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By Rich Woods
OnePlus 9 series review: It's a rebuilding year
by Rich Woods
When I was a kid, I was raised to like sports teams from Boston. The only problem was that back in the 90s, Boston's teams were awful. For example, it wouldn't be uncommon for Boston Red Sox fans in my family to talk about how we'd never see the team win a championship in our lifetime. And whenever a team had a bad season, I remember being told that it's a rebuilding year. That means that the team can't compete this year, but that's OK because it's working on getting it together for next year or the year after that.
That's where I feel like OnePlus is at. There's a lot to love about the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, but its Achilles' heel is always the camera. And that's not because the camera is particularly bad; it's because it can't compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple despite being priced similarly. OnePlus introduced a new Hasselblad partnership, and for the OnePlus 9 series, that collaboration is only on the software side. Once that partnership matures a bit, we might start to see some really interesting stuff.
But for now, this is what we have. Both handsets come with Snapdragon 888 chipsets and 120Hz displays, although the screens are different as we'll talk about in a little bit. OnePlus also doubled down on both fast wired charging and fast wireless charging.
OnePlus 9 OnePlus 9 Pro CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 GPU Adreno 660 Display 6.55 inches, 2400x1080, 402ppi, 120Hz, 20:9, AMOLED 6.7 inches, 1440x3216, 525ppi, Smart 120Hz, 20.1x9, AMOLED with LTPO Body 160x74.2x8.7mm, 192g 163.2x73.6x8.7mm, 197g Camera 48MP 1/1.43" f/1.8 IMX689 + 50MP 1/1.56" f/2.2 IMG766 + 2MP monochrome, Front: 16MP f/2.4 IMX471 48MP 1/1.43" f/1.8 IMX789 + 50MP 1/1.56" f/2.2 IMG766 + 8MP f/2.4 telephoto + 2MP monochrome, Front: 16MP f/2.4 IMX471 Video 8K - 30fps, 4K - 120fps, Front: 1080p - 60fps Storage 256GB UFS 3.1 Memory 12GB LPDDR5 Battery 4,500mAh, Warp Charge 65T through USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, 15W Qi charging 4,500mAh, Warp Charge 65T through USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, Warp Charge 50 Wireless Audio Dual stereo speakers, Noise cancellation, support Dolby Atmos Back material 3D Cornihng Gorilla Glass Color Astral Black Morning Mist OS OxygenOS based on Android 11 Price $829 $1,069
While the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro both have very similar designs, the OnePlus 9 Pro decidedly feels more premium. I can't really put my finger on why, but it's probably because the OnePlus 9 that was sent to me is the Astral Black color, which is just awful. Seriously, it's just another glossy black phone, something that makes it look similar to plastic devices that I've reviewed.
The Morning Mist color on the OnePlus 9 Pro is actually pretty stunning. I had expected a matte frosted finish, but that's not it at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite. It's entirely smooth, with the bottom half being mirrored and blending into a less reflective top. It really does look like you have a mirror and the top half is covered by a morning mist.
The OnePlus 9 also comes in colors like Winter Mist and Arctic Sky, and the OnePlus 9 Pro also comes in Forest Green and Stellar Black. I've not seen these colors in person, which is why I'm not reviewing them.
While the camera is the usual rectangle with rounded corners that we've seen from every smartphone OEM, it stands out with the Hasselblad branding. The two main sensors are aligned vertically and the silver and black (depending on the color of the device) rings around them give it that extra Hasselblad feel. Underneath the Hasselblad branding are two more sensors on the Pro, or one more sensor on the OnePlus 9. The extra one that's on both is a monochrome sensor, while there's also a telephoto lens on the OnePlus 9 Pro.
The rest of the designs are the same between the two devices. In fact, the sizes are almost the same too. They're both 8.7mm thick, and they're 192g and 198g for the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, respectively.
On the bottom, you'll find the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, along with the nano-SIM slot. Note that a lot of phones still use USB 2.0 ports, so having a full 5Gbps USB Type-C port is pretty cool.
On the right side, you'll find the power button and above it, a switch to control notifications. It has three settings: one keeps notifications on, one puts them on vibrate, and one puts them on silent. It's one of my favorite features on OnePlus phones, and it's a shame that no other Android vendors do it. The only other place that you'll find a notification switch like this is on an iPhone.
