Asus ROG Phone 7 review: The competitive edge. Rog phone 7 pro
Asus ROG Phone 7 review: The competitive edge
With next-level performance and full-on software customization, serious mobile gamers should look no further than the Asus ROG Phone 7 to gain a competitive advantage.
What we like
Brilliant gaming performance
Fast universal USB PD charging
Customizable UI and settings
What we don’t like
Update policy could be further improved
Asus ROG Phone 7
With next-level performance and full-on software customization, serious mobile gamers should look no further than the Asus ROG Phone 7 to gain a competitive advantage.
The ROG Phone series is Asus’ premium gaming phone, complete with associated gaming accessories built to (hopefully) help you boost your W/L ratio. The latest Asus ROG Phone 7 epitomizes the mobile gaming philosophy, boasting bleeding-edge specifications, RGB lighting, and performance above and beyond your typical flagship phone. Of course, a solid gaming phone has to be a good, well, smartphone too. Is that the case with Asus’ latest and greatest? Find out in Android Authority’s Asus ROG Phone 7 review.
About this Asus ROG Phone 7 review: I tested the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate over a period of 10 days. It was running ZenUI (33.0820.0810.52) on the January 2023 security patch. The unit was provided by Asus for this review.
What you need to know about the Asus ROG Phone 7
For 2023, Asus has two models on offer: the standard Asus ROG Phone 7 and the Ultimate edition. The differences are small; the Ultimate has just one memory configuration (16GB LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB UFS 4.0 storage), a customizable ROG Vision external color display, an AeroActive Portal, and comes in a huge crate box with a new AeroActive Cooler 7 accessory (pictured above) included to keep those temperatures down during long gaming sessions. If you already have an AeroActive Cooler 6, don’t worry; the ROG Phone 7 is backwards compatible.
Other ROG series staples remain intact, such as the trusty capacitive Air Triggers that you can use as haptic shoulder bumpers while gaming. It’s also one of the few remaining phones with a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired listening. There’s a jack on the AeroActive Cooler 7 this time around too, which also features a subwoofer speaker for additional bass volume. Two USB-C ports complete the port setup (one on the bottom, another on the left side), allowing you to connect up a charger and other peripherals in either screen orientation, even with the cooler attached. There’s also a passably fast and very accurate in-display fingerprint scanner.
Both models are powered by Qualcomm’s powerhouse Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, boast an IP54 water and dust resistance rating, improved Wi-Fi 7 and 5G sub-6GHz networking, and a new 32MP selfie camera. There are many similarities to the previous generation Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro too. The design is essentially unchanged, save for the aforementioned AeroActive Portal cooling port on the Ultimate model that opens up (see above) with the AeroActive Cooler 6 or 7 attached. This helps cool the re-shaped graphene sheet inside the phone and is the same setup we saw on the MediaTek-powered ROG Phone 6D Ultimate that was never officially made available in the US.
Elsewhere, there’s a familiar 165Hz 1ms AMOLED display, and the rear camera module relies on the same hardware. However, the camera is augmented with new software in the form of RAW super-resolution zoom and AI image segmentation.
Asus backs up the ROG Phone 7 with two major OS updates and four years of security updates. That’s an improvement over previous generations but still behind flagship update pledges from the best in the business. Something to keep in mind when spending this kind of money, especially considering how long it typically takes for ROG flagships to receive version upgrades. Case in point: the ROG Phone 6 wasn’t updated to Android 13 until six months after the version’s initial rollout.
The standard ROG Phone 7 comes in two colorways — Phantom Black and Storm White — both with a two-tone matte and gloss “slash” design finish. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes in Matte White exclusively. Pre-order markets include Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Europe, with more regions to follow. A US launch is in the works, but there’s no confirmed date yet.
Performance is the big reason to buy a gaming phone, and we will take a detailed look at that in a later section. Suffice it to say that’s is as powerful a handset as you would expect. The second reason is gaming-oriented software features, which Asus includes in spades.
Armoury Crate continues to be the go-to location for customizing your accessories and game settings. Here you can enable ROG Vision lighting on the Ultimate version, customize the air triggers, and set up macros for your favorite games. Dive deeper, and you can make per-game performance optimizations, ranging from battery optimized or max performance preferences to display refresh rate and touch sensitivity options.
New Armoury Crate additions include X Sense and X Capture features. X Sense uses AI pattern recognition to alert players to key events happening on screen. Only Arena of Valor in the SEA market is supported currently, but it sounds like a powerful assistant tool and will hopefully be heading to more games in the future. X Capture uses the same technology to record match highlights automatically, again requiring supported titles.
A new Vibration Mapping option augments the phone’s bone-rattling haptics, allowing you to map touch-screen button presses to vibrations. Think of it like key mapping for games that don’t offer native controller support, but for touch haptics instead.
The ROG Phone 7 takes this level of customization to the broader UI too as you can pick between the gamer ROG look or classic ZenUI. Taking things further, Asus now allows the mixing and matching of downloadable theme elements. For instance, you can take the icons from one pack and the wallpaper from another to make the setup your own.
Asus’ selection of gaming accessories augments the setup further, and they feel very well built. The Ultimate edition comes bundled with an AeroActive Cooler 7, complete with four wonderfully tactile trigger buttons, RGB lighting, Peltier cooling chip inside, and a subwoofer for the first time. It certainly takes internal and case temperatures down a notch (Asus claims up to 25°C cooler back panel temps), and the woofer rounds out the sound from the already solid-sounding front-firing speakers. Not only is the phone backwards compatible with the AeroActive Cooler 6, but it also plays nicely with Asus’ rather nice ROG Kunai Gamepad 3, as well as third-party PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and even Stadia controllers (RIP).
