The RedMagic 7 Pro is now available globally. This latest gaming smartphone from Nubia has one big distinguishing feature from the RedMagic 7 that launched a couple of months ago. That feature is the under-display selfie camera.
ZTE/Nubia in the last couple of years has released a few smartphones with under-display selfie cameras. Check out our review of the ZTE Axon 30 5G to learn a bit more about their latest under-display selfie camera technology.
When we reviewed the RedMagic 7 about a couple of months ago, we were thoroughly impressed by its raw benchmark performance. Thankfully, the review unit that Nubia sent us has the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen1 processor and packs an eye-popping 18GB of RAM. So let’s get the unboxing done to see how the RedMagic 7 Pro fares against the RedMagic 7 from a few months ago.
Unboxing the RedMagic 7 Pro
The unboxing experience is identical to the previous version. The three main differences from an unboxing perspective are the phone itself, the clear (and not matte) case, and the box artwork.
Inside the box, there is still a case and the 65W GaN Fast Charging brick along with a red USB-C cable. This 65W power brick should work with most of your gadgets and stay cool thanks to the GaN technology.
Hardware Design language is familiar
The RedMagic 7 Pro looks very much like the regular RedMagic 7. To be fair, there are a few differences. First is, of course, the under-display selfie camera which results in a seamless display. Next is the Gorilla Glass 5 protecting this display. And of course, the slightly smaller top bezel.
On the rear, while the back cover looks eerily familiar, there is finally a noticeable change in terms of the camera module. The cameras are now in a square instead of the linear strip in prior RedMagic models. I am hoping I get one of the more colorful versions to review the next time around as this is the third device with the transparent back cover from RedMagic.
The only thing that is missing is any official water ingress protection rating. But that is par for the course when you have multiple cooling vents to help with heat dissipation during gaming. And before I forget, the haptic feedback on this device is excellent.
From an ergonomics perspective, Nubia has done a good job with the RedMagic 7 Pro. Despite having a large 6.8″ display and a weight of over half a pound (235g), this phone is easy to hold. There are a few different back cover options available, but this time around, all of them are black in color.
The Display is now seamless without a selfie camera cutout
The RedMagic 7 Pro packs a gorgeous 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 8-bit color depth, and a 92.7% screen-to-body ratio. The screen also supports a 120Hz refresh rate and a 960Hz multi-touch sampling rate.
On paper, the refresh rate is a bit of a letdown since the regular RedMagic 7 has a 165 Hz rate display. But in reality, this does not impact performance since there aren’t many games out there that support 120 fps let alone 165 fps. And the newer RedMagic 7 Pro has a higher-touch sampling rate which is actually more useful from a gaming perspective.
There is one downside with the new panel, and that is in terms of the DCI-P3 color gamut and peak brightness. The 7 Pro is about 100 nits short and about 20% behind the regular RedMagic 7 in terms of color gamut. Overall though, it is a reasonably decent color-accurate display with great touch response.
The fingerprint sensor is optical under the display and it is fast and responsive. The FPS also doubles as a heart rate sensor accessible via the widget on the home screen.
Performance is top-notch as usual
The RedMagic 7 Pro is running on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen1 processor. My review unit is the top-end version with 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Its Geekbench 5.1 scores are in line with those of the RedMagic 7 which has the same processor and an identical amount of RAM.
As far as regular phone stuff is concerned, this phone is not going to have a single hiccup in daily usage. So the best way to test a gaming phone is to, obviously, use it to play a graphics-intensive game, like Genshin Impact.
Playing Genshin Impact on the RedMagic 7 Pro is a breeze
Currently, one of the most graphics-intensive games is Genshin Impact. So for this review, I ran a couple of tests by playing Genshin Impact at the max settings. The ICE 9.0 cooling system definitely got a workout during the gaming sessions. The 20K RPM turbofan kicks on the moment you switch the slider to initiate game mode.
