We’ve seen smartphone manufacturers follow several trends over the years: non-removable batteries, shrinking bezels, notches. Now, it seems there’s a race to have the handset with the fastest screen refresh rate—a contest currently being won by ZTE sub-brand Nubia, whose RedMagic 5G phone is the first to feature a 144Hz display.
This isn’t Nubia’s initial foray into gaming smartphones with high refresh rate screens. Its RedMagic 3 from last year has a 90Hz display, but the company upped the ante with the RedMagic 5G, which uses a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED panel, up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,500mAh battery that can be fast-charged at 55W. Priced at $579 (8GB/128GB) or $649 (12GB/256GB), it’s also the cheapest phone to date to come with a Snapdragon 865 SoC.
The RedMagic 5G is no slouch in other areas, either. Its triple-lens rear camera setup features a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor along with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle shooter and a 2MP macro lens. You also get an under-screen fingerprint reader, Android 10, Wi-Fi 6 support, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an X55 modem, which, as its name suggests, enables 5G connectivity.
Like the RedMagic 3, the phone uses liquid cooling and an in-built fan to keep its internals chilly. The touch-sensitive shoulder buttons also return, as do the usual array of lights that are pretty much a standard with gaming phones.
While you’re unlikely to notice much difference between a 120Hz phone screen, such as those on the Galaxy S20 series, and a 144Hz display, the RedMagic 5 still offers bragging rights while being at least $500 cheaper than Samsung’s offerings.
The RedMagic 5 is being released in North America, the UK, mainland Europe, and other countries. It can be pre-ordered now, and will be available to buy on April 21.