Speaking of accessories, Asus ships a 65W charger in the box, which I found to be USB Power Delivery PPS compliant in our testing. This is great; you can use Asus’ charger to power your other compatible gadgets and even your laptop. Likewise, other USB PD chargers and power banks charge the ROG Phone 7 without issue. Asus says it should take 42 minutes to full, and we clocked it at 41 minutes when starting at 2%. That’s really fast for a huge 6,000mAh battery.
What’s not so good?
My only real gripe about the phone is the similarities to the ROG Phone 6 series. The design, for instance, has been tweaked with a few less gaudy slogans, but it’s not meaningfully different. In fact, the whole range has looked pretty similar since the ROG Phone 5 family. There’s the same camera hardware (more on that in a moment), Gorilla Glass Victus protection, and Air Trigger system as before. This isn’t strictly bad, the hardware is still rock solid, but it does make it harder to recommend an upgrade over previous models when the formula hasn’t really moved on beyond performance (we’ll get to that).
Having spent some time gaming on it and using it as my daily driver, I’m not sure I see the need for the Ultimate edition either; it offers no additional performance benefits over the base model other than the included cooler and the cooling flap system, which, as we’ll see, isn’t essential. Perhaps the ROG Vision display isn’t for me; preset and even fully-custom animations on the back when the phone is charging, playing a game, or receiving a call, hardly seem necessary when the phone has a more customizable and useful always-on-display setting. €400 is a big price hike over the standard ROG Phone 7, and I’m not seeing an equivalent value increase.
Gaming phones have other priorities than photography, and that’s certainly the case with the ROG Phone 7. Selfie snapper aside, it’s the same hardware as 2022’s uninspiring setup. Asus has revamped the package with RAW-domain super-resolution zoom and Qualcomm’s image segmentation technologies. You can see a selection of full-res image snaps in this Google Drive folder.
White balance and exposure are generally solid, colors are punchy when you want them, and there are no obvious noise issues. You can spot some HDR blurring artifacts, though, and subjects can be underexposed with bright backlighting. Equally, low lighting continues to be a point of weakness, particularly for the ultrawide lens. On the positive side, RAW-domain zoom does help, with images at 2x and 3x snaps looking reasonably OK in good lighting. At least some of the time, 4x and beyond are a no-go here.
The macro lens is pretty useless, though. The main lens focuses reasonably close anyway, so the package wouldn’t lose anything with its omission. All-in-all a functional camera but certainly nothing exceptional here. Upgrading the selfie camera has yielded mixed results. There’s decent detail and exposure, but the images are a little heavy on contrast. Trickier lighting produces washed-out colors and some blurrier details.
Again, you don’t buy a gaming phone for a killer camera package, but while it’s OK in a pinch, it is ultimately below par for the price Asus is charging.
The final drawback is Asus’ middling update commitment. Four years of security patches are good, but just two OS upgrades are poor at this price. Perhaps gamers trade up their phones more regularly? But the value-for-money proposition isn’t amazing if you plan to keep this phone for four years or more.
Asus ROG Phone 7 benchmarks and gaming tests
To stand out, a gaming phone needs to offer exceptional performance, and the Asus ROG Phone 7 certainly delivers. In fact, it’s the fastest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphone we’ve clocked so far, thanks to Asus’ X-Mode options for extra performance. We didn’t use the AeroActive Cooler 7 in any of the tests below.
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate ASMR Unboxing
The handset glides through Geekbench 6, PCMark 3.0, and 3DMark’s graphics benchmarks with flying colors. There is quite a difference between X-Mode disabled and enabled. Still, that ensures healthy optimizations for robust battery life during everyday use and maximum gaming performance when you want it. The huge 6,000mAh battery easily takes you through a full day and often two of general use. Gaming time varies, especially when using the AeroActive Cooler, but I extrapolated five hours or more of continuous PUBG Mobile with X-Mode enabled.
This is equally reflected in our extreme graphics stress test. The ROG Phone 7 eventually throttles back performance by default, but X-Mode pushes on for sustainable performance that eclipses the capabilities of regular flagship phones, far surpassing the overclocked Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with its Snapdragon for Galaxy version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The implication is that you won’t have to worry about dropped frames, even when cranking up the graphics and frame rates for a full-on gaming marathon.
To put that to the test, I ran through a handful of demanding games while logging frame rate data over 30-minute sessions using X-Mode and no external cooler. Asus states that you should only need its AeroActive Cooler for sessions lasting an hour or longer. The graph below plots the minimum, maximum, and average frames for each second of gameplay. Ideally, we want to see minimal variation.
Again the results are impressive. We achieved a virtual rock-solid 60fps on Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile with the graphics cranked up. Gaming feels silky smooth then, and, most importantly, there are no janks during important match moments. The only stutters I saw occurred during map loading and at the match end, which is common. With frame rates locked for a solid 30 minutes, the phone can clearly handle extended play sessions of some of the best Android games tailored to competitive play.
We stressed the phone with F-Zero GX running at 1080p in the Dolphin emulator. Frame rates are more variable here, as emulation pushes the CPU and GPU hardware more than native Android games. There were many more janks during stage loading phases, as is common with emulators, but we also saw a more inconsistent frame rate as we approached the end of the session. Throwing the cooler on would help keep the emulator running smoother for longer, but this is still a solid effort that still results in smooth gameplay.
