The Redmagic 7 Pro builds on what was already a powerful and capable gaming phone with better battery life, improved cooling and impeccable performance. Additions such as an under-display selfie camera help it stand out, but it remains a bulky handset that takes underwhelming pictures. Ultimately, it offers only limited appeal to those who don’t use their phone exclusively for games.
- Uncompromising hardware and excellent performance
- Dedicated gaming controls
- Super-fast charging
- Thick and heavy handset
- Poor software experience
- Only average cameras
- UKRRP: £679
- USARRP: $799
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 ProcessorThe flagship-tier CPU has an active cooling fan for consistent performance in demanding games
Responsive displayAs well as having a fast refresh rate, the 6.8in screen has a 960Hz touch sampling rate for instant touch response
Rapid chargingThe 5000mAh battery supports 135W charging, allowing for a charge to 100% in just 15 minutes
Nubia’s smartphone lineup has long had tunnel vision when it comes to gaming, but the Redmagic 7 Pro is its most hardcore effort yet.
With a focus on performance and picture quality, it’s aimed purely at those players who have swapped their consoles and PCs for phones in order to play while on the move. Players who don’t want to break the bank on a flagship handset from brands such as Samsung or Apple.
Having launched in China at the start of the year, the device now lands in Europe, bringing with it a welcome step up in battery life from the vanilla Redmagic 7. It also adds an under-display selfie camera to ensure gaming sessions are entirely distraction-free, but camera quality remains a lot lower down its list of priorities, and the software experience is hit-and-miss.
Anyone with a serious gaming habit will love the Redmagic 7 Pro’s dedicated hardware buttons and rapid screen response, but more casual players will find that similarly priced handsets from rival brands offer not-too-dissimilar frame rates, and a better all-round experience when they aren’t playing.
Design and Screen
- Eye-catching transparent body
- Undeniably bulky
- High refresh rate, high touch response display
There’s really no escaping the fact that the Redmagic 7 Pro is aimed at gamers. My “supernova” review unit’s semi-transparent rear panel highlights its internal components, with individual parts labelled up like a military fighter jet. It also lets you see the dedicated cooling fan spin up.
I’m pretty sure it’s the law now that any gadget aimed at gamers must have RGB backlighting, and the Redmagic 7 Pro duly delivers whenever a game is running. However, there’s no way to adjust the colours, just the option to toggle it off completely if you’d rather go incognito while playing.
This is an undeniably bulky phone but that does at least give you something to grip on to while gaming. It also delivers room on one side of the phone for two touch-sensitive shoulder buttons, and a game mode switch on the other.
Stereo speakers are sensibly placed at the top and bottom of the phone, where I rarely blocked them with my hands while gaming, and there’s also a 3.5mm headphone port, which makes it easier to plug in a headset for communicating in team-based games.
Nubia has skimped on non-gaming features, with no IP splash-resistance rating and no expandable storage; but given the phone’s focus (and reasonable price), I don’t think that’s a reason to grumble.
Instead, extra attention has been paid to the 6.8-inch display. It’s a 2400 x 1080 resolution panel, which I think strikes the right balance between image clarity and ensuring the processor isn’t working overtime to render demanding games.
You can choose between 60, 90 and 120Hz refresh rates, but there’s no adaptive mode to automatically switch between the three in order to save battery life.
The 120Hz refresh rate is a step below that of the Redmagic 7, which maxes out at 165Hz, but the trade-off is a higher touch sampling rate of 960Hz. Essentially, it’s twice to four times as responsive to your taps and swipes than a regular phone, which could make all the difference in a hectic Battle Royale shootout.
It’s an AMOLED screen, so the contrast is typically excellent, and it gets bright enough to use outdoors in direct sunlight without any struggle. Nevertheless, it’s a long way off the competition for peak output. It was noticeably dimmer at maximum brightness over Realme’s GT 2 Pro, which is itself a step behind today’s flagship phones.
I also felt that colours lacked a bit of punch in the default Normal colour mode, but the Vivid and P3 profiles delivered more pleasing results with just a few taps.
- Triple rear sensor camera
- Under-display selfie camera
- Underwhelming performance across the board
I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by the Redmagic 7 Pro’s photography skills, especially since the three-sensor setup only really has one camera worth mentioning: the 64-megapixel main sensor. The secondary ultra-wide has a much lower 8-megapixel sensor, and the 2-megapixel third sensor is reserved for macro shooting.
In well-lit environments, the main sensor can capture an acceptable level of detail, but I expected slightly more clarity considering such a high pixel count. It regularly stumbled over exposure, blowing out the detail on cloudy skies, something that rival phones had no trouble with, even with HDR forced on. Colours also appeared more washed out than they did in real life, although the AI image processing does help boost things slightly.
