If you’re into mobile gaming, you know that owning a gaming phone is essential. Thanks to built-in cooling systems, gaming phones manage heat better and allow for long and stable gaming sessions. However, these smartphones often sacrifice other important features needed for everyday use. 

The Nubia RedMagic 7 is a new generation gaming phone that seems to be an exception to this rule. It’s claimed to be the first and fastest gaming phone that doesn’t compromise your day-to-day use outside gaming. We got our hands on the new RedMagic 7 to check firsthand if these claims are true and if it’s really the best gaming phone of 2022. Here’s what we learned. 

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    Is RedMagic 7 the Best Gaming Phone of 2022? image
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    RedMagic 7: First Impressions & Specs

    Some of the most common issues that users have with gaming phones are:

    1. The phone overheats during the continuous use of the uncooled chip, which affects the smartphone’s performance.
    2. The developers only pay attention to the gaming components of the phone, making it unusable in your daily life.
    3. Gaming phones are high priced due to the expensive hardware.
    RedMagic 7: First Impressions & Specs image

    It seems like ZTE’s Nubia has solved these problems with the new RedMagic phone. The RedMagic 7 is the first gaming smartphone running the high-end chipset – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, has a built-in cooling fan that allows for long comfortable gaming sessions and has different price tiers for different needs. 

    The RedMagic 7 comes in 3 variations: Obsidian for $629 (12GB RAM + 128GB), Pulsar for $729 (16GB + 256GB), and Supernova for $799 (18GB + 256GB). We had the RedMagic 7 Pulsar model for testing. 

    • Dimensions: 6.72 x 3.08 x 0.37 in (170.5 x 78.3 x 9.5mm)
    • Weight: 7.58 oz (215g)
    • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
    • Memory: 16GB (LPDDR5) 
    • Storage: 256GB
    • Operating System: RedMagic OS 5.0 based on Android 12
    • Display: Full HD+, AMOLED, 6.8 inches, 165Hz refresh rate, resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels
    • Battery: 4500 mAh with 65W fast charger
    • Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, Dual SIM slot
    • Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
    • Front Camera: 8MP selfie camera
    • Rear Cameras: 64MP main camera, 8MP ultrawide, and 2MP macro
    • Speakers: Stereo speakers with DTS X Ultra
    • Special features: built-in cooling fan, touch-sensitive shoulder triggers, powerful fast charger
    RedMagic 7: First Impressions & Specs image 2

    The RedMagic 7 comes with an impressive set of specifications. It’s an affordable phone with flagship-level hardware. However, you’ll find that a few things that you expect from a modern high-end smartphone are missing: There’s no IP rating (due to the cooling fan system), or wireless charging. That means you can’t go swimming with this phone and have to resort to wired fast charging. 

    Design & Unpacking

    Gaming smartphones tend to follow specific design trends when it comes to their appearance. While gamers love the cyberpunk look and bright color schemes, an ordinary user might find it aggressive and over-the-top. While RedMagic 7 seemingly follows the same design tendencies, it feels like a different story. 

    Design & Unpacking image

    The phone comes in three different color schemes, so if you want to keep it toned down, you can choose the cheaper Obsidian version with the modest black back panel. The Pulsar version is definitely out there when it comes to colors, and would fit in perfectly with someone who’s really into cyberpunk culture. 

    The backplate of this smartphone resembles the colors of the pulsar star according to Nubia. Finally, the Supernova phone is the most powerful of all (comes with 18GB of RAM) but also the most epic if we’re talking about design. It comes with a transparent backplate that allows you to see things like the cooling fan lit up by RGB lights when in use. 

    If you’re into minimalism at all costs, you can use the included silicone case that will hide some of the colorful back – Gorilla Glass 5. 

