As I began writing this review for the ASUS ROG Phone 7, a sudden realisation went off in my head. That realisation is that out of all the smartphone brands in the market today, I have used ASUS devices as my personal smartphone the most. It all started with the ZenFone, followed by the PadFone S, then the ZenFone 2, which was replaced by the ZenFone Zoom and finally the ZenFone 5z.
Sadly, due to lacklustre sales, ASUS has no plans to bring the latest ZenFones to Malaysia (and Singapore) and to be fair, the competition is fairly stiff when it comes to mainstream smartphones anyway. However, ASUS has ruled the Android gaming smartphone roost for a while now and if they continue to tone down the overtly gamer-ish design and refine features of the ROG Phones, it might start gaining the attention of mainstream users.
So, should you even consider buying the ASUS ROG Phone 7 if you are not that into mobile games? Read on to find out more.
The overall dimensions and weight of the ROG Phone 7 are the same as last year’s ROG Phone 6 and ROG Phone 6D, meaning it is still a beefy and hefty device and if you have smaller hands like me, you will constantly need to use it two-handed. With that said though, the rounded edges on the phone make it really comfortable to hold especially in landscape mode.
ASUS has retained quite a bit of the design elements of the ROG Phone 6 but refined them further so the overall look of the ROG Phone 7 is less garish in my opinion. It still has that half-and-half design where the top half is glossy and gives you a look at the faux internals while the bottom half has a frosted finish. It is nice to see that ASUS has done away with the ‘decals’ which lets the ROG Dotted RGB lighting and lightbar stand out more.
Overall, I really like the design and refinements ASUS made to the ROG Phone 7. Plus, the little touches such as the red or blue accents depending on whether you get the Phantom Black or Storm White variant, also give it a bit more character. On top of that, it is IP54-rated and still comes with two USB C ports (one on the bottom and one on the left), the AirTriggers and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Under that shiny new shell, as this is ASUS’ ROG Phone, it is packed with all the latest (leetest?) components possible which is made up of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS4.0 storage. The review unit ASUS Malaysia loaned me is the range-topping variant. Overall, coming from a two-year-old smartphone, I could really feel the difference in terms of performance especially when it comes to loading times and just how smooth the overall experience is.
As mentioned before in my OnePlus 11 review, I am not exactly a heavy user and I do not rely on my smartphone a lot on a daily basis. But if you are someone that multi-tasks quite a fair bit and would like a device that just instantly switches from one app to the other, then the ROG Phone 7 could be the device you need.
I think it goes without saying but just to be very clear, the ROG Phone 7 can handle all the games you would like, even on the highest graphical settings. I tested the phone using Genshin Impact, Call of Duty Mobile and MARVEL Future Revolution, even at the highest settings, these games just ran with no problems whatsoever. When it comes to thermal management, ASUS has fitted the ROG Phone 7 with an upgraded thermal system that involves a larger vapour chamber and graphite sheets and the use of Boron Nitride (BN) thermal compound, which helps to keep it just slightly warm to the touch when gaming. As expected though, after more than an hour, you will notice a slight dip in performance as the phone gets hotter and its performance is throttled.
However, if you are not that big into mobile gaming but instead prefer to watch videos and TV series on your smartphone, the ROG Phone 7 will also be a very good choice as the combination of its 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED display and dual front-firing speakers make it quite an enjoyable experience. Similar to the ROG Phone 6, the display supports 165Hz refresh rate and HDR10+, which just adds to the overall video viewing experience. The tuning on the dual front-firing speakers is also really well-done as they are loud and bassy but also clear and even at higher volumes, there is no noticeable distortion.
Finally, one of the best things about the ROG Phone 7 is its battery life, which has been the main reason why I have not switched back to my own phone just yet. The ROG Phone 7 has a 6,000mAh battery that can easily last me more than two days on a single charge and this is on days when I use the phone a fair bit for GPS navigation, streaming music via Bluetooth to my in-car entertainment system, photography, scrolling through social media, watching videos on YouTube and occasionally a round or two of MARVEL Snap. During less busy periods, I have had it last close to three days for me.
Seeing as the ROG Phone 7 supports 65W wired charging, it charges up fairly quickly and takes about 30 minutes to go from 0 to 70%, while it will take slightly more than an hour to go from 0 to 100%. So, if you are someone who tends to forget about charging their phone or just wants to have a device that can last you more than a day, the ROG Phone 7 fits the bill perfectly.
On the software front, ASUS’ version of Android is actually very close to vanilla on the surface but is packed with plenty of features and software tweaks. So instead of vanilla, it could probably be white chocolate or even vanilla chocolate chip, it looks untouched but packs some hidden surprises.
One of the nicest things about the ROG Phone 7 is that you get to choose between the stock Android or an ASUS Optimised layout for various system menus such as the Volume Adjustment mode, Volume Panel, Quick Settings panel, Power Button menu and more. Another nice touch about this is that you can actually mix and match the layout styles, you are not forced to use just the Stock or Optimised layout, so you can really tailor the phone to your liking.
Another great thing about the ROG Phone 7 is the fact that it comes with just a few preinstalled ASUS apps and strangely enough, Mobile Legends. So you still get a good chunk of storage space for you to use as you see fit. With 512GB, even after installing 12 games and all the apps I use, I still had 400GB of free space.
The only real downside I can think of when it comes to software is that ASUS is not the most reliable when it comes to updates. For the ROG Phone 7, they are promising two years of major OS updates and four years of security updates but when I received the phone at the end of June, it was still on the March security patch. Thankfully, it has been updated to the June security patch.
When it comes to the ROG Phone 7’s cameras, it actually retains the same setup as the ROG Phone 6 and that is a mixed bag as it retains the same 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor for the main camera, 13MP sensor for the ultrawide camera and a 5MP sensor for the macro camera. On the front, instead of a 12MP selfie camera, you now have one with 32MP.
While I understand that you probably will not buy a ‘gaming’ phone for the cameras, I argue that a better selection of cameras would make the phone a lot more attractive as most of us rely on our smartphone cameras these days. Instead of having three cameras for the sake of keeping up with the competition, maybe ASUS should consider going down the same route as the latest ZenFones, where the phones only have two sensors but they have optical image stabilisation and are generally considered to be good cameras.
With that said though, the overall camera quality of the ROG Phone 7 is actually not too shabby, especially when it comes to the main camera. In bright environments or daylight, the camera produces images that look great, have plenty of detail and fairly true-to-life colours. It can also handle dynamic range quite nicely. As for portraits, it also does well when it comes to subject detection and separation and produces very nice background blurs.
On top of that, the main shooter actually does quite alright in low-light conditions. Of course, it will not be able to compete with the various flagships out there but images in low light still have plenty of details, good colour reproduction and just a tinge of noise.
As for the Ultrawide, Macro and Selfie shooters, these generally perform really nicely in daylight but do not perform quite as well as the main camera in low-light conditions. So at least you still have some options to flex your photography skills or creativity with the ASUS ROG Phone 7.
Overall, similar to what Justin said in his review of the ASUS ROG Phone 6, I would say that the ASUS ROG Phone 7 is actually quite a good phone, even for the non-mobile gamer. It is definitely worth considering especially if you want a phone with elite-tier performance and battery life. And if you thought the design of the ROG Phone 6 was not really your style, the toned-down design of the ROG Phone 7 could just be the difference maker.
ASUS ROG Phone 7
Price starts from SGD1,499/MYR3,599
Value Proposition ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅☐☐
Design & Build Quality ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅☐☐
The ASUS ROG Phone 7 is a solid smartphone that excels in gaming but would also make quite a good device for non-mobile gamers.