On the left side is just the volume rocker.
The design is a nice blend between traditional OnePlus and a dash of Hasselblad. OnePlus has long used these glossy colors that are slippery on surfaces, but the pretty colors make up for it. And I have to say, I really love the Morning Mist color on the OnePlus 9 Pro.
120Hz AMOLED displays
Both of these devices have 120Hz AMOLED displays, which is awesome. It makes for super-smooth animations, and OnePlus actually started doing this with the OnePlus 8 Pro last year, and brought it to the non-Pro with the OnePlus 8T. Samsung also uses 120Hz screens in its high-end Galaxy handsets, but much of the rest of the industry isn't. Apple is still using a 60Hz screen in its iPhones, and Motorola maxes out at 90Hz.
That's about where the similarities end. The screen on the OnePlus 9 is 6.55 inches, and the OnePlus 9 Pro is just a bit taller at 6.7 inches. Also, the former is FHD while the latter is QHD, not that you'd be able to tell the difference by looking at them. I look at them side-by-side and forget that they're different resolutions. It's also worth noting that the OnePlus 9 Pro is set to FHD 120Hz by default for battery life's sake, but you can set the resolution to QHD or the refresh rate to 60Hz if you want.
Another key difference is that the screen on the OnePlus 9 is flat while it's curved on the OnePlus 9 Pro. Curved edges have fallen out of favor with some over the last few years, given that they can be a pain to use one-handed without making false touches. So if that's something that's important to you. You have a choice.
All of these images were taken in direct sunlight at full brightness, which is 1,100 nits on the OnePlus 9 and 1,300 nits on the OnePlus 9 Pro. In fact, the display on the Pro is the same one that's found on the OPPO Find X3 Pro, a device that I loved. That means that it's also an LTPO display, something we've seen from companies like Apple with the Apple Watch.
The key is that it actually has an adaptive refresh rate, which can vary between 1Hz and 120Hz; again, this is only in the OnePlus 9 Pro. That allows for better power management, and it can allow for things like an always-on display to suck down even less power, as the refresh rate can be dialed back to 1Hz.
The display has been a selling point for OnePlus phones since the 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro. The biggest downside of this phone is the camera, but if you don't care about that, it's an amazing experience.
Here's why this is a rebuilding year. Hasselblad actually had nothing to do with the development of the hardware. The partnership is too new, so OnePlus and Hasselblad focused on color science and software instead. Indeed, there's an orange shutter button in the Camera app, a new sound when snapping a picture, and a Hasselblad pro mode.
You might remember Hasselblad as being the company that made the camera that went to the moon. That's why a lot of the promotional images have the moon in them. Sadly, I don't think it's enough, but I'm still really excited about what we'll see in the OnePlus 10 next year when the company can help develop the hardware.
The OnePlus 9 Pro once again has a custom Sony sensor, which is a 48MP f/1.8 IMX789, while the OnePlus 9 has a 48MP f/1.8 IMX689. They're very similar sensors, and one of the key differences spec-wise is that the Pro has optical image stabilization. They both have the same IMX766 ultra-wide sensor, which is also the main and ultra-wide sensor in the OPPO Find X3 Pro.
And then they both have a 2MP monochrome sensor, and I don't think OnePlus has given any explanation for why that's there. It's just a way for companies to say that there are more lenses on the camera, to be honest. Finally, the OnePlus 9 Pro has a 3.3x telephoto lens, which is absent on the OnePlus 9.
Here are some samples from the OnePlus 9 Pro:
Gallery: OnePlus 9 Pro samples
Here are some samples from the OnePlus 9:
Gallery: OnePlus 9 samples
Take note of those blue flowers. I drove almost an hour to go to a particular park where I knew I could find those this time of year, because they're the flowers I've had the most trouble photographing with a smartphone. With so many devices, they come out purple, or parts of them are purple as we've seen here. And I went there because of all of the color accuracy promises. Both phones failed the test, obviously, but the Pro did better than the non-Pro.
Interestingly, it was the ultra-wide sensor that actually got the proper colors. It's interesting, because if you get up close to a subject with either phone, it will immediately switch to macro mode, which uses the ultra-wide lens and digitally crops it down. It's a good method, better than a dedicated macro lens, but it was weird to see these purple flowers suddenly snap to a proper blue color when I got close enough.