    What’s in the Box

    The RedMagic 7 comes in a stylish black box with comic strips printed on top and the sides. Inside the box, you’ll find:

    What’s in the Box image
    • RedMagic 7 smartphone with a pre-installed screen protector 
    • Protective silicone case 
    • SIM card tray pin
    • USB-C to USB-C charging cable
    • 65-watt fast charger 

    The phone features a 700-nit 6.8-inch FHD+ 1080×2400 screen with an AMOLED display and an impressive 165Hz refresh rate. On the sides, you’ll find two highly responsive touchpad shoulder triggers, and a built-in cooling fan on the back – both aiming to improve your gaming experience. 

    How Fast Is It? 

    It’s enough to look at the benchmark numbers to understand how fast and powerful the RedMagic 7 really is. We put the RedMagic 7 through the Geekbench 5 testing app to find out the benchmark results and see how it compares to other top smartphones.

    How Fast Is It?  image

    The RedMagic 7 received a 1251 single-core and a 3874 multi-core score for CPU performance. This leaves most Xiaomi phones (908 & 3062) and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (924 & 3085) in the dust. The RedMagic 7 also outscores the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that showed 1240 and 3384. The only smartphone that showed better numbers is Apple’s flagship iPhone 13 Pro with 1668 and 4436 points. 

    Gaming Experience

    Gaming Experience image

    The RedMagic 7 is a gaming phone, and it’s built with the idea of giving you an advantage over your opponents in the gaming world. There are quite a few of these, and you can find them in the phone’s Game space

    The Game Space

    To access the Game space, turn on the red (or magenta) switch button on the left side of the RedMagic 7. This will open your Game lobby. Select Super Power Base > Plugin library. There you’ll find all of the superpowers that you can use in various games, from an ability to zoom in at the center of your screen to find any hidden targets, to being able to invert your screen’s colors to detect camouflaged enemies. Most of these plugins work in all games, though some of them are limited to certain titles. 

    Gaming Experience image 2

    Thanks to the Game space shortcut, you can also adjust a ton of different settings that will allow for a smoother experience while gaming. You can switch the refresh rate from 60Hz to 90Hz, 120Hz, and 165Hz. The 60Hz setting is perfect for conserving your battery, while 165Hz provides you with the best possible image quality. 

    The 165Hz refreshing rate together with the 720Hz touch sampling rate enabled will make your RedMagic phone more responsive to inputs and taps during your gaming sessions. You won’t notice this with just any game but if you’re playing a graphically demanding game like Genshin Impact, you’ll feel the difference. 

    Gaming Experience image 3

    Using the in-game menu, you can set the RedMagic 7 to block messages and calls while gaming to avoid distractions and focus on playing. Alternatively, switch the Barrage Message function on to have any incoming messages slide across the screen instead of blocking your view. 

    Gaming Experience image 4

    One more important feature is Charge Separation, which allows your phone to draw power directly from the charger. Enabling this mode while your phone’s plugged in means that the battery won’t charge and won’t increase the heat level. 

    The Shoulder Triggers

    The highly responsive shoulder triggers on the side of the device also add to the responsiveness of the RedMagic 7. With the shoulder triggers on, the phone feels almost like a gaming controller. 

    The Built-in Cooling Fan

    If you’re worried about your smartphone overheating during gaming sessions, that’s not an issue with the RedMagic 7. After playing Genshin Impact non-stop for 3 hours, the phone only got slightly warmer and maintained a normal temperature overall. Whenever you start playing a game or switch the phone into the Game space mode, the built-in cooling fan switches on automatically and helps the RedMagic 7 cool down. 

    RedMagic Gaming Accessories 

    Gaming Experience image 5

    RedMagic also produces a variety of gaming accessories and bundles for those who crave a more immersive gaming experience. The accessories include a separate Turbo Cooler, a cooling Ice Dock, TWS Cyberpods, a gaming dock, and more. You can order any of these separately or in a bundle on the RedMagic official site. 

    Performance Outside Gaming

    The RedMagic 7 is an outstanding gaming phone but how does it perform in everyday use? 

