Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro Review – How much better than the Red Magic 7 is it?

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Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro Review Rating

Summary

The Red Magic 7 Pro provides minimal improvement over the standard Red Magic 7. The benefits of the under-display camera are small and subjective. I personally like it, being fractionally smaller, but there was no notch or punch hole to complain about with the Red Magic 7, just a thicker bezel. Battery life has improved, and this will certainly help if you game when out and about. I would hope the Red Magic 7 Pro only has a small price premium.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Under display, camera reduces the overall dimensions of the phone
  • Improved battery vs Red Magic 7
  • Still the most powerful gaming phone on the market

Cons

  • Barely any different from the Red Magic 7

I reviewed the Red Magic 7 back in February, and it is by far the most powerful phone I have ever reviewed and one of the best options on the market if you are a serious mobile gamer.

At the time of its launch, the Red Magic 7 Pro was also launched in China and this is now seeing an international launch.

There is not much difference between the two phones, so I won't provide quite as much detail as the Red Magic 7 review. There are just two specification differences that will make a difference in your buying decision and how this affects the price between the two models.

Red Magic 7 Pro vs Red Magic 7 Compared – What's different & whats changed from the Chinese variant.

To save you some time comparing the specification of the phones below, it is easier just to say what's different.

For a start, the international models are different from the Chinese variants. The Red Magic 7 has 120W charging in China but 65W charging for the rest of the world. Similarly, the Red Magic 7 Pro has 135W charging in China but just 65W for the global model.

I asked the Red Magic team what the reason was for this and got no reply. I assume it is some sort of regulatory issue, though.

Moving on to the differences between the two phones:

The Red Magic 7 Pro uses a different display, it is the same size, but it uses an under-display selfie camera, which therefore allows Red Magic to reduce the bezel at the top of the phone. The consequence of this is that the display itself is not technically quite as good, it is just 120Hz with 600nits brightness vs 165Hz with 700nits.

This design decision reduces the dimensions down to 166.3 x 77.1 x 10 mm vs 170.6 x 78.3 x 9.5 mm.

Finally, the Red Magic 7 Pro has a slightly larger battery with 5000 mAh vs 4500 mAh, an 11% increase. The Red Magic 7 is so powerful it has quite a poor battery life, so this increase could help quite a bit.

Red Magic 7 Pro vs Red Magic 7 Specification

SpecREDMAGIC 7 ProREDMAGIC 7
ChipSnapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
ScreenAMOLED, 1B colours, 120Hz, 600 nits
6.8 inches, 111.6 cm2 (~87.1% screen-to-body ratio)
2400x1080

960Hz Multi-Finger Touch Sampling Rate
Multi-Drive ACE Circuit
Gorilla Glass 5

AMOLED, 1B colours, 165Hz, 700 nits
6.8 inches, 111.6 cm2 (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)
2400x1080



Multi-finger 720Hz Touch Sampling Rate
DC Dimming
Magic GPU 2.0 Image Enhancement System
Gorilla Glass 5
Battery & Charging65W Fast Charger in the box
5000mAh, 11A dual battery cells in series
65W Fast Charger in the box, 4500mAh
11A dual battery cells in series
TriggersTouchpad Dual shoulder trigger (500Hz)Touchpad Dual shoulder trigger (500Hz)
DesignSupernova (Transparent version) | Obsidian (Black version)Supernova(Transparent version) | Obsidian(Black version) | Pulsar(Gradient version)
TurbofanLow Power Consumption, High-Speed Fan 20K RPM/min with Fluorescent Fan (Transparent: RGB LED lighting)Low Power Consumption, High-Speed Fan 20K RPM/min with Fluorescent Fan (Transparent: RGB LED lighting)
CoolingICE 9.0 Multi-Dimensional Cooling System
VC cooling + Graphite + Thermal Gel + Copper Foil + Cooling Aluminum + Cooling Air Duct + High-Performance Composite Phase Change Materials (PCM)
ICE8.0 Multi-dimensional Cooling System

