If you’re looking for a gaming smartphone that doesn’t compromise on regular, everyday use, then look no further than the Nubia REDMAGIC 7. This 5G smartphone lets you gain the upper hand with its built-in cooling fan and touch-sensitive shoulder triggers. It also comes with a plethora of gaming plugins to help you defeat your opponents.
But more than that, the phone also has several features that make it easy for day-to-day use. It runs the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. That means you won’t have to worry about lag or running out of space on your device.
And although it has a relatively small 4,500mAh battery, it uses its neo AI engine to help it last for a day or longer. Should you go empty, the 65-watt GaN fast charger will get you to 100% in less than 30 minutes. You should also be careful as the fan vents mean this phone does not have an IP rating. Nevertheless, as long as you’re careful and you’re okay with handling large phones, the Nubia REDMAGIC 7 is your gaming smartphone.
- Built-in cooling fan allows you to game for much longer
- Touch-sensitive shoulder triggers give you an advantage over your opponents
- Blocks notifications, messages, and calls to prevent distractions
- Brand: Nubia
- Storage: 256GB
- CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- Memory: 16GB
- Operating System: Android 12
- Battery: 4500mAh
- Ports: 1x USB-C, 1x 3.5mm
- Display (Size, Resolution): 6.8-inch, 1080x2400px
- Camera (Front): 8MP
- Cameras (Rear): 64MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
- Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax 2*2mimo, WIFI6E, NFC
- Others: 2x Touch-sensitive should triggers, built-in fan
- Dimensions: 170.57 x 78.33 x 9.5mm
- Colors: Obsidian, Pulsar, Supernova
- Weight: 215g
- Runs the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC
- Comes with a 65-watt GaN Fast Charger
- 16GB RAM + 256GB memory enough to run most game titles
- Large and hefty build might be difficult to carry, especially for those with small hands
As smartphones have steadily increased in computing power, their gaming potential has also increased accordingly. However, their touchscreen interface and candy bar form factor don’t lend themselves well to gaming. Furthermore, continuous high-powered use of these uncooled chips affects performance and comfort.
Despite that, ZTE’s Nubia has found a way to make a compelling gaming smartphone through the REDMAGIC. They solved the issues plaguing most smartphone gamers through this groundbreaking device.
Now that Qualcomm released the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, let’s look at the first gaming smartphone on the market that’s equipped with this high-end chip.
In the Box
The REDMAGIC 7 comes in a cool little box with comic strips printed on its top and sides. Inside, you’ll find the REDMAGIC 7 smartphone and a silicon case. It also includes a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and 65-watt GaN Fast Charger.
It features a 700-nit, 6.8-inch FHD+ 1080×2400 screen with a 165Hz refresh rate. The phone also has two touchpad shoulder triggers and a built-in cooling fan. Furthermore, it retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, allowing you to use your wired gaming headphones.
You have three options if you choose the REDMAGIC 7. Obsidian, the base model, comes with 12GB RAM and 128GB storage. Pulsar, our review unit, comes with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage, while the top model, Supernova, has the same storage capacity but 18GB RAM and a clear glass back.
One primary reason you’re considering the REDMAGIC 7 is that you’re probably into gaming. And if you’re picking this phone over the usual top-of-the-line models from Apple and Samsung, then you’re in for a treat.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering this phone is one of the most powerful chips on the market. It reflects that by giving you a smooth gaming experience—no lags, quick loading times, and faster frame rates.
The smartphone does get warm over extended gaming periods, especially if you’re running it at maximum settings while recording your screen. Nevertheless, there is no reduction in performance: a testament to the cooling capacity of the built-in fan.
Its 1080×2400 AMOLED screen’s 165HZ refresh rate increases immersion in supported games. This is evident when you play games like Real Racing 3 and World of Tanks Blitz, although the latter only supports up to 120Hz. Furthermore, the screen’s maximum brightness setting will ensure that you can see your battle clearly, even if you’re under the midday sun.
Besides the screen, the phone is equipped with dual speakers. One is at the top of the screen and doubles as the earpiece, while the other is located at the bottom, beside the charging port. Although the REDMAGIC 7 is pretty loud, it comes at the expense of some vibrancy. Nevertheless, the gaming phone offers an equalizer plugin when you’re in-game for adjustments.
Of course, no smartphone review will be complete without benchmark results. We ran the REDMAGIC 7 across three different test apps—Geekbench 5, 3Dmark, and PCMark—and here are the results.
The REDMAGIC 7 received a 1,223 single-core and a 3,630 multi-core score for overall CPU performance. This puts it within range of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which received 1,240 and 3,392, respectively. Nevertheless, it’s still outclassed by the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic, which scored 1,692 and 4,638 points.
During GPU performance testing with 3Dmark Wildlife, the REDMAGIC 7 scored 10,041 with an average of 60.10 frames per second (FPS). Again, this is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but pales compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which scored 11,418 at 68.4 FPS.
We also ran the Wildlife Stress Test, which pushes the phone to its limits for over 20 minutes. After all, a phone’s performance drops over time as it heats up. This is where the REDMAGIC 7 shines—its best loop score is 10,049, presumably from the start of the test, and its worst performance clocks in at 9,584. Its frame rates had a value between 36 and 75 FPS, which is pretty stellar performance.
That means it has a stability of 95.4%. The iPhone 13 Pro Max managed to score 81% for this test, while the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra only received a paltry 52.5%. However, this stability comes at a price as the phone loses nearly a quarter of its battery life during testing. Furthermore, the temperature rose to a toasty 49 degrees Celsius.
