Nubia has had an impressive past couple of years, releasing approximately 12-14 Red Magic branded phones, dedicating themselves to the gaming industry. We’re talking about a market that has experienced a significant rise in recent years, and the Chinese company has managed to have sent 1 or 2 gaming smartphones all over the world. The Red Magic 7S Pro – yes the one we have in our hands- launched globally just three months after its predecessor, so one might think that it doesn’t have a lot to offer to the avid gamer. Or does it?
nubia Red Magic 7S Pro – Technical specs
- Body: 166.3×77.1×10.0mm, 235g; Glass front, glass back, aluminum frame; Pressure sensitive zones (520Hz touch-sensing), Built-in cooling fan, Aviation aluminum middle frame.
- Display: 6.80″ AMOLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, 600 nits, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 387ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.19 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.75 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 730.
- Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM, 512GB 18GB RAM, 1TB 18GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
- OS/Software: Android 12, Redmagic 5.5.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.97″, 0.7µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 13mm, 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 16 MP, (wide), under display.
- Video capture: Rear camera: [email protected], [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/120/240fps; Front camera: [email protected]/60fps.
- Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 135W, 50% in 5 min, 100% in 15 min (advertised), Power Delivery 3.0.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC; 3.5mm jack; stereo speakers
Design and build
Nubia’s latest gaming smartphone is built from aluminum, glass, and some plastic parts. It packs a somewhat different design than its predecessor, with the main metal plate at the back of the device standing out. According to the manufacturer it’s there to improve heat dissipation, although it adds significantly to the 7S Pro’s total weight at 235 grams – along with thickness of 10 mm.
To be honest, when you’re in the market for a gaming smartphone, weight is NOT one of the first factors you consider. However, be warned that after prolonged use during games or holding it straight up, your hands (wrists) may complain.
At the back – just above the metal plate we find the camera module, consisting of three lenses and a flash. The Red Magic 7S Pro is available in 3 color options: Obsidian, Supernova and Mercury, yet all variants remain decent, with excellent quality built and a low profile. At the back side, just below the main camera module, we find the RGB fan placement. When ON it reduces the extra heat of the device – but it surely makes a lot of noise. You can set it ON or OFF or Auto, along with activating its RGB lights ON/OFF.
The Red Magic 7S Pro packs an impressive 6.8 inch display, yet it remains more compact than I originally thought. At the top side of this display lies an in-display camera that is invisible to the naked eye (almost). So, you won’t see any notch, resulting to an impressive 87.1% screen/body ratio.
As I mention at the end of this review, I wasn’t thrilled with the photo quality of the in-display camera, nor its face ID capabilities during the night (like other smartphones do). It took quite some time to setup FaceID, as the front facing sensor couldn’t find me, or got stuck at 40% of the whole process. It also kept asking me to look right or left for no reason.
On the other hand, the in-display fingerprint sensor was much better. It took 30 seconds or so to save my fingerprint and had almost 90% success in unlocking the device on the first try. Note that it also requires a longer press to unlock the 7S Pro than you might be used to.
If you owned the previous RedMagic model then you will find out that nothing has changed on the sides of the phone. Power and volume controls are joined by one of the fan grilles and dual shoulder triggers, making it very clear which way to use the phone in landscape mode.
Display and audio
The display in any decent gaming smartphone is perhaps the second most important factor (after its performance). The Red Magic 7S Pro looks awesome when holding it in your hands, with a 6.8in, 1080×2400 AMOLED panel at 20:9 aspect ratio. This resolution could be higher I guess, but it does allow the CPU to go over the top in terms of gaming performance.
In terms of gaming performance, the device can deliver a quite high refresh rate reaching up to 120 Hz, but surely the competition already delivers 144Hz or 165Hz. Some could say that indeed only a handful of games supports such high refresh rates, but still the previous Red Magic 7S model, comes with a 165Hz display. Obviously, we can manually reduce the frame rate to 60Hz or 90Hz (and the difference is huge) – but there’s no automatic option.
One area where this flagship gaming phone excels, is the area of touch sampling rate, with a top of 960 times every second. This means that it can register our tap quicker than any other smartphone in the world. This could make a huge difference when playing hard-core games like Call of Duty: Mobile or PUBG: Mobile when the response time of 1 ms could prove who’s the winner.
More than a gaming machine
We admit that this is an excellent gaming device, but no one plays all the time. Equipped with a mighty processor, the device can perform great as an everyday phone using this impressive display. It’s good during daytime, with on-the-spot response but decent brightness. To be honest, if you live in a sunny country, it could be difficult to use the phone outdoors due to the low maximum brightness of just 254 nits. On the other hand, it has an impressive range of viewing angles, despite being highly reflective.
As an avid gamer myself, I couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard the 7S Pro’s dual speakers. Their sound is full, punchy, and quite loud when set in max! This surely helps any player enjoy the game in full! However if you want privacy, you can connect a pair of 3.5mm earphones 😉
Red Magic 7S Pro Specs and performance
Surely the main reason why a gamer will buy this phone is the chipset. The Red Magic 7S is powered by the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip. The model in my hands was the most powerful one, with 18GB of RAM and stellar performance under any circumstances.
It’s so fun playing games in this phone. The display delivers awesome visuals, smooth frame rate and state of the art responsiveness. During my tests, I played some of the most notorious gaming titles such as: Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and others. The 120 Hz display, accompanied by a 960Hz touch sampling both deliver an edge over any other (normal), making it easier to win in 1-1 contests.