Even without the AeroActive Cooler, performance is rock solid across the most demanding Android games.
The only performance drawback is that not all games support frame rates above 60fps, meaning the ROG Phone 7’s 165Hz display isn’t strictly necessary here. Armoury Crate can help you find 165Hz games, which do feel even smoother to play. My only complaint is that the phone is rather bulky for long gaming sessions. Flipping the cooler’s kickstand and connecting up the ROG Kunai Gamepad 3 (159.99 at Amazon) is the best way to play.
The bottom line is the Asus ROG Phone 7 provides best-in-class performance for Android games as well as emulation. The addition of hardware-level ray tracing inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also offers a level of futureproofing for upcoming high-end mobile games.
Asus ROG Phone 7 specs
6.78-inch Dynamic AMOLEDFHD resolution (2,448 x 1,080)20.4:9 aspect ratio165Hz refresh rate (60, 90, 120, 144, 165Hz modes)23ms touch latency720Hz touch sampling
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate review: gaming phone royalty with some hidden talents
Do you take playing games on your phone seriously? I mean, really seriously? If so, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate should be right at the top of your shopping list, as this big, bold, and immensely powerful smartphone is tailor-made for gaming.
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: design
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: gaming experience
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: screen and controls
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: audio and visual
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: camera
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: battery and charging
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: software and connectivity
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: price and availability
- What about the ROG Phone 7?
- Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: verdict Show 5 more items
Don’t entirely dismiss it if gaming is only one part of your daily phone use, though, as the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate also happens to be an excellent multimedia device too. There’s a lot to know about the phone’s ability, so let’s dive into what makes it special.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: design
Let’s get this out of the way now: the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a very big and seriously heavy smartphone. It’s not impossible to deal with, but if you’re coming from any moderately sized smartphone then it’ll take a couple of days to adjust to it. It’s 77mm wide and 173 tall, plus 239 grams. For comparison, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is 78mm wide, 163mm tall, and 233 grams, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max is 160mm tall, 77mm wide, and 240 grams.
The dimensions only tell part of the story. You always know the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is in your jeans. and bags feel somewhat heavier than normal when it’s stowed inside. Carrying the ROG Phone around as your all-day, everyday device is a compromise. You’re accepting that it’s big and a bit ungainly in return for the game-centric ergonomics, features, and controls. If you’re not prepared to accept that, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate probably isn’t for you.
What about the positive side of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s design? The substantial chassis makes it great to hold in landscape orientation when playing games, and most of the time, it’s fine in portrait orientation too. However, for regular web browsing and messaging, the phone eventually feels top-heavy, and fatigue sets in after a while. The thick, carefully curved chassis means it doesn’t slide around in your hand, there’s lots of grip, and your index fingers fall naturally to the AirTriggers on each shoulder. The flat screen is perfect for gaming but not for the overall style.
The USB Type-C connector on the side means the phone can easily be charged while you play, and the central placement of the processor inside the phone means the chassis doesn’t get hot around your fingers and palms.
Asus has taken the motorized cooling port from the ROG Phone 6D and incorporated it into the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s body, but it’s only functional when you use the Asus AeroActive Cooler fan accessory. Otherwise, it sits flush with the back of the phone, and you’ll never know it’s there.
The back of the phone is a cool, eye-catching mix of polished and matte glass, and the now iconic ROG Vision RGB display shows fun animations and some system notifications. It’s one of my favorite parts of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, as it adds a lot of visual excitement to the otherwise familiar design, which hasn’t changed all that much over the ROG Phone 6 Pro. Even with the exhaust port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate even has an IP54 splash-resistant rating, so it’s moderately durable, and good on Asus for putting it through the accreditation.
Asus’s Republic of Gamers (or ROG for short) division knows its audience. It understands what matters to people who play a lot of games for long periods of time, and that’s why the ROG Phone 7 is shaped and designed like it is.
If you’re wondering if you fit into Asus’s target demographic, ask yourself how long you spend playing games on your phone. If it’s 30 minutes or more per day on games like Genshin Impact, PUBG, Fortnite, or Arena of Valor, then you’re absolutely the person Asus thinks should buy — and will benefit from — the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.
There is another reason to consider the phone if you’re not a hardcore gamer, which we’ll come to in a while, but if you only play Wordle and 10 minutes of Super Mario Run every so often, then think long and hard about whether you can handle the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s size day in and day out.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: gaming experience
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, but it’s not a special “binned” version or one that has been tweaked for the phone, like inside the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It comes with up to 16GB of the fastest LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB UFS 4.0 storage space. Asus has redesigned the cooling system for 168% greater thermal efficiency over the ROG Phone 6 Pro, and it has tuned the game-specific X Mode to take advantage of all the changes and additional power.
It practically goes without saying that the performance is superb. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has already proven itself, and it means the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate takes gaming in its stride. Use the phone’s X Mode, where the performance can be maxed out or tailored to your needs, and games are super smooth.
Asus tuned the software with a stable 60 frames-per-second as its goal in games like Genshin Impact, Diablo Immortal, Arena of Valor, and PUBG. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also future-proofs the phone for gaming too, as it supports hardware-level ray tracing for realistic graphics. I say future proofing because, at the time of writing, there aren’t any mobile games with ray tracing to try out.
