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RedMagic 7 review: Pulling out the big guns

Could this be the best gaming phone in the world right now?

RedMagic 7 smartphone held in hand, showing off transparent back
(Image: © Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Our Verdict

The Red Magic 7 ups the game for mid-range gaming phones by bringing all the latest components to the table for less. Starting from the beastly Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset to the sublime 165Hz AMOLED display, this gaming phone is an absolute unit.

For

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
  • Android 12 and improved software
  • Unreal 165Hz AMOLED display
  • 65W GaN charger in box
  • Unbeatable cooling system
  • Ultrasonic triggers work like a dream

Against

  • 4,500mAh doesn't cut it
  • Same old poor cameras
  • No IP rating or wireless charging

 If you're a mobile gamer, you've definitely heard of Nubia's Red Magic gaming phones. Red Magic is to mobile gaming as Motorola is to the budget Android phone space: affordable, value-packed, and fantastic at what it's meant to be. What never fails to impress me is the brand's capability to offer unbelievable specs at mid-range prices.

Take the last-gen RedMagic 6s Pro, for instance. It came with the then top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888+ 5G chipset, a gigantic 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate, and a generous 5,050mAh battery paired with 65W fast charging. You only got a 33W charger in the box, though. Still, all that cost only $599 for the 12GB/128GB variant. Of course, there were other trade-offs to be made, but as a gaming device, the 6s Pro crushed it.

Now, continuing in the footsteps of the RedMagic 6s Pro, Nubia has launched the Red Magic 7, and it is powered by some impressive gear. If you grab the transparent version, you can brandish all those new-fangled specs to the world with a grin on your face. With the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, a sublime 165Hz AMOLED display, Android 12 out of the box, and Red Magic's latest ICE 8.0 cooling system, this phone is a tank — at least on paper, that is. I put it to the test to find out whether Red Magic worked its tech wizardry once more. Let's dive in!

RedMagic 7: Price and availability

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off transparent back

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off transparent back (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

The RedMagic 7 made its initial debut alongside a Pro variant in China, followed subsequently by a global launch. International sales go live on March 10, and the color and memory variations will have different prices depending on the region. Customers can either order from the RedMagic website or Amazon once the listings go live.

The plain silver Obsidian variant with 12GB/128GB memory is priced at $629/€629/£529. The stunning Pulsar color featuring blue and purple hues will have 16GB/256GB memory, setting you back $729/€729/£619. Lastly, the see-through option called Supernova is going to cost you $799/€799/£679 with 18GB/256GB memory options. All variants have a fan inside, but the Supernova option has one lit up by RGB lights when in use.

RedMagic 7: Hardware and design

RedMagic 7 phone flat on a surface, showing off RGB logo on the back

RedMagic 7 phone flat on a surface, showing off RGB logo on the back (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

The RedMagic 7 bumps up a lot of the internals from the RedMagic 6s Pro, but it also retains many aspects. The star of the show is definitely the cutting-edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired with up to 18GB of RAM. Nubia sent me the maxed-out global variant with the 18GB/256GB combo in the translucent shade they like to call Supernova. In addition, you get LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.

Nubia stuck with the same connectivity features as the 6s Pro, which is a good thing because it includes Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and dual 5G-compatible SIM slots. You can even use an HDMI or DisplayPort cable with the RedMagic 7, provided you have a USB-C adapter for them. The sum total of such hardware results in the smoothest performance experience I have ever witnessed. It easily takes the best Android phones head-on and crumbles them to dust, but only in the performance category.

CategoryRedMagic 7
Display6.8 inches, FHD+, 20:9, 2400x1080, 165Hz, AMOLED, 700 nits, Gorilla Glass 5
Operating SystemREDMAGIC OS 5.0 based on Android 12
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 1
GraphicsAdreno 730
Memory12GB/16GB/18GB, LPDDR5
Expandable Storage
Cooling SystemICE 8.0 Multi-dimensional Cooling System
Rear Camera 164MP, ƒ/1.75 (primary)
Rear Camera 28MP, ƒ/2.2 (wide-angle)
Rear Camera 32MP, ƒ/2.4 (macro)
Front Camera8MP, ƒ/2.0
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner, face unlock
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GSM/CDMA/LTE/5G, USB-C, dual SIM slot, HDMI & DisplayPort (with USB-C adapter)
AudioStereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery4,500mAh, 65W GaN wired charging
Water Resistance
Dimensions170.57 x 78.33 x 9.5 mm
Weight215g
ColorsObsidian, Pulsar, Supernova

