ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Review – The Ultimate Multimedia Experience
+ Excellent performance
+ Good thermals, even better with cooler attached
+ Good camera performance
+ Class-leading battery life with good charging speeds
+ Gamer aesthetics but not overdone
+ Solid build quality
+ Multimedia beast with excellent display / speaker combo
+ Cooler adds subwoofer for better audio experience
+ AirTriggers are always great to have
+ Good software tweaks and optimizations
- No telephoto camera
- Only 2 major Android upgrades guaranteed
- Only IP54
- Top and bottom bezels are still thick
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Unboxing
In typical ROG fashion, ASUS doesn’t do simple packaging design as the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes in this triangular-ish box. It’s an eco-conscious packaging as it’s said to be made of biomass and is 100% recyclable so kudos to ASUS for taking the green step.
Inside the box, we found the following items:
- Quick start guide
- Warranty card
- Charging brick
- USB-C to USB-C cable
- Carrying pouch
- AeroActive Cooler 7
- SIM ejector pin
- Protective case
- The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate itself
We also did receive these two accessories on the side, though we aren’t sure if it will be included with the retail purchase or if it will be as a special freebie:
- DEVILCASE Guardian Standard Designed for ROG case
- Antibacterial Glass Screen Protector
|SoC||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 4nm
2 x Cortex-X3 @ 3.2GHz + 2 x Cortex-A715 @ 2.8GHz + 2 x Cortex-A710 @ 2.8GHz Cortex-A710 + 3 x Cortex-A510 @ 2.0GHz
|Storage||512GB UFS 4.0|
|Display||6.78″ FHD+ (2448 x 1080) Samsung AMOLED display tuned by ROG, 20:4:9
2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass Victus (display)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (rear)
1,500 nits peak brightness
165Hz Refresh Rate, 720Hz touch sampling rate (23ms)
AS coating for reduced friction when hand sweating
|Rear Camera||50MP Sony IMX766 main camera
13MP ultrawide camera
8MP macro camera
8K@24fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 3-axis EIS
|Selfie Camera||32MP OV32 Quad Bayer wide-angle selfie cam|
|Battery||6000mAh (dual 3000mAh MMT batteries)
|Dimensions||173 x 77 x 10.3 mm
|Audio||5- magnet 12×16 Super Linear front facing speakers with Dirac HD Sound
2 x Cirrus Logic CS35L45 with 15V boost
Tri-microphone array with OZO Noise Reduction Technology
|Software||Android 13 with ROG UI and Zen UI|
Starting off with Antutu v9, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate easily took the top spot in our list of benchmarked devices. While it’s no surprise to see it perform even better in X-Mode, I was surprised to see that the score isn’t really any different with and without the cooler on. However, it does get unbearably hot without the cooler attached, so there is a noticeable difference there.
A similar pattern can be seen in Geekbench 6, and while it didn’t managed to get the top score for single core, it definitely did in multi-core performance. In standard mode, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate does focus more on efficiency as it was barely warm compared to it being insanely hot in X-Mode without the cooler attached. Despite that, it’s still a strong performer without X-Mode so you don’t have to worry about missing out if you’re not using the high performance setting.
In 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited, I was surprised to not see it take the top spot here but it’s pretty close. Without the cooler on, it’s not as hot in other tests while running in X-Mode, which makes sense as to why the difference in scores for all 3 settings of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is smaller. After all, X-Mode increases CPU performance, not GPU, on top of other optimizations such as killing off background apps.
Lastly on PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, we see a significant difference in standard mode compared to X-Mode with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. The CPU boost sees a near 40% increase in score regardless of whether it has the cooler attached to it or not, allowing it to take the top spot yet again. Like before, the phone gets unbearably hot without the cooler.
In case you’re wondering about its battery life, it’s certainly one of the best you can get out there. It lasted 18 hours and 29 minutes (1,109 minutes) in PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery life test, with Auto refresh rate and adaptive brightness disabled. It was only beaten by last year’s ROG Phone 6 Pro, though the difference is negligible. One thing for sure is that no other device even comes close to it thus far, likely thanks to its humongous 6,000mAh battery capacity.
As for charging speeds, this is what I managed to get with the included 65W HyperCharge USB PD charger from 2%:
- 15 minutes = 35%
- 30 minutes = 67%
- 45 mintues = 91%
- 52 minutes = 100%
Looking for a different kind of portable gaming experience? Check out our ASUS ROG Ally preview by clicking right here.
Typically, the belief is that gaming phones will not have good cameras. However, its predecessor easily shattered that belief with an above average camera system, and it’s the same case this time with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. The 50MP main camera can capture surprisingly sharp details with vibrant colours. Even low-light shots come out with decent details and little noise at worst. Interestingly, Portrait Mode shots result in darker colours and, at times, slightly distorted photos.
