When it comes to phones designed specifically with gaming in mind, Nubia’s REDMAGIC line is one of the most powerful and popular options. Multiple generations into it the series keeps pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of specifications and features.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro arrived this summer as an alternative or compliment to the 7 and 7 Pro. Save for a few tweaks, it’s very similar to the REDMAGIC 7S Pro.
Key changes here include a more powerful processor, more RAM, a bigger battery, and a slightly different cooling system. Oh, and there’s also a new transparent color as well.
In terms of overall design, the new model is almost identical to the REDMAGIC 7 Pro. That is to say it has the same transparent rear, integrated fan, RGB LEDs, and haptic triggers. Aside from the new Mercury color you’d certainly be forgiven for not physically seeing a difference.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro is a rather large device with its 6.8-inch AMOLED display. But that’s exactly what gamers want and need for immersing themselves. Not only is the screen big, but its well-rounded, too. Standout details include 120Hz refresh rate, 960Hz touch sampling rate, 1,080×2,400 pixels resolution and 600 nits brightness.
Games look incredible on the phone, of course, but so do videos and photos. Everything is bright, clear, and as smooth as silk. And because there’s no notch or hole punch front-facing camera, things extend to all edges of the screen without interruption.
This is not to suggest that there is no front-facing selfie camera, it’s just tucked away under the display. Look closely enough and you’ll notice where it is but otherwise you’ll quickly forget it’s even there.
Design-wise, the REDMAGIC 7S Pro ticks all the same boxes as the 7 and 7 Pro in that it has a unique look. The transparent spots make for an interesting appearance and the LED lights accent things in a way that call to mind a gaming PC or a room dedicated to games.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro has a couple of shoulder triggers for games, headphone jack, and turbo fan for cooling. I like having a headphone jack in my devices to begin with, but it makes even more sense for gaming. There’s no lag to worry about when you’re plugged directly into the phone.
In regards to the fan and cooling system, it automatically turns on to keep the phone from getting warm or overheating during extended gaming sessions. As you may know, heat is one of your worst enemies when it comes to performance.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro runs Nubia’s custom Red Magic OS (v5.5) based on Android 12. There’s been no commitment on any updates from Nubia but I’m hopeful that Android 13 will ultimately make its way to the phone.
As I found with the REDMAGIC 7, the software and user experience can be off-putting or frustrating at first. Keeping in mind that I’m a big fan of a clean UI and barebones Android build, it takes some tweaking and adjusting to get it to my liking.
Understanding that this is a phone that’s built with gaming in mind, it feels that way in usage. Much of what you see and interact with on the surface is designed to showcase or point you to gaming features and settings.
The interface feels built for users who want to get into games and spend the majority of their time there. The Game Space, for instance, gives gamers control over performance and tuning. I found it inviting to tinker with options and customize the experience and the more time I spend with it, the more I understand its intentions.
There are plenty of widgets and shortcuts to sprinkle on your home screen, some of which are there by default. If you like to keep an eye on stats and performance, you’ll appreciate them. As for me, I removed them and rearranged the layout because it felt cluttered. Those of you who like to keep a watchful eye on benchmarks and squeeze hardware for everything its worth will appreciate what’s on offer.
The way the REDMAGIC OS handles the app drawer was aggravating, to me, and I could not wait to enable the traditional drawer so I could more quickly locate apps. If you plan to use your REDMAGIC 7S Pro for general phone needs, you might want to spend some time in the early days getting things to a way you like it.
How does one even begin to tackle the subject of performance with a device that you’ve only spent a few weeks with? Surely, the full suite of apps and games isn’t yet installed and there’s no real way of telling how it holds up over the long term.
Suffice it to say, my time with the REDMAGIC 7 continued to be a fun one with no signs of latency, sluggishness, or dwindled performance.
On paper the REDMAGIC 7S Pro doesn’t match the refresh rate and brightness of the REDMAGIC 7 but I couldn’t tell the difference. I have no doubt that others would; however, its screen was buttery smooth and fun to behold.
