Smartphones designed particularly for gaming nonetheless really feel like a comparatively new idea, however Nubia has been extraordinarily prolific throughout that point. Within the 4 years for the reason that first Crimson Magic handset, the Chinese language firm has unveiled no fewer than 13 gaming telephones.
Not all of those have been launched outdoors China, however that doesn’t apply to the Crimson Magic 7 Sequence. Each the common and Professional fashions are getting a world launch, though the Professional gained’t arrive till later within the yr.
Because of this, it’s the usual Crimson Magic 7 that’s my focus right here. On paper, there are solely minor upgrades in comparison with 2021’s 6S Professional.
However nearly no-one shall be upgrading each six months, so the larger query is the way it stacks as much as the perfect gaming telephones you should purchase. After spending a few weeks with the Crimson Magic 7, right here’s my full overview.
Design & Construct
Identical 6.8in show with no notch
Premium design and constructed
Nonetheless cumbersome and heavy
Regardless of all of the modifications between generations, Crimson Magic telephones have maintained a comparatively constant design all through. It stays the case right here because the Crimson Magic 7 is a big, cumbersome gadget with a daring aesthetic that’s certain to show heads – however in the proper means?
That’s very true on the Cyborg mannequin I examined, the place clear glass on the again permits you to see some inside screws and the built-in fan. This kicks into life when charging and operating demanding apps, doing a very good job of stopping any overheating.
It’s helped by a brand new third fan grille, which works alongside current vents on both aspect of the cellphone. I used to be involved about unintentionally blocking this whereas gaming but it surely was by no means a problem.
Regardless of not being seen, Nubia has used this end as a possibility to spotlight the Crimson Magic 7’s key specs – by actually printing them everywhere in the again. It leaves you in little doubt that the Snapdragon eight Gen 1 chip, 64Mp digital camera, 165Hz display screen and 720Hz contact sampling price are all on board.
Gaming fans might like this design, but it surely’s not one thing I’m a fan of. Alternate options can be found within the type of Obsidian, Pulsar and Supernova finishes, though solely the previous has something like an understated design.
Whichever you select, a protracted shiny strip extends down the again of the of the cellphone. That is the place you’ll discover Crimson Magic branding, RGB lighting and a triple rear digital camera system – extra on these later.
Impressively, Nubia has managed to get the cameras to sit down nearly flush with the again of the show. Which means nearly no motion when sitting flat on a desk, though the cellphone is 9.5mm thick to make it doable.
Flipping the cellphone over reveals the identical measurement show as its predecessor at 6.8in. Bezels listed here are a contact bigger than on the 6S Professional, however they continue to be symmetrical. When frequently gaming in panorama mode, it makes a distinction. Additionally, I doubt anybody is complaining about an 83.6% screen-to-body ratio.
There’s nonetheless loads of room above the display screen for an 8Mp selfie digital camera, which additionally helps face unlock. However I think about most individuals will use the in-display fingerprint scanner, which Nubia says is healthier than ever. I didn’t discover any actual distinction in comparison with the 6S Professional, but it surely’s quick and dependable on each telephones.
Not rather a lot has modified on the aspect of the Crimson Magic 7, however that’s a very good factor. It means the three.5mm headphone jack continues to be right here, one thing which might’t be mentioned for many trendy telephones.
You additionally nonetheless get the bodily slider for the Recreation Area mode and shoulder triggers to cut back the necessity for on-screen controls in some video games. As anticipated, USB-C is used for charging.
Nonetheless, the mix of an all-glass design, built-in fan and huge show means the Crimson Magic 7 is heavier than most telephones. It weighs in at 215g, though that’s equivalent to the 6S Professional and China-exclusive 6S.
Display screen & Audio system
6.8in Full HD+ AMOLED show
165Hz refresh price, 720Hz contact sampling
Spectacular outcomes, regardless of no upgrades
The show is arguably essentially the most essential side of any cellphone and Crimson Magic telephones have constantly produced spectacular outcomes. That explains why there are nearly no upgrades to the Crimson Magic 7’s show – it stays a 6.8in, 1080×2400 AMOLED panel. I’d prefer to see the decision elevated to 1440p, but it surely’s not a precedence – most Play Retailer video games run at 1080p anyway.
A category-leading 165Hz refresh price continues to be right here, however the earlier two generations of Crimson Magic handsets even have this characteristic. Nonetheless, not like another telephones, it’s not adaptive.
You’re restricted to 60-, 90-, 120-, 144- or 165Hz, with no technique to mechanically change between them. This additionally means the cellphone can’t drop under 60Hz to assist protect battery life the place applicable.
