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Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate review

It may cost a pretty penny but the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a fast-charging, fast-performance powerhouse.

ASUS-ROG-Phone-7-Ultimate
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
4 out of 5 stars
4
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display
6.78-inch 165Hz 2448x1080 AMOLED
Storage
512GB
Nathan Lawrence
Aug 18, 2023
Icon Time To Read7 min read
Quick verdict: Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a gaming phone like no other. Buying one grants access to excellent battery life and blistering charging speed, plus plenty of performance for whatever you throw at it. The thing is, it’ll cost you a lot at $2,099 RRP. While it is a fully featured phone, there is some WiFi weirdness and it can get warm during downloads let alone gameplay, which may have you reaching for the clever-but-clunky AeroActive Cooler 7 peripheral.
pro
Pros
pro Great battery life
pro Super-fast charging
pro Performance to spare
con
Cons
con Very pricey investment
con Warms up during downloads, gameplay
con WiFi weirdness

I’m a competitive gamer so I’m used to forking out a premium for the most competitive gear. Whether it’s high-refresh-rate monitors, super-accurate headsets or an incredibly responsive keyboard-and-mouse combo, I’m happy to pay the premium for the extra performance. The thing is, high-end gaming PCs are incredibly versatile devices, whereas the concept of forking out thousands for an ultra-performance gaming phone feels like a bridge too far (even for me). And that’s exactly the space the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate seeks to conquer.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate value for money

A steep asking price for high-end mobile gaming ($2,099 RRP).

I don’t mind spending extra for a premium smartphone, which is why I have a Google Pixel 7 Pro, which cost me $1,299 at launch. But when prices get north of $1,500 RRP, I start to balk. Considering the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate costs $2,099 RRP, that’s around $600 north of what I’m comfortable spending.

Comparatively, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is in Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max territory (the lower-capacity models) and pricier than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 256GB model. The S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max are both killer handsets, albeit built with less of a gaming focus and more of an emphasis on all-round use and great photography.

It’s also worth noting that Asus has a cheaper variant, the Asus ROG Phone 7 (sans “Ultimate”), which is more competitively priced at $1,799 RRP. Both phones have identical specs. The big difference between the regular and Ultimate models is the latter comes with an AeroActive Cooler 7 and back-of-phone secondary display. This ROG Vision matrix display has contextual system events and can be personalised.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate design and display

A gorgeous display is the main attraction.

Asus sent me the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate to review, which means it comes with the ROG Vision matrix colour display on the back of the phone and the bulky AeroActive Cooler 7 peripheral. The ROG Vision display is a neat feature for those who prefer to have their phone face-down, but it’s hardly essential: contextually useful for flagging incoming calls, charging status and other system events.

The AeroActive Cooler 7 is an evolution over previous iterations of the peripheral but there’s no getting around its chonk. It’s great that Asus has included a carrying pouch for the cooler, but it’s still a bulky add-on that’s more at home in a bag than slipping into a pocket. Admittedly, the cooler houses a fan and, cleverly, a subwoofer for beefier bass to the already great handset sound.

In terms of the rest of the handset, there are only a few design things of note. The first is dual USB-C ports: one on the bottom and one on the side. That one on the bottom sits opposite a very welcome 3.5mm audio jack, which is something absent from too many phones these days. The second is on the left of the handset chassis and is mainly designed for that AeroActive Cooler 7 peripheral.

For cameras, you’re working with a 50MP Sony IMX766 main lens on the back alongside a 13MP ultrawide lens and a 5MP macro lens. According to GSM Arena, the ultrawide and macro cameras are from the ROG Phone 6 and 5, respectively. The real star, though, is the main display. It’s a bright (1,500 nits) 6.78-inch 2448x1080-resolution Samsung AMOLED screen with a refresh rate up to 165Hz. Whether browsing, watching videos or playing games, the ROG Phone 7 display is a treat.

Info Box
What is Asus?
Asus is a technology company that’s been around since 1989. Today, Asus creates a range of products, including smartphones, graphics cards, desktops, laptops and handheld gaming consoles.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate battery life and charging

Incredibly fast to charge with juice to spare.

When a product is described as a “gaming phone”, you can safely assume two things. The first is top-tier performance. And the second is a big-capacity battery. The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate ticks both of those boxes. For the battery, it’s off to a great start with 6,000mAh capacity.

The trick with that capacity is it’s split between two 3,000mAh cells. In theory, this should allow for cooler operating, plus it seems to help with incredibly impressive charging times. My first recharging test took the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate from 10% to full charge in under an hour. During my second test, I took it from 0% to full in 48 minutes. For comparison, my Google Pixel 7 Pro went from flat to full in around two hours and that’s with a 5,000mAh battery.

That said, the power-hungry and chonky Asus charger was apparently pulling so much power to achieve this speedy feat that it seemingly caused my Google Pixel Stand to stop drawing power after the recharging Pixel 7 Pro restarted. That’s a first in countless recharges with the same double adaptor.