We don’t rely on benchmarks to assess smartphone performance, but we put the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate through the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test alongside the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra — just to see if we could spot the differences in extended gaming situations. This is one of the areas where the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is supposed to excel over mainstream high-performance smartphones, rather than during quick gaming sessions where differences will be minimal. The results are interesting because they highlight where serious players will benefit from the phone’s ability.
The Asus phone did get warm but not roasting during the test, and most of the heat was centered in the middle of the device, so it was never uncomfortable to hold. The battery reduced by 13% during the 20-minute intensive test, it scored a 3769 Best Loop with 99.7% stability, the temperature ranged from 22 degrees centigrade to 43 degrees (about 71 to 109 Fahrenheit), and the frame rate ranged from 17 frames per second (fps) to 28 fps.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s results are what makes all this interesting. It got a tiny bit hotter, but the heat was spread over the entire rear panel, and while it scored a higher 3818 Best Loop, the stability was markedly lower at 76.1%. The frame rate dropped lower too and ranged between 12 and 28 fps. The battery fell by 16%. The test shows that while outright performance probably won’t be much different if you use the S23 Ultra, the Asus gaming phone is a lot more stable and cooler to hold, which translates into greater efficiency and an improved gaming experience over longer periods of time.
I can’t say I noticed a big difference between playing my games of choice on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate over the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but what is obvious is if I was playing for an hour or more, I’d much prefer to do so on the Asus phone. It’s not just the stability or the heat management, it’s all about the controls and the battery too, which we’ll go on to next.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: screen and controls
Asus uses a bespoke Samsung AMOLED screen with a 2448 x 1080 pixel resolution, a variable refresh rate topping out at 165Hz, a maximum 1,500 nits brightness, 23 millisecond latency, and 720Hz touch sampling. It’s set under flat Gorilla Glass Victus, and there are substantial bezels (by today’s standards) above and below it. Again, this makes a difference to games, as not only do you grip these parts of the phone so any screen would be obscured anyway, but they also house the big 12mm x 16mm stereo, front-facing speakers.
The screen is super sensitive, and it often only takes the merest press or tap to activate something on the home screen by accident, and it can be a little annoying. It’s also very sensitive in apps too, where my haphazard swipes that are fine on other devices, result in different, more “accurate” actions on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. It’s something you’ll get used to and also something that will pay dividends when gaming. The under-display fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate, plus there’s face unlock to fall back on if it gets things wrong.
On the “shoulders” of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate are AirTriggers, a pair of ultrasonic buttons that can be assigned to different in-game actions, and each has nine possible gestures with sensitivity adjustment under the X Mode menu. They really are a big selling point of the ROG Phone 7 for anyone who plays games with a lot of controls. The haptic feedback is fast, precise, and natural-feeling, so they really do feel like little buttons.
Asus’s Game Genie is swiped in from the top left of the screen when you play a game. The menu lets you customize everything from screen refresh rate, X Mode settings, incoming notification alerts, screen recording, control macros, and adding a crosshair. It’s this, along with X Mode and Armoury Crate app where all your games and individual settings are stored, that makes the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate special, as you really can set the phone up exactly how you want for every game you play.
There are other new additions to the ROG Phone’s repertoire, too, including X Capture, which lets you record key events during a game when the system recognizes a particular pattern (such as for boss kills). There’s also Background Mode, where the game runs behind the scenes when it’s set up for auto-combat. You can even tailor different haptic effects to different parts of the screen, so you can easily recognize if you’ve selected the right action.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: audio and visual
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is made to play games, and I do think you need to play graphically intensive games every day to make the best use of the phone’s capabilities, but there is another reason to consider it: the amazing audio and visual ability. The vibrant screen is beautiful, but the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate also excels when it comes to audio, providing a more comprehensive package of enhancements and connectivity than almost any other phone available at the moment.
Audio experts Dirac have worked on the phone’s audio, and the dual speakers sound brilliant — even at loud volumes and even when there’s a substantial amount of bass (for a phone) involved. The AeroActive Cooler 7 accessory comes with the phone, and it has a tiny 13mm x 38mm subwoofer inside, giving the phone a 2.1 audio system when connected up. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired headphones, assisted by Dirac’s Virtuo tuning, and a full suite of Bluetooth 5.3 options: AptX Adaptive, AptX Lossless, Hi-Res and Hi-Res Wireless, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound. It’s rare to find one of these features, let alone all of them on a single device.
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate also excels when it comes to audio.
I’ve been using the Bang Olufsen Beoplay EQ and the NuraTrue Pro earbuds with the phone and music sounds fantastic. Masses of bass, huge presence, and crystal clear definition. Pair the cracking audio with the stunning screen, and you’ve got a superb all-around multimedia phone. If you also watch video and listen to music on your phone a lot, in addition to playing games often, then the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a great choice.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: camera
No one will be — or at least they shouldn’t be — buying the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate solely for its camera. However, you won’t be disappointed by its performance, as despite this being a gaming phone and not a camera phone, the camera does a good job.
There are three cameras on the back, with a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 camera leading the pack, joined by a 13MP wide-angle and a 5MP macro camera. There are also plenty of different modes to play with, including a macro mode, night mode, a light trail mode, and even 8K resolution video recording at 24 frames-per-second.
Daytime photos are filled with natural colors, the HDR effect is strong enough that your pictures have that instantly shareable look, and the 2x zoom returns surprisingly good-quality images. There’s not much consistency between the main and wide-angle camera, but this isn’t a problem specific to the ROG Phone 7, so it can be forgiven on a phone where the camera is not the FOCUS … if you’ll forgive the pun.