Nonetheless, you do now get 720Hz contact sampling, one of many highest you’ll discover on any cellphone. That makes it extremely responsive – mixed with silky-smooth 165Hz visuals, this might provide you with an important higher hand throughout on-line multiplayer gaming.
Certainly, it’s essential to not be too harsh on Nubia right here. The Crimson Magic 7’s show continues to be mightily spectacular, providing nice element and a powerful vary of vivid colors. Nubia says it will possibly hit 708 nits at max brightness, however even the 508 I recorded makes it comparatively straightforward to make use of outside.
The display screen is nice however I used to be underwhelmed with the standard of the stereo audio system, which had been missing intimately regardless of loads of bass. That is nonetheless an enchancment on the standard high quality of built-in cellphone audio system although, and you may at all times join wired or wi-fi headphones as a substitute.
Specs & Efficiency
Snapdragon eight Gen 1 and at the very least 12GB RAM
Wonderful efficiency throughout the board
Restricted to 128GB or 256GB storage
Regardless of beginning at a mid-range worth, Nubia at all times consists of the newest and biggest Qualcomm chip in Crimson Magic handsets. Within the case of the Crimson Magic 7, that’s the Snapdragon eight Gen 1.
Qualcomm claims the transfer to 4nm course of yields huge efficiency enhancements, but it surely’s marginal good points on flagship telephones. It additionally, as you’d anticipate, comes with assist for 5G networks.
I can’t truthfully say I seen a distinction in comparison with the 6S Professional, even with a mind-blowing 18GB of RAM on board. You’ll battle to search out something that may trigger even a second’s hesitation, however these high-end specs ought to assist with futureproofing, too.
Supplied your web connection is robust, it additionally means gaming on the Crimson Magic 7 is a delight. Whether or not you’re within the midst of fight on Name of Responsibility: Cell, taking to the tracks on Actual Racing three or controlling the world’s greatest footballers on FIFA Cell, the expertise is constantly top-notch.
What’s extra, having a robust built-in fan means the gadget by no means will get greater than barely heat. The sound it makes is noticeable, but it surely’s normally drowned out by the audio from the sport.
It in all probability goes with out saying, however stellar efficiency extends to on a regular basis utilization. The 165Hz refresh price means utilizing limitless scrolling apps resembling Twitter is a spotlight, however you gained’t be disillusioned whereas internet shopping, checking e-mail or multitasking both.
That’s mirrored within the benchmarks under, which present the Crimson Magic 7 can compete with any cellphone you should purchase on the subject of uncooked efficiency:
Nonetheless, storage could also be an issue for some individuals, with solely 128GB and 256GB fashions obtainable globally. It’s not clear why the 512GB model is a China-exclusive, particularly with no choice for expandable storage.
Software program & Apps
Crimson Magic OS 5.Zero over Android 12
No ensures on software program updates
Numerous gaming-specific options
As anticipated, the Crimson Magic 7 runs Nubia’s customized Crimson Magic OS over Android 12. Mother or father firm ZTE doesn’t make any particular commitments on software program assist, however the cellphone ought to be up to date to Android 13 on the very least.
That is the fifth main model of Crimson Magic OS, though it’s very a lot consistent with earlier iterations. From testing earlier Crimson Magic telephones, this was immediately acquainted, however it can take some getting used to for anybody new to it. That’s your solely choice right here, because the default launcher nonetheless can’t be swapped out for one thing else from the Play Retailer.
The cellphone retains full Google assist, together with the Uncover feed subsequent to the house display screen. All of the options you’d need are right here – it simply doesn’t really feel as intuitive because the model on Google or Samsung telephones.
However gaming is the precedence, with Nubia’s devoted ‘Recreation Area’ mode returning. It’s nonetheless activated through a bodily slider on the aspect of the cellphone and gives an identical suite of gaming-focused options. These embrace the power to spice up CPU/GPU efficiency, alter fan exercise and block distractions.
That is additionally the place you may configure the shoulder triggers, which supply a compelling different to on-screen controls in video games resembling PUBG Cell.
Identical triple rear cameras as final yr
Higher outcomes, presumably as a result of software program
Noticeable enchancment to selfies, too
On paper, the Crimson Magic 7 has an equivalent digital camera system to its predecessor. That’s a triple rear setup, consisting of 64Mp vast, 8Mp ultrawide and 2Mp macros.
Nonetheless, it appears to be like like Nubia has made some enhancements on the software program aspect. In good lighting situations, the Crimson Magic 7 delivers vibrant photographs brimming with element. Dynamic vary can also be fairly good, however publicity stays a problem – the sky is usually wildly overexposed.