In terms of battery life, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate lasted 23 hours and 12 minutes with a 24-hour YouTube Full HD test video. For comparison, my Pixel 7 Pro made it to 12 hours and 45 minutes before it died. With sporadic everyday use and never turning off the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, it only hit the low-battery 15% indicator after about six days. That’s a hell of a lot of battery life and plenty of juice on offer—including 23% in the first 10 minutes of recharging—for those seeking the kind of battery life of feature phones.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate everyday and gaming performance

A speedy performer ready for whatever you throw at it.

Good luck finding anything to trip up the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. With a 3.2GHz Octa-core CPU, 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of storage, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is appropriately specced for, well, everything. Social media scrolling, multitasking apps, watching videos and any other everyday use case you can think of are effortlessly handled by the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.

Seriously, forget about closing apps and you can bounce between them as if you’ve only got a few open. Granted, given the price and the specs, this is the kind of performance you’d expect. The only weirdness I encountered for everyday testing was the handset warmed up during my initial app downloading. Additionally, after leaving the phone alone overnight, it seemingly struggled to stay connected to WiFi. Switching between 2.4GHz and 5GHz fixed this, though.

In terms of gaming, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is also a beast. I couldn’t find a game to trip it up and everything I played looked gorgeous on the AMOLED display. More impressively, X Sense software intuitively tweaks settings for the fastest and most responsive gameplay experience. I felt like I had a competitive edge for online titles like Call of Duty Mobile and Fortnite, while offline titles including Dead Cells, Homeworld Mobile, Alien Isolation and Streets of Rage 4 all looked and played great with the highest available settings.

The only disclaimer is things start to warm up during longer gaming sessions: not hot enough to be alarming but warm enough to be noticeable. That’s where the AeroActive Cooler 7 steps in for those who splashed out on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. It’s a cinch to connect, but while it has some neat extra buttons on the back, it adds a hump to the back of the phone that never felt natural for extended use. I also wish it worked better as a desk stand given it also has a subwoofer, which would make it more versatile for video playback.

The AeroActive Cooler 7 mercifully doesn’t blow out hot air and it does a great job at cooling down the phone chassis. It also only creates about 45dB of nose, which is a plus, but you’ll likely want to plug it into power because it adds a noticeable battery drain.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate camera

Decent results but not glowing in comparison.

On one hand, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is clearly appealing to a part of the smartphone market that’s more concerned with mobile gaming than anything else. On the other, there’s no denying the importance of point-and-shoot smartphone cameras that intuitively offer great results for everyday users. And at a $2,099 asking price, you’d hope Asus hasn’t held back.

Revisiting my reviews for the ROG Phone 3 and ROG Phone 5—not to mention reading user feedback online—it feels like the camera is a yearly work in progress for Asus. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has a 50MP lens as its main camera on the back, but you’ll have to dig into settings to get that full resolution. Out of the box and with automated settings, the results look good at first glance.

But when you do a side-by-side comparison with a mobile phone renowned for great photography, like the Google Pixel 7 Pro, it’s easier to find where the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate falls short of its premium price tag. The cameras on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate tend to offer overly bright results, which can make things look washed out, plus there’s detail lost in both bright and darker areas.

Colour accuracy is okay but not amazing and there’s a lot of image clarity lost in zoomed shots, to the point where the results sometimes look like an artistic filter rather than real-life. The selfie cam is similarly decent but also feels overly bright and loses detail in the background. For night-time photography, the extra-brightness curse returns, which does offer some nice artificial illumination but, again, makes things look less detailed and less accurate in terms of colour.

Is the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate worth buying?

A pricey investment in high-performance longevity.

If the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate had a cheaper asking price or better cameras, it’d be a contender that’s right up there with flagship iPhone and Samsung smartphones. As it stands, while it has the flagship price, performance and longevity, the lack of killer photography makes the other quirks loom larger and relegate this handset to those after extreme battery life or a competitive edge for online mobile games.

How we review mobile phones

Mobile phone reviews start with the price tag. We look at the specs and features of a phone and compare those to the closest price bracket. It’s okay if a flagship handset is expensive but it better have the inclusions to back that price.

We take note of the design of the phone, including the kind of ports it has, and the ease of initial configuration. Phones that have at least a full day of battery life are good but extra battery life is a competitive edge nowadays.

From there, we use the phone as a primary device, testing everything from everyday use through to more demanding features like gaming. We run different battery tests—noting drain and recharge times, respectively—and pay particular attention to the all-important photography side of things.

Asus ROG Phone 7 frequently asked questions

The Asus ROG smartphones and iPhones serve different markets, so it really depends on what you’re after. If you want an everyday mobile phone that’s easy to use and within the iOS ecosystem, go with an iPhone. If you want an Android gaming powerhouse, go with an Asus ROG smartphone.
The Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of Asus products have a history of being expensive because they typically include high-end gamer-centric features, which also includes the Asus ROG Phone line.
The biggest con of the Asus ROG Phone is the price, and you should look at older models if you want to save money. ROG Phones typically don’t have top-of-the-line cameras and they can heat up during downloads and in-game performance.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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