While the original Nubia Red magic 7 launched back in February, the brand is back with a Pro revision that brings some particularly specialist features to the table. Of course, you're still getting those key specs: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 6.8-inch AMOLED display, 16GB RAM, dedicated trigger buttons, and a transparent back, and there are more than a few upgrades in here to keep the discerning mobile gamer on their toes.
Even at first glance, it's obvious Red magic 7 Pro is vying for a spot among the best gaming phones on the market. But, as we'll see, the Red magic 7 Pro is more than just a pretty face, with an incredibly comprehensive set of gaming features combining to create a truly special experience. While that does come at the cost of some of the more smartphone-oriented features, the raw horsepower built into this monster is going to tear through anything you can throw at it.
We lived with the Red magic 7 Pro for a period of four weeks, pushing it to the limits in daily use and heavier gameplay scenarios to put through the wringer for this fulsome review.
Take just one look at the back of the Nubia Red magic 7 Pro, and you'll know what this device is for. The glass back offers a slightly silver tinge over the internal components and, should you ever forget the configuration you opted for, you're also getting all the key specs highlighted in different spots around the build.
As much as it screams 'gaming' in its type-face, jagged edges, and, lest we forget, that RGB fan, I was surprised to find that this aesthetic actually slotted nicely into everyday use as well. It's certainly not as low-key as an iPhone 13 Pro or Samsung Galaxy device, but the greys and browns converge to create a modern, dare I say 'grown-up', feel that many dedicated gaming devices can forget.
A small note, but one that I can't make about many gaming phones, is that the glass back didn't seem to hold onto fingerprints for too long. I was fully expecting to keep a cloth with me at all times here, but despite being a little more slippery than I was used to, everything felt - and looked - great even after hours of use.
There's no getting around it, this is a big device. Weighing in at nearly 240g, there's a lot to hold onto here. While some may prefer rounded sides, especially considering the height of this device, I found the flat edges around the rims to be surprisingly comfortable. They provided plenty of purchase to hold all that weight in a smaller hand and lent a solid durability to the feel.
Around the edge you'll find vents to keep those 20,000 RPM Turbofans company, two touch-sensitive triggers, a lock button, volume rocker, a sliding switch to enable Game Space (RedMagic's control centre), and a 3.5mm audio slot.
While the Red magic 7 treated us to a 165Hz AMOLED screen, we're dropping things down to 120Hz for the Pro model. It's a slight jump for the spec sheet, but, in reality, there are few games actually taking advantage of these higher refresh rates these days, even in the 120Hz bracket. I still found animations and scrolling to be exceptionally smooth.
Colors pop really nicely on this screen, even if the max brightness setting is still a little underwhelming. It certainly helps distinguish contrast between those crisp colors and deep blacks, but there's a little less vibrancy here than would be expected from a device so dedicated to giving mobile games as much power as possible.
However, props have to be given to that under-screen camera. Hiding a lense beneath the display itself is a new feat that even very few high-end devices have attempted. In my own testing, the Red magic 7 Pro is the first gaming-specific device to cross our desks boasting the feature (not counting the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3). Of course, it's not great. Colors are washed out, and the overall picture quality won't be winning any photography awards, but if you're simply taking a selfie every now and then, or jumping on a quick Zoom call, it's not going to ruin your experience.
Plus, for the trouble, you're getting a completely unencumbered screen to play with. I was surprised how quickly this became natural and found it difficult to return to the classic iPhone notch at the end of testing.
Of course, it's in the Play Store that the Red magic 7 Pro shines. There are a number of unique features all working together here to create an incredible mobile gaming experience, from the power under the hood to the look and feel of each title. We'll start with that 960Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate, a super-responsive display feature that kicks into gear as soon as you start twitching towards side-scrolling or reflex-based platformers.
The two shoulder buttons running along the top of the device certainly aren't a revolution in themselves, but despite not being physical clickers they provide a clean, satisfying control scheme with a nicely responsive feel overall. Call of Duty Mobile was a particularly impressive experience with these triggers at the helm, offering an engrossing set of controls that quickly felt second nature.
Those shoulder buttons can also be remapped for each title, with presets configurable in the Game Space software. This is where things get technical, with the program offering information on your components and fps, while also offering room to tinker with controls. You'll also find all your games linked in here, with a range of plugins available for use as well.
While some of the finer details, as with all the software here, are a little grungy it's a solid overall experience with plenty of additional benefits going into more detail than I've seen other dedicated gaming phones attempt.
Once you're going, it's easy to see that there's some acceleration going on under the hood. A particularly busy PUBG game that would have fried my iPhone, for example, was running as smoothly as it would in the lobby here. That's likely down to the presence of RedMagic's own Red Core 1 chip which keeps things efficient by directing processing power away from the Snapdragon chipset itself, allowing it to really rev up.
The cherry on top here, though, is that 20,000 RPM fan. You'll hear it when it kicks in, a high-pitched whirr that wasn't too comfortable to listen to in the first few days of use. However, it's a fair trade-off for playing high-end mobile games with this level of power behind them and never burning your fingerprints off. The Red magic 7 Pro has a lot of gear baked in to keep it cool, and every bit of it works as you would expect. This is a particularly temperature-efficient device that never felt too warm to hold, even during the longest of sessions.