic Studio program on my laptop just like before.
Now, I did mention earlier that I encountered one particular hiccup with the phone heating up, and this was with Zenless Zone Zero, HoYoverse's upcoming project that's now in its Closed Beta Test phase. I've been trying out an Early Access version for a first impressions preview, and oddly enough, the REDMAGIC 9 Pro burns up for some reason whenever I play the game, even with the fan on high.
The phone doesn't have the same issue with other titles I've tried (e.g. playing Dead Cells for a full hour and a half at just 14% battery consumption), so it's highly likely that the temperature issue is only because Zenless Zone Zero is still in its CBT phase and hasn't ironed out its temperature-related kinks just yet.
REDMAGIC has also upped its game when it comes to its cameras, with 2 rear ones (Samsung GN5 50MP main camera and Samsung JN1 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera) and a distortion correction feature. I tried to compare photos taken with it to the ones taken with my Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, and while both look good, I noticed that the REDMAGIC 9 Pro's photo has more of a bluish tint, making it appear a bit duller in post.
When it comes to functionality, its expertise in the gaming sphere may be unparalleled, and there's nothing wrong with using it as a mainstream phone. Like with the 8S Pro, I did try it out as my everyday phone for a while, and didn't encounter any issues with it. To be honest though, in my personal opinion, I still wouldn't use the device as a replacement for my primary phone, mainly because I've become so used to my Samsung device and its own set of features (the REDMAGIC 9 Pro, for instance, is somehow missing a QR code reader and the App Lock function I loved from its previous models).
However, REDMAGIC always has been and still is, to me, a solid gaming phone and my top choice for anything gaming-related - you can discover more about the boatloads of features to tinker around with on the official website. The 3.5mm headphone jack alone, for instance, already sets it apart from many of the latest phone models in the market today. The ultra-cool (both literally and figuratively) backing also isn't as much of a fingerprint nightmare as I initially thought it would be.
The REDMAGIC 9 Pro will be up for pre-order beginning December 27th, with the device ready for open sales from redmagic.gg on January 3rd, 2024. Each unit will set you back by $649 (Sleet, 12GB RAM + 256GB Memory), $799 (Snowfall, 16GB RAM + 512GB Memory), and $799 (Cyclone, 16GB RAM + 512GB Memory) or your local equivalent.