- Improved Thermals for the Better
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Handles Better
- Pretty much the same great thing from predecessor in the new one
- Well Priced for a Gaming Smartphone
- The only thing stopping from being a great phone, is the Camera
ROG Phone 7 Review
We had the ROG Phone 7 for about 2 months roughly right now and just like every other predecessor we have reviewed, it stays true to its DNA. They did skip number 4 but the ROG Phone 6 and 6D made up for 6 generations and therefore the ROG Phone 7 is the 7th Gen. Now I could go on and on about this phone but instead of doing that – I am going to show you what’s still here and improved, what needs to be improved but most importantly if this is the Gaming phone that you should go after?
ROG Phone 7 Review
Intricate Design Updates
There’s not much change in the dimensions because it is pretty much identical to the ROG Phone 6 from last year. However, it does get a new look, a new skin if you will which actually stands out between both the black and white. We got the Black colour which has this semi-matte and glossy finish which has something like a blueprint to show some of the component layouts. It’s more obvious on the white version which looks a whole lot cooler. You still have the ROG Dotted RGB lighting and on the top, you have a lightbar instead – like a flux capacitor of a certain Delorean.
Other than that, you have some easter eggs like the Dare to Play logo, the longitude and latitudes of something I am not going to spoil and the subtle 07 near the camera. Otherwise, the phone uses Gorilla Glass Victus both on the front and back, a nice metal frame which makes it feel premium and heavy too. It does have IP54 this time around and that means it can take splashes, but don’t dunk it in the water.
Still the Gaming Smartphone You Know
Truth be told, the ROG Phone 7 has not strayed away from the original DNA and it has stayed true to its core. This year, you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen2 with 12GB LPDDR5X RAM, 256GB UFS4.0 Storage and even newer standards of WiFi like WiFi 7, and Bluetooth 5.2 – which is there for more futureproofing reasons.
As for the rest, it still has that fine 165Hz 1ms AMOLED display which looks absolutely stunning and buttery smooth to the touch which has definitely ruined my eyes for better and worse, especially when reviewing budget devices that struggle to keep up. Then we have the side-mounted ports for your AeroActive Cooler or alternative charging port and the Ultrasonic Airtriggers to have that close-to-physical buttons with haptics experience. Powering all of this is a 6000mAh battery that lasts as long as for 2 days, with no issues.
But all of this sounds very familiar to the previous generation right? It does.
Honestly, Not Much has Changed
And that’s because the formula for a gaming phone is simple – it’s all about that raw performance and giving that to end users. Most important changes happened under the hood – specifically in the thermal department. If you remember the ROG Phone 6, the Snapdragon version wasn’t particularly pleasant as it was one hot processor.
While the 8 Gen 2 gets a lot of things right, ASUS still went to the drawing board for the ROG Phone 7 to design a better thermal – it’s called the Rapid Cycle Vapor Chamber which has smaller channels to cycle the thermal cooling, therefore keeping it efficient. And then there’s the new Optimised Graphite Sheet which covers a more extensive area than the last generation.
Now in real-world situations, we noticed how the thermals dissipate. We played Grid: Autosports and we noticed the temperature creep from 27 degrees Celsius to 39 degrees Celsius. And the heat begins from the centre of the phone and slowly dissipates to the left and the right side. So, you don’t feel your palms or fingers burning. Interestingly, it does dissipate fast.
But in longer hours, obviously, it gets harder as the hardware would throttle and you would notice drops in performance as the temperature would have peaked. Anything for a good hour is alright but more than that I wouldn’t recommend it at all – not because it wouldn’t keep up but more like for health reasons.
But it sure is an endurance champion because you could game on and on until you’d need to use the charger. The 65W PD-based charger is great. But honestly, I don’t game much on smartphones in general, so how does this phone work for a non-gamer?
From a Non-smartphone-gamer perspective
There are three key things that tick off my box and why generation after generation, this ROG Phone 7 has remained in my pockets as my daily driver. For one, the 6000mAh battery life is godlike, especially when you travel, use navigation and music apps, connected to your car Bluetooth and don’t have access to a charger immediately. For the most part, I’d go to bed with about 60% battery left and the next day, I would have used the phone the entire day, gotten back to my place and charged from about 12-15%.
The second thing is the experience. Vanilla Android devices are not everyone’s cup of tea, however, the clean bloatware-free experience the ROG Phone 7 offers is the next best thing after the legendary Zenfones we no longer get here in Malaysia. So, it makes up for that and for someone who works with many tools that connect to my phone, for which I would need something reliable and don’t want extra crap – it works out very well.
The third thing is, the overall package – I get a flagship processor capable of handling my non-gaming intensive tasks and a display that’s colour accurate to be my camera monitor for videos at times. It sure does tick my boxes and it does it well.
What could be improved?
This doesn’t mean that the phone is all perfect and doesn’t require any fixes. In fact, it needs some improvements and that begins with the camera. We all know for a fact that Zenfone cameras are great and it improved a lot. Coming from the same company that makes such a camera with pretty much the same hardware is odd. Now, yes, this is a gaming phone and the camera isn’t the focus. But given there are users who do use this phone for other than gaming, the camera could be better.
It is definitely useable, and in the sea of cameras I have tested, the ROG Phone 7 isn’t the worst one at all. But I wish it had some oomph factor, more consistency with the colours and a better lowlight experience.
There’s a reason why I call the ROG Phone 7, The “Lewis Hamilton” of Gaming smartphones. Year after year, it’s one segment we have paid attention to – not because we want to see how many brands are consistent but more like how many brands give up. We have witnessed some interesting phones too but it loses out on so many of the other parts of the experience, worst: it just fades away from the face of the earth after a year.
Among all of that, the ROG Phone happens to stand tall and strong with the simple formula: Consistency. Not to forget, the years of being that brand everyone wants has established a strong ground for this phone and it will be here to stay…
…that is until we get a contender that really rivals the ROG Phone series.
The variant we reviewed here cost RM 3599 which is exactly the same price as the previous ROG Phone 6 and that’s just great. Granted that the Mobile gaming experience has peaked, maybe get the ROG Ally instead? It’s RM 3299. You can read more about it here.😗