This testing app puts the phone through its paces in a holistic manner, reflecting more typical everyday use. Interestingly, it only scored 12,737 points, putting it behind Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Xiaomi 12, Realme GT2 Pro, and the Motorola Edge X30 for Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered devices. Nevertheless, several other phones which used older chips had better scores, so you may take this with a grain of salt.
Giving You the Edge
As it’s a gaming phone, you will find plugins that give you the edge over your opponents. To find these, you have to go to the Game Space mode by sliding up the red switch at the top-left corner of the phone. You then need to go to Super Power Base and tap on Plugin Library.
Here’s a list of the power-ups you can find in the Plugin Library:
- Fast stopwatch: get a stopwatch overlay in front of your game. This is useful for monitoring ability cooldown times, telling you when you can use your power or when your opponent has recharged theirs.
- KeyPosition Assist: this allows you to remap up to four on-screen buttons. You can move the virtual button to an optimal position so you can game more ergonomically.
- Sound Equalizer: lets you adjust different frequencies to make your game sound better. It could give you an advantage by allowing you to enhance the sound of footsteps over the din of gunfire.
- Investigate Mode: activate to zoom-in at the center of your screen. It lets you see your targets like you’re using a sniper scope.
- Aiming Assist: overlays a customizable cross-hair in the center of your screen, making it easier to shoot from the hip.
- 4D Vibrate: your phone’s vibration reacts to in-game movements.
- Hunt Mode: easily detect camouflaged enemies by inverting your screen’s colors.
Most of the plugins here support all games, except for Investigate Mode, 4D Vibrate, and Hunt Mode, which only work with a select few.
Focus on the Match
Aside from these plugins, you also get several features so you can focus on playing. You can set the phone to block messages and calls to avoid distractions. And if you’re expecting an important text, you can turn on Barrage Message, so it slides across your screen like a ticker-tape instead of blocking your field of view.
There’s also Charge Separation, making the phone draw power directly from the charger and digitally isolating the battery. Activating this mode means the battery won’t charge while you’re plugged in, thus reducing phone heat.
You can also add notes and photos as an overlay while you’re gaming through Game Shorthand. You can use this to display tips and tricks or new techniques you’ve recently learned.
And if you want to get the best tap response while gaming, you can switch the touch sampling rate from 360Hz to 720Hz, effectively making your screen twice as sensitive with your commands.
You’ll find all these commands and options in REDMAGIC’s in-game menu. You can find it by swiping inwards towards the screen from either the upper-left or upper-right hand corners of the phone while you’re playing a game.
Software and Apps
When you open the phone for the first time, you’ll find that it has little bloatware. You only get the usual Google apps when you have an Android device, plus a few REDMAGIC specific apps.
If you’re not a gamer, you might not appreciate the vibe the REDMAGIC 5 OS delivers. Furthermore, you would find that some of its prompts are not as polished as other phones. For example, some system messages have strange wording and don’t look originário.
This reviewer also ran into an issue where Netflix and a popular lugar cash app aren’t compatible with the device. This might be a developer issue as the phone hasn’t been released as of writing. However, it is a significant inconvenience since millions rely on these apps. We hope that Nubia can prod these companies to make their apps compatible with the REDMAGIC 7.
Despite being powered by the latest SoC from Snapdragon and only sporting a 4500 mAh battery, the phone still lasts all day. After using it as a daily driver phone for over a week, I never ran out of battery. If you don’t play any games and only use it for browsing or watching, the phone can last for more than 24 hours.
But if you push the phone to its limits while gaming, you can eat through its battery. One hour of heavy gaming can consume as much as 25% battery power, so if you don’t expect to recharge your phone by the end of the day, you should conserve it.
Nevertheless, the phone’s 65-watt GaN charger does wonders. You can fully charge the phone from empty in less than 30 minutes. So even if you’re flat out of power, it only takes a little time to get it back to maximum capacity. The phone also turns on its fan when you’re fast charging it to reduce battery stress.
The phone runs on the latest Android 12 with the REDMAGIC 5 OS. It also has the neo-AI engine, running faster and more efficiently. This ensures that your device gets the best performance without draining the battery.
Although the huge 6.8-inch screen does give you an advantage, its large footprint can be difficult to hold for people with smaller hands. Pair that with its hefty 215g (7.58oz) weight, and you have a chunky piece of equipment in your pocket. The corners of the screen are also rounded. Although this makes it easier to hold, it cuts some details. But it’s a small price to pay to carry this heavy phone comfortably.
Camera-wise, you get an 8MP front shooter with a trio of cameras at the back—a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The phone can produce decent images, but its quality isn’t up to par with Samsung S22 Ultra or the iPhone 13. Nevertheless, if you’re more into gaming than photography, this wouldn’t be an issue for you.
Although the built-in fan dissipates heat better, allowing you to play much longer, it also comes with a caveat. The cooling system has three vents at the sides and back of the phone, which means the phone doesn’t have an IP rating at all. That’s why you should be a bit more careful to avoid dropping the phone in water or sand.
A Smartphone Gamers Can Use Everyday
The primary reason why people balk at buying a gaming smartphone is that it usually performs poorly as your daily driver. However, the REDMAGIC 7 proves this wrong. Despite being focused on gamers, this smartphone’s daily browsing, watching, and listening experience is no different from other premium phones.
You have to dig around the game settings to get the most out of your gaming experience. But once you have set up all your favorite games, you can expect a seamless smartphone experience with the REDMAGIC 7—whether for gaming or other uses.
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