RedMagic 7 Review: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Gaming Champ
With last year’s RedMagic 6, the company also introduced Pro variants with slightly improved specs to its lineup, alongside a fan-less, more mainstream handset – the RedMagic 6R. Today we’re testing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-equipped RedMagic 7 ($629), which shares its overall design, 165Hz display, and 64MP triple camera system with its predecessor. So, is RedMagic still the gaming phone value champ? Let’s find out...
RedMagic 7 Hardware And Design
If you look closely, though, those parts are just covers under the glass, not the actual components. These covers have fake circuit board traces on them. Still, it’s pretty cool – if you’re into over-the-top gamer designs. And of course, the fan is backlit with green, yellow, red, and blue LEDs (the Google colors, incidentally) arranged in a circle. Even the RedMagic logo lights up in red (naturally) with a programmable LED.
But fear not, all those blinkenlights can be disabled if you wish. A bunch of specs are stenciled in gold all over the rear glass, including “165Hz Gaming Screen”, “20,000 R. P. M. @ MAX Turbofan w/ RGB”, “ICE 8. 0 Cooling System”, “64MP AI HD Camera”, “720Hz Touch Sampling Rate”, and a fake Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. Yeah, it’s quite something. It makes the vertical rectangular camera pod down the middle look downright boring.
Other colors include Obsidian (black) and Pulsar (pink and blue), which both lose the semi-transparent back, but gain RGB lights. In front, the 6.8-inch display is free of punch holes or notches, but includes small top and bottom bezels for the 8MP selfie shooter and the earpiece / speaker. As a result, the RedMagic 7 is a big phone – larger even than Samsung’s massive Galaxy S22 Ultra. Still, it feels very nice in hand.
RedMagic’s done a great job blending the rear glass into the aluminum frame. The right side is home to the two capacitive shoulder buttons, fan exhaust, power / lock key, and a third mic. On the left side, you’ll find the red game mode switch, fan intake, and volume rocker. The main speaker, USB Type-C port (USB 3.0), primary mic, and SIM tray are located along the bottom, and the headphone jack and secondary mic live on top.
Obviously, with all those fan openings (there’s even a third one in the glass back), the RedMagic 7 isn’t water or dust resistant. Build quality and materials are top notch, however, and this handset simply feels solid and well-built.
Here's our RedMagic 7 unboxing video before we look at the specs...
RedMagic 7 Specs And Features
|Processing and 5G Platform||Qualcomm
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 + integrated Snapdragon X65 5G Modem
|Display||6.8" FHD+ (20:9) AMOLED, 2400x1080 resolution, 165Hz|
UFS 3.1, no microSD
|Rear-Facing Cameras||64MP f/1.8 Main
PDAF - 8MP f/2.0 120º Ultra-Wide - 2MP f/2.4 Macro
|Front-Facing Cameras||8MP f/2.0|
|Video Recording||Up to 8K @ 30fps, 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo|
mAh, 65W wired charging, no wireless charging
|OS||Android 12 With
RedMagic OS 5.0
|Dimensions||170.6 x 78.3 x 9.5mm|
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2+LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G
|Pricing||Find the RedMagic 7 @ Amazon, Starting at $629
RedMagic 7 Display Quality
RedMagic 7 Camera Performance And Image Quality
For selfies, you’ll find an 8MP f/2.0 1.12-micron camera above the display. So what’s actually changed with the hardware? It appears that RedMagic has replaced Sony’s excellent 64MP IMX 686 with another, lesser 64MP sensor, dropping the pixel size from 0.8 to 0.7 microns. While this isn’t a deal breaker, it means we can expect reduced low light and zoom performance, both of which are already hindered by the lack of OIS.
On the software front, the camera app is still somewhat disorganized, but RedMagic’s finally made the ultrawide shooter available outside of pro mode. Also, the former DNG mode (for shooting RAW images) has been rolled into pro mode. Shooting modes include portrait, night, pro, pro video, panorama, macro, time lapse (1080p 30fps), and slow motion (1080p 120/240/480/960fps) – to name the important ones.
