Another year brings another round of Asus gaming phones. The brand is one of the most well-known in the mobile space, widely regarded for its uber-powerful (particularly pricey) devices complete with all the extra gadgets and gizmos you could ask for. Asus is sticking to this template with the ROG Phone 7 series, packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip with 16GB RAM behind it.
Even the Ultimate model I received is more of an iterative update to the series than a full reboot - even its aesthetics are remarkably similar to the 6 Pro before it. However, with boosted specs, better speakers, and a gorgeous AMOLED display at the helm, there's plenty to love about this budget-buster. While we're still awaiting official US and UK pricing and availability (a Euro exchange rate places it at about £1,200), the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate will be widely available soon. I used the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate for three weeks, to see how this giant compares against the best gaming phones on the market.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Display||6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448 x 1080, 165Hz|
|Cameras||32MP front, 50MP main rear, 13MP ultra-wide, 8MP macro|
|Ports||2x USB-C, 1x 3.5mm|
|Operating system||Android 13 with ROG UI / Zen UI|
|Dimensions||173 x 77 x 10.3mm|
- Subtle design still nods to a fun aesthetic
- Bezels and rounded corners feel a little outdated
- USB-C port is off-centre, limiting controller options
Yes, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate sports a particularly similar design to the 6 Pro. Its white glass back with all its skinny lines and curved sides feels almost like an exact replica of the previous generation. However, it's a recognizable aesthetic and one that doesn't hammer the gamer vibe as hard as other devices. Those thin lines are pretending to be panels joining together, which may feel a little gaudy at first but does leave a fun futuristic impression overall.
The two-tone white and almost-invisible branding, though, does feel subtle - far more restrained than the likes of the RedMagic 7S Pro and though not quite as relaxed as the sleek RedMagic 8 Pro I praised for its professionalism last year.
The back panel also features a small display, used for showing off certain preset or custom animations or providing a quick glance notification LED. It's a neat extra, but it's contributing to the price in one way or another and I barely used it outside of unboxing curiosity,
Having not had my hands on an Asus ROG Phone device in a while, I was surprised to turn the handset over and find two bezels staring me in the face. I've been spoilt by edge-to-edge screens over the last few months, so the black wedges cutting into the top and bottom of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate felt like a step backwards. They are a little outdated, and do make themselves known in-game. However, Asus has balanced this sacrifice a little by hiding front-firing speakers and the front-facing camera beneath them. That older feeling isn't helped by the rounded corners and chunkier thickness.
A Gorilla Glass Victus plate keeps everything scratch-free, and while the phone's IP54 rating is miles better than unrated gaming phones (like the RedMagic series), it's certainly not as comforting as the IP68 rating on more mainstream smartphones.
Overall, the aluminium frame feels sturdy and comfortable in the hand. Yes, at 239g it's a weighty device - far heavier than the iPhone 14 Plus I've been running for the last few months. The skinny form factor means it's not particularly cumbersome to navigate, though - that weight is going to be a strain on your pocket rather than your hand.
There is one oversight that should be shouted about and that's the placement of the USB-C port to the bottom. There are two here, one on the side for use with additional accessories and another for charging to the left of the lower panel. Because this port is uncentered, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate won't be compatible with a massive range of mobile controllers.
That's extremely disappointing - this is a gaming phone after all, and the touch triggers running along the top can only get you so far. You can still get away with a Bluetooth connection (the Nacon MG-X Pro is a wraparound controller that doesn't require a USB-C port but does make some heavy sacrifices), but your options are limited.
- Vivid and fast AMOLED display
- Two touch sensitive trigger buttons
- Excellent Armoury Crate software and launcher
While its screen is flanked by those bezels, it is a gorgeous panel. Colors pop off this AMOLED display with incredible sharpness, and bounce around deep blacks particularly quickly thanks to the slick 165Hz refresh rate. Of course, you can choose to clock that speed down to save battery, but even the 60Hz option still looks impressive.
The taller screen doesn't quite fit the aspect ratios of games streamed via Game Pass but works well for native Google Play titles and you're also benefitting from a 720Hz touch sampling rate. That's in line with the average on a gaming screen but is a touch slower than the RedMagic 8 Pro, which sports a massive 960Hz rate.