    Software & Apps

    RedMagic 7 runs on the latest Android 12 with the RedMagic 5 OS. While many bugs found in the RedMagic 7 predecessors have been fixed (like the RedMagic launcher), there’s still a problem with the rare software updates. Like with most gaming phones, the update cycle isn’t crystal clear with the RedMagic 7 and that could be a problem for some. During testing, we found that the phone had to be wiped twice before we managed to install the latest update and get all of the features working correctly. 

    Performance Outside Gaming image

    Otherwise, the RedMagic 5 OS is what you’d expect from the operating system on a gaming phone. You’ll notice very little bloatware on your phone and that’s definitely a plus. You’ll only find the usual Google apps and a few RedMagic apps pre-installed, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up your phone before you can start using it. 

    Audio & Speakers

    The RedMagic 7 retains the 3.5mm headphone jack which is a rare find on modern flagship models. This allows you to use your wired gaming headphones for immersive play. 

    Performance Outside Gaming image 2

    The headphone jack is located at the top of the device, together with one of the mics. The other mic is found at the bottom of the phone which also houses a SIM card slot, USB-C port, and a speaker grill. 

    Performance Outside Gaming image 3

    The speaker at the bottom combined with the front-facing earpiece that doubles as a loudspeaker create a rather impressive stereo sound. Perfect for when you want to enjoy the game in the comfort of your home without a set of headphones with loud and detailed sound.

    Camera Performance 

    Performance Outside Gaming image 4

    RedMagic 7 comes with an 8MP front selfie camera, and a triple camera setup on the back: a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. While you can’t compare the image quality with that of the Samsung S22 Ultra or the iPhone 13, this smartphone still produces decent photos and videos. 

    Performance Outside Gaming image 5

    The main 64MP camera is capable of taking great pictures in good lighting conditions. The front camera can take a good-looking selfie. The dedicated macro camera won’t blow your mind but can still take a decent image with enough detail. 

    Performance Outside Gaming image 6
    Uploaded quality lower than actual photo

    There’s a Pro mode in the camera app that you can use to choose your own white balance, ISO, focus, and other settings. You can also shoot in night mode, as well as choose any of the 20 other creative photo modes from the camera app: from Pano to Freeze frame, to ID photos.  

    Performance Outside Gaming image 7

    The main selling point of the RedMagic camera system is its video shooting abilities. This smartphone can shoot 8K videos with impressive image stabilization due to all of the processing power that it packs. 

    Battery Life

    The RedMagic 7 packs a 4500mAh battery. If you compare it to the 5050mAh battery of its predecessor RedMagic 6s Pro, or the 6000mAh battery of the ASUS ROG phone 5, it might seem like a big downgrade. However, our tests showed that during everyday use (without extensive gaming sessions) the phone easily lasts all day and longer, even if you use it to make multiple calls, check your social media, and shoot some photos and videos. 

    Battery Life image

    Of course, you’ll run out of battery sooner when using the RedMagic 7 for lengthy gaming sessions. One hour of 165Hz air-cooled gaming consumed about 25% of the battery. Although, this shouldn’t be a problem with the 65W fast charger. You can fully charge your RedMagic 7 in less than 30 minutes. So even if your battery’s completely empty when you need to leave the house, you can put it to charge and it’ll be at 100% before you get fully ready. You can also use the fast charger to power up your other gadgets, including laptops, tablets, or battery packs. 

    Should You Buy the RedMagic 7?

    The RedMagic 7 is built for gaming, and if that’s the kind of phone you’re looking for, the RedMagic 7 is a fantastic find. The cooling fan, the 165Hz display, and the shoulder triggers – they really thought of every detail, making the RedMagic 7 the best gaming phone of 2022 so far. 

    If you’re looking for a top-notch flagship smartphone that does it all, the lack of IP rating, gaming stylistics, and somewhat weak cameras might put you off buying this device. However, there’s still a lot to love about this smartphone even if you’re not into gaming. Great sound quality, 8K video shooting abilities, and of course the price. Starting at $629, the RedMagic 7 is the most affordable phone running Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on the market. 

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