The Portrait mode’s software-created bokeh blur was rarely convincing, with the poor edge detection on loose hair strands sometimes resulting in photos that looked comically artificial.
Shooting at night produced noisy shots that lacked detail, made harder by the Live view struggling to draw the scene at all. Even with a steady hand, it was tough to get a clean image. Turning on Night mode made the world of difference, with sharper photos that were far more detailed, although they still pale in comparison to the Google Pixel 6, Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and Apple iPhone 13‘s superb low-light abilities.
The ultra-wide lens takes a noticeable step down in quality, with much less resolved detail and similar struggles with colour accuracy. In addition, bright highlights are even more routinely overexposed here. The field of view is wide enough to get an awful lot of a scene into the frame, but I rarely thought it was worth the trade-off in detail.
The basic macro lens does the job in a pinch, but even well-lit shots show plenty of image grain, and there isn’t an exceptional level of detail on display. It’s a token inclusion of which I don’t really see the benefit.
Annoyingly, captured photos are watermarked by default – something I didn’t notice until reviewing my pictures after an afternoon of shooting. Thankfully, turning the feature off just takes a few taps, and I found the rest of the camera app to be surprisingly well thought-out. It includes useful additions such as a zoomed-in thumbnail with focus peaking when composing macro shots, and a spirit level built into the shutter button to help keep your photos balanced.
The under-display selfie camera produced rather washed-out images, which has also been the case with other phones I’ve tried with a similar feature. Image processing can only do so much, and while the results are usable enough for social media, a hole punch or notch still delivers better results than this can muster.
Ultimately, if you snap a lot of photos using your phone, there are rival handsets that do a much better job – and can still pump out frame rates when it comes to gaming.
- Actively cooled Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
- Exceptional performance in games
With a tiny fan spinning at 20,000rpm, I had high hopes for the Redmagic 7 Pro’s ability to keep its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor cool under load. Qualcomm’s chip gets particularly toasty in rival handsets such as the Xiaomi 12, which can result in lower game frame rates the longer you play.
In our benchmark tests, it delivered consistently high results, outperforming other gaming phones such as the Lenovo Duel 2 Legion, and even besting the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. Surprisingly, its Geekbench multi-core score was a little lower than that of the regular Redmagic 7, but it was still among the top 1% of all phones to have run the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark at the time of writing.
The fan might not help to deliver the higher frame rates you’ll find on a passively cooled phone, but it does ensure the Redmagic 7 Pro can maintain its performance for longer. It didn’t matter if I was playing a fast-paced FPS such as Call of Duty Mobile or a sprawling RPG such as Genshin Impact; results were always excellent, even after a prolonged session.
The fan noise can be rather irritating, since it’s at a frequency and volume that travels rather far from the phone. While I was testing the phone, my partner could always tell when I was gaming.
Of course, the Android homescreen experience is as smooth as you’d expect given the phone’s horsepower, with my review unit’s mammoth 18GB of memory helping ensure any multitasking was a breeze.
Nubia’s software sits on top of Android 12, and largely replicates the standard Google experience with gesture controls, an app drawer and the Google Discover feed just a swipe away. Beyond some custom icons, all the major changes are saved for the dedicated Game Space, which activates when you flip the physical switch on the side of the phone.
Here you can force the phone to run at peak performance when playing certain games, configure the shoulder buttons, tweak the sound equalizer, and even make notes without having to open a different app. It’s all fairly slick, apart from the particularly shoddy English translations.
Nubia doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to timely software updates, and I couldn’t find any mention of a commitment to a certain number of Android version upgrades either. If you like your devices to last for as long as possible, other manufacturers have made more solid commitments to future updates.
- Copes well with extended play times
- Comfortable all-day battery when not gaming
- Exceptionally fast wired charging – with the right adapter
One of the vanilla Redmagic 7’s stumbling blocks was its mediocre battery life. The Pro goes a long way to putting that right with a larger 5000mAh battery, which is far better suited to gaming on a power-hungry Snapdragon CPU.
I found that half an hour of gaming would drain the battery by around 10% – which, unsurprisingly, is less than what the same session would use on the Redmagic 7. It isn’t a night-and-day difference, but any improvement is a welcome one, and could mean getting in a play session during a morning commute without then needing to recharge before home time.
If you can go all day without playing, the phone can comfortably last from morning until evening performing more typical phone duties such as web browsing, music streaming and making calls.
Chinese variants of the Redmagic 7 Pro can charge at up to 135W, which would equal a full charge in as little as 15 minutes. However, my review unit only had a 65W charging brick in the box, and it wouldn’t rapid-charge using other, more powerful adapters. Still, it was good for a 50% charge in a little over 10 minutes, and was fully topped up from empty in less than 25 minutes.
There’s no wireless charging here, which isn’t too surprising – if you’re playing games, you don’t also want to worry about always keeping the handset in contact with a charging…