nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro Review: It changed my mind about gaming phones

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The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is introduced as the “Pro Vision Gaming” smartphone that offers the fastest gaming experience on a phone with a large display, built-in gamer features, and a long-lasting battery life with quick charge. It packs the latest Snapdragon chipset and has more RAM than some laptops. Speaking of laptops, it also has an RGB fan to help keep things cool.

The phone is massive by all measurable standards, and it packs a massive 6.8-inch display. It’s larger than other competitive smartphones, and although I don’t believe I have small hands, it took me a while to get used to the large form factor, and being unable to use it one-handed most of the time. It did, however, make gaming more enjoyable, which is the point after all of a gaming device.

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Before I start this review, I would like to share that I was never a true mobile gamer, and I never truly understood the point of a special gaming smartphone. That was, up until I got my hands on the REDMAGIC 7 Pro, which made me realize that it does indeed have a sweet spot on the market. While it didn’t improve my gaming skills, and I’m still just as bad at Call of Duty, and PUBG as before, it made me enjoy those games on a whole new level.

Nubia REDMAGIC 7 PRO

nubia REDMAGIC 7 PRO

This one is for the gamers

The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is one of the best gaming smartphones in 2022. It has a large, responsive, and beautiful display. It performs excellent under-load, and it’s one of the best devices if you want to take your gaming experience to a whole new level.

Rating: 4/5

Pros

  • Unique design and premium feel
  • Brilliant 120Hz OLED display
  • Excellent performance in games and apps
  • Shoulder buttons are excellent and customizable on a per-game basis
  • All-day battery life with fast charging
  • Great haptics in games
  • It has an RGB fan!

Cons

  • Enormous and wide device
  • Camera is OK at best, not great
  • It lacks standard Android 12 features, and it’s a bit buggy
  • The fan can feel too loud at times
  • The speakers left me unimpressed
  • No IP water or dust resistance

CONTENTS
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REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Price & Availability

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro front Source: Pocketnow

The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is available to order from April 27, 2022 on the official REDMAGIC website. The company also has an early bird offer from April 22, 2022.

Model & Storage Price (USD) Price (EUR) Price (GBP)
Supernova – 16GB RAM and 512GB storage $899 €899 £759
Obsidian – 16GB RAM and 256GB storage $799 €799 £679

The REDMAGIC 7 Pro will be available in the following regions:

  • The UK
  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Portugal, Finland, Romania, France, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta.
  • North America: Canada and the United States.
  • Asia Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong (China SAR), Indonesia, Macau (China SAR), Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore.
  • Middle East: Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
  • Latin America: Mexico, Peru, and Chile

What’s in the box

The packaging looks great, and it features a few anime characters fighting on the side and on top. The big REDMAGIC logo on the top of the box changes colors based on how you angle and move it around. It looks exactly like what I expected to see from a gaming-oriented smartphone, and I’m satisfied with the end results.

The rest of the packaging is minimalistic, and everything is neatly packed inside the fairly small box. On the top, there’s a small box that contains the SIM ejector pin and the provided transparent silicone case. Underneath the packet is the device itself. Digging further down in the box, we can find a bright red USB-C to USB-C cable and a 65W power adapter, which isn’t something that you often see nowadays, and it’s great to see that nubia is still providing not just a wall adapter, but an actual fast charger. As a bonus, the device also has a pre-applied screen protector, which means that nubia is one of the few companies that still ships the full package with their high-end devices.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Design

  • Unique and eyebrow-raising transparent design
  • Premium and sturdy feel
  • Large, not great for one-handed use, but comfortable to hold

Putting the box aside, let’s take a closer look at the smartphone’s design. Immediately, you’ll notice that this isn’t an average-sized device, and it’s massive. I have fairly large hands, but I often found it hard to reach the sides and the top of the device, making it nearly impossible to use it one-handed comfortably.

I also have to admit that when the phone was announced, I wasn’t a fan of how it looked in the images. I don’t like fake-transparent phones, but the REDMAGIC 7 Pro looks amazing in person, and the online images don’t give it justice. If you want a phone that shouts premium and gaming simultaneously, then this is one of the best-looking phones I’ve seen to this date. In fact, it looks so good, that I often left it face down on the table to just stare at the back, which was also a great conversation starter with a few of my friends when they spotted the unique rear panel.

Although the phone is enormous, it doesn’t feel slippery, and the glass back with aluminium panel in the center gives it a more premium feel. The fan is noticeable even while off, and it immediately stands out when the RGB lights turn on. The aluminium back island isn’t covered by the provided case, which is likely to improve heat dissipation. The fact is that the design might not appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly unique, and it stands out among the other gaming smartphones with its flashy looks.