The bigger problem, of course, is the price. The OnePlus 9 can be compared price-wise to a Samsung Galaxy S21 or an iPhone 12, while the OnePlus 9 Pro is comparable to an S21 Ultra, since it's now discounted, or an iPhone 12 Pro Max. The cameras on these OnePlus phones are good, but there are very limited circumstances where I could actually recommend these phones over other ones from Samsung and Apple that cost the same.
Performance, battery life, and Warp Charge
One thing that OnePlus always nails is fast performance. Both devices come with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is the fastest Android SoC. They've also got up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, which is the fastest storage, and they've got up to 12GB LPDDR5 memory. If you want anything faster than that, you have to start looking at gaming phones and cooling solutions.
Indeed, performance isn't something you have to think about, and that's a feature that OnePlus has promoted since its very early days.
As for battery life, they both come with 4,500mAh batteries, and the battery life all depends on your settings. Like I said earlier, you can adjust the resolution on the OnePlus 9 Pro between FHD and QHD, and you can adjust the refresh rates on both phones between 60Hz and 120Hz. The first thing I did was turn up the OnePlus 9 Pro to QHD and 120Hz, because I'm an idiot that just always wants the best of the best.
With this setting, battery life was horrible. If you think that the hit in battery life will be negligible, think again. Think of how much of an impact it has to have for OnePlus to make the default be that it doesn't use the full resolution of the display. With FHD 120Hz, I didn't have a problem getting a full day with either phone.
However, if you're close to a charger, that's fine too, because both of these devices support Warp Charge 65T, and let me tell you, these things charge fast. I'd put it on the OnePlus 9 Pro on the charger while it had about 25-30% charge, go take a shower, and come back to a phone that's 90% charged.
The OnePlus 9 Pro supports Warp Charge 50 Wireless too, so 50W wireless charging means it can just sit in a cradle and always be charged. They also improved the cradle, using two coils so you can place the phone vertically or horizontally. But more importantly, the cable isn't connected to the charger anymore, so you're not limited to a weirdly short cable like we were with the last one.
It's also worth noting that the OnePlus 9 finally supports wireless charging, although it's just 15W Qi charging. Still, not having it at all can be a real pain point. OnePlus only first introduced wireless charging in the OnePlus 8 Pro, and didn't offer it in the OnePlus 8 or 8T.
For benchmarks, I used Geekbench, AnTuTu, and GFXBench.
OnePlus 9 OnePlus 9 Pro Geekbench
These are all top-notch scores for Android phones. There are no surprises here.
I love the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, a feeling that I've had for OnePlus devices since the OnePlus 7 Pro, but not before that. The only problem, frankly, is the cameras. The cameras are decent, and I do know plenty of people who simply don't care about the camera. It's just that when you look at what Apple and Samsung are selling for similar prices, they're just offering so much more in the camera department.
If you're one of those people that can deal with something that's more of an average camera, these are awesome phones. The 120Hz screens are both beautiful, and frankly, you'll be happy with either one despite the extra bells and whistles on the Pro. And these phones are fast, with a Snapdragon 888, fast storage, and fast memory.
Let's not forget about Warp Charge too, which is a game-changer. Charging anything else seems so slow now.
If you want to check out the OnePlus 9 series, you can find the OnePlus 9 here and the OnePlus 9 Pro here.
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By Namerah S
Unboxing a 10,050mAh battery rugged smartphone, the DOOGEE S59 Pro
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
A couple of months ago, rugged smartphone maker DOOGEE launched the S59 Pro. The affordable and durable device features a stunningly massive 10,050mAh battery. While it is commonplace for budget smartphones to have large batteries, this size is unheard of.
Internally, the S59 Pro doesn't offer much else apart from its huge power supply. It sports the MediaTek Helio P22 12nm 2GHz chipset, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack and 24W fast charging via USB Type-C. The device runs stock Android 10 out of the box.
Though the rugged phone has quad cameras, they are average by today's standards. The setup on the rear includes a 16MP AI Samsung main lens, an 8MP wide-angle lens, an 8MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, users can shoot selfies with a 16MP camera.
