After its debut in China on February 17, the Redmagic 7 arrives in Spain with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 under its arm, no less than 18GB of RAM and the desire to win over the public that demands power to play. We at Gizmodo have spent a few weeks using it. These are our conclusions.
Design and display
The Redmagic 7 is a mobile to play big. In other words, get ready for a good-sized phone. It measures 170.5 x 78.3 x 9.5mm and weighs 215 grams. The back shares the same design in three different versions: Obsidian, Pulsar, and Suprnova. That is, black, blue-pink, and black-transparent.
The colors have a fixed configuration associated with them. In other words, the Obsidian model is only available in 12/128GB, the blue Pulsar in 16/256GB, and if you want the top of the range 18/256GB you’ll only find it in the black-transparent one they call Supernova. The model that has fallen into our hands is precisely the latter, and I must confess that I do not dislike it. It is eye-catching, but at the same time quite elegant and relatively inconspicuous. I actually like this design better than the previous edition, the transparent Redmagic 6S Pro.
The three finishes of the Redmagic 7.Photo: Redmagic
The sides are black anodized aircraft aluminum, with barely visible markings where the 500Hz touch triggers are. In addition to the normal power and volume buttons there is a striking red slider that is used to activate and deactivate the specific mode for games.
The USB-C port for charging is at the bottom next to the SIM slot (it does not have a dual SIM or the possibility of expanding the storage via MicroSD cards). At the top is a 3.5mm audio jack. That, and the huge openings in the ventilation system (more on that later) give you an idea that the RedMagic 7 is not waterproof. In general, the design is very good. The position of the speakers, for example, is designed so that we do not cover them when holding the mobile horizontally. Interestingly, the front-facing camera is likely to be obscured by your thumb when gaming, though this will only be a problem if you want to stream your face while gaming.
The Redmagic 7 screen is a joy. It measures 6.8 inches in 20:9 format on an AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels. Its refresh rate is variable from 60 to 165Hz (you can leave it to the system or define the refresh rate manually yourself). The brightness figure offered by the manufacturer is 700 Nits with a contrast of 1,000,000:1. In practice it’s on the same level as high-end phones like the OnePlus 9 Pro and looks great even in the sun. Touch sensitivity is also fantastic. It is very difficult for me to discern if 720Hz is more or less noticeable, but what I can confirm is that the responsiveness in games is glorious.
Furthermore, the display supports the entire DCI-P3 and sRGB color spectrum. The best part is that all of this is completely configurable. Despite being AMOLED, the tone of the screen is extremely natural, and if we don’t like it we can adjust it as we please. Probably one of the best mobile screens on the market right now. The only thing I don’t like is the fingerprint sensor under it, which seems so unreliable to me that I ended up deactivating it after screaming my head off trying to get it to recognize me the first time.
The Hertz of the display can be changed manually from a button in the menu with basic Android settings, by dragging your finger from the top edge. Screenshot: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
However, I must admit that the sensor is new compared to the 6S Pro and at least it works. The 6S Pro did not even recognize my finger when trying to register the fingerprint. I have this type of problem with all the fingerprint sensors under the screen. Since no one else in the industry seems to be complaining on this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m the only crazy person who finds under-display fingerprint sensors utter crap and moved on with my life. It probably works better for you. Or not.
Power to give and take
We come to the section where the Redmagic 7 shines at the supernova level: the internal power. Everything in this section is a waste of epic proportions. To begin with, the Redmagic 7 is one of the new batch of phones to incorporate the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The 4-nanometer processor has a 3GHz core, three 2.5GHz cores, and four 1.8GHz cores. According to RedMagic, the 8 Gen 1 is 30% more powerful and more efficient, and 25% more graphically powerful than the previous generation. Figures aside, we cannot blame him for anything when it comes to gaming. All games run at full graphical power and with no warm-up other than a slight rise in rear-end temperature after two-hour gaming sessions.
The merit of the latter goes to the new cooling system, consisting of a nine-layer heatsink with a vapor chamber that practically runs through the entire rear of the mobile from top to bottom. In the most critical area, above the processor, the ICE 8.0 has a small fan that reaches 20,000 rpm. Its noise is 28 decibels according to the manufacturer. It is not very high, but it is appreciated without effort. The fan draws air from a grill just to the left of the main block of chambers. The air runs through a duct on the heatsink and comes out through another grille located right next to the fan, on the left side (viewing the mobile from behind).
