Nubia’s RedMagic 7S Pro is the coolest gaming phone I’ve ever used – literally

Advantages

  • Efficient cooling system with 20,000 rpm fan
  • Uninterrupted gameplay thanks to the under-screen camera
  • Shoulder triggers are handy
  • 5,000mAh battery with 65W fast charging

The inconvenients

  • Speakers can use bass
  • UDC and cameras are still mid-level
  • Bulky form factor
  • No wireless charging

I’ve tested a number of gaming phones over the past year, not because of the number of manufacturers out there, but because everyone (for whatever reason) likes to roll out new iterations every month or so. every two months.

This saturation of gaming phones often leads to tempered expectations and less excitement over phones that release less frequently each year. More importantly, these quarterly “upgrades” tend to be minor and forgettable; maybe a new color or two, a switch to one of the camera lenses, a slightly larger battery, etc.

If those were the kinds of changes Nubia made to the new RedMagic 7S Pro, I’d be less inclined to review it. Instead, the successor to the 7 Pro sees a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor along with a new ICE 10.0 multi-dimensional cooling system. Overall, mobile gaming gets a major boost with the new model, which deserves my attention – and yours.

Features

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Display 6.8-inch AMOLED, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate
lester 236 g (8.29 oz)

RAM/Storage

12GB/256GB (Obsidian), 18GB/512GB (Mercury and Supernova)

Cameras

64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth sensor and 16MP front sub-display camera

Battery 5,000mAh with 65W fast charging
Connectivity 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac

Operating system

RedMagic OS 5.5 based on Android 12

Colors

Obsidian, Mercury, Supernova


Meet the Game Changers

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re well aware of what gaming phones have to offer: high-end specs, PC levels of RAM, and a futuristic industrial design that makes the latest iPhone look like a retro console. That’s why I’ll start this review by cutting to the chase, first highlighting the most innovative features of the RedMagic 7S, then rounding it out with information about the rest of the mobile experience.

1. Capacitive shoulder triggers should stay

Since the early days of the game, shoulder triggers have been essential for their accessibility and practicality. Pressing left or right with your index finger can help you reload ammo, sprint through enemy fields, or bring up the world map to help you know your location. While the shoulder triggers are no stranger to gaming phones, those on the RedMagic 7S Pro are some of the best I’ve tested.

Instead of using pop-up magnetic triggers, like on the Black Shark 5 Pro, the RedMagic takes a more subtle route with capacitive touch points on the right side of the device. This means it’s easier to record entries with and without that distracting sound. Nubia says both triggers support a touch sampling rate of 520Hz (not to be confused with refresh rate), so actuation of your taps and presses is nearly instantaneous.

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The trigger buttons are naturally accessible when you hold the phone in landscape mode.

June Wan/ZDNET

I found the capacitive shoulder triggers very useful, especially for games like Call of Duty: Mobile that required me to swipe across the phone screen to control the camera angle while aiming at enemies , reloaded, called airstrikes, etc. The added inputs are greatly appreciated, and it’s a feature I expect to see wider adaptation as more companies venture into cloud gaming.

More: How Microsoft and Samsung could finally bring cloud gaming to the mainstream

2. The 20,000 rpm cooling fan is no gimmick

Believe it or not, the shoulder triggers aren’t the coolest feature of the RedMagic 7S Pro. That honor goes to the built-in 20,000 RPM fan which helps with heat dissipation and internal cooling.

Gaming phones can get hot. Really hot. That’s why Nubia built a ventilation system directly inside the handset (called ICE 10.0 cooling system) to draw in cool air and expel hot air. To my surprise, the fan performed remarkably well, with an audible hiss to personify the effort. (You may even feel the air spurt out when you place your finger on the side vent.)

Still, for the first time in a long time, playing graphics-intensive titles like Genshin Impact at its highest FPS settings didn’t feel like a phone is warming its hands after about ten minutes. And when it’s time to put the game down and charge the phone, the cooling fan kicks in, keeping the battery temperature from overheating.

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Now if only we could get this technology to consumer handsets.

