Asus is a bit early with the ROG Phone launch this year, but you won’t hear us complaining. It’s time to once again take a deep dive into the mobile gaming world with what has consistently been the cream of the crop of mobile gaming hardware.
We get the ROG Phone 7 and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate edition this year. The Taiwanese giant is going for a simplified lineup, at least thus far and is only coming out with two devices. Both are based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and are rocking essentially the same specs.
Today we have the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate in the house. As its name suggests, it is the top-tier offering within the lineup. In this particular case, this means including the ROG Vision display on the back and the AeroActive cooling Portal – both features making a comeback from the ROG Phone 6 family. The Ultimate only comes in one white color option – Storm White.
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate specs at a glance:
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE / 5G|
|2G bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2|
|3G bands||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100|
|4G bands||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 48, 66 – International|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 48, 66, 71 – USA|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 18, 19, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 48 – China|
|5G bands||1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 18, 20, 25, 26, 28, 38, 40, 41, 48, 66, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA/Sub6 – International|
|1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 18, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 40, 41, 48, 66, 71, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA/Sub6 – USA|
|1, 3, 5, 8, 28, 41, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA/Sub6 – China|
|Speed||HSPA, LTE-A (Up to 7CA), 5G|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2023, April 13|
|Status||Available. Released 2023, May|
|BODY||Dimensions||173 x 77 x 10.3 mm (6.81 x 3.03 x 0.41 in)|
|Weight||239 g (8.43 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass 3), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Built-in motorized cooling air vent (AeroActive Portal)
IP54, dust and splash resistant
2″ OLED display (on the back)
Pressure sensitive zones (Gaming triggers)
|DISPLAY||Type||AMOLED, 1B colors, 165Hz, HDR10+, 1000 nits (HBM), 1500 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.78 inches, 109.5 cm2 (~82.2% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2448 pixels (~395 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (1×3.2 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510)|
|Internal||512GB 16GB RAM|
NTFS support for external storage
|MAIN CAMERA||Triple||50 MP, f/1.9, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF
13 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.0, (macro)
|Features||LED flash, HDR, panorama|
|Video||8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 720p@480fps; gyro-EIS, HDR10+|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||32 MP, f/2.5, 29mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 0.7µm|
|SOUND||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers (2 amplifiers)|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e/7, tri-band, Wi-Fi Direct|
|Bluetooth||5.3, A2DP, LE, aptX Adaptive|
|Positioning||GPS (L1+L5), GLONASS (L1), BDS (B1I+B1c+B2a), GALILEO (E1+E5a), QZSS (L1+L5), NavIC (L5)|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.1 (side), DisplayPort 1.4; USB Type-C 2.0 (bottom), OTG, accessory connector|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Po 6000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||65W wired, PD3.0, QC5, 100% in 42 min (advertised)
10W reverse wired
|Price||$ 637.98 / € 1,418.99 / £ 1,177.00|
|TESTS||Performance||AnTuTu: 1325105 (v9)
GeekBench: 5139 (v5.5), 5567 (v6)
GFXBench: 107fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-25.5 LUFS (Very good)|
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
Special “Ultimate” features aside, the ROG Phone 7 family is more or less an iterative upgrade over its predecessor rather than a major departure from the familiar formula. After all, why change something that is clearly working? Asus just went out to refine the phone and make it better in any way possible. The ROG Phone 7 has better performance and cooling than its predecessor, better speaker performance, and a brighter AMOLED display, to name just a few highlights.
Other key features are still present as well, like the sturdy aluminum body and dual-glass design with Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and an ingress protection rating. The massive 6,000 mAh split battery with 65W fast charging is also here, and so are the impressive controls and connectivity options, including the ROG AirTrigger inputs and the side port for accessories like the AeroActive cooler.
Unfortunately, things that haven’t changed with this generation of the ROG Phone 7 include the camera setup, which appears to be borrowed straight from the ROG Phone 6 and still lacks a telephoto cam. Wireless charging is also still a notable omission from the phone.
Adding all of this together, we end up with a rather familiar ROG Phone 7 Ultimate – refined in many meaningful ways but still sticking to the same core formula. Let’s find out if it still has what it takes to be a top dog in the mobile gaming niche.
Unboxing Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
We just have to start with the unboxing experience of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. And experience really is the right word here. The box is as lavish as always. It is shaped in a bold geometrical manner, which has become a tradition already, but this time around, the box is entirely made of recycled and recyclable biomass, which is great to see. The two-piece box features a magnetic “strip” on the outside, which plays a role in this year’s ROG AR setup experience. The cardboard piece has a cutout to place the phone inside and functional buttons that interact with the initial setup mini-game. These types of experiences have become an expected part of ROG Phone unboxing and are always a real treat to enjoy.
Being the Ultimate edition of the phone, we would expect some goodies in the box, and Asus did not disappoint in that department.
As has usually been the case, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes bundled with the AeroActive Cooler 7. We will review the latest version of the optional cooling accessory in its dedicated section. For now, you should just be aware that it is included in the box alongside a nifty carrying pouch.
Also in the box is a bumper case for the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, compatible with the AeroActive Cooler.
You also get an Asus 65W wall charger and a USB Type-C to Type-C cable to go with it.
