More than five months after the release of the Red Magic 5G, its successor must deal with similar competition from the likes of Asus and Xiaomi. Sure, there are some offerings with powerful hardware at an even lower price, like the Poco F2 Pro, for example, or the newly released Zenfone 7, which is slightly more expensive but in the same ballpark. However, you probably won't be reading this review if you are hunting for an affordable flagship phone. What we have here is strictly a gaming phone. And the options there aren't plenty.
Unfortunately, the Black Shark 3 Pro still hasn't made it to our office and it appears that the device is out of stock according to the global Black Shark store. You can probably find it elsewhere for a little over €600 - pretty close to Red Magic 5S' starting price of €579. And since things haven't changed much for the Red Magic 5 family and the Black Shark 3 lineup, our conclusions still stand.
The Black Shark 3 Pro will charge faster out of the box with the provided charger, the larger battery and the bigger 7.1-inch display with higher resolution can be considered as an advantage. We also suspect that camera performance will be better, but we can't say for sure. You also similar shoulder triggers like the nubia.
On the other hand, the Red Magic 5S offers superior - in this regard - OLED panel with 144Hz refresh rate as opposed to the 90Hz panel on Black Shark 3 Pro.
The second alternative is not the Asus ROG Phone II anymore. We now have the ROG Phone 3 with an updated 144Hz OLED panel and the most powerful Snapdragon 865+ chipset on the market. You also get a rich ecosystem with accessories and longer battery life, mostly due to the dynamic refresh rate switching and the considerably larger battery. Camera performance, although not the best, is still more consistent and dependable than the one on the Red Magic 5S. Not to mention the broader support for HRR-capable games.
Nevertheless, nubia's offering has the price tag on its side, and it's hard to argue with that. Most of the gaming-related features that the ROG Phone 3 has, the Red Magic 5S has as well. So it's really up to you to decide whether the ROG Phone 3 is worth two Red Magic 5S'.
Finally, we have something from Lenovo to look forward to. The Lenovo Legion Duel has plans to arrive to the global market (except for the US), so it's very much a viable option. And judging from the Chinese pricing, it won't be too far off from the Red Magic 5S. We suspect it boasts the same 6.65-inch AMOLED with a 144Hz refresh rate, but it also has the edge over the 5S with Snapdragon 865+. That 90W charging is also something to consider, especially on a big 5,000 mAh battery.
When we first reviewed the Red Magic 5G, we were pretty sure it has a considerable edge over its competitors in terms of price/performance and feature/performance ratios. But things have changed now, and we have the Asus ROG Phone 3 as an excellent high-end alternative and the Lenovo Legion Duel as a similarly-priced, feature-packed, performance beast.
And when you account for the still unreliable camera performance, questionable software support, and uninspiring battery life, it's becoming hard to recommend the 5S in the second half of 2020. You might want to hold off to see what the Lenovo Legion Duel is capable of so you can make an infomed decision before pulling the trigger.