RedMagic 7 Audio, Data, And Call Reception
The RedMagic 7 features stereo speakers (earpiece plus bottom edge speaker) which sound loud and clear at low to mid volumes, but muddier at higher volumes. While no match for today’s best flagship speakers, these will satisfy most users. As a bonus, the RedMagic 7 includes a headphone jack driven by an excellent DAC and amp. There’s also aptX HD and LDAC support for high quality wireless audio over Bluetooth.
RedMagic 7 Performance And Battery Life
Day-to-day, the RedMagic 7 is lightning fast no matter what you’re doing. It ran everything we threw at it without skipping a beat – from our standard productivity apps to graphically demanding games like Genshin Impact and Real Racing 3. Ultimately though, the RedMagic 7 didn’t feel quicker or smoother than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-equipped Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ we just reviewed.
Subjective performance is one thing, but our benchmarks tell a different story. The RedMagic 7 beat Samsung’s flagships in several of our tests, showing significant gains with GPU workloads. More importantly, the RedMagic 7 didn’t exhibit any of the heavy throttling we experienced with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ – whether we enabled the 20,000 rpm fan or not, and regardless of the refresh rate.
RedMagic 7 Geekbench Results
RedMagic 7 PCMark For Android Benchmarks
RedMagic 7 AnTuTu 8 Benchmark Results
However, in AITuTu, which is specifically an image recognition and classification benchmark for AI and machine learning workloads, we see a different picture. Here there are big gains for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powered RedMagic 7, but it doesn't catch two scores in our database from Snapdragon 888-powered devices. We've found this to be the case where some phones might not have the latest neural network models installed in the phone's firmware packages, so an update here from RedMagic could easily change this picture.
3D Graphics And Gaming Benchmarks With The RedMagic 7
Futuremark's 3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite. Unlike previous gen 3DMark mobile tests, Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based benchmark that employs more advanced rendering techniques, like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark
We're running this test in off-screen mode once again to remove display resolution differences from the equation. This lets us compare cross-platform results more reliably...
RedMagic 7 3DMark Wild Life Benchmark Tests
3DMark Wild Life is a significantly more taxing graphics benchmark that employs cutting-edge mobile game engine technologies to deliver impressive visuals -- as you can see in the screen shot above. Here the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered RedMagic 7 delivers a massive improvement in performance versus some of the fastest Snapdragon 888-equipped devices, and even comes within striking distance of the iPhone 13 Pro, which is running on its Metal API in this test.
Fortunately, the RedMagic 7 does not exhibit the throttling we experienced with the Galaxy S22 series in the Wild Life Stress test, managing a stability score of 96.9% at 165Hz with the fan enabled, and 92.8% at 120Hz with the fan disabled.
RedMagic 7 Other Features and Battery Life
Other specs are pretty much what you’d expect in 2022. There’s WiFi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2 (LE), NFC, and dual-band A-GPS / Galileo / BDS / GLONASS positioning, plus the usual collection of sensors. The RedMagic 7 features an optical in-display fingerprint reader that’s fast and accurate, and doubles as a heart-rate sensor. Haptics feel sharp and precise but are probably a little weak for a gaming handset.
RedMagic 7 Software And User Experience
We also experienced less bugs this time around, so RedMagic appears to be paying attention. The settings menu is still disorganized, but the square icons are gone from the launcher. Also, bloatware is kept to a minimum, with the only pre-installed third-party app being NextWord Browser, which was easy to remove. Unfortunately, the company’s OS upgrade and security update policy still remains a mystery.
Game Space is where the RedMagic 7 really shines. Think of it as a separate landscape-mode launcher optimized for gaming, that’s activated with the red game mode switch. It’s extremely well thought out, and highly customizable. You can tweak everything from the 500Hz capacitive shoulder buttons to the refresh rate – and much more – on a per-game basis. Check out our RedMagic 5G review for a closer look.
RedMagic 7 Final Verdict
While the RedMagic 7 is purpose-built for gaming and not likely to replace a modern flagship in terms of all-around versatility, it’s absolutely the right device if you’re a hard-core mobile gamer, and it offers tremendous value in a quality package. Let’s hope that RedMagic continues to improve its software, and brings better shooters to the table next time around. You’ll be able to order the RedMagic 7 directly from the company’s website starting March 10.