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Fast Charge: There’s more to a gaming phone than high performance

OPINION: What separates a standard phone from a gaming phone? Most people will likely answer ‘the performance’, but that’s only half of the story. 

The new Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a good example of this. Asus sure hasn’t skimped out on performance, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor ensuring it’s one of the most powerful Android phones on the market – beaten only by the overclocked chip powering the Samsung Galaxy S23 Series. 

But if Asus relied solely on high performance, then the ROG Phone 7 would be tough sell. After all, there are many phones that are capable of running popular high-end mobile games such as Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact. More power may result in a smoother performance in some instances, but you can still find a handset for half the price that’s perfectly adequate for such experiences. 

During my review of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, I found the many gaming-centric features to have a far greater impact on my experience than the blazing-fast Snapdragon chip. 

The AirTriggers were my favourite feature, allowing me to set up virtual triggers on the side of the sturdy metal phone. There are no mechanical switches here that actuate when pressed down, but the strong buzz of the haptic feedback technology makes it feel as if I am using a traditional gamepad. 

The clever software allows me to configure the functionality of these triggers for any game. For Call of Duty Mobile, I mapped the left trigger to crouching and the right to shooting. This meant I could perform these actions with separate fingers to those used to control movement via the touchscreen. By doing so, the controls suddenly felt a lot more intuitive, and I’m sure I benefited from a huge advantage over rival players online. 

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Game Genie software
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The built-in Game Genie software also gives you shortcuts to oodles of useful gaming features. You can activate an FPS counter to keep an eye on performance, create macro commands, block incoming calls while gaming and capture video so you can show off your sick moves to your friends. Software such as this makes the Asus ROG Phone 7 feel more akin to a dedicated gaming system like a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck.

Asus has also made sure to improve the cooling system for the new Asus ROG Phone 7. There are no immediate shortburst performance gains from this addition, with the Galaxy S23 still edging ahead in our standard benchmarks. But the 3DMark stress test showed that the Asus ROG Phone 7 is capable of maintaining a high, consistent performance score over a long stretch of time. The Samsung Galaxy S23 saw a higher peak of performance, but it also dropped significantly lower during the test, likely due to overheating. 

And let’s not forget the importance of a big battery. Asus has paired the ROG Phone 7 with a colossal 6000mAh cell, which is one of the biggest you’ll find in a phone. My testing showed this allowed the ROG Phone to last almost two days on a single charge. As for playing intensive games nonstop, such as Call of Duty Mobile, my tests indicated the ROG Phone 7 would last for a remarkable seven and a half hours – that’s longer than what the Switch and Steam Deck can muster. 

The rear of Asus ROG Phone 7
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

All of these various factors of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate combine for an excellent on-the-go gaming experience. Asus has done a great job of considering all of the important elements of a gaming phone rather than putting all of its eggs in the performance basket. 

After all, the Nintendo Switch is currently the most popular gaming portable outside of smartphones, and it’s far from being the most powerful handheld system, especially since the arrival of the Steam Deck. 

Performance has never been the most important aspect for portable gaming, and that’s no different in the gaming phone market. No company gets that better than Asus. It would be great to see a more affordable ROG Phone in the future, but it’s otherwise clear to see that Asus has a winning formula for the gaming phone market. 

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