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a battery superstar. The combination of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and 6,000mAh cell works perfectly, with the chip’s efficiency making the most out of the sheer power of the battery. Use the phone lightly, with around two hours of screen time, and it’ll still be above 70% at the end of the day. But it’s even more impressive when you push it hard.
On a six-hour screen time day, starting at 8:00 a.m. with a mix of GPS, video calls, games, and app use, it ended with 36% remaining at 1:00 a.m. This is superb performance, and outside of gaming deliberately until the battery’s flat, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s battery will last you a true, very full day of use without any problem.
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a battery superstar.
Inside the box is a 67W HyperCharge wired fast charger and a lovely braided USB Type-C to Type-C cable, which recharged the phone in 50 minutes. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate does not have wireless charging, a feature that has never been a part of the ROG Phone series. Asus has repeatedly said it’s not something that works with the ROG Phone’s design, and fast wired charging and long battery life makes up for its absence. It’s not a feature I’ve missed, and I’d rather Asus made the phone it wants to make instead of squeezing in wireless charging just to fill a supposed “gap” in the specification list.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: software and connectivity
There are two choices regarding the software on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: either go full-ROG or keep things sensible with Asus’s ZenUI. Both are different takes on the look of Android 13, with the ROG theme adding flashy icons, sound effects, and special wallpaper to the OS, while ZenUI is a more standard, Pixel-like version of the Android. The features are the same across both themes; it only affects the design. Plus, you can mix and match elements to create a hybrid look.
The software has been reliable, and it’s easy to use, plus it’s not high maintenance, nor is it always suggesting things for you to try or do. While I think this is a positive, it’s also where the problems lie with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s software. There are so many features and game-specific modes to try out, many of which are hidden in the X Mode menu or the Armory Crate app, it can be hard to find them at first. There is a tips page introducing a selection of them, but not all of them.
Asus states that a massive 4 million hours are spent gaming on ROG Phones around the world every week, a figure that increased by 36% during 2022. With those kinds of numbers, it’s hard to still pass mobile gaming off as a niche, as there’s clearly a big audience for a phone that makes mobile gaming more fun and you a better player. The ROG Phone series has long led the pack, and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate continues that tradition.
It’s enormously capable, the design is cool without being silly, the special features are well thought-out and useful, and the software is mature and reliable. It’s definitely focused on gaming, but the twist is if you’re after a strong multimedia phone in general, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate fits the bill too. It’s expensive, but so is every top-spec flagship smartphone today.
It’s not a big leap forward over the ROG Phone 6 Pro, but Asus has refined and improved the device in all the right places. Is it only for mobile gamers? Yes, and no. The vast majority of the features are most relevant to people who play top, power-intensive games for a minimum of 30 minutes every day — but it’s also worth considering if video and audio performance is also important. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate excels in all these areas and provided you’re happy to accept the compromises, this is a great purchase and a phone that will last you for years.
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate isn’t just the best gaming phone — it is a phenomenal flagship that holds its own against the best of Android.
Android Central Verdict
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate isn’t your average gaming phone. Asus made dozens of changes to the underlying Android kernel to deliver the ultimate gaming experience, and that’s immediately evident the moment you start using the phone. This is a phone built to blaze through visually-demanding games, and it manages to do just that. Combine that with an aggressive design, sublime 165Hz screen, astounding hardware, a gargantuan battery, clean software with more customizability than any other phone, and you get an overall package that is just marvelous. This is the fastest phone I’ve ever used, and if you want a flagship that stands out, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate should be on the top of your list.
- Stunning 165Hz AMOLED panel gets brighter than previous years
- Phenomenal for marathon gaming sessions
- Incredible internal hardware
- customizability than any other Android device
- Outstanding battery life
- The best onboard sound of any phone today
- Clean Android interface with no bloat
- Better cameras this time around
- – Only two Android version updates
- – Cameras not as versatile as rivals
- – No wireless charging
- – Costly
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I used the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate for just over three weeks before writing this review, and in that time, I asked myself a few times if I would spend my own money to get the phone. Coming in at €1,399 (1,533), the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate costs the same as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and while it has a more aggressive design and unique gaming-focused extras, it isn’t aimed at a mainstream audience.
Another point against it is that Asus will only roll out two Android version updates, which is two less than what Samsung, OnePlus, and OPPO offer. Then there’s the fact that the cameras aren’t as good as the best Android phones — that isn’t a big priority for Asus.
The shortcomings make it easy to write off the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, but it would be wrong to do so. Because what Asus has managed to create here isn’t just the best gaming phone, but a spectacular overall effort that is one of the best Android experiences you’ll find today. So would I part with my cash to pick it up? Absolutely.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: Pricing and availability
Asus unveiled the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate on April 13, and the device is slated to go on sale in global markets in the coming weeks, with pre-orders now live in Taiwan and select regions in Europe. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is sold in a single variant with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and it is available for €1,399 (1,533). What’s interesting with this generation is that Asus is bundling the latest version of the AeroActive Cooler with the package, a €110 (120) value.
Like previous years, there’s also a standard model of the ROG Phone 7 that will be debuting at €999 (1,095). The standard version has similar hardware, but it misses out on a few extras, like the AeroActive Portal that funnels air into the chassis of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate for better thermals. There’s no Pro variant this time, with Asus introducing just the two models in the series.