As this is a gaming phone, it still sports the critically endangered headphone jack that so many audiophiles covet. RedMagic tasks its ICE 8.0 Multi-dimensional Cooling System with the job of keeping the entire rig cool. It's fantastic at doing so and maintains the RedMagic 7's heat levels intelligently. If you want, you can control the RGB fan manually as well.

There's only one problem with having an actual physical fan with air vents on a phone - it is impossible to make the device waterproof. And don't go expecting wireless charging either, because that's still MIA. To counter this, the phone supports 65W fast charging that tops up the 4,500mAh battery mighty quick.

Moving on to the outsides of the device, the RedMagic 7 is identical to the 6s Pro in almost every way. It has the same 6.8-inch AMOLED display with 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 165Hz refresh rates. Although the brightness level peaks at 700 nits, it is clearly readable under the radiance of the morning sun.

RedMagic 7 phone in hand, showing off display

RedMagic 7 phone in hand, showing off display (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

The display has a touch response rate of 720Hz, whereas the ultrasonic shoulder triggers feature a 500Hz touch response rate. It has an in-display fingerprint sensor that works exceptionally well and can also be used to measure your heart rate.

There's no "M Key" touchpad on the back of the phone, though. Since it didn't work very well in the 6s Pro, I'm glad they skipped it. The red slider button is another feature that you'll find along the left side of the RedMagic 7. It's situated right above the volume key, and toggling it takes you to the Game Lobby and adjusts the system settings for optimal gaming conditions. The stereo speakers are unexpectedly loud, so you can enjoy other content aside from gaming on it too.

The sleek aerospace-grade aluminum and glass build has an exquisite finish.

Overall, the sleek aerospace-grade aluminum and glass build has an exquisite finish. Factoring in the RGB RedMagic logo that glows red, it looks fantastic. The transparent version showcases the key elements of the phone and labels them in gold. Tech enthusiasts are sure to drool over it. You can just tell that extensive attention to detail and great care went into its design. Somehow, the RedMagic 7 is lighter than its predecessor. Nonetheless, this is still a bulky phone of large stature next to the stereotypical Android phones of today.

RedMagic 7: Software and performance

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off display

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off display (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Going as far back as the RedMagic 3S, or as recent as the RedMagic 6 Pro, REDMAGIC OS has always been notorious for its bug-ridden software. This has improved significantly over the recent generations, so much so that I believe the RedMagic 7 may finally be the turning point for the Nubia-owned brand. The RedMagic 7 runs REDMAGIC OS 5.0 based on Android 12 out of the box. Unfortunately, the RedMagic 7 cannot leverage the extensive theming features of Material You.

The RedMagic 7 offers the cleanest software experience that you'll ever have with a RedMagic device.

But what I'm about to say next might just make up for it. From the time I got the RedMagic 7 until the very moment of typing this out, I did not face a single major issue with the software. There are no Bluetooth problems or issues with the Wi-Fi randomly going off (or point-blank refusing to work). This might seem like an unnecessary mention, but I feel that it's important to highlight how far RedMagic phones have come.

The RedMagic 7 offers the cleanest software experience that you'll ever have with a RedMagic device. I've faced issues with the connectivity modules and the UI in the past, but thankfully, no such problem arose during my testing phase. The Game Lobby acts as the central home for all things gaming-related on the RedMagic 7. It's as easy as moving the slider button to enter it. Once you're inside, you can add games, set up game-specific graphics and user settings, and tweak your system preferences extensively.

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Lobby interface screenshot

If you have any gaming accessories to go with your phone, this is the place to configure them. There's so much you can do here that I can't possibly talk about every single detail. Some of the things the Game Lobby allows you to do are limit the network usage of other apps, play around with the plugins to enhance gaming, alter status bar settings, set up anti-disturbance options for calls and notifications, and decide what happens when you toggle the slider.

