While the original Nubia RedMagic 7 launched back in February, the brand is back with a Pro revision that brings some particularly specialist features to the table. Of course, you’re still getting those key specs: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 6.8-inch AMOLED display, 16GB RAM, dedicated trigger buttons, and a transparent back, and there are more than a few upgrades in here to keep the discerning mobile gamer on their toes.
Even at first glance, it’s obvious this device is vying for a spot among the best gaming phones on the market. But, as we’ll see, the RedMagic 7 Pro is more than just a pretty face, with an incredibly comprehensive set of gaming features combining to create a truly special experience. While that does come at the cost of some of the more smartphone-oriented features, the raw horsepower built into this monster is going to tear through anything you can throw at it.
We lived with the RedMagic 7 Pro for a period of four weeks, pushing it to the limits in daily use and heavier gameplay scenarios to put through the wringer for this fulsome review.
Take just one look at the back of the Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro, and you’ll know what this device is for. The glass back offers a slightly silver tinge over the internal components and, should you ever forget the configuration you opted for, you’re also getting all the key specs highlighted in different spots around the build.
As much as it screams ‘gaming’ in its type-face, jagged edges, and, lest we forget, that RGB fan, I was surprised to find that this aesthetic actually slotted nicely into everyday use as well. It’s certainly not as low-key as an iPhone 13 Pro or Samsung Galaxy device, but the greys and browns converge to create a modern, dare I say ‘grown-up’, feel that many dedicated gaming devices can forget.
RedMagic 7 Pro Specs
OS: Android 12, RedMagic OS 5
Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 16GB, 18GB
Storage: 256GB, 512GB
Rear cameras: 64MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
Front camera: 16MP
Battery: 5,000 mAh
A small note, but one that I can’t make about many gaming phones, is that the glass back didn’t seem to hold onto fingerprints for too long. I was fully expecting to keep a cloth with me at all times here, but despite being a little more slippery than I was used to, everything felt – and looked – great even after hours of use.
There’s no getting around it, this is a big device. Weighing in at nearly 240g, there’s a lot to hold onto here. While some may prefer rounded sides, especially considering the height of this device, I found the flat edges around the rims to be surprisingly comfortable. They provided plenty of purchase to hold all that weight in a smaller hand and lent a solid durability to the feel.
Around the edge you’ll find vents to keep those 20,000 RPM Turbofans company, two touch-sensitive triggers, a lock button, volume rocker, a sliding switch to enable Game Space (RedMagic’s control centre), and a 3.5mm audio slot.
While the RedMagic 7 treated us to a 165Hz AMOLED screen, we’re dropping things down to 120Hz for the Pro model. It’s a slight jump for the spec sheet, but, in reality, there are few games actually taking advantage of these higher refresh rates these days, even in the 120Hz bracket. I still found animations and scrolling to be exceptionally smooth.
Colors pop really nicely on this screen, even if the max brightness setting is still a little underwhelming. It certainly helps distinguish contrast between those crisp colors and deep blacks, but there’s a little less vibrancy here than would be expected from a device so dedicated to giving mobile games as much power as possible.
However, props have to be given to that under-screen camera. Hiding a lense beneath the display itself is a new feat that even very few high-end devices have attempted. In my own testing, the RedMagic 7 Pro is the first gaming-specific device to cross our desks boasting the feature (not counting the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3). Of course, it’s not great. Colors are washed out, and the overall picture quality won’t be winning any photography awards, but if you’re simply taking a selfie every now and then, or jumping on a quick Zoom call, it’s not going to ruin your experience.
Plus, for the trouble, you’re getting a completely unencumbered screen to play with. I was surprised how quickly this became natural and found it difficult to return to the classic iPhone notch at the end of testing.
Of course, it’s in the Play Store that the RedMagic 7 Pro shines. There are a number of unique features all working together here to create an incredible mobile gaming experience, from the power under the hood to the look and feel of each title. We’ll start with that 960Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate, a super-responsive display feature that kicks into gear as soon as you start twitching towards side-scrolling or reflex-based platformers.
The two shoulder buttons running along the top of the device certainly aren’t a revolution in themselves, but despite not being physical clickers they provide a clean, satisfying control scheme with a nicely responsive feel overall. Call of Duty Mobile was a particularly impressive experience with these triggers at the helm, offering an engrossing set of controls that quickly felt second nature.
Those shoulder buttons can also be remapped for each title, with presets configurable in the Game Space software. This is where things get technical, with the program offering information on your components and fps, while also offering room to tinker with controls. You’ll also find all your games linked in here, with a range of plugins available for use as well.