June Wan/ZDNET

3. No island getaway on this phone

The RedMagic 7S Pro uses Nubia’s second-generation Under-Display Camera (UDC), which means it’s more hidden and camouflaged than ever. If you’re a mobile gamer, you probably care more about the “under-display” part of the component given the less distracting viewing experience it contributes.

Whether you’re playing a full-screen title, streaming Twitch, or casually browsing, the lack of a notch, punch-hole, or dynamic island makes the RedMagic 7S Pro a more immersive phone to use.

More: The best gaming phones in 2022

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The RedMagic 7S Pro is free from annoying notches or perforations.

June Wan/ZDNET

That said, the actual quality of UDC isn’t great. I’ve tested similar renditions of sleek camera tech, like on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and still found the output quality washed out and over-processed. While the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a unique Flex Mode to save its selfie potential, the RedMagic 7S Pro doesn’t, and that’s why the “camera” part of the “under-screen camera” bugged me. attracted.

And the rest of the phone?

Design

I touched on the main points of the RedMagic’s design above, but aside from the gaming-focused features, I’d like to reiterate that this phone is huge. The 6.8-inch screen is surrounded by flattened edges and a generally rectangular form factor, making the phone feel more like a brick and less like a pebble.

I’ll commend Nubia for making the most of the real estate, installing dual shoulder triggers, power and volume buttons, a game mode switch and even a 3.5mm headphone jack along the railing. All that’s really missing is a microSD card slot for expanded memory. You know, for ROMs, emulations, etc.

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June Wan/ZDNET

Performance

Overall, the RedMagic 7S Pro is a reliable and powerful gaming phone that offers exceptional performance gains. AAA titles via Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass loaded and works just as well as more common applications such as scrolling vertical video streams. And when I noticed signs of slowing down, turning on the cooling fan was enough to maintain peak performance.

RedMagic’s software on Android can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you get close to the simpler, more user-friendly approach of “stock” iOS and Android launchers. There’s a home screen widget for just about every function you can think of, including heart rate tracking for high intensity matches. Also, be prepared for your first set of games to trigger random pop-ups and notifications that tell you about the cooling fan, RedMagic’s game space, and other enhancement features.

Also: Opensignal: 5G outperforms public Wi-Fi for mobile gaming performance

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June Wan/ZDNET

Battery and Charging

On paper, the 7S Pro’s 5,000mAh battery looks promising. (It’s literally the battery size I’ve been asking more manufacturers to adopt!) But in practice the beefy capacity proved just right and barely able to get through three and a half hours of time. (SOT). Remember, this is a gaming phone after all. And for the amount of power to handle per minute, expect three to four hours of SOT.

Fortunately, the RedMagic’s 65-watt fast charge makes half-day endurance a bit more bearable. With 20 minutes plugged in, the 7S Pro can go from 0% battery to nearly 70%. There is, however, no wireless charging on the device.

At the end of the line

If you’ve died on a gaming phone and want the most specific deal, look no further than this. The RedMagic 7S Pro is packed with software features, equipped with shoulder triggers to give you an edge, and is one of the only devices I’ve tested without any overheating issues.

The base model, which comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, starts at $899. If you are patient enough, wait for one of the Amazon’s Occasional Sales to get the RedMagic at an even higher price.

Alternatives to consider

Besides the Nubia RedMagic 7S Pro, here are three worthy alternatives you should consider:

The Black Shark 5 Pro uses magnetic pop-up triggers instead of the RedMagic’s capacitive triggers, but it’s still a good choice if you want a gaming phone for less. The screen measures 6.67 inches and is capable of boosting up to 144Hz for ultra-smooth animations and graphics.

As I mentioned at the start of the review, manufacturers are churning out gaming phones like there’s no tomorrow. The RedMagic 7 Pro – not to be confused with the 7S Pro – is a budget way to get most of the features of the new S variant, including the 20,000 rpm fan and shoulder triggers.

Mainstream manufacturers like OnePlus have carved their own path in the gaming market by adding overclocking features, blazingly fast charging speeds, and 5G support for on-the-go gaming. The OnePlus 10T is cheaper than most $649 gaming phones, but it’s just as reliable for work and play.

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