At this moment, there’s no mention of when either device will be available for sale in North America. If history is any indication, the phones should debut in the region later in the quarter, but Asus hasn’t detailed availability just yet.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: Design
Asus hasn’t changed things too much on the design front, and that’s a good thing. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has excellent in-hand feel, and the bold styling at the back is guaranteed to turn heads. You get the same jagged design for the camera housing that looks great, and it is a bit more prominent this time around.
The design itself is a little more restrained, and the result is that the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate looks cleaner and a bit more modern than its predecessor. There’s ROG branding at the bottom, and the ROG Vision panel at the back doesn’t have a large border surrounding the screen, giving it a cleaner look.
Asus is offering the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate in a single Storm White color variant, and the white colorway does a much better job accentuating the design. There’s a two-tone finish at the back, and the matte texture ensures the device doesn’t attract any smudges. Like previous years, Asus did a fantastic job with weight distribution, and although the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is one of the heaviest phones around — at 239g, it’s 5G heavier than the Galaxy S23 Ultra — you don’t notice that in daily use.
A key highlight at the back of the phone is the ROG Vision color PMOLED display, which is essentially a 2-inch screen at the back that shows off various static images or animations. It can also be used in various situations in receiving calls, launching games, or as a visual indicator when the phone is charging. There’s much more configurability this time around, with Asus adding 60 new animations to the library, and you have the ability to create your own effects.
The ROG Vision is one of my favorite features on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, and it works just as well as previous years. In a similar vein, the AeroActive Portal that debuted on the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate last year is back, and it works in conjunction with the AeroActive Cooler 7 to deliver much better cooling to the device. The portal is basically a motorized slider that’s made out of 50 parts, and there’s a hinge that opens automatically once you connect the AeroActive Cooler, allowing the cooler to funnel airflow directly into the internal components.
It is a unique feature that isn’t available on any other gaming phone, and having used it extensively last year, I can attest to its performance during marathon gaming sessions. It makes a noticeable difference to thermal management, and allows the phone much better headroom in this area. The housing for the portal is made out of stainless steel, and Asus says the hinge has been tested for 40,000 unlocks.
Build quality itself is among the best in the industry, and the phone features an aluminum chassis that’s sandwiched between two panes of glass. You’ll find Gorilla Glass 3 at the back and Victus at the front, and the back has symmetric curves where it meets the mid-frame, making it that much easier to hold and use the phone. You’ll find the same blue accents around the main camera module, power button, and the SIM card slot, and that gives a little more flair to the design.
AirTriggers are back, and you’ll find two ultrasonic buttons on either side on the right, and they offer extensive customization for in-game actions. The power button and volume rockers are on the right as well, and the former is located just below where your thumb rests. The USB-C port at the bottom is located to the left, and it doesn’t come in the way if you’re charging the device while gaming.
A feature that I particularly like this year is IP54 ingress protection. Sure, it isn’t quite the same as the IP68 standard that you’ll find on the best Android phones, but Asus deserves credit for adding some level of dust and water resistance to the device. Finally, the phone retains the 3.5mm jack, a commendable feat in and of itself in 2023, and you’ll find a side-mounted USB-C port that has been a mainstay on ROG Phones for a while now. A new addition this year is dual pogo pins that are used for connecting the AeroActive Cooler 7 to the device.
Overall, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has a fabulous design and is built like a tank. While it is an iterative update over its predecessor, it is still one of the best-looking gaming phones around, and the subtle tweaks for this generation give the device a little more character.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: Screen
Asus hasn’t changed the panel itself from last year, and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate features a 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED screen with 165Hz refresh, 720Hz polling, and a touch latency of just 23ms. While the screen itself is unchanged, the biggest change is brightness levels — the phone is now able to hit up to 1,000 nits in auto mode and 1,500 nits for HDR content, with both figures significantly higher than last year.
The screen is fantastic in daily use, and a big part of that is down to the fact that it isn’t marred by a cutout. Sure, the bezels are larger than what you’ll find on other high-end phones, but they’re not intrusive, and Asus somehow managed to tuck the front camera and an RGB notification LED in such a small area.
But what’s more intriguing is that you get identical speakers at the front, and they sound phenomenal. The phone gets incredibly loud in regular use, and the sound is detailed and doesn’t get distorted even when you crank up the volume.
I’ll talk more about the AeroActive Cooler 7 further below, but a nifty addition this year is that it has a tiny subwoofer, adding another channel to the stereo sound and giving you a portable 2.1 configuration on the go. There’s a noticeable difference to the sound when the cooler’s subwoofer is enabled, and it is just one more thing that makes using the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate so much fun.
On that note, Asus once again teamed up with Dirac for tweaking the audio on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, and the AudioWizard feature offers extensive customizability. There are four modes available — Dynamic, Music, Cinema, and Game — and there’s also a 10-Band EQ that lets you fine-tune the sound to your preferences.
As for color accuracy, Asus did a brilliant job with color calibration out of the box, and like previous years, you get a lot of customizability in this area. You can tweak the color balance and switch between the five available modes, and there’s an always-on option available. The screen is covered by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus.
By default, Asus uses an auto refresh feature to change the screen refresh rate based on the content playing on the screen, but you can manually set it to 60, 90, 120, 144, or 165Hz and it will stay locked to that setting. As this is Asus, you get a lot of configurability, with Armoury Crate giving you the ability to customize the refresh rate for individual titles.
