Gaming phones have come a long way from this small niche in the smartphone market. In the past few years, we’ve seen gaming phones at major e-sports tournaments. While that isn’t exactly a good indicator of gaming phone sales, it just means that they’re serving their target audience. ASUS has slowly improved on its ROG Phone over the years and I feel like this year is just the most refined it’s ever been. When I get the opportunity to review a phone for at least a month, it’s a perfect gauge to see if it’s worth being my daily driver. You saw the title. Here’s my ROG Phone 7 review.
Disclaimer: ASUS ROG Philippines sent over the ROG Phone 7 review unit in Storm White. I got the variant with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage and it arrived on September 21, 2023. I’ve used this phone as my main Android phone for almost 3 months.
Design and Build
One thing I always feel every time I use the ROG Phone 7 is its weight. It may be as tall as most of the big phones in the market, but I can feel how heavy it is. I got used to the size and weight within a month, but they still brought some challenges.
The Gamer Aesthetic
Gaming smartphones tend to prioritize certain things that regular smartphones don’t. One example is the side-mounted USB-C port that’s for charging and connecting to ROG Phone accessories. (According to ASUS, this side-mounted USB-C port is the main port of the ROG Phone 7.) This just tells me that this phone is meant for serious mobile gaming.
This phone also has a 3.5mm headphone jack for those times when you need to focus on that intense game with some wired headphones. Like the recent ROG Phones, this headphone jack supports Hi-Res Audio so music sounds noticeably better than when using wireless audio.
The accents on both the power button and the SIM tray are a nice touch. While I prefer the volume buttons to be on the opposite side of the power button, they’re clicky enough for me to notice the difference.
Loving the Storm White!
I almost forgot to mention the back of this phone! The ROG Phone 7 comes in two colors: Phantom Black and Storm White. This review unit is in Storm White and is one of the better uses of white thanks to the mix of gray and the use of a matte finish on this back glass. I’m also into all the accent text on the back of this phone! It gives off that gaming aesthetic so much that I tend to look at the back more! However, that matte back and the sides of the phone tend to be quite slippery. The number of times that I accidentally drop this phone or at least slip through my hands are already in the double digits!
Aura RGB lighting is alive and well on the ROG Phone 7! You can customize the lighting on the ROG Fearless Eye dot-matrix logo and the small Aura Glow light on the top. Both can have different colors or light patterns depending on what you do such as charging or even playing audio!
The ROG Phone 7 continues to carry the gamer aesthetic. ASUS mastered the aesthetic so well from its size to its RGB-filled back to the two USB-C ports and the headphone jack. I just wish the next one could get a fresh makeover without deviating from the gamer aesthetic too much.
The ROG Phone 7 kept the same 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED display with a 2448 x 1080 resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate. It supports up to 720Hz touch sampling rate and up to 1500 nits outdoor peak brightness. Covering the display is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
While its display is just as big as many phones that came out in 2023, the ROG Phone 7 is just plain bigger. I compared it to other normal phones on the market with nearly similar screen sizes and the others were just more compact. That doesn’t mean that the ROG Phone 7’s display isn’t as capable. I just think that’s not much of a standout these days. I did notice that the display is more readable outdoors thanks to that higher peak brightness though.
The overall gaming story for this phone doesn’t stop with the display though. A big factor is the…
A big reason one would consider the ROG Phone 7 is its performance. Not only did ASUS use this year’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor from Qualcomm, but it also enhanced the cooling capability for those prolonged gaming sessions. It has a new ROG Rapid-Cycle Vapor Chamber and bigger graphite sheets for better thermal efficiency.
Qualcomm’s flagship chip for 2023 really did the work as I got a score as high as 1,610,468 in the AnTuTu benchmark. (It should be noted that X Mode, the high-performance mode on ROG Phones, automatically turned on here.) If you thought that this performance wasn’t sustainable, then the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test results look very promising. Getting a stability rate of 87.6% means that it’ll keep performing at its best more often than not.
Playing intensive games such as Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail is a delight on this phone. I could easily crank the settings up to have a smoother and more detailed graphical experience.
One of my favorite features of the ROG Phone 7 is the ultrasonic buttons or AirTriggers. You can map the buttons to the on-screen controls of games for quicker use of said controls. That leaves your thumbs for other controls. Another feature I enjoy a lot is the dual speakers. Unlike most phones where there’s usually a downward-facing speaker and the earpiece acts as another speaker. These speakers make video watching more enjoyable. I even stopped using the car radio and play music on this phone!
One of the more intriguing things I wanted to tackle in this ROG Phone 7 review is the software. This is a tale of two halves: the story of Armoury Crate, and the story of Android 13.
Armoury Crate is pretty much straightforward for me. It’s the mobile version of the Armoury Crate app that we get on ROG laptops. You can manage the Aura RGB lighting, the AirTriggers, the settings related to the AeroActive Cooler 7, and the performance modes through the app. I’m happy that gaming phones have this flexibility.
Honestly speaking, I like how the software on the ROG Phone 7 is mostly out of your way. This ASUS Android skin is pretty inoffensive from the beginning. The phone even lets you choose between using Stock Android or ASUS Optimized during setup.