VC cooling + Graphite + Thermal Gel + Copper Foil + Cooling Aluminum + Cooling Air Duct + High-Performance Composite Phase Change Materials (PCM)
Storage12+128GB/ 16-256GB/18-256GB with 6GB expandable virtual RAM12+128GB/ 16-256GB/18-256GB with 6GB expandable virtual RAM
CameraRear: 64M+2M+8M
Front: Under display 16 MP
Rear: 64M+2M+8M
Front: 8 MP
Game SpaceREDMAGIC OS 5.0REDMAGIC OS 5.0
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax 2*2mimo, WIFI6E, Type C, 3.5mm audio interface, NFC (excluding ese), 7th Gen Fingerprint sensor, Increased Heart Rate Detection FunctionBluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax 2*2mimo, WIFI6E, Type C, 3.5mm audio interface, NFC (excluding ese), 7th Gen Fingerprint sensor, Increased Heart Rate Detection Function
AudioDual smart PA, dual speakers, 3 mics, DTS sound, 3.5 mm headphone jackDual smart PA, dual speakers, 3 mics, DTS sound, 3.5 mm headphone jack
MaterialAviation Aluminium Middle Frame + Glass Back CoverAviation Aluminium Middle Frame + Glass Back Cover
Lighting EffectREDMAGIC Logo Light, RGB Breathing Light(Obsidian & Pulsar version), Colorful Fluorescent Fan RGB (Supernova version)REDMAGIC Logo Light, RGB Breathing Light(Obsidian & Pulsar version), Colorful Fluorescent Fan RGB (Supernova version)
Size166.3 x 77.1 x 10 mm170.57 x 78.33 x 9.5mm
Weight 235 g 215g

Display & Build

I am not much of a selfie kind of person, so I like the idea of an under-display camera as it provides full access to the screen. In particular, this will be useful for gaming, where I find notches and punch holes quite annoying.

Just like the ZTE Axon 30, you can see the camera underneath, but for it to be properly noticeable, you need to look at the display from an extreme angle. Perhaps the only time I notice it during day to day use is when the phone is on my table, and I glance down at it to read any notifications. Looking at the phone normally in my hand, I can't see the camera.

On occasion, the phone displays a sun logo where the camera is, which seems to be related to screen brightness. It is normally when it is outdoors and likely a warning that the screen brightness is set very high.

I was sent the Obsidian model, which is a little less visually impressive than the Pulsar Red Magic 7 model I have. Side by side, there doesn't appear to be a massive difference in size. You have basically had the 4mm bezel at the top of the phone cut off.

Oddly, there is no vent on the left-hand side of the phone where the gaming switch is despite offering a new upgraded ICE 9.0 cooling system.

Under Display Camera & Rear Cameras

The phone uses the OV16E1Q 16MP sensor, which is the same under-display camera as the ZTE Axon 30.

The performance of the UDC is decent enough, nothing spectacular but it is fine for the occasional selfie, and it is very impressive that you can take selfies from a camera underneath your display.

The rear cameras are identical to the Red Magic 7 with a 64 MP primary sensor, then 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro. Photography is one of the weaker aspects of the Red Magic phones, but they have never been marketed as excellent camera phones.

Cooling

The Red Magic 7 Pro claims to have improved cooling over the standard Red Magic 7, using the ICE 9.0 cooling system vs ICE 8.0.

It combines air-cooled heat dissipation with liquid cooling heat and a new material application and air kinetic design (that's all from the marketing material).

Using a 4124mm² VC heat dissipation plate, the Red Magic 7 Pro keeps running at peak performance.

They also claim a 100% Increased thermal conductivity of 400W/mK.

The marketing material for the Red Magic 7 didn't state the size of the dissipation plate or thermal conductivity. With both phones, none of the claimed % improvements ever said what they are comparing the performance against.

So we will just have to take their word that the cooling is better. Does this improved cooling have any effect on performance?

Red Magic 7 Pro vs Red Magic 7 Benchmarks & Thermal Throttling

Benchmarks indicate the performance is essentially the same. If anything, there are fractionally lower, but the difference is too small to suggest one is better than the other.

There also appears to be no significant improvement in the cooling performance.

