If you're on the hunt for the best gaming phone, your options are limited. Recently, Lenovo made the decision to scrap their Legion gaming phone, slimming down the available options in an already narrow market.
I can't see that being too much of an issue though, because what's left on the market is absolutely brilliant – including this Asus ROG Phone 7. TL;DR – it's staggeringly good, and makes simple refinements that elevate performance and usability.
But of course, we've got more details than that for you. Lets dive in and take a deeper look.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Price and Release Date
The Asus ROG Phone 7 was announced at a launch event on the 13th of April 2023, with orders available right away. There are a couple of variants on offer.
The standard ROG Phone 7 comes in Phantom Black or Storm White, featuring up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Prices start from £999.99. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is only available in Storm White, also features 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and costs £1,199.99.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Design and Accessories
If you're expecting a wild redesign with the ROG Phone 7, you're going to be sorely disappointed. In fact, from the outside, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this with its predecessor – the Asus ROG Phone 6.
Clearly, Asus have taken an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach here, and I can see why. The ROG Phone 6 bagged a stellar five-star review when we tested it, and its design was certainly part of that. Okay, it's not going to get your Gran's seal of approval, but as a gamer-centric device, it balances nicely between being universally stylish and quirky.
This test unit comes in the Storm White finish, which is gorgeous. The back panel is dual-tone and satin-finished. Fair warning, that makes this a very slippery handset, so you'll either need to be extra careful, or pop a case on it to be safe.
The bezels on the front are chunkier than you'd probably expect from a phone released in 2023, particularly at the top and bottom of the screen. In use, it's hardly noticeable, but it's worth noting while we're talking about design.
With the ROG Phone 7, you'll also get the Aeroactive Cooler 7. For the uninitiated, this is a USB-C mounted fan, which attaches to a side-mounted USB-C port and clips around the phone when gaming horizontally. When the handset starts to get too hot, the Aeroactive Cooler kicks into action and actively brings the temperature of the device down.
Far from just being a fan, the Cooler also features triggers for additional control in-game. Plus, there's a built-in subwoofer for improved audio performance.
It's probably also worth mentioning the box here. It's manufactured from agricultural waste and is 100% recyclable – top marks Asus. Beyond that, though, it's a whole spaceship themed mini-game in itself.
The magnetic catch that holds the top and bottom portions together features three buttons. When you boot the phone up for the first time, you'll be led through a sequence which involves putting the handset on the board and pressing the buttons to progress. In a world of square, minimalist, single-colour boxes, this feels revolutionary, and is a great introduction to the world of the ROG Phone.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Display
The display is, as you'd expect, packed with goodness. The 6.78-inch AMOLED display packs in a 165Hz maximum refresh rate, while the 2448x1080 resolution offers 395ppi for crisp, sharp imagery.
Which all sounds great, but what does that mean in use? Well, it means everything looks great. As you'd expect, gaming sees the most benefit here, with the increased refresh rate making transitions and movement look really slick.
The display also bags a 720Hz touch sampling rate, with 23ms touch latency. That means that your button presses are sharp and accurate, making you more effective and less likely to suffer from input lag while playing your favourite games.
I did spot a couple of glitchy moments in my first few days with the device, though I'm happy to report that they subsided as the device settled in. I think the quality on offer did make those glitchy patches feel even worse than they would on a lesser display, too.
Colours are bright and vivid – they really seem to pop off of the screen. There's up to 1,500 nits of peak brightness on offer too, making it easy to see the device, even in those rare spots of bright sunshine we get here in England.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Camera
If you're coming here looking for a flagship level camera performance, you're in the wrong place. Given the sheer amount of gaming prowess packed in, something has to give, and the camera is one part of this handset which isn't on the same level as the best phones around right now.
That's not to say it's a bad camera system – it definitely isn't! Realistically, it's fine for most users. Colours pop nicely and there's a decent level of detail on offer, but don't expect it to rival top camera phones like the Google Pixel 7 Pro or the Xiaomi 13 Pro.
One thing I have noticed is that colour saturation is a bit inconsistent. Sometimes, the colours really pop and look stunning, but other times – seemingly at random – they can look a little drab.
