Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro gaming phone review
According to JBQ, Gaming phones have experienced significant growth in recent years, and one company is leading the way. Nubia doesn’t necessarily make the best gaming phones, but it makes the most. Within four years, 16 phones were launched under the Red Magic brand. Most of these are released globally, meaning there’s always a new model around the corner.
But Nubia’s 2022 update cycle is aggressive even by its own standards. The Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro was launched globally just three months after its predecessor, making a significant update highly unlikely.
Despite having Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chipset under the hood, it looks, feels and performs almost identically to the 7 Pro.
Quieter design than previous Red Magic phones
Heavy and bulky
Unique fingerprint sensor
Nubia introduced a slightly different design with the Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro, so it’s no surprise to see it’s the same here. It uses a combination of glass and aluminum, materials we associate with flagship phones.
The most noticeable difference compared to regular phones is the large metal plate that extends to the middle of the back of the phone. Nubia says this is to improve heat dissipation, though it adds significantly to the 7S Pro’s overall weight.
It’s the same phone as the 7 Pro at 235 grams, but it’s still one of the heaviest phones you can buy. This isn’t a problem for long gaming sessions, but it can become uncomfortable if you use one hand for long periods of time. Inside that heat sink, you’ll find a rectangular rear camera module, consisting of three lenses and a flash. The 7S Pro is a relatively thin 10mm, which means it sits almost flush with the back of the phone.
It’s clear from the back design that this is a gaming phone, but the Obsidian (black) model I tested is quieter than previous Red Magic phones. There’s also a silver version, but the clear model doesn’t make it to the global version. If you’re looking for wacky design or vibrant colors, the 7S Pro is not the phone for you.
In both versions, Nubia has done a good job of hiding the internal fan. Aside from a few laces and an audible grunt while working, you wouldn’t know it was there.
The Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro has a large 6.8-inch display, but it’s more compact than you might expect. That’s because the phone uses an under-display selfie camera, meaning there’s no need for a notch. The lens is still barely visible, but the 87.1% screen-to-body ratio is impressive. Hopefully all phones will appear like this before too long.
Security of Nubia Red Magic 7S
Fortunately, you don’t need to use the front camera to unlock with your face. The in-display fingerprint sensor does this for you, but I was disappointed with its performance. Setup is simple, but it often takes several times for it to recognize my phone. It also requires more pressure to unlock the 7S Pro than you’re used to.
Nothing has changed on the sides of the phone, but it’s still very different from regular phones. The power and volume controls are connected by one of the fan grills and the dual shoulder triggers, making it easy to figure out which way to use the phone in landscape mode. On the flip side, you’ll only find a physical slider to turn on Game Space, Nubia’s software-based gaming mode.
It’s great to see the headphone jack at the top, next to one of the two speakers. You’ll find another at the bottom, next to the dual-SIM tray and the USB-C charging port. The second position can be problematic during gaming, as charging while gaming can be inconvenient. Asus’ ROG phones get around this problem by using a second side port, but Nubia has decided to stop it.
Display and sound of Nubia Red Magic 7S
- 8 inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen
- 120 Hz refresh rate, 960 Hz touch sampling
- Above average dual speakers
The display changes Nubia made with the Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro were controversial, but nothing has changed on its successor. That means it’s still a clear step up from the best phone screen of 2022, something you wouldn’t expect from a device at this price point.
You still have a 6.8-inch, 1080×2400 AMOLED panel, giving it the more common 20:9 aspect ratio. It would be nice to have a higher resolution, but other screen features are more relevant for gaming.
They have a high refresh rate, something the 7S Pro has. But here you’re limited to 120Hz, while many gaming phones opt for 144Hz or 165Hz instead. Nubia’s valid counterargument might be that many games don’t support these refresh rates, but the cheaper Nubia Red Magic 7S still has a flagship 165Hz display.
