Asus was so focused on keeping its new flagship gaming phone cool it cut a hole in the back. The Asus ROG Phone 7 and Phone 7 Ultimate follow up last year’s ROG Phone 6 with the incremental internal upgrades you’d expect, and changes to the device's exterior to keep up with increasingly demanding mobile games.
A smartphone dedicated to playing mobile games might seem unusual in North America or Europe, but basically, outside of those two regions, smartphones are the first place people many play. The maximalist feature set of Asus’ phones might not be necessary, but they are welcome — RGB light-up backplate and all.
A Brighter Screen and Better Chips
Despite the “Ultimate” branding, both phones share many of the same features, a welcome breath of fresh air in a world where you’re frequently forced to upgrade to the “Pro” version to get the actual new smartphone experience.
Both the ROG Phone 7 and 7 Ultimate ship with a new 6.78-inch display from Samsung, with a 165Hz refresh rate, a 2,448 x 1,080 resolution, and critically for playing outside, 1,500 nits of brightness. Both phones have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — with 15 percent faster CPU performance and 20 percent faster GPU performance, according to Asus — and an updated “GameCool 7” cooling system.
There are three rear cameras (50MP main, 13MP ultra-wide, and 5MP macro) and a 32MP selfie camera, but I don’t think you’re necessarily buying these phones to take Instagram photos. Essentially, if you just looked at the specs, the ROG Phone 7 and 7 Ultimate are high-end Android phones.
The Ultimate Advantage
Where they differ, and specifically, where the Ultimate differentiates itself from the base ROG Phone 7, is added cooling. Well, that and a 2-inch screen that can display charging status or incoming calls. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has an “AeroActive Portal,” a door in the back of the phone that Asus’ external Aero Active Cooler 7 can hook into for more direct cooling for the internals of the device. It’s also, apparently, a subwoofer!
How Asus is able to keep releasing gaming phones when competitors like Lenovo have completely pulled out of the space is not entirely clear, but it is likely a testament to the recognizability of the “Republic of Gamers” brand and the unique mix of features Asus includes. I’m not going to convert anytime soon, but I have to say Asus’ gaming phones only get more interesting year after year.
The ROG Phone 7 and 7 Ultimate are available to pre-order now for €999 and €1,399 in Europe and Asia, with a U.S. release not announced, but likely to come.