Nubia's Redmagic 7 is already a strong contender as the best gaming smartphone of 2022. As always with Nubia, the Redmagic 7's hardware specification is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 SoC, a 165Hz refresh rate display, and, for the very first time, an under-display camera.
Editor's note: This article is sponsored and was written in partnership with the manufacturer. However, it does not in any way influence the content of the article.
The Redmagic 7 in a nutshell
The Redmagic 7 really does offer the full package for gamers. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, 165 Hz OLED display, 720 Hz touch sampling rate, 65 watts fast charging, and hardware specifications that have something for all mobile gaming fans. In addition, there are numerous other features that should optimize your gaming experience: two configurable trigger keys, a powerful cooling system, and the Redmagic OS 5.0 that was specially designed for gaming.
Our review unit is already on its way and as a mobile gamer, yes, you've guessed it, I simply cannot wait to review it.
Unfortunately, you'll have to wait for a few more days until March 10. That's when the Redmagic 7 will be available worldwide. The recommended retail price stands at $629. Those who are impatient can already place a pre-order for the smartphone by clicking on the following link:
$20 discount for the purchase of a $1.99 coupon.
Note that Nubia is organizing a Call of Duty: Mobile tournament that will be broadcasted from March 4th to 6th. You can vote for the team that you think will win for a chance to win a free Redmagic 7. All info about the draw is on the official Redmagic page.
Design and buttons
Whether it's in the multi-colored Atompunk "Pulsar" shell design or the pair of stealthy "Supernova" and "Obsidian" styles, the Redmagic 7's design is very, very gaming-centric. In addition to the angular shapes, there are also backlit details and other LED elements. The Redmagic logo is illuminated on all color versions, with the addition of an RGB LED to the right and left sides of the logo on the "Obsidian" and "Pulsar" versions, and an RGB fan on the "Supernova" version.
The two haptic triggers are located at the top of the device when in landscape mode, have also been specially designed for gamers. Redmagic indicated a reaction speed of 7.4 ms, where the sampling rate should be at 500 Hz. The idea is to make them as responsive as possible so that your in-game actions are executed as faithfully as possible.
If you're playing ranked games on CoD Mobile and you start to get sweaty hands, the manufacturer assures that its triggers are protected against sweat. In addition, their sensitivity can be adjusted accordingly in the "Redmagic Game Space" - but we'll get to that later.
The screen is among the most important features of any gaming smartphone, and that's why Nubia has put a lot of effort into it. The 6.8-inch screen carries a 20:9 aspect ratio with a Full-HD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels. Of course, some competitors offer a higher pixel count, but additional pixels require more power from the SoC and would make a greater dent in the battery life.
The size/screen stands at 91.28%. To make the most of it, the Redmagic 7 hides the selfie camera under the screen. The dynamic refresh rate of up to 165 Hz is also perfectly suited for games. The maximum brightness of the screen stands at 700 nits and is rather disappointing on the low side. If you want to play in direct sunlight, you'd better find a shady spot.
The touch sampling rate is also worth mentioning as the Redmagic 7 offers a 720 Hz rate here. This should allow the smartphone to recognize inputs on the touchscreen with as little delay as possible. If you lose, it's not the controller's fault!
The Redmagic 7 runs on the Redmagic OS 5.0 skin that is based on Android 12. The Android interface offers all sorts of special features for gamers, including Game Space. The menu provides you with countless options to adapt the smartphone to your gaming habits.
For example, you can set exactly which notifications should you receive when you play or record your gaming sessions via Game Space or Redmagic Studio, or stream those directly via USB-C or HDMI.
Nubia also offers a note system to take a quick review of your notes during a game, which comes in handy for complex or puzzle games that sometimes require you to make cheat sheets. There is also a stopwatch function that you can activate to record your speed run record (doesn't that exist on a smartphone?) and a reminder system so you don't miss a raid or an online tournament, for example.
The Redmagic 7 is one of the first smartphones to be equipped with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The SoC has a high-performance core of 3.0 GHz, featuring a trio of powerful cores of 2.5 GHz and four "small" cores of 1.8 GHz each. In addition, there is a choice of 12, 16, or even 18 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, plus 6 GB of virtual RAM (a portion of the storage allocated to RAM).
To make sure the SoC doesn't overheat during gameplay sessions, Redmagic has installed a sophisticated cooling system that it calls ICE 8.0. In addition to all sorts of sophisticated heat pipes, there is a powerful fan here that should reduce the temperature by a total of 16°C. Despite a maximum speed of 20,000 RPMs, the motor is supposed to be quiet, barely making noise at 28 decibels. We will be able to verify this during our review.
In addition to the Qualcomm SoC, Redmagic also integrated its own gaming chip known as "Red Core 1". This one takes care of special functionality, including the control of the triggers and the vibration engine. According to the manufacturer, the Red Core 1 also improves the brightness of the games and the sound effect quality. The latter reaches your ear canal either via its stereo speakers, Bluetooth headset (version 5.2), or - hooray - via a 3.5 mm jack!
It's interesting to see a gaming manufacturer working on a component that is only dedicated to gaming and specially designed for this use and nothing else. Especially since it should allow to optimize the processes on the Snapdragon SoC, and thus offer a more fluid performance.
The previous Redmagic smartphones were clearly not camera smartphones, and it's a bit of the same for the Redmagic 7. So we find a triple camera module at the back with a 64 MP main lens, an 8 MP ultra-wide-angle, and a 2 MP bokeh camera which, let's not lie, might very well be an afterthought.
The selfie camera won't break any quality records either, and that's not its purpose. The Redmagic 7 focuses on gaming and, as a result, Nubia has hidden the camera under the screen for normal use. The priority of gaming over the camera is also evident in the international press release: the triple camera is described in just seven words. The manufacturer devoted an entire paragraph to the ingenuity with which the selfie camera is hidden under the screen so as not to disturb players, but does not talk about its resolution! Heaven forbid!
The battery of the Redmagic 7 carries a 4,500 mAh capacity and accepts a fast wired recharge at 120 watts. With the maximum charging power, it takes only 17 minutes to charge the smartphone from zero to 100 percent according to the manufacturer. The AC adapter is included in the box, however, and does not achieve this charging speed as it maxes out at "only" 65 watts, which is still incredibly fast.
In any case, the battery life will be an interesting topic in our review. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, Redmagic is certainly integrating an efficient 4nm processor in its own right. However, the cooling system should allow the SoC to run for a long time at full load, and at maximum speed, the display should also draw a sizeable amount from its battery reserves.
$20 off for the purchase of a $1.99 coupon
I've already talked a lot about the relevance of gaming smartphones as a niche category. For a gaming smartphone to work, it has to be niche and offer features and specifications specifically designed for specific use: mobile gaming. This is because everyone plays games on their smartphone, but not all of the games are the same.
Nobody needs a smartphone with a 165Hz refresh rate on its screen, a special cooling system or Game Space to play Candy Crush, or any of the other mainstream titles that are in vogue right now. But someone who plays multiplayer games in a semi-serious manner, ports of PC/console games on a mobile device, or any other game that requires a minimum degree of involvement, this player will be able to appreciate all those gaming features.
So, I find the choice of ZTE and Nubia more than interesting. They really seem to bet on this niche and, instead of trying to find an impossible balance and to propose a smartphone that is slightly more powerful than the others, as the manufacturers apparently have a real reflection on the practical use that they want to see with their product.
Personally, I fit this user profile quite well and I can't wait to test the Redmagic 7 out to see how it performs in real conditions!