Redmagic 7 Review – Active cooling allows the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to sustain its performance longer than any other phone

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Redmagic 7 Review Rating

Summary

The combination of the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 and active cooling means this is likely to be the best phone on the market for sustained performance until its follow up arrives. The additional shoulder triggers are also very useful for gaming. Pricing is also reasonable, and this will undoubtedly remain one of the best choices for Android gamers throughout the year.

Overall
85%
85%
  • Overall - 85%
    85%

Pros

  • Almost certainly the best phone on the market for sustained performance
  • Shoulder triggers are excellent for gaming
  • Game space is full of useful features

Cons

  • Poor battery
  • Fan noise can be annoying
  • Not the best camera

The Redmagic 7 series was announced last week in China. Now, the phone is getting a global launch with the phones being able to be bought from the 10th of March.

For reasons not explained to me, the global variants of the Redmagic 7 phones do not have the insane charge speeds of the Chinese models. Both the Redmagic 7 and Redmagic 7 Pro have 65W charging and a 65W USB charger.

Specification

SpecREDMAGIC 7
ChipSnapdragon 8 Gen 1
ScreenFHD+, AMOLED, 165Hz Refresh Rate, 6.8 inches, 20:9, Resolution 1080*2400, 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, 4500mAh, 11A dual battery cells in series
TriggersTouchpad Dual shoulder trigger (500Hz)
DesignSupernova(Transparent version) | Obsidian(Black version) | Pulsar(Gradient version)
TurbofanLow Power Consumption, High-Speed Fan 20K RPM/min with Fluorescent Fan (Transparent: RGB LED lighting)
CoolingVC 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 RAM
CameraFront 8M, rear 64M+2M+8M
Game SpaceREDMAGIC 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 Function
AudioDual smart PA, dual speakers, 3 mics, DTS sound, 3.5 mm headphone jack
MaterialAviation Aluminium Middle Frame + Glass Back Cover
Lighting EffectREDMAGIC Logo Light, RGB Breathing Light(Obsidian & Pulsar version), Colorful Fluorescent Fan RGB (Supernova version)
Size170.57*78.33*9.5mm
Weight215g

Design & Display

The Redmagic 7 shares many of the same elements as the Red Magic 6 Pro. They have almost identical dimensions, and the display is basically the same. This is a rare phone that lacks a punch-hole display and instead uses an old fashioned bezel. This is beneficial for gaming as you don't have an annoying hole in the display.

If you want something fancier, then the Redmagic 7 Pro has a slightly smaller frame thanks to its front-facing camera being hidden under the display (similar to the Axon 30). However, that then means you get a slower refresh rate of 120Hz vs 160Hz.

The Redmagic 7 has an aluminium frame with a glass front and back, it is quite heavy at 215g and the inclusion of a top bezel plus a 6.8″ display means it is very large in hand.

My phone is the Pulsar variant, which has 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It then has an impressive colourway that is supposed to be inspired by a flashing neutron star with blue-pink pulsating gradient colour.

The back of the phone also has LEDs built into it. You can have the Redmagic logo flash in different colours. Then there are two LED strips on the side that are used for notifications.

On the transparent Supernova model you also have an RGB fan, which looks quite impressive in the pictures

Gaming switch and fan exhaust

The phone has the power on the right and a volume rocker on the left; you then also have the physical switch for the gaming mode. On both sides of the phones are vents for active cooling, then there is an additional vent on the rear. The shoulder triggers are located don't he same edge as the power button.

Shoulder trigger and fan intake

At the top of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack, and there are dual speakers with three microphones. Unfortunately, there is no microSD slot.

As for the display, this does not dynamically change the refresh rate. You can set it from the pull-down toggles. Personally, I can't tell the difference between 165Hz and 120Hz that much, and when you enable 165Hz you are warned it will affect the battery. For day to day use, 90Hz is plenty.

The display then also has multi-finger 720Hz touch sampling rate, which gives you an incredible level of responsiveness that is ideal for gaming.

As an owner of the Google Pixel 6, I am constantly frustrated by the poor fingerprint scanner on my phone. The Redmagic 7, on the other hand, is a pleasure to use. The scanner is both accurate and instantaneous.

Camera

The camera specification hasn't changed from last year. The phone comes with a 64MP camera which has a 1/1.97 sensor. This is then paired with an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro. You also get an 8MP selfie camera on the top bezel of the phone.

No gaming phone comes with an amazingly good camera, and the same is true here. You are not buying a phone like this for its camera. The main sensor does a perfectly acceptable job, and most people will be quite happy with it, it only starts to struggle in low light scenarios.

