High-refresh rate screens have become the norm in today's gaming-oriented market segment, and the nubia Red Magic 3s follows the footsteps of its predecessor, offering a 90Hz OLED screen. It appears to be the same panel as the Red Magic 3's, but nubia seems to have worked towards improving the screen experience by a bunch.
First off, the screen is now brighter peaking at 480 nits, which is perfectly adequate for most conditions. Unfortunately, though, the lack of Max Auto boost is still a major oversight with this iteration too. The additional boost in brightness could have come in handy in bright sunlight, so it's sad not to see it present.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Another issue to consider here is the largely inaccurate color reproduction with the default color mode. We measured an average dE2000 of 7.3 and a maximum of 14.1. The best we got was in the so-called Natural mode squeezing out 4.8 average dE2000 and 7.8 max dE2000. We still find the whites and the grays way too blue-ish with a slightly over-saturated blues and greens. Nubia claims that the Natural mode is calibrated towards sRGB color space accuracy, but it's not exactly the case. The Regular mode, on the other hand, is for DCI-P3 content.
And perhaps this is the right place to rant a little about the high-refresh-rate settings. Just like the previous model, the Red Magic 3s doesn't have the option to lower the refresh rate to 60Hz, so you are stuck at 90Hz at all times. This might not sound all that bad, but our experience has shown that reverting back to 60Hz can save some battery and some users might want to use the phone at 60Hz and get full advantage of the panel's 90Hz only when gaming. We're simply complaining about the lack of choice and customizability. /p>
There is one setting buried in the Game Space menu that lets you switch between modes, but it will only affect the current game settings, and it's not system-wide. On a positive note, the screen supports HDR content.
Carrying a huge 5,000 mAh battery in a time where 4,000 mAh batteries are usually the norm, you'd expect stellar battery life and this is exactly what you get with the Red Magic 3s. Just like its recent predecessor, the phone can go on for hours and hours of gaming, or if you use it as a normal phone, you'd probably get two days easily. And those numbers we got on the screen-on tests are with the 90Hz display mode, which can't be changed. Those digits are pretty impressive on their own. And when you take into account the standby and the talk time tests, which are excellent as well, it's no surprise, the overall rating is the respectable 115 hours.
Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the ZTE nubia Red Magic 3s for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
Fast charging is another thing though and it's not so stellar here. Pairing an 18W fast charging with a 5,000 mAh battery isn't ideal, and the results from our 30-minute charging test are here to prove it. The battery charged from flat to 35% in 30 minutes, which by today's standards is pretty slow. Good thing you won't have to charge the phone very often depending on your gaming intensity.
The Red Magic 3s uses front-facing, DTS:X-tuned stereo loudspeakers that sound great for movies and for listening to music as well. They are not the loudest loudspeakers around, but they do sound pretty nice.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
Turning to the quality of the audio output via the headphone jack, the nubia Red Magic 3s mimicked the performance of the Red Magic 3 before it.
It had impressively good stereo separation both with headphones and with an active external amplifier, but it has a permanently applied equalizer, which boosts the bass frequencies with no way to turn it off. So you can expect very bass-heavy audio reproduction with this one whether you like it or not.
The other non-perfect bits about the output include some intermodulation distortion with headphones, that you are unlikely to detect in real life. The other thing is the average loudness in both parts of the test.
Much like the Red Magic 3, the 3s has very good potential, but it's up to nubia to let users disable the equalizer, because right now it may not work great for the majority of people.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.