Asus ROG Phone 7 review: Pint-sized power

Jitendra Soni
ROG Phone 7 Camera Module

The Asus ROG Phone 7 promises potent performance in a portable package. But, is this smartphone really worth buying for its gaming prowess alone? 

Multiple brands have tried making gaming-focused smartphones work, from the good old Nokia and Sony to modern smartphone brands like Lenovo, Xiaomi, Asus, and ZTE. However, few brands have been able to make great gaming smartphones as consistently as Asus. 

Several companies like Nokia and Sony, Xiaomi, and Lenovo shelved their “gaming” smartphone output for various reasons.

This could be because while a gaming phone looks excellent on paper and is exceptionally powerful, it’s a complex product to make and has a very niche segment to cater to. Moreover, gaming phones come at a premium, and compete with flagship phones from the likes of Apple and Samsung. Returning to Asus, the company introduced its line-up of gaming phones – the Asus ROG Phone 7 and 7 Ultimate. Unlike the previous iterations, this time around, little separated the two phones. We got to test the ROG Phone 7 for a couple of weeks, and here’s what we think about this portable gaming console disguised as a phone.


  • CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Display: 6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448 x 1080 and 165Hz
  • RAM: Up to 16GB
  • Storage: Up to 512GB
  • OS: Android 13
  • Cameras: 50MP Wide, 13MP Ultra-Wide & macro lenses, 12MP front camera
  • Battery: 6,000 mAh (2x 3000 mAh)
  • Charging: 65W
  • Features: Dirac tuned speakers, Hardware supported ray tracing, AptX lossless audio, AirTrigger 7, X Sense and X Capture smart pattern recognition system, 3.5mm headphone jack, IP5X splash resistance
  • Box contents: Phone, Sim card ejector, charging brick,  USB-C charging cable, back cover

Design & display

Rear design of ROG Phone 7

When you first take the phone out of the box, you’ll realize how massive it is. The huge 6.78-inch display and a monstrous 6000 mAh battery demand a large chassis. These features make the phone massive, and make the ROG Phone 7 feel extremely heavy at around 240 grams. 

However, it’s not the heaviest phone around. An iPhone 14 Pro Max weighs 240 grams, and the ROG Phone 7 is slightly lighter than the Galaxy Fold 4 (263 grams) I’ve used for over six months.

This is an AMOLED display with a 2448 x 1080 resolution. The display has a peak brightness of 1500 nits, which is bright enough for outdoor usage, and the color reproduction is on point. The 165Hz refresh rate makes things buttery smooth, and a touch sampling rate of 720Hz ensures that all your taps are recorded quickly.

On the front, you have a large display sandwiched between bezels at the top and the bottom. This serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it makes the phone incredibly comfortable to hold onto while playing games horizontally. Secondly, it allows Asus enough space to cram in the front-facing display, sensors, and, most importantly, a front-firing speaker. When coupled with the one present in the bottom display, the speakers can get extremely loud and elevate your gaming experience. You can easily hear the tiniest of sounds, and feel every gunshot. Listening to music, or watching content feels utterly fantastic.

ROG Phone 7 Camera Module

Moving on to the phone’s rear panel, it is made of glass and has a dual-tone finish. The top part houses a horizontally aligned triple camera setup and a LED flash in a two-step camera module. The top section has a glossy finish and has an LED light that gives a depth effect. The bottom half of the rear panel has a matte finish and an illuminated ROG RGB logo. The bottom half doesn’t attract fingerprints and smudges, while the top half is exceptionally reflective and is a total fingerprint magnet.

The sim card tray with a red accent is on the phone’s left side. The ROG Phone 7 also has a USB type C charging port on the side to charge your phone when in a horizontal gaming position. Magnetic pogo pins next to this charging port let you attach external cooling devices like the new AeroActive Cooler 7. 

ROG Logo on the dual toned back

An additional charging port is located at the bottom, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is always welcome to see on a smartphone in 2023. A red-colored power button and volume rocker are on the phone’s left side. While AirTrigger and Ultrasonic buttons on the left side of the device are placed perfectly for a horizontal gaming session.

The overall design of the phone is subtle and classy. Compared to many gaming devices and gadgets, it is not awkwardly garish, and Asus has ensured that each design tweak has a reason. I loved the red accented camera lens, power button, and the red-colored sim tray. If you’ve used the Rog Phone 6 or followed the ROG phones, you might be disappointed with the minimal design improvements on the ROG Phone 7.

Software & features

XMode on ROG Phone 7

Aside from the gaming-focused hardware, the software is another front where the ROG phone excels. A virtually unlimited number of tweaks are available for every feature you find on the phone – from the refresh rate to the AirTrigger and Ultrasonic buttons, the RGB backlights, and more. 

Asus has made it extremely simple to manage the screen’s refresh rate. You can choose between 60Hz, 90, 120, 144, 165 Hz, and auto mode. While a higher refresh rate drains the battery faster, the phone doesn’t force you to switch to auto mode or lower the refresh rate.

Similarly, you can choose between a stock Android that looks pretty close to what you’d get on a Pixel phone, or you can choose Asus’ highly customized gamified icons that give serious gaming vibes. 

Yet there is minimal bloatware. You’ll not find many unwanted or unnecessary applications hogging the memory and storage on your phone. Yet you have plenty of options to customize the look and feel, in classic Android fashion. These all coalesce into a slick and unobtrusive smartphone experience.