Performance, Benchmarks and Thermal Throttling

I have done a more detailed post covering the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks and how the Redmagic performs against the previous Redmagic 6S Pro and the 6S.

If you are a gamer, the results are impressive, to say the least. For 3Dmark, you are looking at a 67% improvement compared to the SD888+ on the Redmagic 6S Pro.

During stress testing, the active fan has a significant benefit to the overall performance. The phone manages to sustain its performance almost perfectly throughout the benchmarking test while only hitting a maximum temperature of 48°C. That's 11°C cooler than the Redmagic 6R that lacks a fan and 3°C cooler than the Redmagic 6S Pro. Compared to the Realme GT, which hit almost the same temperature, but it had to significantly throttle the performance.

For gaming performance, you are not going to find a better phone.

As you'd expect, the day to day performance is amazing too. I keep my phone at 90Hz to try and save the battery a little bit, and everything runs perfectly, feeling instantaneous.

Battery

There is no way to skirt around the fact that the battery life is poor. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has the same power issues as the Snapdragon 888, and you have a relatively small 4500mAh battery compared to many recent flagship and gaming phones.

Benchmarking the battery paints a very poor picture. My initial run on the PCMark 2.0 battery test was with the phone running at 120Hz, and this test achieved one of the lowest scores I have seen, just 5 hours 1 min.

I immediately blamed the 120hz refresh rate, so I charged it up, switched to 90Hz and ran it again. This failed to run completely, which is somewhat suspicious as this is the same problem that I experienced with the Redmagic 6R and Redmagic 6S Pro. One possible cause for this problem is the underlying OS doing something with the battery management, which causes the app to stop. In this case, the benchmark ran for 6 hours 32 mins. That is quite a bit worse than the previous two Redmagic phones I have reviewed.

This battery issue is reflected in the 3DMark stress test; there is a 31% drop in just 20 mins. The Qualcomm SD8G1 chipset is insanely power-hungry.

To be fair, I haven't experienced a huge problem in the real world. I have happily gamed for a couple of hours and not seen the massive drops in battery life that benchmarks would suggest. Whenever I game, I am generally on my couch, so with easy access to the charging cable. For day to day activities, I can get through the day without needing to charge the phone.

Disappointingly, the global variant of the Redmagic 7 is limited to 65W charging with a 65W charger, as is the Redmagic 7 Pro. The Chinese variants get 120W and 135W, respectively, with a 165W charger.

While 65W charging is fast enough, 120W would have helped differentiate this phone from all the other excellent affordable Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones that will launch this year.

Gaming / Fan Noise / 165Hz display

If you buy this phone, it is specifically because you are a keen gamer. As you'd expect, this is a superb gaming phone. The massive display, fast refresh rate, powerful chipset and shoulder triggers make gaming both more enjoyable and easier. Anecdotally, when I switched from my Pixel 6 to the Redmagic 7, I was much more successful in Call of Duty mobile, consistently being one of the top-scoring players and regularly the MVP. I am not even a very good gamer.

The fan is a unique feature that no other brand is currently using. The benchmarks show this is clearly beneficial for sustained performance under intensive loads. However, it is quite annoying. It is a tiny fan running at up to 20K RPM, which therefore has quite a high pitch, and it is easily audible over TV or music volume.

I found that during gaming, it didn't bother me that much, I was too immersed in the game to care. For things like benchmarks, it is quite an annoying sound to have on when you are busy doing other things. The fan will also be running at maximum during stressful benchmarks, so it will be louder than regular use.

For day to day use, if you have the fan switch off in the settings menu, it stays off for all normal apps.

Shoulder Triggers

I first experienced shoulder triggers built into a phone with the Black Shark 3 Pro. They have mechanical triggers, which are arguably better than the touch-sensitive triggers of the Redmagic phones. However, I am a big fan of both styles. Within the Game Space, you can map the shoulder to press any button you like. For COD I have it to aim the right trigger to aim the gun and the left trigger to reload. This reduces the need to move my fingers much allowing me to respond much faster, which therefore improves my performance.

Added Features / Plugins

There are a variety of additional features made available via Game Space. I am not sure how useful they are to me personally, but I can see how other people may like them.

All your screenshots get saved to the quick picture library.

You can also take notes mid-game, which could be useful for some puzzle or RPG style games.

Both your screenshots and notes can be easily pulled up with the view board, which loads up on the side of the screen mid-game.

You then have a game reminder and stopwatch to help you keep track of time-based events, and any notification that comes through on your phone can be read across the screen without interrupting the game.

There are a variety of plugins that are available for some or all games. Many of these plugins are aimed at making games easier though I am not sure if or how much an effect these would have in competitive play.

Page 2 for Software, Pricing, Availability and the conclusion.

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