In the first test, the idea was to see how much battery drain occurs while playing the game at max settings. And then the second test was a repeat but this time using the passthrough charging option via the 65W charging brick. For each test, the gameplay time was 1 hour. During gaming on battery alone, the drain was about 35% in an hour.
Playing Genshin Impact via passthrough charging results in negligible battery drain (1%) which is expected but great to see in actuality. Now, the phone does start to get noticeably warm past the half-hour mark with maximum settings, but the phone will refuse to throttle or slow down which is really good to see.
You may eventually quit playing as the phone becomes a bit uncomfortable to hold but not due to any performance slowdown. So from a gaming perspective, this is probably one of the best smartphones you can buy currently.
Battery life is good with 5,000mAh capacity onboard
Compared to the RedMagic 7, this Pro version gets a slightly larger battery for pretty much identical hardware. As far as using the RedMagic 7 Pro as a daily driver, there shouldn’t be any battery life anxiety thanks to the 5,000mAh dual-cell battery.
Passthrough charging allows for extended gaming
Of course, if you plan on playing games at max settings for a few hours each day, then it is best to keep that 65W GaN charging brick handy and use the passthrough charging feature. Or, if you do not want to be tethered to a power outlet, then still keep it nearby as top-up time from zero to 100% is around 30 minutes.
The software seems to be getting better with fewer bugs
The review unit of the RedMagic 7 Pro is running RedMagic OS5.0 on top of Android 12. The review unit also has the March 2022 Android security patch. Other than the security patch and a newer firmware, there are no visible differences between this device and the RedMagic 7 from a software standpoint.
Game Space is finally stable upon launching
To access the game space, you need to toggle the red slider on the left rail. Activating Game Space converts the RedMagic 7 Pro’s screen into a horizontal interface similar to a handheld gaming device.
I am happy to report that, finally, there are no funny Chinese language pop-ups or random crashes. Menu options are laid out well and Plugin library has an extensive list of options as well. You have all the goodies gamers love – picture-in-picture mode, screen recording, the ability to minimize game windows, and quick access to hardware settings to name a few. However, one big omission is Twitch streaming which is a bit puzzling for a gaming device.
The RedMagic 7 Pro seems to have the most stable build at launch – this is the fourth RedMagic device I have reviewed. But I am still not too sure about long-term software support in terms of security patches or full Android version updates.
Audio is excellent on the RedMagic 7 Pro
Three clicks on the volume rocker from zero and the RedMagic 7 Pro is sufficiently loud while streaming music or watching YouTube videos. Thanks to the cutouts or grilles for the ICE cooling system, you can hear the audio output loud and clear even if you manage to cover the top and bottom speaker grilles.
Another thing is that if you crank the volume to maximum, then the audio starts to get a bit distorted because it is too loud. During my review period, I rarely exceeded 60% of audio output on the speakers.
It is 2022, and the RedMagic 7 Pro still has the 3.5mm headphone jack which is amazing. I just wish other manufacturers emulated Nubia/ZTE as far as the headphone jack goes. Once you plug in your wired headphones, you get rich sound thanks to DTS X Ultra. Within the settings menu, go to sound, and you can choose a customized DTS output for Music, Game, or Movie modes. The only issue is that the DTS X Ultra is available only for wired headphones and not dual stereo speakers. Wireless earbuds connect easily and use aptX resulting in minimal lag and great quality sound.
As far as audio output and options go, you are going to be quite satisfied with what the RedMagic 7 Pro has to offer for gaming or streaming.
The RedMagic 7 Pro supports 5G Connectivity out of the box
The RedMagic 7 Pro latched on to VoLTE 4G signal as soon as I put in my T-Mobile SIM card. But, unlike the RedMagic 7, the 7 Pro does connect to 5G once you go into the network settings and toggle the 5G/4G/3G/2G option. Besides VoLTE, there is also VoWiFi available as long as your carrier supports it.
Network connectivity is fine for doing regular smartphone stuff – calls, music streaming, app downloads, or watching YouTube. I did not encounter issues streaming music while going on my evening walk. Same observation holds for calls, texts, or using NFC for contactless payments via Google Pay.