The air outlet of the cooling system, right next to the fan. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
All this system allows to lower the temperature of the processor up to 16 degrees. In fact, it is also activated when the mobile is charging and its effects are noticeable to the touch. It is the first mobile that I see that is completely cold when it finishes charging. However, the processor is not the only thing responsible for the power of the Redmagic 7. The model I tested has 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM, which is more memory than some PCs have. Storage is 256GB, although there are 1TB versions.
Externally Redmagic OS 5.0 isn’t much different from the Stock Android version 12 below it. Most of the changes are aesthetic and are focused on giving things like menus or buttons a more aggressive and gamer appearance. In general, it interferes little and is quite pleasing to the eye. The level of customization is high. We can, for example, customize the lock screen with our own animated GIFs or videos.
The games menu that opens by swiping (twice) from the left. Screenshot: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
All in all, the biggest (and best) additions to Android belong to the game space that is activated by moving the button on the left side. By doing so we open a menu with the available games. Once inside a specific game we can open a sliding menu from the left edge of the screen. We have everything on that menu. From the way in which notifications reach us when we are playing, to the operation of the triggers or the general graphic power. It is essential to mention that these configurations are for each game separately, which is even more useful when it comes to customizing controls, or giving a game more muscle at the expense of battery and temperature. There is even a note system that we can consult from the game space, which is not bad at all in complex titles. You can also, of course, record the content on the screen on video in case you later want to upload it to a platform.
The level of customization of gaming settings is comparable to high-end gaming phones like ROG. The only thing I can fault the Redmagic game space for is that, again, there is a general laziness when it comes to correctly translating some words and expressions into Spanish, which sometimes makes it difficult to know where the options are.
Sound and drums
The Redmagic includes dual DTS Ultra-X compatible stereo speakers. The right one is on the bottom side, right next to the USB-C port. and the left one above, on the screen. They sound pretty good. The sound is powerful and quite clean for its size, although it shows that they are very game-oriented. In other words, the optimal sound is with the phone horizontal in front of the face. Paired with good headphones like the Jabra Elite 85t or Sony WF-1000XM4, the Redmagic 7 delivers excellent sound whether you’re using Bluetooth, with HD (AAC) audio support, or simply using the 3.5mm headphone port.
The fan automatically activates to cool the battery during the charging process. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
With the battery and the load there is an issue that needs to be clarified. The Redmagic 7 Pro has a 5000mAh battery with fast charging up to 135W. The Redmagic 7 has a 4,500mAh dual-cell with 120W fast charging, but those figures refer only to models marketed in China. The international model that arrives in Europe has a charging system that only reaches 65W. The reason for this escapes me. It’s probably due to battery and charger regulation issues in the Shengen space or something like that. The point is that, in practice, this means that the load times are far from the 17 minutes for full load that Redmagic gives for the Chinese version. The model that I have tested takes just under an hour to fully charge and 20 minutes to reach half charge. It’s very good. The best news is that the fan does an excellent job of cooling the battery when charging, which is likely to result in longer battery life. The charger, by the way, is quite small, which is also appreciated.
Incredible as it may seem, Redmagic doesn’t mention the Redmagic 7 cameras once in its press release (at least not for the China release). Intrigued, I took a look at the specs and discovered…they are the same as the Redmagic 6 Pro…
If you remember my review of the 6S Pro, you will probably remember that I complained that the cameras of that mobile were the same as those of the Redmagic 6. Well, they are still the same, and not only in hardware. In ZTE Nubia They have such fat balls (sorry for the expression, but it comes from the soul), that they still have not corrected the phrase “Intelligent IA off” (for “Intelligent IA Off”, I suppose) when you turn off the IA in the camera app.
The photo modes in the app, the cameras… (a 64MP f/1.8, a 8MP f2.0 wide angle and a 2MP macro with an 8MP front). Everything in the photographic section remains exactly the same as in 2021, and the same as in 2020.
And yet, there is something that is not the same…
I’m not sure if they’ve updated the software on the cameras, but the Redmagic 7 takes slightly better photos than the 6 Pro. It’s especially noticeable when zooming and in night mode. The zoom photos are sharper, and the night photos can take good photos if you have some patience when taking them.
5X zoom. This quality in telephoto was not achieved in the Redmagic 6. If the cameras are the same on paper, it is because something has been fine-tuned at the software level. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
The 2x and 5x steps work well in the daytime, and even manage to do a terrific job at dusk, something the 6S Pro couldn’t. In fact, the night mode manages to bring out light even in practically dark environments. In the absence of changes to the hardware, I understand that they have fine-tuned the software, but I am surprised that they have managed to fine-tune it that much. Obviously very dark photos show quite a bit of pasting, but it’s a significant leap forward from the previous generation.