Somewhat similarly, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the 7S Pro bests the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 from the standard REDMAGIC 7. Did I see the performance difference? Not in the games that I played but I am confident that the newer processor is more powerful and more efficient. If you’re the type who likes to read benchmark tests and do deep-dive comparisons of phones, I suggest Notebookcheck’s take on the two.
If you would have told me a few years ago that I would test a phone with 18GB RAM, I would have laughed at you. Yet, here we are in fall 2022 with an octa-core processor clocked as high as 3.2GHz with 18GB LPDDR5 memory. I hate to speak in hyperbolic terms, but I cannot imagine ever needing more from a phone. At least not for years.
I’m not a hardcore mobile gamer but I do appreciate some of the choices that gaming phone manufacturers make. Shoulder buttons are an excellent addition for some titles and help blur the line between a phone and a gaming controller.
I like the cooling system that REDMAGIC institutes for its phones as it’s not only beneficial but it’s fun to look at, too. There’s a metal plate that runs much of the back’s length with a grey urban camouflage pattern. Moreover, there are ventilation grilles on the back and the side to help with keeping things cool.
Then there’s also that 20,000RPM fan that lights up with RGB LED lights as well as a vapor chamber, high thermal conductivity copper foil, thermal gel, and other components to comprise the ten layers of the ICE 10.0 cooling system. Upgraded from the standard REDMAGIC 7, it’s reported to lower the internal temperature of the phone by up to 3°C (~5 degrees Fahrenheit).
I’m of the opinion that upper-end smartphones should employ both a fingerprint reader and facial recognition for unlocking. For some reason select devices do not have both. The REDMAGIC 7S Pro comes with an in-display fingerprint reader that I find to be fast and reliable. The same goes for the face unlocking which uses that hidden front-facing camera to quickly open things up.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro comes with a 5,000mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging. Performance-wise, I found the battery to last as long as I expected. Depending on how many games you play in a day, and the types of games, you might anticipate getting through a full day without needing to charge.
It takes a little over five minutes to go from 0 to 25% battery life and maybe ten minutes to hit the halfway mark. You should have no problem fully charging in less than an hour.
There’s no wireless charging in the phone and the USB Type-C port is located at the bottom. It might be nice to have an additional port on the side so that gamers can enjoy playing while connected to a power source.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro has pretty much the same camera configuration as the REDMAGIC 7 on the back. And to that end I say don’t buy the phone if you’re looking for a killer combo.
The main rear camera is a 64-megapixel unit that creates decent shots. It’s more than passable, and if you do a little post-capture processing, you’ll get great results worthy of social media and timelines.
The dynamic range was generally rather impressive but the exposure was sometimes too high. That said, a quick share to your favorite editing app will get things looking really nice. The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel macro sensor are okay but don’t seem to grab the same level of detail.
The front-facing camera is bumped from 8-megapixels to 16-megapixel but I didn’t see double the performance. It’s good enough for my needs and I don’t think the target user cares much. Still, you can tell that pics are taken from a camera that’s under a display.
The REDMAGIC 7S Pro is one hell of a phone and easily among the most powerful on the market. And when it comes to gaming phones, it’s cheaper than what you’ll get from the Asus ROG Phone line.
Understanding that the phone leans very heavily in the direction of gaming, I still might appreciate a more balanced experience. The camera is average and the software can be a bit frustrating to casual users. But with that in mind, I don’t think there are many who will come to the REDMAGIC 7S Pro because of either of those.
Even with its blistering performance I really like the battery life and charging speed. I also happen to appreciate the 3.5mm headphone jack, too.
One of the trade-offs with the cooling system (ventilation grilles) is that it does not allow for any sort of water protection. That’s not a deal breaker for me, but it may be for someone else.
If it were up to me, I might slow down the rate at which the REDMAGIC line introduces new models. Between the 7, 7 Pro, and 7S Pro there are three remarkably similar phones being offered.
Learn more about the 7S Pro and other REDMAGIC phones at the handset maker’s website where you can also purchase it in three colors.
- Obsidian with 12GB/512GB storage – $729
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- Mercury with 18GB/512GB storage – $899