Pairing TWS earbuds or my car’s audio system was hassle-free via Bluetooth. As far as data speeds go, these were lousy but comparable to my Pixel 6 on T-Mobile’s network in Southern California. The RedMagic 7 Pro also has Screen Cast and Nearby Share allowing you to share files or cast content on a nearby TV easily. All in all, this device has all the connectivity options a modern smartphone should and, best of all, it works in North America.
Cameras are serviceable but are in need of an upgrade
It has been a while since I did a camera review for the RedMagic series. The reason is that there haven’t been any major changes to the cameras since the RedMagic 6. So, why am I reviewing the cameras this time around? Two reasons: first, there is a UD selfie camera and, second, a new camera module layout on the rear.
As you would expect, the selfie camera, despite being a 16MP shooter, doesn’t produce great results. However, with a bit of practice, you can eke out reasonably good pictures to share on social media. You better hope that no one decides to do any pixel peeping though.
One more thing about the selfie camera, steer clear of taking portrait shots with it. Lastly, video results are quite lackluster, so, if you like to vlog, then it might be better to get the regular RedMagic 7. And yes, in case you are wondering, the UD selfie camera is similar to that on the ZTE Axon 30 5G.
Main camera performance is quite good in daylight
The rear camera module consists of a 64 MP (1/1.73”) main sensor, an 8 MP ultra-wide, and a 2 MP macro camera. Pictures taken with the main camera are quite good, especially in daylight. For the most part, color, white balance, noise, and dynamic range are comparable to other phones in this price range. 2X zoom (which is just digital zoom) pictures are decent for the most part. However, 5X zoom results are terrible with regard to exposure and color science.
The 8MP 120-degree FOV ultra-wide camera produces pictures that have poor detail and are quite noisy. In addition, the color science has a sepia tone even in broad daylight. At night time in street lighting, the pictures are quite lackluster.
The camera app has an AI mode that works quite well in terms of scene/shot detection. Pictures taken using night mode turn out reasonably well if there is some amount of ambient light. However, in dark-lit scenes, the camera has a hard time focusing and produces mainly black-colored mush.
Bottom line, stick to the main camera and some reasonable amount of ambient light and, with practice, you should be able to get reasonably good pictures. Use the ultrawide camera sparingly and stay away from the macro camera – 2X zoom from the main camera yields better results.
On a final note, I am not a fan of the default watermarking of the pictures. Yes, you can turn it off, but you have to do that manually via the camera app settings. In summary, this is a gaming phone first and foremost and the cameras are a second thought. But, I am sure that you probably knew that before deciding to purchase it.
Should you buy the RedMagic 7 Pro?
If you are new in the market for a gaming smartphone and have a tight budget, the RedMagic 7 Pro is a good choice. Alternatively, if you have a gaming phone from a couple of years ago and want to upgrade to something new, then the RedMagic 7 Pro is also a good choice.
The RedMagic 7 Pro starts at $799 for the base version and then keeps going up from there. For around $800, you get the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, oodles of RAM, and a hefty 5,000mAh battery along with the 65W GaN fast-charging brick. Not to mention the seamless display, relatively compact size, extremely loud stereo speakers, and a headphone jack.
So, what is this device lacking? For starters, there’s no IP protection thanks to all the vents for the active cooling system. Next are the cameras which are serviceable but not the best.
Secondly, the software needs to get rid of non-English menu options and have better translations for settings. This specifically applies to the “Game Space” section because the primary reason for purchasing this phone is that it is a gaming powerhouse.
We have said this before in other RedMagic smartphone reviews on AndroidHeadlines. If you are in the market for a gaming smartphone with a tight budget then the RedMagic 7 Pro is a great choice. You will be hard-pressed to find any other smartphone that can outcompete the RedMagic 7 Pro in terms of “bang for the buck”. However, if you want great camera performance, IP protection, and regular Joe looks, then you may want to consider the iQOO 9 Pro.