Design-wise, the DOOGEE S59 Pro is built for durability and longevity rather than good looks. The 5.71-inch HD+ LCD display with thick bezels is encased in a metal frame and a body that is a mix of metal and a hard plastic material. It has a military-grade MIL-STD-810G IP rating, IP68 waterproof rating and IP69 dust resistance.
DOOGEE sent me the global variant of the S59 Pro in Army Green. The rugged smartphone costs $199.99 on AliExpress and is available internationally. Alternatively, U.S. residents can buy the unlocked variant from Amazon for $239.99. You can find our initial impressions of the phone in the unboxing video below, with a full-length review coming soon.
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Microsoft updates OneDrive on Android and iOS with a host of features and improvements
by Anmol Mehrotra
Microsoft has released a new update for the OneDrive app on Android and iOS. The iOS app has received a major update while the Android app has received a minor update that improves the user experience.
The new update for the iOS app fixes two VoiceOver related bugs, brings back the ability to write files from the iOS Files app, fixes UI related bugs and more.
Here is the full changelog for the update:
The Android app, on the other hand, has received a relatively minor update that adds a new Home tab to help users pick up where they left off. Furthermore, the new update adds the ability to reorder parts of the settings section. Here is the full changelog for the update:
The new update bumps the OneDrive app for Android to version 6.27, while the iOS app gets bumped to version 12.23.2. OneDrive for Android users can download the update from the Google Play Store, while the update is available on the App Store for Apple users.
RedMagic 6 review: RedMagic's best phone yet, but it still needs better software
by João Carrasqueira
For the past couple of years, I've reviewed almost every phone that RedMagic puts out. The gaming-focused brand born from nubia has consistently pushed for the highest level of performance, using the latest hardware backed by unique features like a cooling fan to keep things even cooler.
The RedMagic 6 series is the latest effort from the company, and it packs some significant performance improvements thanks to the latest Qualcomm silicon and more RAM. It's the first time RedMagic launches two different phones at the same time - the RedMagic 6 and the 6 Pro - but the only differences are the storage and RAM configurations and the addition of an aluminum backplate on the Pro model for even better cooling.
It's also the first time in a while that RedMagic has increased the amount of RAM in all the configurations, bumping up from 8GB to 12GB in the base RedMagic 6, while the Pro model has 16GB of RAM, up from the 12GB you'd get with a top-tier RedMagic 5S. Pricing has also increased slightly, with the phone now starting at $599 for the base model, or $699 for the 6 Pro.
RedMagic sent me the base model, and it's also the Chinese variant, so my unit isn't exactly the same you'll get when you buy the phone. For example, the Chinese variant doesn't support NFC, but the international release does.
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, octa-core, one Kryo 680 Prime at 2.84GHz, three Kryo 680 Gold at 2.42GHz, four Kryo 680 Silver at 1.8GHz GPU Adreno 660 Body 169.86x77.19x9.7mm (6.69x3.04x0.38in), 220g (7.76oz) Display 6.8 inches, 1080x2400, 20:9, 387.5ppi, AMOLED Camera 64MP with Quad Bayer technology + 8MP ultrawide + 2MP macro, Front - 8MP Video 8K - 30fps, 4K - 60fps, 1920fps Slow Motion; Front - 1080p - 30fps Aperture f/1.79 + f/2.2 + f/2.4, Front - f/2.0 Storage 128GB UFS 3.1 RAM 12GB LPDDR5 Battery 5,050mAh, 30W fast charging (66W charger sold separately) Material Metal and glass Price $599 Day one
The design of the RedMagic 6 is strongly rooted in what we've seen from previous RedMagic phones, albeit with some tweaks. It's still a metal and glass sandwich like before, though it feels more dense and sturdier than previous RedMagic phones. I'd say this might have the best build quality out of all the phones I've reviewed from RedMagic, which is certainly nice to see.
A large portion of the back is covered by this angular shape, which is glass on this model, but that's where you'll find the aluminum backplate on the RedMagic 6 Pro. It's very much in line with RedMagic's design lineage. There are some changes, though, like the camera setup now being fully contained in a single rectangular protrusion, and the LED flash now having a triangular shape that makes it fit much better with the rest of the design.