Even when you choose the latter, you don’t notice the ASUS customizations beyond changes to volume behavior, the Quick Settings layout, and the Power Menu. You’re not even forced to stick to all the settings of either Stock Android or ASUS Optimized modes! It’s possible to mix and match your preferences which makes it great for those who like making their phones their own.
All in all, I like how ASUS handles the software on the ROG Phone 7. They didn’t lean too much on the gamer aesthetic of the software and just let Android be Android. I appreciate some of the software tweaks here while keeping Armoury Crate as an essential app for all things ROG.
If there’s one aspect of the ROG Phone 7 review that I didn’t worry too much about, it’s the battery. On paper, it has already one of the biggest batteries I can find in a phone with a 6000 mAh battery! It also helps that it has 65W fast charging and those two USB-C ports I mentioned earlier. In real life, it’s better than what I expected.
While I wanted to do a PCMark test, that would also enable X Mode. Good thing I didn’t have to push for it to work thanks to my personal experience. Shown below are three separate instances where I checked the battery life. NOT ONCE did I ever feel the need to charge this phone if I go out. A typical full charge can last me a day and a half more often than not! When I did have hours of gaming sessions, it does tend to lean towards a day of use. That is still AMAZING considering there are still flagship phones that struggle to even make a full day of use possible.
Another aspect of the battery experience I like is the way you can customize the charging behavior. From setting a charging limit to being able to schedule your charging, ASUS does a good job of making sure the battery lasts as long as possible.
Of all the smartphones I’ve used, the ROG Phone 7 gave me one of the most worry-free battery experiences ever. It’s one thing if a phone still has battery at the end of the day. But it’s another when you don’t even think about it all. That 6000 mAh battery + 65W charging + Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 efficiency combo is just amazing.
I know, I know. Cameras aren’t necessarily the strong suit of gaming phones. That being said, the ROG Phone 7 carries the same triple rear camera system as its predecessor. Consists of a 50MP Sony IMX766 main camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera, and a 5MP macro camera. Selfies get a major upgrade on paper from a 12MP front camera last year to a 32MP front camera.
If you’ve had to carry the ROG Phone 7 as your only one, can you rely on its cameras? We’ll find out together.
Click on the photos for full-resolution versions!
The photos coming out of this phone are mostly good. Unfortunately, there are times when the camera app on this phone would take a few seconds to process the photo. This actually surprised me because I didn’t expect that kind of camera performance from a phone using a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It didn’t even matter if I took a normal photo or a night photo, I do see those short bursts of processing time.
That single complaint of mine is a minor thing for me considering that this is a gaming phone. The overall photo quality I’m getting is really good. Even the quality from the 13MP ultrawide is actually good. There isn’t much color shifting between the photos from the main and ultrawide cameras.
In low light, the ROG Phone 7 does a good job in retaining most of the detail. Despite not having OIS, there isn’t much noise in the photo above. Indoor shots are also good but the main camera really prefers having more light here.
I really don’t have that much more to say about the ROG Phone 7’s cameras. They serve me really well, especially when I need to take photos of the iPhone that I mainly to take photos of the devices I review. Here are some of them:
All in all, I’m totally satisfied with the cameras on the ROG Phone 7. They aren’t the best in terms of quality, but they’re better than a lot of the cameras on midrange and upper-midrange phones out there.
Should You Buy The ASUS ROG Phone 7?
Let me make something clear: THIS IS A GAMING SMARTPHONE. ASUS made decisions that you normally do not consider when making a normal smartphone (RGB lighting, Armoury Crate, AirTriggers). The good thing about some of those decisions is that they also make the general phone experience better.
I still can’t get enough of that big 6000 mAh battery and how long that lasts! Those dual front-facing speakers are just unmatched by themselves! They can even be better when you buy the AeroActive Cooler 7 accessory that has a built-in subwoofer.
Honestly speaking, this has become daily driver smartphone material for me. If it wasn’t for its sheer size and the above average camera, this could easily fill the spot that my current daily driver phone is occupying. Whenever a deadline isn’t involved, my indication for whether I enjoy a certain device is how long it took me to write a review. Since I ended up finishing this review three months later, you know how much I enjoyed the ROG Phone 7.
- The gamer aesthetic is alive and well while still being a stylish phone
- Its 6.78-inch 165Hz AMOLED display is such a delight
- Dual USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack
- Excellent sound from the dual front-facing speakers
- Nice gamer-centric features like RGB lighting and the Armoury Crate app
- Top-tier performance thanks to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, LPDDR5X RAM, and UFS 4.0 storage
- Worry-free battery experience thanks to its 6000 mAh battery, 65W fast charging, and its battery care features
- A good 50MP Sony IMX766 main camera
- This phone is just so big
- The matte back and the sides are quite slippery
- Can get the volume and power buttons mixed up
- Fingerprint sensor can be a hit or miss sometimes
- Average 32MP front camera
You can get the ROG Phone 7 at a discounted price through the ASUS E-Store! The 12GB + 256GB variant now retails for P46,995 (from the P50,995 SRP) and the 16GB + 512GB variant now retails for P50,995 (from the P54,995 SRP). You can also purchase the ROG Phone 7 at ASUS Concept Stores and authorized retailers nationwide, as well as in online channels (Lazada, Shopee).