RedMagic has improved the Game Lobby as well as the quickly accessible in-game Game Space feature. Once you've entered a game, you simply swipe inwards from the upper left or right side of the screen to use the Game Space. Entering a game also turns on the ultrasonic triggers automatically. It's astounding what you can do from within the game. There are display settings, performance boosters, screen recording options, and even add plugins to improve your gaming experience. The shorthand Game Space also allows you to open certain social media apps in a free-form floating window and bar calls or any notifications.

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

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RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Game Space interface screenshot

You can prevent accidental touches and map the shoulder triggers on-screen. If the settings vary per game, you can even create different presets for the ultrasonic triggers and save them under different names. Then there are the Quick Picture Library and Quick Notes sections that can hold up to 50 images and notes for you to view all from within the game. Players can also change the screen refresh rate from the Game Space settings.

Thanks to the ICE 8.0 cooling system, the RedMagic 7 stays breezy throughout all gaming sessions. ICE 8.0 consists of nine cooling mechanisms and components, including composite graphene, space-grade materials, an aluminum middle frame, a VC heat sink, a high thermal conductivity gel, a superconducting copper coil, and the user-controlled cooling fan.

This level of cooling is important because it prevents overheating issues. The RedMagic 7 is able to deliver smooth performance consistently and maintains that high level of performance over a long time. Let's look at some performance benchmarks from AnTuTu that test everything.

RedMagic 7 phone AnTuTu benchmark score

RedMagic 7 phone AnTuTu benchmark score (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

As you can see, the RedMagic 7 scored an astonishing overall score of 1,034,703. To put things in perspective, the ASUS ROG Phone 5 scored 835,786, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reportedly scored 965,874. To measure the phone's skills at sustaining high-performance levels, I ran Geekbench 5 three times consecutively. Here are the CPU test results.

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RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

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RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

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RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone Geekbench benchmark score

Notice how little the test scores dip even after running Geekbench 5 three times in a row on the RedMagic 7. Multicore numbers dropped from 3,740 to 3,733 in the second test, and finally fell to 3,724 the third time around. Even after enduring such a heavy-duty benchmark test, the RedMagic 7 beat the Galaxy S22 Ultra's 3,392 multicore score result.

Interestingly, the RedMagic 7's single-core results went up instead of going down over time. The first round of Geekbench 5 yielded 1,223 and then went up to 1,235 the second time. The final test round brought it up to 1,242, bringing it very close to the Galaxy S22 Ultra's 1,240 single-core score.

RedMagic 7: Battery

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off display

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off display (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Since there's no support for wireless charging in the RedMagic 7, Nubia tried to compensate. Last time, we saw 65W charging capabilities in the RedMagic 6s Pro. However, the device didn't ship with a 65W charger, coming with a 33W brick instead. Thankfully, this time things are different. You still get 65W fast charging, but the RedMagic 7 comes with a compatible 65W GaN charger in the box. I personally tested the charge time, and the phone went from dead as a doornail to 100% in exactly 29 minutes and 38 seconds (and 25 milliseconds, if you're interested). 

For some odd inexplicable reason, the RedMagic 7 comes with a 4,500mAh battery.

Don't get excited just yet because I have a huge bone to pick with RedMagic. Many fans, colleagues, and I included have always adored the nonsensically huge battery life that epic gaming phones provide. For some odd inexplicable reason, the RedMagic 7 comes with a 4,500mAh battery. Compared to the RedMagic 6s Pro's 5,050 milliamps or the ASUS ROG Phone 5's 6,000mAh battery, that's nothing.

Think about it for a second. You have all these crazy internals in this powerhouse of a phone. The huge 6.8-inch display, the RGB fan, and all that heavy gaming that the RedMagic 7 is meant for, all require quite a bit of juice. I was severely disappointed with the RedMagic 7's battery life. For a power user like me, the RedMagic phone lasted at most 15 hours.

RedMagic 7: Cameras

RedMagic 7 phone in hand, showing off rear cameras

RedMagic 7 phone in hand, showing off rear cameras (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

So it runs well, stays cool, performs like a beast, and charges fully in less than half an hour. But what about the cameras? Nubia equipped the RedMagic 7 with exactly the same cameras as the last RedMagic phone. The main camera setup consists of a 64MP wide primary sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2M macro sensor. Meanwhile, it has an 8MP wide-angle front camera.

