The Smarter Gaming Phone: Nubia Red Magic vs Honor Play

It was back in 2003 that a company called Nokia launched a gaming phone by the name N-Gage. The gizmo got rave reviews and ushered in the concept of a gaming phone. As years went by, Nokia died and so did N-Gage.

It’s 2018 and Nokia is back, but the idea of an N-Gage Version 2.0 still remains evasive. Though, it doesn’t mean that gaming phones are passe!

Now, a Chinese smartphone maker Nubia has launched a gaming phone in India under Rs 30,000 that looks more like a gizmo out of a sci-fi Hollywood movie! But, is its good looks enough for it to be called a good bargain? And, does it have enough to keep competition like the Honor Play at bay?

Time for a head-to-head battle between the Nubia Red Magic and the Honor Play. Oh, and there’s a little extra I have packed for smartphone gamers who want a PS4 experience.

Trivia: The word Nubia comes from the name of the ancient region and kingdom in Africa, south side of Egypt. It’s possible it’s been derived from the Egyptian word nbw meaning "gold".

Red Definitely Agrees With You

I’m sure you have seen the heart-eyed emoji on multiple messaging apps. Right? Well, that was my face when I first saw the Nubia Red Magic! Though there’s nothing ‘Magical’ about the way it looks it sure is a gamer’s dream.

The Nubia Red Magic smartphone.

The multi-coloured RGB LED strip at the back is a show-stealing feature and to top it off the phone comes with sharp graphics and contours at the back. It comes with a smooth finish, yet it isn’t slippery.

Both the phones comes with full HD+ displays.

The display stands at 5.99-inch full HD+ with a 30 fps output, which is good enough to run high end games like PUBG, Asphalt 9: Legends and Modern Combat.

The four red diagonal lines on the rear are the speaker grills of which the one at the top right corner is the main speaker. The audio distribution is nice though while gaming I would have preferred more audio.

Honor Play, the gaming phone from the Huawei sub-brand has a lot of people talking about the GPU turbo feature it uses for a better frame rate.

On the other hand, being a gaming phone, the Honor Play looks like any other Honor smartphone in the market. Yet, sturdy and pleasant to the eyes. It comes with a bigger 6.3-inch full HD+ display that pushes out more pixels because of the larger screen area.

What’s On the Inside?

As much as the Red Magic looks to be a people-pleaser on the outside it falls short in a couple of areas when it comes to hardware especially the processor.

The Red Magic comes with a Snapdragon 835 processor.

The Red Magic comes with a Snapdragon 835 processor, which is one tier lower than the latest Snapdragon 845 not to mention the graphics processor at Adreno 540 GPU is too a tier lower. But, since the processor can be over-clocked till 2.45GHz, it saves Nubia the blushes.

The 8GB of RAM helps manage gaming duties and it surely can’t go on for long hours thanks to a 3,800mAh battery capacity. Also, heating could have been managed better as long gaming hours do raise the phone’s temperature by a few degrees.

The Honor Play comes with a powerful Kirin 970 processor.

The Honor Play comes with a top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor which is a beast when it comes to performance. Backed by 6GB of RAM and a Mali-G72 graphics units, the Honor Play can take on multi-tasking, high-end games and even the kitchen sink. It keeps going.

I am not a big fan of the notch on the play as it hides a lot of game content, which isn’t the case with the Red Magic. Extra points to Nubia!

The Extras That Matters

The Nubia Red Magic comes with a 24-megapixel snapper at the back that is a single lens camera. Definitely NOT better than the dual 16+2-megapixel rear camera on the Honor Play. But again, camera isn’t the priority here for Nubia.

The Red Magic comes with a 24-megapixel single lens camera.

The Red Magic comes with a Game Boost mode which you can toggle on or off using a red switch on the top right. Does exactly what the name reads: boosts the phone’s performance.

The Honor Play on the other hand comes with something the company calls GPU Turbo technology that speeds up the performance of the device without compromising on power - a feature that comes in handy while playing games.

Want the PS4 Experience?

This is a bit of an add-on I wanted to highlight and something gamers would love. Motorola offers an accessory called a Gamepad, which is an attachment that works like a PS4 controller that costs Rs 6,999.

The Moto Gamepad costs Rs 6,999.

The gizmo works only with Motorola phones like the Moto Z2 Play. It may not offer support for all of the games, but makes the gaming experience much better.

Which One to Buy?

The Nubia Red Magic is hands down the better looking gaming phone here. That LED strip still has me drooling over it. It might not impress many as a smartphone, but is the perfect device to meet all your gaming needs. If you end up spending Rs 30,000, make sure you buy this phone only if you’re serious about gaming.

At a starting price of Rs 17,999 the Honor Play is a complete smartphone, which comes with enough wherewithal to run any game that you want. I know it doesn’t look the part but if that doesn’t bother you then the Honor Play is a good phone to invest in.

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