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Asus ROG Phone 7 Reaffirms Its Spot Atop The Gaming Phone Mountain

Asus and its annual line of top-tier gaming phones confuse us. But in a good way; bear with us.

Since the introduction of the first-ever ROG Phone into the mobile gaming-sphere in 2018, Asus has, consistently year after year, released what have come to be the standard bearer of all gaming-centric smartphones in the market. So much so that some rival brands and tech reviewers alike have begrudgingly coined the term, ‘ROG Phone killer‘. Are they closer than ever to supplanting Asus’ ROG Phone line? From what we are seeing with the ROG Phone 7, they will have to wait a little longer.

 

Gonna ROG Your Gaming World

The sixth generation in the ROG Phone line (Asus skipped the ‘4’ and went straight to 5 due to … reasons), the ROG Phone 7 again comfortably rose to the tippy top when it comes to the most powerful smartphone list. Sticking to what worked in the ROG Phone 6; massive batteries, improved cooling performance and the gaming-centric experience not found on other smartphones; the ROG Phone 7 feels more like an iterative improvement rather than a massive leap.

The staple ROG Phone bells and whistles are all here of course. Air triggers, the crazy high refresh rate which goes all the way up to 165 Hz, a second USB port for more ergonomic charging while gaming and of course, the customisable blinking LEDs on the back panel. All of these combine to make the ROG Phone 7 among, if not, the most stacked mobile device out there, rivalled only by the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung’s S23 Ultra.

But how do all of these translate practically?

 

The Best Felt Familiar, But Better

For a start, the ROG Phone 7 feels too identical to the model it is replacing. The dimensions and weight are exactly the same, down to a tee. Sadly though, the hard plastic cases which came included with the box are not compatible between versions. This is due to the slightly different rear paneling and camera modules. The cutouts also do not match the rear panel stylings.

The ROG Phone 7 is a flagship-tier device so it comes as no surprise that like the Samsung S23 Ultra, is powered by the Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Pair that with 12GB of RAM and you have in your hand, the most capable mobile game machine in the market right now. All of these are encased in a combination of Gorilla Glass Victus for its front and rear panels, supported by an aluminum frame.

Asus didn’t skimp on the experience using the ROG Phone 7 as well. At the start, you are given the choice of a stock-android, minimalist look or the full gamer Chad feel. You can further customize your user experience via the baked-in Armor Crate app which allows you to switch between several modes depending on your playstyle. We tend to stick to Dynamic for a balanced feel while those who want more can always opt for X Mode which cranks up the phone’s capabilities at the sacrifice of battery life. Specific profiles or rules can be applied to specific mobile games titles, allowing the phone to immediately switch performance levels to suit the games you just launched. For example, Dynamic mode would do just fine for playing Marvel Snap but once we launch COD Mobile, perhaps switching to X Mode might improve my chances of being the fragger rather than the fragee.

Instead of the conventional way of having a single battery, the ROG Phone 7 sticks to its tried and tested but improved dual-battery layout. By doing so, the phone feels much more balanced – not top heavy unlike most smartphones. This provides a much more comfortable grip when handling the phone in landscape mode, especially gaming. We stand corrected here, but we feel that the ROG Phone 7 may be the lone, flagship-tier smartphone which still comes equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Speaking of which, the speakers on the ROG Phone 7 are brilliant. They are loud and they are crisp clear – way better than any other flagship-tier phones we’ve tested to date. This is a definite plus if you are the sort who enjoys blasting your movies and shows with the speaker on. It is that clear, that you won’t have a need for a Bluetooth speaker once you own a ROG Phone 7.

The total of 6000 mAh is a blessing for heavy users and based on our experience, would easily last over two day’s worth of normal use. On standby, you will easily have the phone up for close to a week. And when it is time to top up the power, the super-fast 65W charging gets you up to speed in no time. They also included a 10W reverse charging allowing you to power up other ‘lesser’-powered devices if need be. The only downside is, that there’s no wireless charging on the ROG Phone 7. This, however, is balanced out by the fact that right out of the box, Asus included a charging adapter alongside the charging cable.

A vigorous battery test by The Tech Chap saw the ROG 7 emerge as the clear winner which further reaffirms our belief that the ROG Phone 7 is the perfect ‘travel phone’ now that the borders have reopened. Gone are the days when we have to lug around huge power banks or manage our phone usage for fear of it going out of juice by the time we reach the destination. This phone will last for the duration of your flight, and then some.

As confirmed by famed (or notorious depending on who ) teardown TechTuber, Zach of JerryRigEverything,the ROG Phone 7 is more durable than its predecessors, surviving the bend test which has become the bane of all ROG gaming phones of the past. Of course none of us are going to end up subjecting our devices to such torture but it is definitely reassuring to know that your ROG Phone 7 won’t immediately go kaput when you accidentally sit on it.

As a daily-use phone, we have a hard time finding faults in the ROG Phone 7 save for its relatively lackluster camera. We said relatively, because that is the case when compared to photos taken on the S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 Pro Max. HOWEVER, once compared to the rest of the field, pictures taken on the ROG Phone 7 are actually pretty good. Images are crips as expected and the does not suffer a significant shutter lag. The night or low-light photos on the ROG Phone 7 are passable although far from spectacular. But let’s be real – no one would (or should) be spending their hard-earned money on Asus ROG gaming phones for the camera performance. You’re here for the hefty gaming beefcake of a phone.

ROG-Solid Proposition?

Which leads to our conundrum at the start. What confuses us the most about the ROG Phone 7. It is a stacked device; ins on paper and in hand, no doubt about that. But who is Asus selling this phone for? What use is a powerful phone without a target market who wants or can afford it?

The previous model, the ROG Phone 6 had several variations post its initial launch, with each variant sporting slightly meatier specs than the base model. The 7 carries on with that trend of iterative growth. This is why we totally understand if those who bought the ROG Phone 6 feel betrayed by the release of the ROG Phone 7. Give us more. We think we speak for all Asus ROG Phone owners that we would very much prefer to wait slightly longer but in return, see the release of a significantly improved device.

Otherwise, if you are coming off from a two to three-year-old phone and are looking for the alpha in the room (with the cash to spend, of course), then you cannot go wrong with the Asus ROG Phone 7.

Pros:

  • A solid all-rounder workhorse.
  • The best gaming phone you could buy right now.
  • Brilliant speakers.
  • Fantastic battery performance.
  • It has an earphone jack.

Cons:

  • Very iterative from its predecessor; not much major change.

 

Final Score: 80/10


VITAL STATISTICS

Platform: Android 3
Body: 173 x 77 x 10.3 mm (6.81 x 3.03 x 0.41 in), ~239g
Frame: Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass 3), aluminum frame with IP54 dust/water resistance
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8550-AC 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)
GPU: Adreno 740
Display: AMOLED, 1B colors, 165Hz, HDR10+, 1000 nits (HBM), 1500 nits, 6.78 inches, 109.5 cm
Memory (Internal): 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM, UFS 4.0
Main Camera: 50 MP, f/1.9, 24mm (wide), 13 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120? (ultrawide), 5 MP, f/2.0, (macro)
Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 720p@480fps;HDT10+
Sound: Stereo speakers, with 3.5mm earphone jack
Battery: Li-Ion 6000 mAh, non-removable
Price: Starts from RM 4,999

A review unit of the Asus ROG Phone 7 was supplied by Asus Malaysia. 

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