If you want to ignore screen controls altogether, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate also offers two touch-sensitive triggers along the right-hand side. These can be mapped to in-game actions to provide a far more natural feel to certain maneuvers. I found these panels nicely responsive and easy to quickly access without having to tap around the corner of the phone beforehand, though I do still prefer the physical buttons of the Black Shark 5 Pro. I always know where I am with that device, and there's no risk of accidental touches during gameplay.
Many gaming phones (in particular RedMagic) fall into the trap of bloating their experiences with additional software. All you really need is one place to view your stats and tweak certain performance settings, extras like game launchers and screen recorders are often found spread across multiple different programs. Asus has avoided this trap, packing everything you need into one easy-to-navigate program; Armoury Crate. Fans of the brand will recognize the name and feel of this app - in mobile form it allows you to do all of the above while also existing as a separate widget for a quick look at performance while in-game.
Nearly all the housekeeping is taken care of here as well. You've got a headphone jack, face unlock, and an optical fingerprint scanner is hidden under the screen. However, the Asus ROG Phone still doesn't support wireless charging, and there's no MicroSD card slot.
- Incredibly powerful internal components
- Maintained high performance under stressful conditions
- Excellent speaker quality
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is OP for this generation, and will shine through future releases as well. It's got that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC at the helm, after all - the most powerful smartphone chip on the market right now. That means faultless performance, even when stretched across the most demanding scenarios.
I was zipping around maps in Apex Legends without even a hiccup from the system, all in max settings. Yes, without the cooling attachment locked into place, those temperatures can climb, but things never got uncomfortably hot during everyday play. It was only when I really pushed the limit, downloading and installing multiple apps and updates while running a game of Magic: The Gathering with a stacked board that things started sweating. Even then, performance remained steady.
If you're wondering whether there's a phone out there that can handle your hardcore mobile gaming, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is for you. I'm confident there's nothing this device can't handle today, which is to be expected - this is a device designed around those high-performance moments.
I was already expecting this high-octane power. I wasn't expecting the sophistication of the speakers. Right from the off, I was surprised by the robust richness of the audio here, with growling booms and a solid balance between the mid and high ranges. With speakers situated on either side of the screen, I was even getting a hint of directional audio as well. From games to movies, the volume, texture, and audio power behind this device is immense.
- Better camera system than usually seen in gaming phones
- Well lit shots are bright and clean
- Images can be a little fuzzy, especially in ultrawide
While players rarely buy gaming phones for their camera prowess, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate actually offers a decent set of lenses. No, they're not going to compete with more mainstream flagship devices, but compared to the experience on RedMagic devices, these shots are in a slightly different league.
The camera system has been revamped since the 6 Pro, now offering an 8MP macro lens on the rear and a 32MP selfie camera on the front in addition to the 50MP main and 13MP ultrawide lenses. The resulting images are bright and clean with very little noise in well-lit environments. The colors are a little overblown, especially in the green range, and the ultrawide lens leaves things particularly soft. However, this is a better and more versatile camera system than I've seen on the majority of gaming phones to date.
Should you buy the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate?
There's no getting around it, this is an expensive piece of kit. The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate sports some of the most capable components on the market right now, with a luxury finish and a well-recognized pedigree in the mobile gaming space. However, there are other models out there offering the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power without such a lofty price tag to match.
The RedMagic 8 Pro, for example, packs a serious punch (albeit without so much emphasis on cooling) as well as a far more subtle design that may be preferable - all for $649 / £579 in its cheapest spec. That's a dramatic price reduction, but it's worth noting that you're dropping some of the finesse. The screen isn't quite so impressive, the speakers certainly can't compete with the ROG Phone 7's, and the camera system is basic. If you're after a powerhouse without too many sacrifices, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is the go-to.
How we tested the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
I used the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate for three weeks, running it as my daily driver while also comparing it against the iPhone 14 Plus, RedMagic 8 Pro, and Black Shark 5 Pro. During that time I primarily tested across Apex Legends, Magic The Gathering Arena, and PUBG, with a little Pokemon Go thrown in for good measure. For more information on how we make our recommendations, check out the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.
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