You can manually drop this to 60Hz or 90Hz to save battery life, but the refresh rate still can’t be adjusted automatically depending on what you’re doing.
To help compensate for this, the 7S Pro has the highest touch sampling rate of any smartphone. It’s 960 Hz, which means it can register up to 960 times per second. This makes the display very smooth and responsive, which can make the difference in FPS games – especially when paired with 520Hz shoulder triggers. I definitely felt more confident playing combat games like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG: Mobile.
JBQ says, But even the most avid gamer doesn’t play all the time. I’m happy to say that the screen is great for everyday use, offering vivid colors and plenty of detail. It also has a wide range of viewing angles despite its high reflectivity.
However, I was disappointed with the brightness, or lack thereof. I recorded a maximum of 252 nits, which is much lower than other smartphones. As a result, the phone is very difficult to use outdoors – I often had to squint when the sun came out to make out anything.
As mentioned earlier, the 7S Pro has dual speakers. The stereo sound they produce is significantly better than typical smartphones – punchy sound with satisfying bass. They’re also impressively loud, but a lot of detail is lost at high volumes. These help provide an immersive gaming experience, although many gamers prefer to plug in headphones instead.
Specifications and performance
Snapdragon 8+ 1st generation and 12/18 GB RAM
Stellar performance across the board
The fan can be loud
There are a handful of small upgrades in the Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro, but the processor is undoubtedly the most important. This new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset is Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip. The gain is negligible compared to the regular 8 Gen 1, but it maintains the Red Magic brand reputation for higher performance. The model I tested paired it with 12GB of RAM, but there’s also an 18GB option if you need more power. I doubt it given the incredible performance the 7S Pro is currently offering.
Gaming on this phone is enjoyable with fast, smooth visuals and great responsiveness. I tested some of the most demanding titles on the Play Store, including Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile, and Asphalt 9, with no lag whatsoever. With a 120Hz refresh rate and 960Hz touch sampling, I felt like I had a significant advantage over gamers using regular smartphones.
One of the caveats is the fan that starts working as soon as the game is loaded and is very loud. This means the phone will only get slightly warm to the touch, but it can be distracting unless you drown it out with sound. I tried turning off the fan completely, but the phone soon got very hot – I don’t recommend this.
As usual, great in-game performance translates into real-world use. Common apps like Chrome, Gmail, Maps, and YouTube all run flawlessly, even when multitasking on the split screen. In fact, it offers far more performance than you need for any basic task.
Cameras and video of Nubia Red Magic 7S
- Triple rear cameras
- The prime lens is decent, ultra-wide and the macro is less impressive
- The selfie camera under the display is weak
Like many previous Red Magic phones, the 7S Pro has a triple rear camera setup. However, the main 64MP sensor does most of the heavy lifting here.
It’s by far the best phone lens around, delivering photos you wouldn’t normally associate with a gaming phone. This lens is especially suitable for sharply defined subjects, whether buildings, people or pets. I was also really impressed with the quality of the portrait photos it produced. Edge detection isn’t perfect, but the subtle background blur it provides is impressive.
Night mode also relies on software and improves low-light photos without looking artificially bright. However, many key details are still missing. The latter also affects landscape photos, with overexposure another common problem. You might be tempted to go for the 8MP ultra-wide sensor in these scenarios, but the drop in quality means it’s not worth it. It’s a shame really, because the flexibility of the 120 degree field of view is a great option to have.
Things are even worse when it comes to the 2MP macro lens, which adds nothing to the camera experience. For close-ups, I was able to get better colors and more detail using the prime lens. However, the selfie camera is the single most disappointing thing about the 7S Pro. Not only is it embedded below the display, but Nubia has downsized it to an 8-megapixel sensor on the global version.
Predictably, the results are significantly worse than with a conventional front lens. Selfies tend to look grainy and almost all detail in the background is lost. It’s fine for the occasional video call, but even better for photos with friends. The gallery below shows some of these inconsistencies, but also shows the 7s Pro’s ability to take beautiful photos. It can’t be trusted as your primary camera for anything more than casual use.