The ultrawide is similar with fine details on skin being seen clearly, though it is a little worse in low light. The macro camera is the trickiest one to work with as you will need to get the right angle at the right distance to take good shots. It’s also more dependent on lighting, making it near unusable in low-light environments. Lastly for the selfie camera, it works pretty well with a good balance of colours and detail, with a very light softening effect for a more natural look.
If it really is that good, then why should one bother with any ordinary phone out there? Your typical flagship, regardless of brand, would come equipped with a more versatile camera system, most notably the inclusion of a telephoto camera. Furthermore, the main camera is typically a better shooter no matter how you look at it. This isn’t to say the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is bad is this department however as it’s pretty good for what you’re getting. It’s all about setting expectations and knowing what you need.
There are a whole bunch of good things to talk about with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, and it’s going to get lengthy. For starters, it’s an eye-catcher with a relatively clean look for something that fits the gamer aesthetic with a solid build to boot thanks to its aluminum frame. The only thing that can feel a bit extra is the rear ROG Vision PMOLED display but it does have some level of practical use, such as displaying a certain status for others to see or for you to check notifications. You could even flash your phone number here if you want, though that does feel a little tacky.
Speaking of display, the 165Hz 6.78-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display used here is simply gorgeous. Not only is it on par with the top flagships of today in terms of brightness and colours, it’s also superbly fast in terms of refresh rate and response time that can help maximize your gaming performance. It’s one half of what makes it a multimedia beast. Some might argue that it should have a higher resolution but realistically, it’s a large for a smartphone but not nearly large enough to benefit from something like 4K resolution.
As for the second half of what makes it a multimedia beast is the stereo speakers, which is definitely the best in its class. It’s loud, it’s clear, and it even has a hint of bass in it. It’s actually better than speakers found in a good number of laptops today, and that says a lot. There are even tweaks specifically for games to further enhance the experience. Of course, you can’t expect some bass-thumping club experience from it as that’s simply unrealistic given its size…or is it?
This time with the AeroActive Cooler 7, it comes with a built-in subwoofer, which adds the one thing that every smartphone lacks; a powerful boom. It really brings the audio experience to a whole other level. Apart from that, the cooler adds shoulder buttons so you don’t need to get a controller attachment for it, and it cools the display as it blows cold air on the front, making it more comfortable to game over a longer period of time. The cooler has more practical use now that you’re more likely to use it more whenever you can.
In cases where you don’t, there is always the AirTriggers, which is still in a league of its own. After configuring the sensitivity among other things, it works very consistently and accurately. If anything, it’s just a matter of making sure its mapped to the action that you want. The only reason you would want to attach some form of gamepad on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is if you need some sort of grip for added comfort, which a cheap plastic mould would do the trick instead of paying extra for the whole works.
Lastly, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate makes good use of Android OS. This includes performance options, in-game tweaks, overlays, mapping controls, and more. Additionally, it’s guaranteed to come with at least two major Android OS upgrades with four years worth of security patches, but we’ll get more into that in the next section.
As good as the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is, it does have its fair share of drawbacks. For starters, a smartphone at this price only comes with IP54 certification, which means it can only be protected against water splashes and nothing more. I would have expected it to at least be IP68 but this might have to do with the thermal system, especially when in use with the AeroActive Cooler 7 as the AeroActive Portal opens it up a bit for the cooler to blow air into the cooling fins of the vapor chamber. In which case, it’s a good compromise.
Next up, the bezels on the display are quite thick by today’s standards. This is particularly for the top and bottom bezels as it’s very noticeable and it makes me feel like a phone from 3 years ago. On the bright side, there are no ugly notches to worry about as a result but it would be nice to see it shaved down in next year’s model for improved immersion.
Lastly, for long-term use, the one worrying part is that the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is only guaranteed for two major Android OS upgrades, meaning it would last until at least Android 15. Around this price range, you have other smartphone getting four OS upgrades with five years worth of security updates. While four years of security upgrades is a good length, I would have at least hoped for three major upgrades as the current one is a bit of an odd figure.
ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Verdict
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate may be a gaming phone but it’s one that does so many things well that it makes for an excellent daily driver for plenty of consumers. Even a non-gamer would benefit immensely from this given its powerful chip, good camera performance and class-leading battery life at RM4,999. It really depends on whether it suits your needs and if other flagships can satisfy your needs better.
At the end of our ROG Phone 7 Ultimate review, I award this gaming phone with our coveted Gold Pokdeward.
Big thanks to ASUS Malaysia for sending us this gaming phone for the purpose of this review.