Regardless, the Red Magic 7 already offered both incredible peak performance and sustained performance that few, if any, other phones will compete with. This is largely thanks to the active cooling fan, which allows this phone to maintain its performance for prolonged periods of time.

With all competing brands, both the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 get heavily throttled after a relatively short period of time during highly intensive tasks. I am not sure how much the effect real work usage, including gaming, but in gaming stress tests the drop in performance is significant.

Gaming & Software

I won’t cover all the features and software of the Red Magic 7 Pro properly as it is identical to the Red Magic 7.

For gaming, the main thing is the difference between the display. The Red Magic 7 Pro has a slower refresh rate of 120Hz but increased touch sampling of 960Hz.

I am obviously not a very good gamer as I struggle to tell the difference between 120Hz and 165hz refresh rate or 720Hz and  960Hz touch sampling. Due to this being a power-hungry device, I always found myself gaming at 120Hz on the Red Magic 7, and I was more than happy with that.

Just like the normal Red Magic  7, the two stand out features of these phones is the touch-sensitive shoulder buttons and active fan. With the active fan, the noise is a bit irritating, but it allows the phone to maintain peak performance for as long as possible even with the most challenging of games.

The shoulder triggers can be mapped easily with on-screen buttons and avoid you cluttering the screen with your fingers. I have found that this can have a significant impact on my performance in games. In particular, the difference is night and day for me with Call of Duty.

As far as the software goes, I have noticed a lot of people criticise Redmagic OS, and it is true that it is not as good as most other brands. However, I haven’t found it THAT bad, there does seem to be an improvement from last year's Red Magic 6 series. I have not found it to be glitchy and the dedicated Game Space is genuinely useful.

Google Pay & Third-Party Launchers

There are two big caveats with the software and these two phones. If you don’t like Redmagic OS and its default launcher, then tough. You can’t change the launcher to Nova or any other third party option.

My biggest issue is the lack of Google Pay support. I touched on this issue with the Red Magic  7, but I wasn’t 100% sure if this was me using an unreleased phone or that the Red Magic  7 doesn’t support it at all. With the Red Magic 7 Pro, Google Pay is not installed, and I can’t install it at all.

Battery Life

Just like the Red Magic 7, I was unable to complete the PC Mark Battery 2.0 test. This seems to be because the Redmagic OS shows a battery warning pop up at 20%, interrupting the test.

However, looking at the battery stats, screen on time and the time PC Mark was running, it seems the benchmark ran for over 7 hours 30 mins. This is a poor score compared to most phones but it is over an hour improvement compared to the Red Magic  7.

Similarly, the better drop in the 3DMark Wild Life Stress test was less at 27% vs 31%.

For real-world usage, the performance isn’t too bad, I can game on the phone for a couple of hours or for days with no gaming I can get through a full day without needing to charge.  

Price, Availability and Alternative Options

The Red Magic 7 Pro will cost £729 with 16GB of RAM and 256G storage.

Buy the Red Magic 7 Pro

The Red Magic 7 Pro comes in two models:

  • Obsidian Black with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage
  • Pulsar with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage

The Red Magic 7 starts at £529 for the 12GB/128GB Obsidian model. It is then £619 for the 16GB/256GB Pulsar and £679 for the Supernova 18GB/256GB model.

The Red Magic 7 Pro will have the same global availability as the Red Magic  7 being available in the UK, all of Europe, Canada and the USA, Asia, Middle East and Latin America.

Alternative options would include:

Overall

The Red Magic 7 Pro is a bit of an odd one. The shift to the under-display camera only saves the smallest amount of size, and the Red Magic  7 didn't have a punch hole to complain about in the first place. The bigger battery is certainly helpful for gaming.

I do like the Red Magic 7 Pro, and I personally prefer it to the standard Red Magic 7. Mainly because I rarely take selfies, and I hardly use the 165Hz refresh rate. With the difference being so small, I would hope this is reflected in the pricing. I'd spend an extra £50-75 on this, but probably not much more.

Not everyone will agree, though. Under display, cameras are still contentious, and many people will likely prefer the Red Magic 7 with its faster refresh rate, lower price point but larger frame.

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