In the video department, the Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro is capable of shooting up to 4K at 30fps, but the default 1080p at 30fps is more realistic for everyday use. It does an impressive job of preserving key detail, but without OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), video is pretty blurry when moving.
Battery and charging
- 5000 mAh battery
- Comfortable all-day battery life
- Fast charging of 65 watts
Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery. It’s a decent capacity, though it has to deal with a large, high-refresh-rate display and lots of demanding apps.
As a result, battery life is very strong, albeit a step below the best you’ll find on any smartphone. With the brightness set to 200 nits, I recorded 10 hours and 37 minutes on the PCMark battery test. It aims to mirror real-world usage by simulating various tasks, but heavy games drain the battery much faster.
However, it is possible for the device to last for a long time. With the refresh rate set to 60Hz, I was off the charger for about 12 hours and still had about 70% battery left. This was despite frequent use of mobile data and GPS, plus keeping the brightness close to maximum.
However, it is worth noting that some camera features are limited when the battery is very low. At less than 5%, both portrait and night modes fail, but normal photos and videos are not affected.
When you finally run out of charge, a 65 Watts charger is included in the box. Again, it’s a big step up from the 135 Watts adapter found in the Chinese version of the phone, but it’s by no means slow. In less than 30 minutes, the battery is fully charged, although there is no wireless charger yet.
Software and updates
- Red Magic OS 5.5 over Android 12
- Game Space and other useful software tricks
- Only a new Android version is guaranteed
As expected, the 7S Pro runs Red Magic OS on top of Android 12. This is version 5.5 of Nubia’s custom skin, although not much has changed. Notables include rotating home screen wallpaper (full links to popular articles) and branding the game’s enhancements as “Red Magic Force”.
The latter works with Game Space, Nubia’s proprietary mode for gaming. It’s still available via a physical slider on the side of the phone, though the home screen has been redesigned. However, the core functionality is unchanged, meaning it can still be used to change functionality and control notifications.
While games can be launched from the main home screen, it’s nice to have this mode separate from the rest of the device. It’s a pleasure to use as a regular smartphone, despite the addition of several redesigned widgets and apps.
Many familiar Google features are still here, including the Messages app, Digital Wellbeing tools and the Discover feed on the left side of the home screen.
Price and availability
It might be a ‘Pro’ phone, but the price doesn’t necessarily reflect that. The Red Magic 7S Pro starts at $729 / £669 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage – this is the model I tested.
There’s also the option to upgrade to 18GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $899/£809, but those are your only two options outside of China. Both models are available for purchase now, but the official store is your only option:
- Buy Red Magic 7S Pro in USA
- Buy Red Magic 7S Pro in UK
It’s not quite a flagship price, but it’s far from it. The 7S Pro will most likely go up against the Asus ROG Phone 6, and the 6 Pro is significantly more expensive. But there are some great options in our gaming phone chart, including the Red Magic 7 Pro.
At this price, there’s very little room to go wrong, and the 7S Pro still makes sacrifices in some key areas. As a result, you will find better value for money elsewhere.
The Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro is a great gaming phone, but there are plenty of reasons to hesitate before buying it. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1’s gaming performance is fantastic, especially when combined with the 960Hz touch sampling and 120 Hertz OLED display. But the cheaper regular 7S has a higher 165 Hertz refresh rate and avoids the headache of an under-display fingerprint sensor.
Battery life is impressive, but you miss out on China’s 135 Watts super-fast charging, and there’s still no wireless charging. The cameras are also unreliable, while the aesthetics and bulky design won’t please everyone. Even if you’re looking to buy a gaming phone, the Red Magic 7S Pro is only a good choice if you use your phone in a very specific way. For the rest, there are better alternatives. You can buy Smart Watch in our website to set with your smart phones.