While some of the finer details, as with all the software here, are a little grungy it’s a solid overall experience with plenty of additional benefits going into more detail than I’ve seen other dedicated gaming phones attempt.
Once you’re going, it’s easy to see that there’s some acceleration going on under the hood. A particularly busy PUBG game that would have fried my iPhone, for example, was running as smoothly as it would in the lobby here. That’s likely down to the presence of RedMagic’s own Red Core 1 chip which keeps things efficient by directing processing power away from the Snapdragon chipset itself, allowing it to really rev up.
The cherry on top here, though, is that 20,000 RPM fan. You’ll hear it when it kicks in, a high-pitched whirr that wasn’t too comfortable to listen to in the first few days of use. However, it’s a fair trade-off for playing high-end mobile games with this level of power behind them and never burning your fingerprints off. The RedMagic 7 Pro has a lot of gear baked in to keep it cool, and every bit of it works as you would expect. This is a particularly temperature-efficient device that never felt too warm to hold, even during the longest of sessions.
Outside of its gaming features, the RedMagic 7 Pro does fall down in its software. The frustration felt at trying to keep an overlay menu in place while changing the brightness can certainly attest to this. Overall, it’s fairly easy to get on with RedMagic’s skin over the Android 12 interface. There are a handful of translation issues, a few delayed sound effects, and some slow animations, but once I learned where everything was, everything was snappy in everyday use.
More complex systems like menus and the aforementioned overlays did require a little patience to get the hang of. Changing brightness and heading to the notification drop down seemed to take three tries and two hands, with the inevitable ‘Please Swipe Again’ message mocking me at every turn. However, it’s a small niggling bug that will no doubt be ironed out during updates.
All in all, the software’s alright. I wouldn’t call its fairly garish widgets aesthetically pleasing, but it functions as it should and keeps everything running smoothly when you’re not tapping away at PUBG.
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If you’re looking for a phone that can live up to your photography dreams, this is not it. The RedMagic 7 Pro offers a 64 MP wide / 8 MP ultrawide / 2 MP macro suite of lenses that will serve up an Instagram account well but won’t be able to compete with the likes of Samsung or Apple. There’s just not enough detailing in these pictures, and certainly not enough post-shutter enhancements to keep this camera set competitive in the current landscape.
Well-lit longer shots do hold their own, and many carry a sharpness that I was pleased with. However, as soon as that sun fades and your lenses have to require on smarts to keep the picture clear, things can quickly go downhill. Still, this is a gaming phone first and foremost, and very few of these devices are celebrated for their cameras.
The RedMagic 7 Pro benefits from 120W fast-charging outside of the US, and 65W charging within North America and Canada. That means, at most, you’ll be able to juice up in just 20 minutes – a valuable feature considering gaming phones rarely offer too much screen on time. I managed to squeeze around two and half hours of full brightness, 120Hz PUBG time on a single battery, extending out to around three hours on less demanding games like Magic The Gathering: Arena. In general day-to-day use, though, I was good to go for around two days at a time, based on casual texting, the odd Google search, and some YouTube sessions.
Should you buy the RedMagic 7 Pro?
While the RedMagic 7 Pro hasn’t quite hit US and UK markets fully yet, starting prices look like they’ll kick off at $799 / £679. That’s a pretty affordable proposition considering the level of sophistication under the hood here, and I can confidently say that this particular device offers the most well-rounded gaming feature-set that I’ve tested. Sure, there is some quality of everyday use issues in the camera, and some UI frustrations are still present in the operating system. However, for sheer power and smart features, it can’t be beaten.
How we tested the Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro
I lived with the Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro over the course of four weeks, using it as a daily driver across all work, play, and day-to-day use. During that time I was testing quality of life features in battery, software, cameras, and design, while also sinking regular hours into PUBG, Call of Duty: Mobile, Fortnite, and Magic The Gathering Arena.
For more gaming on the go, we’d recommend checking out the best gaming tablets and the latest Nintendo Switch deals as well. We’re also rounding up the best gaming laptops if you’re really getting serious.
4.5 out of 5
Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro review: “Serious mobile gaming”
The RedMagic 7 Pro steps up its game with incredible performance and a solid design. There’s some serious power under the hood here, only improved by RedMagic’s own thoughtful hardware additions. Of course, as is generally the case, the cameras do suffer, but overall this is one of the best gaming phones on the market right now.