Gaming

ZTE Nubia Red Magic hands-on: A stylish gaming phone

One look and you know it’s a gaming phone

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Not all smartphone manufacturers create a gaming phone. Technically, flagship smartphones with top specs are ideal for gaming but they lack the appeal and design. When Razer announced their own phone, it was true to its Razer branding but lacked the RGB lighting we’ve known from PC gaming peripherals.

Good thing there’s the Red Magic from Nubia (a ZTE sub-brand in China) and it’s built for gaming, without the exaggerated looks of the ROG Phone from ASUS.


I spent a few days with the Red Magic and here’s my hands-on.

It looks like a true gaming smartphone

The Red Magic practically screams “extreme gamer” due to its sharp, hexagonal cutouts, red vents and details, and the glowing LED strip on the back.

However, it’s still your usual premium Android device with a 6-inch Full HD+ display. It’s got an 18:9 aspect ratio and, thankfully, there’s no notch that’ll get in the way when playing games.

The top and bottom bezels are not as thin as the Galaxy S9’s, so there’s still some room for your thumb on the side when holding the phone in landscape with two hands.

Overall, the phone feels really solid thanks to its aluminum unibody, but to make things a bit special and more gaming-focused, the back of Red Magic is a bit curved making it comfortable in my hands.

On the side, it has what they call the “Compete Button” which reminds me of the alert slider on OnePlus’ phones. Instead of shushing notification sounds though, Red Magic’s slider puts the phone in tip-top performance. This is useful when you’re about to play a game.

The Compete Button not only improves the phone’s performance, but it also triggers some settings like blocking app notifications to avoid unnecessary pop-ups while playing. You can also set it to block the virtual navigation button from showing up accidentally.

Most importantly, the Compete Button activates the RGB LED strip at the back. It’s a visual cue showing that the Red Magic is ready to take on the challenge. The LED strip has four preset effects: Skyline, Rainbow Ribbon, Laserwave, and Voice Controlled.

It’s fun to play around with the effects, but my personal favorite is the Voice Controlled option. Well, it’s not exactly based on your own voice but rather with the audio of the game you’re playing.

The light strip also acts as notification light if you wish. Just be sure to lay the phone flat on a table so you won’t miss it.

The rear of the phone is quite intriguing but also distinct. There are four red lines on the corners which I first thought are all speakers. But, only one of them is the actual loudspeaker and it’s the one at the lower left. Even though it’s a mono back-firing speaker, it’s loud and has good bass.

When it comes to power, the Red Magic is not lacking but it could have had a better processor. The phone sports last year’s Snapdragon 835 processor which is a step down compared to this year’s flagship phones. At least it’s paired with 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage.

The Snapdragon 835 is still a capable processor with the Adreno 540 GPU. I managed to play a number of games on the Red Magic, and the device was able to handle them like magic. PUBG ran smoothly with the highest settings and the new Asphalt 9: Legends was flawless and stunning on the screen.

The Red Magic was even the best-performing Snapdragon 835-powered phone on AnTuTu’s list. It managed to be in the top ten of the most powerful Android phones last June which is dominated by phones with Snapdragon 845 processor.

Does it have good cameras?

A gaming phone still needs cameras. There’s a 24-megapixel f/1.7 rear shooter which takes good-looking photos. Thanks to the large aperture of the camera’s lens, it can take great photos even in low-light.

Here are some samples:

It might not be the best camera phone around, but that’s not the focus of the Red Magic. It lacks a secondary sensor for bokeh or other effects, but the camera launcher has a couple of modes you can play with including manual shooting. For selfies, there’s an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture.

Is this you GadgetMatch?

Hard to tell if the phone will impress mobile gaming enthusiasts out there, but the design of Nubia Red Magic is certainly a head-turner. The red accents might be too common in the world of gaming, but the unique RGB LED strip at the back sure gives its own persona.

The Nubia Red Magic is available in China starting at CNY 2,499 for the base variant with 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The high-end version I have here with 8GB of memory and 128GB storage is priced at CNY 2,999. In the US, it’s priced at US$ 399 through Indigogo but the funding project is already closed.

Gaming

You may soon be able to resell games bought on Steam

Valve isn’t giving up though

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Marketplaces like Steam offer much more than just a place to buy games. It’s a community that lets you enjoy multiplayer modes, explore DLCs, and constantly keep in touch with your fellow gamers. This combination has made Steam the most popular destination for gamers as well as game developers.