I set it to 165Hz as standard, and the phone is fluid like no other device I’ve used in 2023 — Asus deserves a lot of credit for optimizing the hardware here, and using the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is an absolute joy.
The phone has zero issues in titles that leverage high refresh rates, and the size of the screen and quality of onboard audio makes gaming on this device thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, that’s to be considered given the target audience for the phone, and like previous years, Asus did a magnificent overall job.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: Performance
I always look forward to testing Asus’s gaming phones because they tend to deliver the best possible hardware of any Android phone, and that’s no different with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and it features a Cortex X3 core at 3.2GHz, two Cortex A715 cores at 2.8GHz, two Cortex A710 cores at 2.8GHz, and three Cortex A510 cores at 2.0GHz along with the Adreno 740.
|Zen UI based on Android 13|
|6.78-inch 165Hz Samsung AMOLED, 2448 x 1080, 1500 nits, HDR10, Gorilla Glass Victus|
|2-inch ROG Vision PMOLED at the back|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 1 x 3.2GHz Cortex X3, 2 x 2.8GHz Cortex A715, 2 x 2.8GHz Cortex A710, 3 x 2.0GHz Cortex A510, Adreno 740, 4nm|
|512GB UFS 4.0|
|50MP Sony IMX766, f/1.9 1.0um pixels, PDAF, 8K at 24fps, 4K at 60fps|
|13MP f/2.2 wide-angle, 125-degree field of view|
|32MP f/2.5, fixed FOCUS|
|IP54 dust and water resistance|
|AirTriggers, X Mode, Armoury Crate|
|In-screen optical fingerprint module, face unlock|
|Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, Sub-6 5G global bands|
|Stereo sound, 3.5mm jack, 24-bit/192kHz playback, AptX suite|
|6000mAh, 65W USB PD 3.0 wired charging, bundled 65W fast charger|
|173 x 77 x 10.3mm, 239g|
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is fabbed on a 4nm node, and the big deal with this generation is its ability to deliver sustained gaming performance without throttling. That’s been the biggest differentiator while testing the likes of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi 13 Pro, iQOO 11, Find X6 Pro, and other Android phones powered by Qualcomm’s latest silicon, so it’s no wonder that the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate benefits from the same advancements.
This year, Asus is offering a single version of the device with 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. As you’d imagine, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is outstanding in daily use, and it is one of the fastest — if not the fastest — phones available today. The interface is fluid like no other device I’ve used, and it handles any game you throw at it without breaking a sweat.
That’s evident in the synthetic scores as well. Things are interesting this year as Samsung is using a customized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for its Galaxy S23 series that sees the Cortex X3 core go up to 3.36GHz, but Asus still comes out ahead in all synthetic workloads thanks to its class-leading thermal management.
In fact, this is the fastest phone I tested to date, and the Geekbench 6 scores are higher than any other device; the multi-core score at 5607 is 12% faster than what the S23 Ultra, and that’s a huge deal.
In a similar vein, the device aces 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme test, delivering the best scores of any phone today. In fact, Asus manages to outmatch the iPhone 14 Pro in this area. And as you can make out, there are sizeable gains across the board over last year’s Dimensity 9000-powered ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, showcasing just what Qualcomm has achieved this year with the 8 Gen 2.
Asus overhauled the cooling system on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, utilizing a new design for the vapor chambers and increasing their size, and the result is that the phone delivers incredible sustained performance figures. than anything else, what stands out in this area is the consistency; even during extended gaming sessions, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate continues to offer the same level of performance.
You still get extensive tuning options via Armoury Crate, with the ability to customize performance modes and tweak settings. X Mode is turned on by default when launching a game, and it turns up the hardware to the max and ensures the device doesn’t throttle. There’s thread balancing with this generation, and you can manually assign what cores are used for games.
AirTriggers are useful not just for gaming, but also in general use. With the ability to customize actions for short and long presses, you can launch the camera, toggle the flashlight, or set up a custom event with the feature, and it is versatile. In a similar vein, the vibration motor is excellent, and it offers granular feedback in daily use.
Asus’s Game Genie is one of the best around, offering exhaustive customizability for each game on the device. Like previous years, there’s absolutely nothing missing on the connectivity front, with Asus offering Wi-Fi 6e out of the box and an update to enable the Wi-Fi 7 modem later in the year.
There’s Sub-6 5G connectivity with global bands, Bluetooth 5.2, and just about every high-res audio codec available, including the full AptX suite. The 3.5mm jack is paired with a decent onboard DAC that hits 24-bit/192kHz playback, and it works incredibly well with IEMs.
Other features include NFC, dual-Band GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidu, and NavIC. The side-mounted USB-C port is based on the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard and delivers a 4K signal over 60Hz, and the bottom USB-C port is based on USB 2.0. You get a decent set of accessories in the box, including the AeroActive Cooler 7 and a carrying case for the cooler, a case for the phone that works with the cooler, and a 65W charger with a USB-C to USB-C cable.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate: Accessories
Asus isn’t offering as many accessories as previous generations, and is making a few changes to its ecosystem. If you’ve got an older ROG Phone, you can use some accessories with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, like the Kunai 3 Gamepad, but it doesn’t have a snug fit. You can also use last year’s AeroActive Cooler 6 with the latest phones, but the new AeroActive Cooler 7 uses pogo connectors and isn’t compatible with earlier versions of ROG Phones.