Since the priority is gaming, the engineers at Asus have ensured you always have options. The AirTriggers and Ultrasonic buttons can be customized for various games, and even the gyroscope can be programmed according to the game’s requirements. The haptic feedback feels good and pressing the AirTriggers is fairly natural, and it feels good. However, pairing AirTriggers for a new game or for the first time is a pretty finicky task.

Asus has integrated a high-performance gaming mode named  “X mode” into the software. Other apps like Game Genie and Armory Crate are also present to tweak different settings and the RGB lights at the back.


Playing Fifa game on ROG Phone 7

The Asus ROG Phone 7 has a flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 under the hood. This is the most powerful smartphone chipset for the Android side of the world. While the same chipset is present in a bunch of flagship phones like the Galaxy S23 lineup and the OnePlus 11, a combination of hardware and software makes the ROG Phone 7 stand apart from the crowd.

The impact of this combination can be felt right from booting up the phone to firing up multiple resource-hungry games. The phone doesn’t break a sweat at all, and the response is instantaneous. This is a world of improvement for someone from a super-premium flagship phone – Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.The Fold 4 costs a fortune and isn’t a gaming phone – but even it feels sluggish compared to the ROG Phone 7.Playing games like Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, Honkai: Star Trail, Diablo Immortal, DC Legends, FIFA Mobile and others felt different from what I had experienced on the Fold 4 or the Flip 4. Moreover, playing these games mostly at 90 or 160 frames per second didn’t cause the phone to stutter.

It’s getting hot in here

Gameplay screenshot on ROG Phone 7

The secondary USB C charging port came in handy whenever the phone ran out of battery. The ROG phone 7 also has passthrough charging, allowing you to play games without charging the battery. This ensures that the phone remains cool during an extended session of gaming. Unfortunately, the bottom USB C port is off-center, which could cause some compatibility issues with third-party accessories.

Gaming performance on Rog Phone 7

The phone got considerably hot when playing games on X-Mode for 40-45 minutes. We played Tennis Clash in multiplayer mode, and after a long rally of 40-odd minutes, the phone was unbearably hot, especially along the side. So, if you plan to get the ROG Phone 7, invest in the external cooling devices that Asus sells along with this phone. Not only does it help in keeping the thermals in check, but it has a couple of extra buttons and boosts the quality of your audio overall.

Camera & Battery

Camera performance was never the primary focus of the ROG phone lineup. After all, it has always been a portable gaming console with smartphone capabilities. With the ROG Phone 7, the story remains the same. The engineers at Asus have tried their best to offer a load of features in the camera app – including easily accessible slow motion and time-lapse modes, and a slew of slightly more gimmicky modes, too. Moreover, you also have Pro photo, Night, Macro, and Pro video modes if you want to try some serious photography.

Despite this concentrated attempt to make it look like an accomplished camera app, the overall performance is just above average, and the hardware could be blamed for this. The primary camera on the phone is a 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor coupled with a 13MP OmniVision OV13B sensor with a 120-degree ultrawide camera, while the third is a 5MP macro camera. On the front, it has a 32MP selfie snapper. Asus has retained the camera configuration from the previous gen ROG Phone, which could have been a great idea if the results were remarkable. Sadly, they are not. 

Video performance

The rear camera setup allows you to shoot videos at 8K at 24 frames per second and 4K at either 60fps or 30fps. At the same time, the overall performance is just ok as the images lack details that you’d associate with one on a similar-priced phone. We compared the camera performance on the ROG Phone 7 with a way cheaper Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, and there was a remarkable difference in the color, skin tone, and details captured by both devices in a similar environment.

It’s safe to say that photography would be the weakest point of the ROG Phone 7, and we could only wish that Asus somehow matches the camera performance of the ROG Phone line-up with its ZenFone line up.

Battery & charging

The battery on this phone lasts a long time. Really long. It has two 3000 mAh battery packs that can power the phone easily over a day and a half with a decent amount of gaming after a long day at work. To some users, it might even give them a couple of days’ worth of life if they use some of the tools offered to reduce the phone’s refresh rate.

Asus has bundled a 65W charger with the phone and a type C to type C cable. This charging brick can quickly refill the massive battery and take it from 0 to 70% in about thirty minutes. Though some brands are offering even faster charging solutions. Considering the use case, we’re pretty satisfied with this performance. Moreover, you can use this charging brick to charge your laptop and other supported devices.

Should you buy it?

If you’re an avid gamer and love playing Android games, you should not look beyond the ROG Phone 7. It is certainly not perfect, however. Asus has put a lot of focus on this device’s gaming performance, including software tweaks and pre-loaded apps that only enhance your gaming experience.

The verdict: 4/5

The massive ROG Phone 7 in a jeans pocket

No brand can come close to Asus when making gaming phones. The company has proved it with the previous generation of the ROG Phone and has further cemented this claim with the ROG Phone 7.

This phone has many things to love, from the fantastic display, Dirac-tuned stereo speakers, raw power to run any game or app, superb gaming performance, a long battery life, great apps to customize the performance, and more. But it also has some issues, which start with its massive size, average camera performance, thermals and the odd position of the USB port at the bottom. Despite this, the ROG Phone 7 would be the first phone I’d recommend to anyone looking to buy a gaming phone in 2023.

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