After RGB lighting was removed in the RedMagic 5S, it's now back with the RedMagic 6. This time, it's not in the RedMagic name, but it's actually in two zones - the small stripes on each side of the branding. They still support a handful of colors, which we'll get into later. It's worth noting here that the Tencent Games logo is only on the Chinese version of this phone. Also, the red RedMagic logo near the bottom can still light up just like before.
A major improvement in the design of the RedMagic 6 is around the edges. The left edge of the phone no longer has a pin connector, which was used to attach accessories like the RedMagic Adapter, but on this model, all the accessories connect to the USB Type-C port. Because of that extra space, RedMagic moved the volume rocker to the left side of the phone, away from the power button. The left side also has the usual gaming mode toggle and air intake vent for the phone's internal fan.
Over on the right side, the power button is now much further up, and it's so much easier to access than on previous models. That's been one of my consistent complaints with RedMagic phones, but now that the volume rocker is on the left, all the buttons are easily accessible without having to constantly adjust my hand. Of course, there's also an air expel vent for the fan and the touch-sensitive triggers for gaming, which have been upgraded with a 400Hz touch sampling rate.
RedMagic has been uncompromising with the 3.5mm headphone jack, and you can still find it on the top edge, along with a microphone.
Meanwhile, the bottom edge has a USB Type-C for charging and connecting accessories like the RedMagic Adapter and the Ice Dock, an external fan for those that need even more cooling. The SIM card tray is also here, along with a bottom-firing speaker.
Display and sound
The RedMagic 6 is the first RedMagic phone since 2019 that has increased the size of the display, which is now 6.8 inches diagonally instead of 6.65 inches. That change mostly comes from an increase in height, since the screen now has a 20:9 aspect ratio instead of 19.5:9, for a resolution of 2400x1080. The phone itself is also slightly taller, but the top and bottom bezels still seem to have shrunken a bit, which is a welcome change.
Of course, what's most unique about this display is that it's the first phone in the world to feature a 165Hz refresh rate for even more smoothness. There aren't a ton of games that support this improvement, though the closest I've found is Battlelands Royale. A higher refresh rate means animations look smoother, and everything certainly looks very smooth on this display, but if you have a 144Hz display, the difference shouldn't be all that big.
What I've personally appreciated the most on the RedMagic 6's display is that the colors looks great, at all levels of brightness. After I complained in a few of my reviews about it, RedMagic seems to finally have fixed all the issues with color shifting at low brightness levels, and I haven't had any problems with it.
As for sound, it's a very standard RedMagic experience, and that's a good thing. There's a stereo set of speakers, one firing down and one firing directly at the user, and they get very loud, but they can also get super quiet. They have a pretty wide range of volume, so you can always find a comfortable listening level.
I also want to point out that the haptic engine on the RedMagic 6 is far better than anything RedMagic has used in its previous phones. It's much sharper and stronger than the last generation, which felt loose and was kind of obnoxious.
The camera setup is never the focus of RedMagic phones, and you wouldn't be faulted for thinking that the cameras on the RedMagic 6 are the exact same as the RedMagic 5S. In fact, the ultra-wide and macro cameras are both the exact same ones, but the main camera now uses a Samsung GW3 sensor instead of Sony's IMX686. There's also an 8MP front-facing camera.
Overall, the camera produces fine results, with vivid colors and a decent amount of detail, though there's quite a tendency for oversaturation and the main camera can produce slightly warmer shots than what would be ideal. You can see how the ultra-wide camera sometimes produces cooler colors compared to the main camera, for instance. On the other hand, the macro camera doesn't deliver the same amount of detail and sharpness. And, of course, the macro camera lets you get very close to subjects to capture the finer details, but its resolution is too low for it to be super useful.
Gallery: RedMagic 6 samples
The camera also includes a night mode, but it never kicks in automatically, nor does the software offer any hints to when you should turn it on. The results it produces are fine and it certainly helps make out more objects in a picture, but I feel as though night mode on previous RedMagic phones was a bit better.
The camera experience is where the software issues start to present themselves, and they're exactly the same as they've been for a while now. For all the effort RedMagic has put into improving its hardware, the software is still unlikable. First, the ultra-wide camera can only be accessed in Pro mode, so features like HDR aren't available, and you can't use night mode with the ultra-wide camera either.
I also don't like that Macro mode always starts with this round zoom lens that shows you a specific part of the image even more zoomed in. It can be removed, but it always resets whenever the Camera app is closed.