In my Redmagic 6 test I was unable to take a twilight photo like this. In that sense, the camera app has improved a lot. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
The pasting is evident, but now the night mode is capable of capturing light even in almost total darkness. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
Photos in night mode (on the right) even show the stars. They are not perfect results, but now it shows that they have improved. This is the way. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
The macro and portrait modes also appear sharper and even the familiar camera and its more exotic digital retouching modes are beginning to be usable. The one that takes the worst part is the ultra wide angle, which is still a bit too blurry and doesn’t capture as much light as the main camera.
In good light, the macro can even capture moving objects like this bee clearly. Photo: Carlos Zahumenszky / Gizmodo
They have their flaws, but I must admit that the Redmagic 7 cameras, even being the same, have improved a lot compared to the previous generation in terms of image processing. The set is still not up to the level of such a powerful mobile, but at least now it is usable and even enjoyable.
Differences with the Redmagic 7 Pro
Before we jump to our conclusions, a note on versions. At the time, there was a lot of talk that the Redmagic 7 was going to be the first mobile phone with a camera under the screen and a 135W charge, and it is true, but only for China. ZTE Nubia (Redmagic is ZTE’s gaming division like ROG is Asus’s) has released two phones, the Redmagic 7 we’re talking about here and the RedMagic 7 Pro, but the latter is only available in China. The most important differences from this other model are:
The screen bezels are a little thinner and the body a few millimeters smaller, but it weighs more (235g on the 7 Pro vs. 215 on the 7). Instead of an 8MP front-facing camera on the top bezel, the 7 Pro has a 16MP camera hidden under the screen. The screen is a little less bright, but its touch support reaches 960Hz (the regular Redmagic 7 has 720Hz). In fact, the maximum refresh rate is higher on the 7 (165Hz vs. 120Hz on the Pro model). you’re wrong They are exactly the same cameras. The Pro model has a 5000mAh battery with fast charging up to 135W. The Redmagic 7 has a 4500mAh dual cell with 120W fast charging, again only in China. In terms of charging, and according to the manufacturer, this means that the 7 Pro fully charges in 15 minutes, and the normal 7 charges in 17. The 7 Pro has an additional version with 1TB of storage space (the most spacious version of the 7 it only reaches 512GB).
The Redmagic 7 Pro in its three color versions.Photo: Redmagic
Everything else is identical. In other words, and if I may sum it up very crudely: There is absolutely no reason for you to go crazy importing from China trying to buy the 7 Pro over the 7. I doubt any sane human would be able to differentiate between a 960Hz and a 720Hz touch support rate. The physical differences are minimal… The biggest attraction may be the 135W charge and the hidden camera under the screen, but we are talking about a very new technology (if I am not mistaken, it is, in fact, the first mobile to go on sale with this type of camera), which has yet to prove whether it really works well. I’m still waiting for a fingerprint sensor under the screen that works better than a conventional one. I almost prefer to wait a bit to see how cameras of this type are doing, especially considering that the only thing they provide is an aesthetic difference.
Redmagic 7: versions and prices
The international version of Redmagic 7 goes on sale on March 10, 2022 on the official Redmagic website. The mobile will be available in the United States, Canada, Europe (including Spain) and the United Kingdom. In Latin America it only reaches Mexico, Peru and Chile. The prices of this version are:
Redmagic 7 Obsidian (black) 12/128GB: $629 / €629Redmagic 7 Pulsar (blue) 16/256GB: $729 / €729Redmagic 7 Supernova (black-transparent) 18/256GB: $799 / €799
The Redmagic 7 is a good mobile. It is quite large, yes, but in exchange for that size, it wastes power, it is quite beautiful (for a gaming mobile), and it has elements that stand out with special force. The screen, for example, is spectacular. Fast charging is efficient. Just the idea of having 18GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 at our disposal for 799 euros is something worth thinking about even for the joy of handling a mobile with such fluidity in all the tasks it carries out.
On the negative side, Redmagic’s software needs to be overhauled, especially when it comes to translation. The cameras is another section that is only saved by the improvements in software that have made it usable, but continuing to have the same cameras as two generations ago seems to me to be lax that borders on shamelessness. At least now the cameras can be enjoyed, and that makes the Redmagic 7 an excellent option if you are looking for a powerful mobile. Either to play games, or to open 50 tabs in Chrome.