Now, the AeroActive Cooler 7 itself underwent a major overhaul this year, and is considerably larger than its predecessor. It has the same aggressive styling with RGB lighting and the fan visible at the bottom, and a feature that I like is the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack. There’s also a USB-C port — giving you the ability to use the side-mounted port with the cooler connected — and while it connects via USB-C, there are two pogo connectors as well this time around.
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Which is the true Android king?
Asus announced the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate on April 13, 2023. The Android phone is meant to give gamers an unrivaled experience. The ROG series is recognized for its cutting-edge features and specifications, and the latest Asus flagship is no exception. Anybody who is passionate about mobile gaming has undoubtedly heard of the ROG series.
In this article, we’ll compare the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Google Pixel 7 Pro, two of the best Android flagship phones on the market right now. While each has unique traits, we’ll analyze their features, attributes, and overall performance to determine who is the true Android king.
САМЫЙ МОЩНЫЙ СМАРТФОН ASUS ROG PHONE 7 ULTIMATE
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Who reigns supreme in the Android battle?
In this comparison, we’ll take a look at the display, performance, camera, and battery life of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Google Pixel 7 Pro to see which one reigns supreme.
|Category||Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate||Google Pixel 7 Pro|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm)||Google Tensor G2 (4mm)|
|Storage||512GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Display||6.78 Inches AMOLED, HDR10, 1500 nits, 1080 x 2448 Pixels||6.7 Inches LTPO AMOLED, HDR10, 1500 nits, 1440 x 3120 Pixels|
|Operating System||Android 13||Android 13|
|Rear Cameras||50 MP, f/1.9 (Main); 13 MP, f/2.2, 120˚ (Ultrawide); 8 MP, f/2.0 (Macro)||50 MP, f/1.9, OIS (Main); 12 MP, f/2.2, 126˚ (Ultrawide); 48 MP, f/3.5, 5x optical zoom, OIS (Telephoto)|
|Front Camera||32 MP, f/2.5||10.8 MP, f/2.2|
|Video Recording||8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 720p@480fps; gyro-EIS||4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS|
|Battery||6000 mAh||5000 mAh|
|Charging Speed||65W||30W Fast Charging|
The bigger 6.78-inch OLED display on the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate features a resolution of 2448 x 1080 pixels and a high refresh rate of up to 165Hz. It also includes a 720Hz touch sampling rate and a 20.4:9 aspect ratio. The Google Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, sports a slightly smaller 6.67-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It also comes with an LTPO panel, which lowers the refresh rate to save battery life.
Both devices produce vibrant colors and deep blacks. The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s larger screen size, higher refresh rate, and faster touch sampling rate make it ideal for gamers and multimedia enthusiasts, whereas the Google Pixel 7 Pro’s energy-efficient display is an excellent choice for users who value battery life.
When it comes to performance, both the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Google Pixel 7 Pro have amazing specifications that make them ideal for gaming and multitasking.
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate takes the lead with its powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, 512GB UFS 4.0 storage, and 16GB LPDR5X RAM. They have also added an effective thermal solution that incorporates large graphite sheets, efficient thermal paste, and a modified vapor chamber with novel pathways and microscopic wicks. This cutting-edge cooling technology guarantees that the device’s hardware performs optimally without overheating, thus allowing for excellent gaming performance.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, comes with the new Tensor G2 chip, which is 60% quicker and 20% more power-efficient than the initial Tensor G1 chip seen in the Pixel 6 Pro. It also includes a Mali-G710 GPU, which boosts gaming performance significantly. Furthermore, it includes 12GB LPDDR5X RAM and storage choices of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, making it ideal for multitasking.
While both smartphones performed exceptionally, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s better cooling technology and X-Mode performance tuning make it the perfect choice for professional gamers.
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes with a Sony IMX766 50MP main camera, a 13MP ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP macro camera. In addition, the selfie camera has been upgraded from 12MP to 32MP. Despite the lack of a dedicated telephoto lens, Asus uses the 50MP sensor to achieve 2x lossless zoom in strong light. Digital zoom is utilized in low-light conditions.
The camera software has been improved, and a light trail mode for making creative photos has been included. While not the finest camera available, it is enough for most consumers who want a gaming phone.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro, meanwhile, has a triple rear camera arrangement that combines a 50MP main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and an extra 48MP telephoto camera. In normal lighting circumstances, the 10.8MP front-facing camera works excellently. While it may take a few seconds for the processing to finish after snapping a shot, the combination of the trio lenses gives consumers a fantastic photography experience.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is largely considered to be the best phone for photography available at this price point.
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate features a larger battery capacity of 6000mAh, which is divided into two 3000mAh halves. It also has a quick charging technology that provides 65W power output and can charge completely in less than 45 minutes. It also offers a bypass mode that allows the phone to be powered directly through a wired connection, bypassing the battery and lowering heat.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a slightly smaller 5000mAh battery than the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. The Pixel 7 Pro supports fast charging and may be charged quickly when using a 30W power brick. When connected via wire, it can be charged at a maximum rate of 23W. It also supports wireless charging rates of up to 23W and reverse wireless charging.
With normal usage, users may expect a battery life of 7-8 hours. However, it can last up to 72 hours thanks to the Extreme Battery Saver feature.
While both the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Google Pixel 7 Pro are outstanding Android smartphones, the former is the best pick for gamers due to its bigger screen, improved cooling technology, and faster charging.
Meanwhile, the better camera system and energy-efficient display of the Google Pixel 7 Pro make it the perfect pick for photography fans and consumers who prioritize battery life.