ZTE’s new gaming phone has a fan inside for longer gaming sessions
Smartphones have gotten pretty good the best have better screens than 99% of the screens in our lives, and even the cheap ones have more efficient processors than most of our work computers. But with overall excellence and refinement comes a bit of uniformity and parity, which makes reviewing smartphones today less exciting than a few years ago. After all, what much is there to say when every phone is good?
That’s why when a smartphone hits the market that zigs where others zag, that tries to do something different and maybe even weird, I get excited.
The new RedMagic 7 Pro from ZTE Nubia sub-brand is such a device. It’s a phone designed for mobile gaming, but unlike the half-dozen other devices on the market, this one really hits the mark. The RedMagic 7 Pro not only has dedicated shoulder trigger buttons, but it also has a dedicated fan to help with heat dissipation.
The fan makes a difference, because the chip inside its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phone tends to run hot under heavy loads. When a mobile chip runs hot performance, it throttles (low performance) so it can cool down. Featuring a dedicated fan with vents for better airflow keeps the chip just a bit cooler, which means less throttling.
The shoulder trigger buttons are not actually buttons, but touch sensors. They are located on the right side of the phone frame, which is the top side when the device is held sideways for gaming. Shoulder triggers make first person shooter gameplay a whole lot easier as they free up the thumbs to focus solely on movement and aiming.
The RedMagic 7 Pro runs Android 12 with Nubia’s heavyweight Android skin on top. That’s not a bad thing though, the skin offers plenty of customization to make gaming easier, including a dedicated “play space” which when activated expends almost all of the phones resources to launch. the game. That means non-game apps in the background get pushed to the side, and you even have the option to avoid phone calls or notifications from coming through.
Elsewhere, the RedMagic 7 Pro also packs a large 5,000mAh battery and a flat 6.7-inch OLED display that refreshes at 120Hz. The battery is huge, but the screen is also huge, so I find the Battery life is just solid, but not spectacular. If I have a marathon gaming session, I can surely drain the battery in under six hours. But for regular smartphone use, the RedMagic 7 Pro can get through a full 12, 13 hour day without issue.
The screen is completely uninterrupted thanks to the selfie camera hidden behind the display, a new technology first seen in Xiaomi and Samsung devices.
The selfie camera is terrible as a result (it has to shoot through the display panel), and the main rear-facing camera system isn’t much better, either.
But the RedMagic 7 Pro isn’t a phone you buy for cameras, it’s a phone you buy for gaming, media consumption. Priced at 5299 yuan in China and around the $850 equivalent in other regions like Singapore and Europe, the RedMagic 7 Pro is reasonably priced for what it is. It’s not a normal phone, it’s a niche phone. And we need more of that in the smartphone space.