The one main downside of having a physical fan in a smartphone is that it can’t be protected against water or dust, since it requires a vent, which is conveniently placed on the back, near the camera setup, and on the side. The button placement is also rightly located, but it took about two to three days to get used to it. The left side houses a red game mode slider which can toggle the Game Space feature. The top of the device houses a speaker, microphone, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the bottom only contains a USB-C port, another microphone, and the main speaker.

There is an in-screen optical fingerprint reader for unlocking and authenticating the device. I found it fast and easy to use. However, every once in a while, when picking up the device and putting my finger directly on the sensor, it wouldn’t trigger and activate, and it would take a moment or two to recognize that I was trying to unlock the phone. By the time it recognized what I wanted to do, I would’ve already pressed the power button, which would light up the screen and activate the reader. It needs some software tweaks to make it more responsive, but nubia is on the right track.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Specifications

The specifications of the nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is top-notch, and it comes equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. The Supernova model of the REDMAGIC 7 Pro packs 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage, but our review unit came with a massive 18GB of RAM.

Some new gaming smartphones come with a hybrid NVMe SSD and UFS 3.1 storage, but I never once felt that the UFS 3.1 storage was slow. I have never experienced any sluggish behaviors, even though the software wasn’t running the final version.

The REDMAGIC 7 Pro also has a Red Core 1 chip inside, processing audio, RGB lighting, and haptic feedback. Nubia says that this offloads some tasks from the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, improving the overall performance in mobile games and applications.

Category nubia REDMAGIC 7 PRO
Operating System Android 12 & REDMAGIC OS 5.0
Display 6.8″, 20:9 aspect ratio, 2,400 x 1,080 (387 ppi) resolution, 120hz refresh rate, AMOLED Display
Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
– Red Core 1 (for audio, RGB lighting, and haptic feedback processing)
Memory 16GB + expandable virtual memory by up to 6GB
Storage – Obsidian 256GB
– Supernova 512GB
UFS 3.1
Expandable Storage None
Rear Primary Camera 64MP wide, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 1/1.97″, 0.7μ pixel, 26mm focal length
Rear Ultra-wide Camera 8MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 120º field of view, 1.4.0″, 1.12μ pixel, 13mm focal length
Rear Macro Camera 2MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 1/5.0″, 1.75μ pixel
Front Under-Display Camera 16MP
Security Under display, Optical fingerprint sensor
Connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.2, NFS
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery 5,000mAh, 65W wired charging (EU/US/UK/GL)
Water Resistance None
Materials Aviation Aluminum Middle Frame, glass front and back
Dimensions 6.55 x 3.04 x 0.39 inches (166.3 x 77.1 x 10mm)
Weight 8.29 oz (235 g)
Colors Supernova (Transparent), Obsidian (Black)
Release Date 27 April 2022
Price Starting at $799

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Display

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro front Source: Pocketnow
  • 6.8-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz
  • 700-nits peak brightness for excellent sunlight visibility
  • True full-screen experience without a notch or camera cutout

The display supports 120Hz refresh rate, and it’s a massive 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with 20:9 aspect ratio. It has 2,400 x 1,080 resolution, and it has 960Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate and DC dimming. The viewing angles are great, and I found the panel perfectly sharp, even if the display could’ve used a higher resolution panel. I also loved the fact that there is no visible hole-punch cutout or an ugly notch, and it made the overall watching experience even more pleasing.

After trying out all the color profiles, I set the display’s colors to Normal mode, providing bright and natural colors that didn’t give me a headache or eye strain. The 120Hz refresh rate was smooth, and I didn’t notice any noticeable smearing or other issues. The sunlight visibility was also excellent, and while this is only a 700-nit panel, it was plenty bright to enjoy and play outside in the sun on several occasions.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Cameras

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro camera and back Source: Pocketnow
  • The biggest camera array ever on an iPhone
  • Excellent sensor shift stabilization system
  • New portrait blurring “Cinematic Mode” video is bad

The nubia REDMAGIC series aren’t known to have great cameras, which also applies to the REDMAGIC 7 Pro. The images came out sharp during the daytime, and I was happy and satisfied with the results. Sometimes, I wanted to make the image slightly brighter, and other times I wanted to increase the color saturation and tweak the contrast to improve the image quality.

Portrait and macro shots ended up surprisingly sharp-looking, and I was impressed with the bokeh effects. The images were always sharp, and while I would’ve liked a bit more contrast, it was great enough that I wouldn’t want to fiddle with settings to change the looks.