Just as you'd expect, photography is the RedMagic 7's Achilles' heel. Up until now, almost everything about the phone has been exciting and high-tech. Unfortunately, this amazing gaming phone features some really terrible cameras. That 2MP macro sensor is so horrible that its very existence irks me. You can use the main sensor to get a shot and crop into it, and the resulting image will still be leagues above the macro camera.

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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

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RedMagic 7 phone camera sample

RedMagic 7 phone camera sample (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Apart from the macro camera, the 8MP ultra-wide sensor isn't much better either. It struggles to capture accurate colors, and the images turn out far too sharp and noisy. The 64MP primary lens isn't half bad in bright settings, but it doesn't take consistent shots. Certain parts of the picture sometimes end up out of focus, and the camera isn't smart enough to figure out what the subject is when taking photos.

Low-light photography is just bad, with most of the details getting lost in the dark. Unless you have a great source of light, the RedMagic 7 isn't capable of taking decent pictures at night or in low-light conditions.

RedMagic 7: Competition

ASUS ROG Phone 5 on a flat surface, showing off back

ASUS ROG Phone 5 on a flat surface, showing off back (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

You'd be surprised at the number of brilliant gaming phones that you can buy right now. If you're looking for the best of the best, there's no beating the ASUS ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. Apart from the older Snapdragon 888 SoC, it'll give the RedMagic 7 a run for its money in every other category. ASUS filled it to the brim with beefed-up specs like 18GB RAM, 512GB storage, a stunning 144Hz AMOLED display, and a huge 6,000mAh battery. On the other hand, this overpowered gaming device costs upwards of $1,000, and it's near-impossible to find. 

Other gaming phones with similar specs include the tamer ASUS ROG Phone 5 and the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2. Again, both options max out at a 144Hz screen refresh rate, but you get larger batteries. In ASUS's case, the stock Android easily defeats all the other competitors. Again, the RedMagic 7 costs cheaper than this dynamic duo, has a better screen refresh rate, and has a newer chipset too.

If it's value you're looking for, Xiaomi's Black Shark 4 Pro serves as an excellent alternative. It has much better cameras, performs pretty well, and fits nicely in one hand. The $579 price tag for its 8GB/128 GB is rather attractive, but the pop-up magnetic triggers aren't as intuitive as the ultrasonic ones on the RedMagic 7, ASUS ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, or Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2.

RedMagic 7: Should you buy it?

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off front display

RedMagic 7 phone on a flat surface, showing off front display (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You're looking for extensive mobile gaming features
  • You want the highest performing phone out there
  • You need a standout cooling system
  • You prefer ultrasonic triggers
  • You want a 165Hz AMOLED display

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You need a waterproof phone
  • You want superb cameras
  • You need a gigantic battery
  • You'd like to have wireless charging

The bottom line is, you can't expect such an affordable phone with flagship-level hardware to be a true all-rounder. Who even buys a gaming phone to take pictures or go swimming? Sure, there's no IP rating, and yes, you'll be stuck with wired charging with the RedMagic 7. But that's just not what this phone is made for. Any app you throw its way, the RedMagic 7 will destroy it (in the best sense).

After using the RedMagic 7 for a while, its snappy performance and enthralling 165Hz display, I felt genuinely spoiled. Going back to my personal device felt lackluster. Let's not even talk about gaming. It's almost as if the RedMagic 7 anticipates your moves beforehand. The 720Hz touch response rate in the screen and the 500Hz response rate of the ultrasonic triggers together make a deadly combination. Full disclosure: I don't think I can ever play games on my own phone again.

If you're looking for an affordable, gaming enthusiast's Android phone, the RedMagic 7 is possibly the best choice in the world at the time of writing. ASUS has the over-the-top ROG Phone 5 Ultimate phone, but it's so heart-breakingly expensive. Even if you've got the dough, good luck trying to get your hands on one, especially one that'll work on US carriers. Now that Nubia seems to finally have gotten a better grasp on the terrible software, I can easily recommend the RedMagic 7 as a standout choice to mobile gamers of the world.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Namerah Saud Fatmi

Namerah Saud Fatmi is a freelance writer for Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech & gaming and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim. You can reach her on Twitter @NamerahS.