The ROG Phone line is a lot of things for different people, but it has never been cheap, that’s for sure. To be fair, pricing has reached more reasonable levels, especially including optional accessorizing within the now significantly smaller ecosystem. Still, the ROG Phone 7, and particularly the 7 Ultimate, are luxury products. The regular ROG Phone 7 starts at €999 for the 12GB RAM version, whereas the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, in its only 16GB/512GB configuration, retails for €1399, with the AeroActive Cooler 7 included in the box.
Left to right: ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, 7, 7, 6D Ultimate
If you find yourself considering the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, we can already assume that (1) you are after a gaming phone and that (2) money is no object. So in surveying what else is available on the market, let’s start then with a gaming phone suggestion in the nubia Red Magic 8 Pro. Just like the ROG Phone, the Red Magic 8 Pro is rocking a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset with active cooling thanks to the tiny built-in fan. The Red Magic 8 Pro pairs this chipset with fast LPDDR5X RAM (up to 16GB) and UFS 4.0 storage (up to 512GB). You also get a higher resolution display than on the ROG Phone, but one that is 120Hz, instead of 165Hz and lacks HDR certification. Besides that, the Red Magic 8 Pro has pressure-sensitive side triggers, stereo speakers and a 3.5mm jack, a large 6,000 mAh battery, and a camera setup similar to the Asus. Probably the most direct competitor to the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate would actually be the Red Magic 8 Pro+ since it has that fancy RGB on the fan and a see-through back panel.
ZTE nubia Red Magic 8 Pro • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Unfortunately, most other gaming smartphone lines haven’t been as quick as Asus and ZTE in upgrading their lineups to the latest Qualcomm chips, so we can’t suggest any of them in good faith. What we can easily recommend, however, is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. It’s hard to find a more well-rounded Android device on the market. It excels in every possible way. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy mobile platform is actually a beefed-up version of the regular chip, so performance is no concern at all. Plus, you can really make use of all of those game frames on the 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+, LTPO Dynamic AMOLED 2X display of the S23 Ultra. You also get an all-around very sturdy device with an IP68 ingress protection rating and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on both the front and back. Not to mention one of the best and most versatile camera setups currently out there. You will have to live with a slightly smaller 5,000 mAh battery but one that still offers amazing battery life.
Overall, not a lot has changed about the ROG Phone for yet another generation. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate gets the latest and greatest chipset Qualcomm has to offer and a few other specs touch-ups here and there, like the boosted display performance. Fundamentally, the core formula hasn’t been altered, and that’s arguably a good thing.
Asus’ laser focus on delivering the best mobile gaming experience remains barely challenged for yet another year, with most manufacturers focusing on creating more mainstream products.
Even in the face of an ever-shrinking accessory ecosystem, we still believe the ROG Phone remains on top of the gaming crowd. Their dedication to gaming remains so impressive that it alone earns it the champion title.
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate leverages some of the best possible hardware in a unique way, optimizing everything from low-level integration to high-level software for the best possible gaming experience. The flexibility and number of tuning options on offer are still unmatched, and so is the versatility of the in-depth control mapping and macro system.
Honestly, the ROG Phone 7 generation, like its predecessors, has very few shortcomings. Looking back at the ROG Phone 5 lineup and its impressive cooling, we cannot help but feel that things have degraded a bit in that respect, sort of necessitating the purchase of the AeroActive Cooler accessory to make the most of the available performance. Luckily, you get the AeroActive Cooler 7 in the box with the Ultimate edition.
And there is also the matter that Asus is still not investing heavily in cameras and remains behind your average 2023 flagships in that regard.
Neither of these “criticisms” is a new development, though, and neither is the steep price tag on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate (€1399). Luckily, by sticking to a proven formula, Asus has once again managed to deliver a well-rounded device that not only excels in the gaming realm but can arguably even rub shoulders with the Galaxy S and iPhone devices of the world. Whether or not that’s fair competition, in your view, is an entirely personal stance. As it currently stands, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate gets two thumbs up from us, and we’ll leave it at that.
- Toned-down, but still ROG-inspired gamer’s design with great build quality.
- IP54 certified body. Gorilla Glass Victus on the front, Gorilla Glass 3 on the back.
- AirTigger, ultrasonic touch sensors, remain industry-leading and are very precise and versatile.
- Significantly improved internal cooling design with a new “rapid-cycle” vapor chamber.
- AeroActive Cooler 7 now cools the front of the device and also has a built-in subwoofer.
- Industry-leading stereo speaker performance, complete with gaming-specific sound tweaks.
- Gorgeous 10-bit, HDR10+, AMOLED screen, 165Hz refresh rate and now with improved 1500 nits of peak brightness and real-time SDR to HDR conversion.
- Amazing battery life, even at full 165Hz. Rich battery health prolonging options. Very fast charging (65W charger bundled).
- Flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset with unparalleled performance tuning.
- Great Android implementation, unparalleled game tweaks, control mapping and performance options. Two major OS updates and four years of security updates.
- Solid daylight photos, as well as low-light images. Impressive selfie quality. Feature-rich camera app.
- Very good video quality, impressive EIS.
- Available accessory ecosystem is not as wide as older models.
- The accessory connector is back to having POGO pins prone to breaking.
- AeroActive Cooler 7 is now required to make the most of the available hardware.
- Rather basic camera setup, compared to typical 2023 flagships. 8K video recording is capped at 24fps. The Selfie video is now capped at 1080p.