The cellphone is healthier suited to photographs the place there’s a transparent topic in body. That helps clarify some spectacular portrait photographs, regardless of struggling for edge detection at instances. I achieved some good outcomes with individuals, cats and indicators.
There’s a noticeable drop in high quality when shifting to the ultrawide lens, but it surely’s nonetheless good to have that versatility. However with no telephoto, the zoom is all digital – even photographs a 5x lose a number of element.
As is usually the case, the macro digital camera has no actual worth. Even in good lighting, close-up photographs lack element and are usually not even ok to share on social media.
It’s higher information the place the 8Mp front-facing digital camera is anxious. Regardless of magnificence mode being enabled by default, selfies supply respectable publicity and color accuracy. In addition they keep away from the frequent tendency to sacrifice all particulars within the background.
Right here’s a choice of photographs I took whereas testing:
Video is offered as much as 8K at 30fps, though I doubt most individuals will exceed 1080p. The inclusion of optical picture stabilisation (OIS) means footage is secure even with motion. It’s nice for dwelling movies and sharing on-line.
Battery Life & Charging
Underwhelming battery life, even on non-gaming duties
65W quick charging will get full cost in 30 minutes
Disappointingly, the Crimson Magic 7 has a smaller battery than each the 6S and 6S Professional – 4500mAh in comparison with 5050mAh. It feels like a minor change, but it surely’s sufficient for battery life to turn out to be one of many cellphone’s fundamental weaknesses.
Assuming you’re enjoying video games day by day, a single cost might not be sufficient to make it by means of a full day. At 165Hz, I recorded 7 hours and 55 minutes in Geekbench 4’s battery check (our typical PCMark check wouldn’t run). Nonetheless, that is solely a easy measure of screen-on time at a comparatively low 120 nits of brightness.
In actuality, you gained’t get practically as a lot real-world utilization earlier than needing to achieve for the charger. One technique to mitigate that is selecting a decrease refresh price, however you’re not shopping for a 165Hz cellphone to run it at 60- or 90Hz.
This battery capability can be enough for an everyday handset, however enjoying video games is without doubt one of the most demanding issues you are able to do on a cellphone. Contemplating how cumbersome the Crimson Magic 7 is, I anticipated extra.
Nonetheless, one space I can don’t have any complaints about is charging speeds. The usual Crimson Magic 7 may not get the super-fast 135W from the Professional, however the 65W obtainable right here continues to be good.
From utterly useless, I reached 65% in simply 15 minutes utilizing the adapter included within the field. At 30 minutes, the gadget was totally charged. There’s nonetheless no wi-fi charging right here, however this can be a worthwhile substitute.
Value & Availability
Regardless of being the usual mannequin, the Crimson Magic 7 has a better worth than final yr’s 6S Professional. You’ll pay at the very least £529/$629 at launch, though you do get a beneficiant 12GB RAM in trade.
A mid-spec configuration prices £619/$729, whereas the high-end mannequin I examined will set you again £679/$799. All three at the moment are obtainable from the Crimson Magic web site within the UK and US.
That’s approaching flagship cellphone territory, however the Crimson Magic 7 is primarily competing with the perfect gaming telephones you should purchase.
It’s now considerably dearer than the Black Shark Four Professional, going head-to-head with the Asus ROG Cellphone 5. However even with worth will increase, the Crimson Magic 7 nonetheless gives nice worth for cash – for the proper particular person.
Nubia has reserved a lot of the thrilling upgrades for the Crimson Magic 7 Professional, making its common sibling really feel a little bit boring by comparability.
Nonetheless, we shouldn’t take stellar efficiency with no consideration, alongside options that many cell players will love. Nubia’s work on software program processing delivers noticeable digital camera enhancements, whereas the imposing design nonetheless feels forward of its time.
However the 165Hz refresh price nonetheless isn’t adaptive – mixed with a smaller battery capability, battery life is noticeably worse than final yr. Whereas the software program is nice for gaming, it’s barely missing for on a regular basis use.
The Crimson Magic 7 continues to be a superb cellphone for cell gaming, particularly at its mid-range beginning worth. However the higher selfie digital camera, bigger battery and far quicker charging on the 7 Professional may very well be value ready for.
Nubia Crimson Magic 7: Specs
Android 12 with Crimson Magic OS 5.0
6.8in Full HD+ (1080×2400) OLED show, 20:9, 165Hz
Qualcomm Snapdragon eight Gen 1
12/16/18 GB RAM
128/256GB inside storage (non-expandable)
64Mp fundamental, 8Mp ultrawide, 2Mp macro cameras
8Mp selfie digital camera
Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
5G (mmWave, sub-6)
4,500mAh non-removable battery
65W wired charging
170.6 x 78.3x 9.5 mm