Steam users from France could soon have a new option though. A new ruling by the French court has the potential to radically alter the way people buy, sell, and play video games. It ruled that European Union law allows Steam users to resell their digital games, similar to any other physical product.


According to French site Numerama, users are free to resell digital games bought on Steam and this precedent could further apply to other digital content as well.

UFC Que Choisir (Federal Union of Consumers) filed a suit against Steam four years ago against a number of clauses in the Steam Subscriber Agreement. Essentially, the agreement says that consumers don’t actually buy products on Steam, instead, get subscriptions to access and use content and services.

The court also took Valve to task for other practices, such as holding onto Steam Wallet funds when players leave the platform and unclear moderation policies.

Though, no changes to Steam will be made until an appeal is settled. On the other hand, UFC Que Choisir has said they plan to directly challenge other digital products and platforms.

The case is crucial for the online distribution industry and could bring about a massive change in France as well as the European Union. For digital companies, that’ll be a nightmare since they’ve never expected their virtual offerings to be resellable.

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Gaming

Apple Arcade games you should play

They all seem super fun!

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When you think about gaming, Apple isn’t the first company that comes to mind. They’re probably not even in the top five. But that could soon change with the introduction of Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade is the company’s new gaming service and it’s now available in Singapore. There’s a 30-day trial and after that it’s just SG$ 6.98 per month and you can use it across multiple Apple devices. Well, that is when the devices finally get iOS 13 which is soon!


With Apple Arcade you gain access to over 100 new and exclusive games for a small monthly fee. It’s a welcome change of pace from the mobile gaming scene that’s plagued with micro transactions.

If you’re overwhelmed by THAT many games, Apple helped us out by sharing their recommendations. Here they are. Also, fun fact: the first two games here are made in Singapore.

Cat Quest 2

Cat Quest 2 s a 2D open-world action role playing game set in a fantasy realm of cats and dogs. Under threat from a continuing war between the cats of Felingard and the advancing dogs of the Lupus empire, experience the journey of two kings on a journey of paw-some discovery to reclaim their throne.

BattleSky Brigade Harpooner

BattleSKy Brigade Harpooner is a shoot em up and “fishing” game. Shoot open barrels and enemies and avoid obstacles on the way up, like a classic vertical shoot em up. Reel yourself back in when you run out of rope and collect what you shot open. Set in an adorable world, help Pim become the best scavenger in all the Wyldes.

Sayonara Wild Hearts (Annapurna)

Sayonara Wild Hearts sets players on a music adventure where every level is a song, and every collectible is captured by being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts at 200 mph.

Skate City (Snowman)

Skate City is where players can capture the heart and soul of street skating in a personalized style and enjoy the feeling of cruising the city streets that soon become the ultimate playground.

Where Cards Fall (Snowman)

Where Cards Fall is a slice-of-life story where you build houses of cards to bring formative memories to life by creating pathways through dreamlike puzzles to navigate the insecurities and emotions of high school and beyond.

Cardpocalypse (Versus Evil)

Make friends, play cards, twist the rules, become a Mega Mutant Power Pets master, and try to save the world in Cardpocalypse, a single-player role-playing game about being a 90’s kid.

Hot Lava (Klei)

Hot Lava transports you back to your childhood imagination requiring you to use your skills to conquer treacherous obstacles in nostalgia-packed environments flooded with hot molten lava.

More from Apple: iPhone 11 | iPhone 11 Pro | Apple Watch Series 5 | iPad 7th Gen

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Gaming

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will be out early 2020

Epic fights and interesting side quests to come!

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If Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ wasn’t hyped up enough for you, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might be what your missing.

This isn’t just about epic fights that Dragon Ball FighterZ blew up and is now know for. If you haven’t known, this time, you get to try exploring what used to just be a backdrop. The game allows you to play through most of Goku’s life. It’s an action role-playing game that lets you immerse yourself in Goku’s story as you progress further into the plot.


If you don’t find the appeal in playing out Goku’s life, you might want to reconsider. The game looks pretty cool and the views can be stunning when you’re flying in third-person perspective. When fights break out, it’s a whole different story.

The perspective shifts to an over-the-shoulder fighting game. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks to be an interesting addition, drifting away from just letting us play hyped up fighting scenes. The game also lets you roam, mine, fish, and complete side quests.  

The game is going to be based off the anime. If you’re a huge fan of the anime, this is your shot to play it out in whole new immersive perspective.

When the heck is this game getting released? Luckily, it isn’t too far from being released. Bandai Namco just announced that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is coming out on the 17th of January 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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