Night and low-light photography yielded mixed results, and the camera would always apply a yellow filter to make it warmer. Some other highlights were also overexposed, resulting in more noise and a washed-out image. Generally, the quality of the images during daytime is acceptable for the primary and wide-angle sensor, but it falls short when it gets darker.

The 16MP under-display selfie camera takes detailed and sharp photos when there’s plenty light, or when outdoors, but the image quality suffers a lot in low-light or in dark conditions. It’s good enough for quick selfies when traveling, but you won’t be taking pictures at night.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Camera samples

Daytime

Selfie

Portrait & Macro

Low-light

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Software

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro front displaying Pocketnow website Source: Pocketnow

The review sample provided by nubia was running the pre-released firmware version, which contained bugs. We have reached out to nubia with feedback and will update this article once we hear back from the company.

  • The software is buggy, and it has a few neat Android 12 features missing
  • The built-in gaming features are excellent, and a must-have for gamers
  • The customization of nubia launcher is limited

The REDMAGIC 7 Pro has stellar hardware, but the software makes it hard to recommend for those who want some stock Android features. For starters, Material You theming customization is nowhere to be found, icon shortcuts are missing for many apps, and the dark mode cannot be scheduled based on location settings. The default launcher application option is missing from settings, and can only be changed if you use a third-party app, such as Nova Launcher, which enables you to set and change the default launcher.


There is a Themes option inside the Lockscreen, Launcher and Theme settings, but it only lets you select from five pre-made themes that change the wallpaper on the homescreen and lockscreens. If I were a gamer, I’d love to see more customization options to show off my inner gamer with icon support, and more options to customize the grid and other settings in the nubia launcher to my liking and needs.

The REDMAGIC 7 Pro has stellar hardware, but the software makes it hard to recommend for those who want some stock Android features.

I also came across a few issues, which have been forwarded to nubia. First, and most importantly, the phone didn’t ring when I received calls. As a result, I didn’t realize that my friends and family were trying to reach me until they timed out or hung up. The other issue was that my banking app didn’t allow me to use the fingerprint sensor to sign in and authenticate myself, even though the software recognized the sensor and asked if I wanted to use it. And some third-party apps are limited to using 60Hz, such as Google Chrome. These issues aren’t necessarily deal-breaking, but I hope nubia can fix these shortly. The rest of the software was fine for the most part, and I didn’t experience other major bugs or any sluggish behavior.

Gaming & Game Space features

Let’s talk about gaming; after all, that’s the main reason you decided to read this review.The gaming performance was rock solid, and I’ve used the Game Space feature to turn on plugins and monitor the performance. I’ve played Brawl Stars, Asphalt 9, Call of Duty, Genshin Impact, PUBG Mobile, Real Racing 3, and Rocket League Sideswipe over the two weeks I have been using this device. Unfortunately, it didn’t make me a pro gamer, but the games I’ve tested were always fluid and smooth, and I never once experienced any hiccup. Genshin Impact, a very demanding game, was constantly at 60fps, even after an hour of playing on maximum settings. Everything was butter smooth, and I don’t think I’ve ever played games for as long as I have on this device. It’s hard to put down once you get a good session, and I now see the appeal of gaming smartphones.

Incredible gaming performance and features

Game Space has built-in features like resource monitoring, shoulder trigger settings, different show effects that let you change the color saturation for specific games, performance mode to set CPU and GPU levels, and screen touch adjustment to change between 480Hz, and 960Hz touch sampling rate.

The resource monitor was the most commonly used feature in games, and I’ve set up the shoulder buttons in titles such as PUBG, Call of Duty, and even Brawl Stars. The shoulder buttons use a 500Hz touch sampling rate, and have an 8ms response time. It was always snappy and responsive to touch, and it greatly improved the experience while gaming. The Game Space menu is easy to reach, and I found it quick to navigate. The vast majority of quick settings are available one or two taps away, and it’s a neat tool to record gameplay footage, monitor the resources, adjust fan speed and brightness, and change the display mode and touch input.

I’ve played games with the fan on, and the fan off. I didn’t notice a major difference, but after checking the temperature, it was clear that the fan was enabling the phone to perform at its peak level for longer. The fan can spin at 20,000 RPM, and while it’s not too loud, it can get annoying at times, especially if you’re trying to game at night. Fortunately, it has a headphone jack, so you can easily connect your beloved headphones and earbuds.

