A new year and a new gaming phone from Asus.
Now the ROG Phone 7 has been released, and like the vast majority of other mobile phone manufacturers, this year’s version is a little better in little things here and there, but at the same time overall it’s still relatively similar to the previous model.
Is ROG Phone 7 worth the money to upgrade and is it still the best gaming phone?
Design and aesthetics
As for the design of the ROG Phone 7 series, Asus still sticks to the “gamer” aesthetic its phones have had since the beginning.
It may be a little more discreet now, but this isn’t the prettiest phone you can get. The two-tone design might be called bold and eye-catching, and at least gives the phone an unmistakable feel. However, I would have preferred that they muted the audio a bit, made the phone a bit more discreet and a bit cleaner in design. It is more or less exactly the same as what I thought of in the previous version.
Other than that, there is nothing to complain about in terms of build quality or design of the phone. It still comes with two charging ports, which I’m still amazed no one copied, and the phone feels comfortable to hold. The size and design have remained unchanged in recent versions, and they fit the vast majority of hands pretty well.
It is worth noting that the phone is among the largest phones on the market than “regular” phones, and it weighs the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and therefore it is 40 grams heavier than, for example, the Samsung S23 Plus phone.
Air triggers are further improved and I feel very comfortable with this feature after many years of trying. Various swipes and taps to perform actions or in games are incredibly useful, and Asus has really tuned this feature so that it works more or less flawlessly, depending on what you want it to do.
ROG Phone 7 once again comes with an impressive 6,000mAh battery, which delivers excellent battery life even with continuous use at a frame rate of 165Hz. For average users, this could mean the phone lasts up to two days before it needs to be charged.
Then when you need to charge, the phone comes with a 65W fast charger that quickly fills the battery up — I’ve tested the phone from 0% to 100% and it takes about exactly an hour, with about 70% taking 30 minutes, and it took the last 2-3 percent 10 minutes alone. Not the fastest charge you can get on the market today, but fast enough for everyone.
The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is also apparently efficient, giving the ROG Phone 7 impressive battery life. Even with X-Mode enabled and the AeroActive Cooler attached, the battery will last at least five to six hours of screen time with heavy use. Flow charging is also available, which lets you play games without charging the battery so the phone doesn’t overheat.
The 6.8 inch AMOLED display on the Asus ROG Phone 7 delivers a stunning visual experience. The screen features a 165Hz refresh rate and 720Hz touch sampling rate, which provides smooth image updates and quick response when gaming. Another important feature that improves the experience is support for HDR10 +, which guarantees vivid colors and deep contrasts. The screen also has a high brightness of 1200 nits, which makes it perform well even on sunny days.
The screen is also excellent for everyday use and media consumption.
The resolution of 2448 x 1080 pixels delivers crystal-clear images and videos, and the adaptive refresh rate ensures that the screen automatically adapts to the content you’re watching. This means that when watching movies, surfing the web, or checking email, the screen will provide a smooth, energy-efficient visual experience. The display is as always impressive and certainly comparable to other top-end models from other mobile phone manufacturers. There are no major upgrades on screen from the previous version, so there aren’t a lot of new updates here. The resolution still isn’t the highest you’ll get on mobile, but the 165Hz frame rate is far more important than the higher resolution on this screen.
The phone I tested has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Compared to the 6 Pro, there’s a bit less memory, but it’s fairly unnoticeable, and it’s still 16GB of memory in such a small device. It’s also been upgraded from last year, and measurements show it’s 30% faster.
Along with the previously mentioned Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, the phone has a Qualcomm Adreno 740 GPU. The new hardware is the biggest upgrade of the year, and boosts the phone’s performance. Even graphics-intensive games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, or Genshin Impact run at the highest graphics settings with little to no issues. The frame rate is stable, the phone stays cooler than the iPhone 14 Pro, and with AeroActive Cooler 7 it just gets even better.
There is nothing to say about the performance. In fact, no other phone can match the gaming experience offered by the Rog Phone 7. It’s simply impressively good, and despite the fact that all benchmarks show that some models are sharper, I’d still say the overall package of the ROG Phone 7 is better.
AeroActiv 7 cooler
ASUS’ premium active cooling accessory for the ROG phone series has undergone many design changes and deserves more attention this year. The AeroActive 7 Cooler builds on the features of the AeroActive Cooler 6, including an active Peltier cooling element inside the unit.
New this year is a powerful 5-magnet, 13 x 38mm subwoofer built into the AeroActive Cooler 7. Together with its two front-facing speakers, it creates an impressive 2.1 sound system. AeroActive Cooler 7 also has a 3.5mm audio output.
The design is quite similar to last year’s and has a “game-oriented” look with bold, strong lines and geometric shapes. Unlike last year’s model, the AeroActive Cooler 7 doesn’t just use a USB Type-C port. It still has a port that connects to the phone and does all the functions (charging, HDMI out, etc.), but there are now also two POGO sticks that connect to the phone.
Another novelty is a secondary air channel built into the top lock of the AeroActive 7 cooler. This way, air can be directed to blow onto the surface of the screen, not just the back of the phone. Asus claims this can reduce the screen surface temperature by up to 8 degrees, while the back surface temperature drops by up to 25 degrees.
This is probably the best accessory you can get for the Rog Phone 7, and it works exactly as Asus claims. Of course, it makes the phone bigger and more bulky, but if you’re going to play slightly more demanding games, it does the job just as expected. An accessory worth the price.
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes with camera improvements over the previous model. The phone has a 50MP main camera, a 13MP wide-angle camera, and an 8MP macro camera. The front camera has a 32 MP sensor. Portrait mode and night mode are also available. You can record videos in 8K at 24fps (frames per second) and in 4K at either 60fps or 30fps.
The picture quality is satisfactory. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate does a good job in various conditions, and I’d say photos taken in slightly less than ideal lighting look a little better this year. While this isn’t a phone for taking the best photos, it performs well enough to take photos in most settings.
Overall, the photos of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate lack detail, especially when compared to photos from the iPhone 14 Pro. The overall impression of the ROG Phone 7’s cameras is that they’re a boost over the now more popular models, but they lack that last bit of the sharpness and richness in detail that the latest iPhones, Samsung, or other major brands can boast.
One compromise was made on the ROG series, and that’s exactly the camera.
The ROG Phone 7 has no noticeable weaknesses other than the camera. The battery lasts a long time, and with fast and efficient charging, even without the AeroActive Cooler 7, the phone stays noticeably cooler under stress than the iPhone 14 Pro.
The screen is very good, the 165Hz frame rate is great where it works, and the software that comes with it offers a wealth of customization options. I’ve never tested a better gaming phone, and for that very purpose, the ROG Phone 7 is probably the best phone you can get right now.
But is it worth the price?
Yes, if you don’t have a ROG Phone 6 Pro, the upgrade is enough to make it worth the price of around NOK 15,000. And even if you had it last year, it’s still a good pair of pants. But, and here comes the thing that might stop someone from making this purchase, the camera is still worse than other models.
If that’s the case, you don’t need the most flexible camera, but you can take more than good enough photos, and you want the best gaming phone, then the ROG Phone 7 is probably the best purchase you can make.
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