There are three sensors on the back of the device – a 50MP main camera, a 13MP ultrawide unit and a dedicated 8MP macro camera. The main sensor is also capable of recording 8K video at 24fps, which is ridiculously good. There's a three-axis image stabilisation system on the rear sensors, too.
The front camera is a 32MP unit. It's nicely detailed, and should do just fine for occasional selfies and TikTok's.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Performance
Loaded with the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, I had fairly high expectations from the outset. That processor boasts some pretty fantastic improvements across the board, and the results in other handsets I've used are astounding.
The ROG Phone 7 is absolutely no different. Flicking between apps, or swiping across screens is snappy and slick, tying in with the brilliant display to offer a really elegant experience.
In regular day-to-day use, this phone is a tank. I can't think of any combination of tasks or apps you could chain together that would even come close to challenging it – such is the power of the 8 Gen 2 in a performance-tuned device.
There were a handful of odd software glitches in my time with the handset. Nothing major, just little things that were slightly annoying – screens sticking on, or randomly swiping to the end of a menu. Hopefully these kind of bugs can be ironed out quickly, for a totally seamless user experience.
Of course, the in-game performance is where this phone is expected to shine. Again, it really doesn't disappoint. I tested it with a couple of games I'm used to first. Games like Fifa Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile are excellent. Fifa is made ten times more enjoyable thanks to the high touch sampling rate, which allows for really precise input.
First person shooters like COD are vastly improved with the Air Triggers. It's a much more natural action – especially if you're used to gaming on a console like the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. They were simple to set up, too. Just swipe the game menu into view, tap the Air Triggers option and enable it, then drag them into place on the screen.
Visuals across both titles were exceptional. The higher refresh rate really aids the quality of the gameplay, with sharper movements and less glitches and lagging frames.
To really put it to the test, I downloaded Genshin Impact and played through that for a few hours a day. The ROG Phone 7 really coped brilliantly here, never lagging or running slowly. Every frame was detailed, movements were natural and the combination of Air Triggers and high touch sampling rate made this a real dream to play.
But what was more impressive than the on-screen performance was what was happening inside the device. After around 90 minutes of solidly battling my way through quests, the device was still cool to the touch. In fact, the only parts that had any heat were the edges where my hands had held the phone. Being able to keep that kind of performance up without burning up is really spectacular.
Audio performance is strong here, too. Stereo speakers offer excellent separation, and have a good dynamic range. It sounds great in gaming scenarios, and does a fairly good job elsewhere as well. With headphones paired up, the Dirac AudioWizard allows users to select an appropriate setting for gaming, cinema or music, with manually adjustable equalisation settings, too. There's also a dynamic option, which will auto-switch between settings based on what you're listening to.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Battery life
The ROG Phone 7 packs a massive 6,000mAh battery into its frame. That's about 20% larger than most 'normal' phones – presumably packing in a little extra juice for those longer gaming sessions.
Even with that in mind, the battery life is ridiculous. Using the phone as a regular daily driver – a few hours of scrolling the web and social media, emailing and messaging, and streaming Spotify throughout the day – I found that I only got through about 40% of the battery in a full day. It could easily make it through two days like this, making it a fantastic option for those who don't want to be tied to a plug socket.
If you do need to charge, though, the ROG Phone 7 can top up fast. It took 51 minutes for me to get a full 100% charge from a dead phone, which is pretty impressive – particularly when you factor in the added battery capacity here too.
Gaming does hit the battery a bit harder, as you'd expect. I found it would drop around 16% every hour when playing an intense title like Genshin Impact on high brightness, suggesting it could make it through a little over six hours at full tilt, before needing a refill. To be honest, that's still pretty impressive when you consider how intense a title like that is.
Asus ROG Phone 7: Verdict
As I mentioned in the intro, the market for a gaming phone is niche. Most phones don't have this much horsepower, but there are only a handful of titles that will really demand it. If you're a casual gamer, there are probably better options out there for you.
But if you've made it this far, you're probably not a casual gamer. You're probably a hardcore gamer who wants a phone that can offer a decent level of gameplay, for those times when you're away from your discerningly crafted setup.
If that sounds like you, the ROG Phone 7 is probably the best option on the market right now. You can expect a truly stellar experience playing games, with a phone that is more than capable of handling the usual day-to-day tasks as well.