Haptics

The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro has a symmetric dual X-axis linear vibrator motor, providing a stronger and more accurate haptic feedback when gaming and using the general user interface. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the haptics, and I can confirm that it was excellent. Haptics can make or break a phone experience, and the REDMAGIC 7 Pro passed it with flying colors.

Speakers

The phone packs a loud stereo speaker setup, supporting DTS:X Ultra Surround Sound. The speakers are powerful and can be very loud, but it’s far from amazing. The bass wasn’t punchy, and it sounded a bit muffled, which made me use headphones when I wanted to pay attention to the sound in games such as PUBG. It’s usable, and it can be enjoyable when watching movies, but you may want to grab some wired or wireless headphones.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Battery life

  • A smartphone with true 2-day battery life
  • Long hours of gaming, or use charge separation to protect the battery from overheating
  • 65W fast wired charging speed is insanely fast

The REDMAGIC 7 Pro has a 5,000 mAh battery inside, and it supports 65W fast wired charging in select regions, which is also the power adapter that will be supplied in the box.

When it comes to battery life, I must reiterate that I was using pre-released software. When I used the device as a traditional smartphone, using it for browsing, some light gaming, messaging, taking a few photos here and there, I was able to get 5-6 hours of screen on time. Take into account that I did not sacrifice either the refresh rate – which was set at 120Hz at all times – or the brightness to get those results, and I can comfortably say that it’s a 2-day smartphone, if used for light tasks.

Using the REDMAGIC 7 Pro for gaming only takes a toll on battery endurance, and I was able to get between 4-5 hours of screen on time, before needing to top up. Even when I had to recharge, I was able to go from 40% to 100% in just about 13 minutes, which is insanely fast.

The standby battery drain was a little too much to my liking, and it could drain 8-15% overnight; however, that may be less once the final firmware is released to the public with even more fixes and optimizations.

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro fast charging Source: Pocketnow

When it comes to charging the REDMAGIC 7 Pro, my habit of charging a phone once or twice a day changed completely. I charged the REDMAGIC 7 Pro once every day, since I always knew that putting the phone on charge at around 40% would charge it up to 100% at light speed, using the 65W power adapter. The fast charging is a game-changer, and I never once felt pressured to get a quick charge in a hurry.

REDMAGIC 7 PRO: Should I buy it?

nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro back Source: Pocketnow

Well, maybe. The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is an excellent gaming device, but it lacks a few smartphone features that you can find in other Android 12 running devices, which may just be enough to change your mind and encourage you to pick up a traditional flagship smartphone.

The real question is: Should you buy a gamer phone? If you love gaming on-the-go, and have a lot of favorite mobile games, then it may be worth considering it. The phone performs great under-load, and I have never had an issue with a game throttling or becoming choppy and sluggish after an hour or two of gaming. Friendly reminder, you should probably take a break every 30 to 40 minutes, and don’t forget to stay hydrated. I was able to game for hours, and the overall experience was butter smooth.

I could recommend the Galaxy S22 Plus, Pixel 6 Pro, the iPhone 13, and many other devices which are excellent – and also take much better photos – but let’s face it, if you’re considering to pick this up, photography isn’t your priority, and chances are, you won’t be missing out.

Traditional smartphones are unable to sustain 60fps or more in graphics-intensive titles, while the nubia can, without breaking your wallet. The ability to wirelessly charge and take advantage of some new Android 12 features would have made this a no-brainer, but If you want a solid device primarily to game, the REDMAGIC 7 Pro will not disappoint, and it will deliver on its promises.

Starting at $799, the nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is one of the best performing devices currently on the market that can play any graphics-intensive and demanding Android titles. We can overlook some of the annoyances, missing features, and software bugs at that price, but nubia will have to fix the issues if it wants to sell more devices and make it a more appealing phone.

Buy it if…

  • Gaming is your primary purpose, and you want the best and smoothest performance out of a mobile device
  • Need a battery that can last all day long, and it can charge up in around 30 minutes.
  • You’re a gamer, and you want shoulder buttons and the additional gaming features that come with the phone
  • You don’t want to take too many photos

Don’t buy it if…

  • You can’t handle huge and wide phones
  • You want some stock Android features
  • You don’t play games competitively or for long hours
  • Water and dust resistance are a must-have
Nubia REDMAGIC 7 PRO

nubia REDMAGIC 7 PRO

This one is for the gamers

The nubia REDMAGIC 7 Pro is an excellent gaming device and a great overall smartphone. It performs extremely well under-load, and graphics-intensive games run without an issue. It has a long battery life, and it can last a full day with some light gaming.

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