The Camera app does offer a ton of features, though, even if their usefulness varies. There's slow-motion video recording, and a whole range of effects for videos and photos that can be fun to play around with. All these things are tucked away in the oddly-named "Camera-family" section, and they've almost all been in previous RedMagic phones.
Performance and battery life
The RedMagic 6 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888, like most other flagship phones this year, and it's backed by 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Nowadays, pretty much any flagship will give you more performance than you need, but the RedMagic 6 tried to take that even further thanks to its cooling system, featuring multiple components like a vapor chamber, a graphite thermal pad, and of course, a built-in cooling fan. That fan has also been improved with speeds up to 20,000 RPM, from 15,000 in the previous model.
All of that amounts to fantastic performance in day-to-day usage and gaming is a breeze, too, with everything from Pokémon GO to PUBG Mobile running as smoothly as you'd expect it to. For benchmarks, I used the latest version of AnTuTu, GeekBench 5, and GFXBench.
First off, AnTuTu tests the overall performance, and one thing that needs to be mentioned here is that this benchmark recently got a major update to version 9, which radically changes the scores. You actually can't see a ranking for this phone just yet, but I ran the updated benchmark on the OPPO Find X2 Pro for comparison.
The RedMagic 6 obtained a 815,171 score on the first run, coming slightly down to 808,239 and 806,084 in the two subsequent runs. Performance didn't drop significantly, but it's worth noting that it didn't drop significantly on the OPPO Find X2 Pro, either. That phone has a last-gen chipset, and it scored 659,087.
Next up is GeekBench, which focuses on the CPU. On the first run, the RedMagic 6 scored 1,055 for single-core performance and 3,521 for multi-core.
Here, I'm comparing it to the more similar OPPO Find X3 Pro, which has the same chipset, and that phone had a noticeably higher single-core result at 1,129, while the multi-core score was lower, at 3,378. In a second run, the RedMagic 6 scored 962 and 3,501, while a third run scored 962 and 3,515. Multi-core performance was fairly consistent and beats out the Find X3 Pro by quite a few points.
Finally, we have GFXBench, a series of tests focused on the GPU and is a very intensive benchmark.
Here, we can only compare the offscreen tests to the Find X3 Pro, because the on-screen tests run at different resolutions. The RedMagic 6 generally pulls convincing victories in every test on the first run, and even on a third run, it goes toe to toe with the single run of the Find X3 Pro.
As for battery life, RedMagic has bumped up the battery size to 5,050mAh, which is the largest it's ever used. Last year, the RedMagic 5G and 5S had smaller 4,500mAh units, and while that was still good enough, this is definitely an improvement. The phone consistently lasts me over 24 hours on a charge, and that's with the refresh rate constantly set to 165Hz. You can bring that down to 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz if you want to prolong the battery life.
On top of that, RedMagic now offers 30W charging out of the box, and you can get a 66W charger sold separately, too. That 30W charger included in the box is a big improvement over the 18W adapter that came with last year's phones, and it makes charging much faster - a very welcome improvement.
So far, I've been singing the praises of the RedMagic 6, and that's because the company has truly delivered on almost every front with the hardware. But, as has been the case with previous RedMagic phones, the software is where things fall flat. The phone runs Android 11 with RedMagic OS 4 on top of it, but things unfortunately haven't changed much since the previous version.
I've listed all the things I don't like about it in the past, but I'll mention some of them again. First, there's still no option to change the display scaling, so this huge display feels a bit wasted with all the elements being as large as they are. Second, there's a ton of poor translations that make some settings not immediately obvious, so it's easy to feel confused navigating some parts of the phone's UI. A notable example are the multi-tasking options like picture-in-picture or bubbles. There are also multiple pages on the Settings app that have no actual settings, just information about certain software features. Another thing that bothers me is that RedMagic refuses to bring back the full suite of customization options for the RGB lighting as we got with the RedMagic 3 and 3S. You only get four solid colors and three gradients now, and that takes a lot away from the feeling of having something unique to you.
All those issues are not new, but there are some that are. For example, the company has finally made it possible to use a third-party launcher, which didn't work on last year's phones. But every now and then, it might still take you to the default nubia launcher for no reason. On top of that, using a third-party launcher with the Android navigation gestures makes it so that you can't open the task manager by swiping up and holding your finger on the screen. As soon as you swipe up, you're taken to the home screen, and there's nothing you can do about it. You're basically forced to use navigation buttons instead.
