The year is almost over, but there’s plenty of time left to unveil new products, including new smartphones that could become gift ideas for people in some markets. We’ve seen quite a few make their way to the market a few days ago, but most of them revolve around “normal” phones for everyday use. Gaming phones, however, still make up a slice of that large pie, and one of the top brands in this market is taking out its big guns early. Former ZTE sub-brand nubia is reaching out to gamers with the latest RedMagic model, bearing a slightly new design that manages to keep key features that fans of the brand have grown fond of, whether they make sense or not.

Designer: nubia

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

What sets a gaming smartphone apart from regular smartphones, including those expensive ones, isn’t just their over-the-top performance. Most gaming-centric phones carry a certain aesthetic that really marks them for a certain crowd, one that appreciates a lot of RGB lighting, lines and geometric shapes, and other details that make the design look futuristic if not highly technical. The nubia RedMagic 9 Pro continues that tradition this year but makes a few tweaks that streamline the gamer design a little bit better.

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

Most notable is the relocation of the cameras from the middle of the phone to the side, something that’s almost a standard across all smartphone designs. The camera bump is also gone, with the lenses sitting flush against the entire back. That does mean that the phone is a little bit thicker than most of its kind, but a hefty and beefy handset is already expected for a device that’s designed to be a heavy-duty gaming machine. The rather odd design change is that only two of the three big circles are actually cameras, with the third deceptively hiding the cooling fan. The third camera is off to the side, though having a 2MP depth sensor makes it almost negligible.

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

The rest of the RedMagic 9 Pro has a similar vibe to its predecessor, with lines and shapes on the back that give the semblance of panels that cover futuristic machines like ships, robots, and similar. For those who prefer a more subtle appearance, the Sleek model has an aesthetic closer to the typical black smartphones, masking its identity for more discreet uses. The front still has an under-display camera, which means there’s nothing visually breaking the large screen.

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

There’s also still that miniature cooling fan, one of the brand’s gimmicks to help keep things cool and prevent the phone from throttling its performance. It may be effective to some degree, but the price that is paid is having no dust or water resistance guarantee. With a more efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and a newer “ICE 13 Multi-Dimensional” cooling system, such a fan might no longer be needed and is becoming more of a liability than a selling point in the long run.

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

nubia RedMagic 9 Pro gaming phone arrives with a new design, same tiny fan

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