Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate first impressions
Asus is now the only company still selling chunky, powerful, dedicated gaming phones in India. The ROG Phone 7 series arrives just in time, with Qualcomm’s latest flagship SoC showing that the Taiwanese giant is still determined to make improvements even if its competitors have backed down. However, is a gaming phone still relevant in 2023, and would you be happier with a more mainstream phone that’s a bit less powerful but much more affordable and easier to carry around?
If you’re familiar with any of the previous Asus ROG phone models, you’ll see that the company has stuck to its formula in terms of design and features. There’s nothing completely new or disruptive here. Two versions have been launched – the standard ROG Phone 7 and the ROG 7 Ultimate which has more RAM and storage, a small PMOLED display on the back, and a vent that can physically open for better cooling (more on that). topic later). The Ultimate unit comes in a more elaborate box and the AeroActive Cooler 7 is included. It’s also only available in a silver-white matte glass finish, while the standard ROG Phone 7 comes in Storm White and Phantom Black.
While the base model Asus ROG Phone 7 is priced at Rs. 74,999 in India, the Ultimate version costs a whopping Rs. 99,999. The AeroActive Cooler 7 alone will cost Rs. 6,999. Buyers may protest their interest from today, although the units will not go on sale until an unspecified date in May 2023.
Both versions have the same basic specifications and dimensions. At 239g, the ROG Phone 7 is bulky, but surprisingly lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max and just 5g heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, so it’s in the same ballpark as other flagship phones. The thickness of 10.4mm is also reasonable. However, you might not find either of these variants as comfortable on a day-to-day basis. Having spent time with several previous ROG phone models, I can tell you that they are not very convenient to carry around in a pocket and even reading or typing for an extended period of time can get tiring.
The bezels around the screen are pretty thick by today’s common standards, but that means there’s no notch or hole for the front camera, and you get dual front-firing speakers. for balanced stereo sound. Much like last year’s releases, the ROG Phone 7 series all have 6.78-inch screens with a resolution of 1080 x 2448 pixels, a maximum refresh rate of 165Hz, and a maximum touch sampling rate of 720 Hz. New is a maximum brightness of 1500 nits and automatic HDR conversion.
As expected, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with its integrated Adreno 740 GPU is the SoC that powers the ROG Phone 7 series, and if you’re paying that much for a gaming phone, you’re expecting the latest and greatest. The standard ROG Phone 7 has 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, while the Ultimate version has 16GB and 512GB respectively. There are two 3000mAh battery units, which Asus says , enables faster charging and better heat dissipation. 65W USB-PD fast charging is supported, although for some reason you only get a 30W charger in the box. There is no wireless charging. For connectivity, Wi-Fi 7 is supported.
There’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and Gorilla Glass 3 on the back. Both ROG Phone 7 models have the same IP54 rating, but that doesn’t apply to the Ultimate when the cooling vent on the back is open.
This vent is intended to allow the AeroActive Cooler 7, a fairly large clip-on fan accessory, to physically interface with the phone’s cooling system to draw heat away from its body. Using it is said to drop the temperature of the rear panel by up to 25%, that too quite quickly. The attachment also has a bunch of RGB LEDs, a small subwoofer, and four physical trigger buttons.
So what sets the ROG Phone 7 apart from other devices with the same high-end hardware? For one, it’s the gamer-centric design, which prioritizes things like front-firing speakers and highly efficient cooling over cutting weight. You also get dedicated “AirTrigger” sensors on the frame that align with your index fingers, to act as physical controls in games. As with its predecessors, there’s a second USB Type-C port on one side so you can charge your phone while you game.
Additionally, there are plenty of software tweaks, letting you program AirTriggers and create macros, apply game-specific UI themes, choose a performance preset, and fine-tune graphics and other hardware settings. An overlay can show you performance stats as well as estimated battery life. ROG Phone 7 series introduces vibration mapping and automatic clip recording when certain input sequences are detected.
On the downside, Asus can’t promise that the ROG Phone 7’s cameras will match those of today’s most common high-end Android phones at this price. The main camera is based on a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor, and you only get 13-megapixel and 8-megapixel ultra-wide macro cameras. There is a 32 megapixel front camera.
The ROG Phone 7 models really aren’t for everyone. They only make sense to those who value gaming performance above all else. If you’re extremely competitive, like being able to comfortably play games for long hours, and use software triggers and tweaks, you’re Asus’ target audience. At these prices, you can buy a very capable and stylish modern flagship Android device or even an iPhone. However, if you’re the type who spends a few hundred thousand bucks on a good gaming laptop and upgrades your desktop every few years, the ROG Phone 7 price won’t seem so exaggerated.
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