To be honest, I was a bit annoyed by the RGB led fan that’s placed at the back of the device. It can be used automatically (operated by the OS) or manually when we need it to. It’s loud however and sometimes it may be distracting when playing. You can always turn it off naturally, but you will soon see the impact of high temperature to the phone. So don’t do this.
When not playing awesome games, this gaming smartphone works just like a normal flagship model: impeccable performance for work, leisure, social media etc. Chrome, Maps, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – everything works like a charm – even when split-screen multitasking. In reality, it offers far more performance than you’ll ever need for any basic tasks.
In China you’ll find the option for 1TB of storage, but that’s not available on the global version. But 256GB or 512GB should be plenty for most people, even if there’s no microSD expansion.
Camera and video
At the back of the device, there’s a trio of camera lenses, but in any case, only the main 64MP sensor will be doing most of the heavy lifting here. I must admit that I liked the portrait and macro/ultrawide photos of the device. However, I noticed some blur in certain typical photos. The night mode of the main camera is quite good, with nice low-light photos. There’s some digital noise in most of them but you cannot ask much from a 100% gaming smartphone. I liked its landscape photos but there was much overexposure in most areas. The 64MP sensor is the best for most scenarios, I wouldn’t choose the 8Mp ultrawide sensor nor the small 2MP macro. When combined things get even better, especially in close-up photos, or those hit or miss moments with the kids.
One thing that was just decent however was the front facing, in-display selfie camera. Yes, it is impressive to (not) see a camera under the display of the phone, and still get some decent selfies. However, it’s a simple 8MP sensor that can deliver grainy/washed out photos in most cases. I wouldn’t use it for nighttime photos, but during day it can provide typical selfies with friends or family. That’s all.
In terms of video recording, the Red Magic 7S Pro can record 4K videos at 30fps, but the default 1080p at 30fps is more realistic for everyday use. It doesn’t have OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), but still the videos are quite impressive with huge details, lighting, and smoothness.
Red Magic 7S Pro Battery and charging
Given it’s huge size, the Red Magic 7S Pro is equipped with a relatively small 5000mAh battery. This power-cell has to cope each day with a huge high-refresh rate display and plenty of demanding apps.
During my tests, the phone performed extremely well in terms of battery life, recording almost 10 hours in PCMark’s battery test. It can easily withstand a day’s torture with gaming, hard work, internet browsing-social media and calls.
If you want more, then there are several ways to improve it: set the display refresh rate to 60Hz, cut the use of games, and there you are: you can get an extra half a day of use. However, certain aspects of the phone might not work when battery is low: flash, portrait and night mode etc will not work when under 5% of juice. If you want a quick recharge however, the 65W fast charger is there to provide it. It may not be quite as powerful as the monstrous 135W adapter that the Chinese version of the phone has, but it does the job and charges the phone up to 100% in a little bit over 30 minutes!
No, it doesn’t support wireless charging – which is something I’d love to see.
Software and updates
As expected, the 7S Pro gaming smartphone runs Red Magic OS over Android 12. Upon receiving the device, it got a small security update to version 5.5 of Nubia’s custom skin. If you’ve owned a Red Magic phone in the past, then you will see that nothing significant has changed with the coming of this flagship: some notable additions include a home screen wallpaper rotation and the branding of gaming enhancements as ‘Red Magic Force’.
If you’re an avid gamer, then you will surely love Nubia’s Game Space, the mode to use when playing games. This is still available via a physical slider on the side of the phone, but now the main page has been redesigned. This game mode has improved significantly when compared to previous versions – one must admit. Now we can have continuous information on CPU and GPU frequency, monitor our real-time FPS etc. We can easily share content and achievements now via WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram via a small pop-up window, while playing!
In terms of everyday use, the new Red Magic UI allows you to shrink (certain) apps into small, interactive windows. You can’t resize the app’s window – you can only move it around the screen. It makes for easy multitasking, yet you always have to open the notification shade to enter that mode every time. And you can’t put more than one app into a small window. In addition, we can also find familiar Google Apps, like Messages, Gmail, Chrome browser, Digital Wellbeing, the ever useful Discover Feed to the left of the home screen etc.
One thing that caught our eye however, was that unfortunately most of the preinstalled apps are native in the phone’s ROM. So we cannot uninstall them. Nubia also is not keen on providing a lot of years of after sales support to their phones, and this comes as no surprise. This means that the upcoming Android 13 upgrade will be the only big update the Red Magic 7S Pro gets, but the small security updates will continue for up to 3 years.
Red Magic 7S Pro Price and availability
Given its specs and general appearance, the Red Magic 7S Pro comes with a decent price. It starts at $729/£669 for the 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage variant, but it can reach a price of $899/£809 for the 18GB of RAM and 512GB powerful version – this is the model I tested.
Both models are available to buy now, but the official store is your only option:
Our Verdict on the Red Magic 7S Pro
The Red Magic 7S Pro is undoubtedly one of the most accessible gaming smartphones on the market. It packs quite a punch in terms of performance; however it is still plagued by many pre-installed apps and no option to change default launcher. I am also concerned about this phone’s future updates since Nubia can guarantee only 1 major Android upgrade so far. Battery life is impressive, but sadly there’s no wireless charging support.
Gaming performance from the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is superb, especially when combined with class-leading 960Hz touch sampling and a 120Hz OLED screen. On the other hand, I wouldn’t bet a lot on the cameras of this gaming smartphone – they’re just good. I loved its pricing however, but there are serious alternatives out there in the mobile gaming universe.