Design and Screen
-Strong gaming aesthetic
-Large and highly responsive screen
The REDMAGIC 7’s commitment to being a gaming phone doesn’t begin with the powerful processor or the superb screen specs; it’s immediately visible from top to toe as soon as you take it out of the box.
Our handset (the “Supernova” version) had a semi-transparent design that is littered with specifications, to the extent it almost resembles a cutaway drawing from a children’s encyclopedia. The flashy touches don’t end there, as when the games are in play the fan starts whirring it lights up with blue, orange, green, and red lights.
If you’re the shy, retiring type who doesn’t want your friends to know how much of a games nerd you are, then you might want to choose something a tad more subtle; but if you’re passionate about your hobby and want the world to know it, then I can see plenty of hardcore gamers loving this design.
The handset is certainly bulky, but that doesn’t necessarily count against it. After all, a gaming device like this has to be ergonomic to hold when you’re in the thick of the action in a first-person shooter, and in these cases a bit of bulk often helps it feel more secure in your hands. There are two shoulder trigger buttons on the side of the phone, and these boast a rapid 500Hz response rate.
While there is a 3.5mm headphone jack for you to plug in your earphones or headset, there’s no expandable storage available, and no IP certification either so there’s no official protection if it’s exposed to dust or water.
The screen is going to be one of the key points of focus for a device such as this, because you’re going to be spending your time gazing it intently as you battle your enemies.
There are aspects of this AMOLED display that are outstanding; the 165Hz refresh rate is the highest I’ve ever experienced in a phone (easily outperforming the iPhone 13 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra which offer a still-impressive 120Hz), and likewise with the ultra responsive 720Hz touch sampling rate, which should give you a real edge over your competitors when every millisecond counts.
It’s also as large as you’d like, measuring 6.8 inches diagonally across, but is easy to hold with two hands, allowing you to be immersed in the game.
The FullHD+ resolution is fine and clear enough, and the display does support 1 billion colours, but it notably lacks HDR support and generally does not offer an outstanding viewing experience.
While watching video content I found the experience to be a little underwhelming compared to the best phones around on the market right now, with videos seeming a little “flatter” than usual. When running automatic brightness settings (apparently giving a typical score of 700 nits) I found the screen to be a little on the dim side, so I often changed the settings to manual and shifted the brightness up a couple of gears.
-Phenomenal benchmark results
-Excellent gaming experience
The REDMAGIC 7 runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is the best Qualcomm mobile chipset that’s currently on the market. What’s more, Nubia has squeezed a brilliant level of performance from it even compared to its peers. Just check out the below performance stats when compared the the recently-released flagship Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus:
It’s hard to overstate just how impressive those 3D Mark GPU scores are in particular; this is where the REDMAGIC 7 is absolutely in its element and can leave the rest of the competition in the dust.
The first review sample of this phone that we used simply crashed without explanation, and wouldn’t turn on. We reached out to the manufacturer for comment, but have not yet heard back. That aside, in my experience apps mostly ran without any problems on the second sample (albeit one time the camera app crashed), and gaming performance ran extremely well; I never encountered any lag issues when playing demanding online games on the highest settings.
There’s quite a sophisticated-sounding system in place in order to cool down the phone when it’s running on all its cylinders. Named ICE 8.0, this multi-dimensional cooling system consists of “nine layers of different cooling materials”, including the following: “phase change material (PCM), a turbofan powered cooling air duct, high-conductivity copper foil, thermally conductive rare earth materials, a Vapor Chamber Cooling (VC), and graphite sheet.”
I found that this kept it from heating up too much during games, but when running those benchmarks tests it not only became uncomfortably warm on its metallic sides, but the fan also emitted a rather strong whirring sound. This wasn’t the noise of a jet taking off that can charaterise some gaming laptops, but nonetheless there was a constant background hum.
You’ll find that this device runs Android 12 software, overlaid with the REDMAGIC 5.0 user interface. While this skin makes its presence known with a few novelty widgets — including one to switch on the multi-coloured cooling fan and one to measure your heart rate via the fingerprint scanner — there actually isn’t too much bloatware.