Another new issue is the power menu, which you can't back out of normally. Once you open the power menu, you need to lock and unlock the phone again to use it, since tapping an empty area of the screen does absolutely nothing. On that note, the power menu doesn't include the smart home controls Google introduced with Android 11, which is also a bummer. I've noticed some other things, like how if I set YouTube to just play audio in the background, the playback controls for it don't show up in the notification shade. Only my main music app is there, for some reason.
The biggest changes in the software are in the Game Space, the UI that shows up once you enable the gaming mode toggle on the left of the phone. RedMagic has added a few new features and simplified parts of the UI, especially for the game overlay. Some of the new options include quick access to a few chat apps, an easier way to record video, and a new "Hunting mode", which basically just inverts the colors on the screen.
One of the most notable improvements is for the shoulder triggers, which can be assigned to any area or button on the screen. Now, you can set different types of actuation for them, like setting each trigger to activate two touch areas on the screen at the same time. You can also set it to perform one action when you press the trigger, and another one when you release it. However, the pressing action is a one-time thing, so holding down the trigger won't do anything.
Finally, you can set the shoulder trigger to perform a macro, which you record beforehand. Macros can be up to five minutes long, and they're pretty cool. I recorded one that wins a full race in Asphalt 9 for me, which is fun to see. Macros can also be played out at the original speed or sped up, so if there's a combination of actions you want to do quickly, you can do that too.
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but the truth is the RedMagic 6 is more of the same as far as the company's philosophy goes. The focus almost always seems to be on the hardware, while software seems to be an afterthought, and unfortunately, that makes every RedMagic review a bit disheartening for me.
On the hardware side, RedMagic made some great changes that make this a better phone than ever. More RAM for the base configuration, a faster included charger, bringing back RGB lighting, a more solid-feeling build, a taller and faster display with far fewer issues than previous panels, better button placement, and a better haptic engine. This truly is the best hardware RedMagic has ever put together, and even with the price increase, the $599 price tag is an amazing deal for what you get. I was super excited to review this when I first started using it.
But that excitement started draining slowly as I used the phone and ran into the different software issues and limitations that RedMagic refuses to fix, in addition to bringing new ones and also not implementing new Android features like the smart home controls. It's ridiculous to think that I can't do something as simple as backing out of the power menu, or that using a third-party launcher makes it impossible to use the task manager.
The RedMagic 6 is still one of the most affordable gaming phones you can buy with top-of-the-line hardware, and for that reason alone, it's worthy of being considered. But gaming phones are evolving quickly, and if you have the money to spend, options like the Legion Phone Duel 2 or the ROG Phone 5 from ASUS are beating RedMagic in areas where it used to stand out - offering more control options, an internal cooling fan, or more customization.
With that being said, $599 for a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, and the world's first 165Hz display is a deal that's hard to ignore. If you can tolerate the software issues, then there's a lot to like here. You can buy the RedMagic 6 from the company's website, or opt for the 6 Pro for $699 to get 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and even better cooling.
OneDrive sync client gets 64-bit support on Windows
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft has released a new public preview of the OneDrive sync client for Windows, making it available in a 64-bit variant. The 64-bit client is recommended for users who deal with large files or a high number of files on OneDrive, since 64-bit apps can use more of the system's memory.
For those unaware, the OneDrive sync client is included with Windows 10 and can be installed on older versions as well, and it lets you sync files from OneDrive down to your local machine easily. It integrates with File Explorer on Windows, so managing OneDrive files and folders should feel the same as using a local folder.
To use the 64-bit variant of OneDrive, you'll need a PC with an x64 (technically, AMD64) processor that's running a 64-bit variant of Windows. It's worth noting that Windows on ARM devices - while they use a 64-bit architecture - don't yet support apps designed for x64 processors, so you'll need to keep using the 32-bit client. Microsoft has been working on x64 emulation for ARM64 devices, and that's currently being tested with Insiders in the Dev channel.
You can download the 64-bit version of the OneDrive sync client here, and it will install over your current version if you already have it installed. You'll need to be running a version that's older than the one you're installing, though.