Should you choose Samsung’s flagship phablet or Asus’ gaming rig?

  • Asus ROG Phone 7 product box
    Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

    Excellent gaming phone

    The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate offers a brilliant gaming experience thanks to its powerful processor, beautifully smooth screen, and one-off design. However, its adherence to gaming above all else might leave you disappointed with other aspects, such as the camera.


    • Unique gamer aesthetic
    • Excellent screen
    • High performance levels


    • Design may be divisive
    • Disappointing camera
    • Very expensive
  • Samsung“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>
    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

    Top All-Round Flagship

    $1050 $1200 Save $150

    The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best Android flagship you can buy right now, with an incredible screen, a versatile high-resolution camera system, and a truly premium finish. That’s not to say it’s perfect, as there could be improvements made to its fast charging.


    • Strong camera system
    • Elegant looks
    • Great screen


    • Some camera imperfections
    • Sub-par charging speeds
    • Very expensive

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are two highly accomplished devices, both near the summit of Android smartphone capabilities. While they share a few similarities, from the same chipset to near-identical screen sizes, many elements separate the two, from camera performance to fast charging to software and more. These smartphones are uncompromising almost across the board, with eye-popping specifications pertaining to the display, camera, and performance. But what are they like to actually use on a day-to-day basis? Let’s find out.

Price, availability, and specs

If you’re looking for a cheap handset, these are not the right phones to be considering; you will have to part with serious cash if you want to get your hands on either one. Even if you have the money, you won’t be able to get the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate yet, because it will not launch in the US until sometime in Q2 of 2023. Currently, it’s only available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Europe, where its current price is €1,399 (which converts into approximately $1,545).

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is certainly easier to get your hands on in theory, since it’s available throughout the world and on all three major US carriers plus major MVNOs such as Google Fi and Visible. However, it’s still ruinously expensive at the starting price of $1,200, so a carrier plan is probably the most efficient way to buy one.

  • Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
    SoC 3.2 GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy
    Display 6.78” 20.4:9 2448×1080 (395ppi) 165 Hz, 1 ms AMOLED HDR10+ certified 6.8″ QHD+ curved-edge AMOLED, 1~120Hz refresh, 240Hz touch sampling
    RAM 16GB 8GB or 12GB
    Storage 512GB 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
    Battery 6 000 mAh (dual 3,000mAh batteries) 5,000mAh
    Ports 2 USB-C, 1 3.5mm headphone jack USB-C, S Pen silo
    Operating System Android 13 with ROG UI & Zen UI One UI 5.1 w/ Android 13
    Front camera 32MP MP OV32 Quad Bayer Front Camera sensor 12MP f/2,2
    Rear cameras 50MP SONY IMX766 main sensor, 13MP ultra-wide, 8MP macro 200MP f/1.7 OIS main, 12MP f/2.2 wide (120°), 10MP f/2.4 OIS zoom (3x), 10MP f/4.9 OISzoom (10x)
    Connectivity Wi-Fi-Direct support UL 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.3 4G, 5G, UWB, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC
    Dimensions 173 x 77 x 10.3 mm 163.3 × 78 × 8.9mm
    Colors Storm White Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender + Exclusive Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, Red
    Weight 239 g 234g
    Charging 65W (21V 3A) PD3.0 / QC5.0 / Direct Charge adapter 45W wired (Quick Charge 2.0, Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging), 15W wireless (Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, WPC), Wireless PowerShare
    IP Rating IP54 IP68
    Micro SD card support No No
    Security 4 yrs of security updates Fingerprint (Ultrasonic, under-display), Facial


Asus ROG Phone 7 review rear standing

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate looks similar to predecessors in the same series, relying heavily on hardcore gamer aesthetics that are likely to appeal to its target audience. This distinctive look’s highlight is a small dual-color screen on the reverse side that can feature animations in pink and blue. If this is to your taste, then it’s a unique selling point that could win you over, but otherwise, you might just find it tacky.

One negative point is that it does not have a centered USB-C port, which hinders its compatibility with most gaming controllers, such as the Razer Kishi V2 and the Gamevice Flex to name but two. Let’s just say it’s not a good sign when even the Nintendo Switch is more open to gaming peripherals than this phone. You’ll largely be limited to Asus’ hardware, including the AeroActive Cooler fan or the Kunai 3 gamepad.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is strikingly similar to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, with the differences being almost imperceptible at a casual glance. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With durable Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back, on a metallic frame, it looks elegant and feels so solid and premium in hand that it is just a joy to hold.


The S23 Ultra additionally has a better IP rating than the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate (IP68 vs IP54), so it can better guard against water or dust ingress, and it’s available in a much wider color array than the one-shade-fits-all device from Asus.

In terms of both style and practicality, more users will likely be won over by the Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, if you can’t get enough of the gaming aesthetic, then the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate will be right up your street.


Asus ROG Phone 7 review stardew puzzle

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s massive 6.78-inch OLED screen is arguably its biggest achievement. The refresh rate goes all the way up to a buttery smooth 165Hz, and it’s manually adaptable, so you can set it to just 60Hz if you need to conserve battery. Fortunately (and in contrast to some of Samsung’s handsets), the refresh rate stays where you set it, without switching back on the sly.

On top of that, the display has a 720Hz touch sampling rate which offers just 23ms of latency, so the screen is highly responsive to your input, potentially giving you a real competitive edge over your rivals. For all that, it’s still not perfect; the unusual 20:4.9 aspect ratio isn’t well-suited to game streaming that prefers a traditional 16:9 setup.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate faces stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which rocks an excellent screen of its own. Measuring 6.8 inches with a resolution of 1440p, the panel is one of the most impressive around, even if the refresh rate isn’t quite as high as that of Asus’ flagship gaming handset (at 120Hz rather than 144Hz). Its brightness is particularly exceptional, reaching 1,750 nits, which is almost unparalleled for watching movies and browsing Twitter.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra held in a hand

The only potential drawback is that the screen curves slightly at the edges, which some users will find irritating and others will find a touch more convenient to hold, especially for a device of this size.

Simply put, both devices have screens that are huge, and hugely impressive, and will surely satisfy most. That said, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s screen is capable of being both smoother and more responsive, so it’s the better option for a keen gamer.

Software and performance

Asus ROG Phone 7 review armoury crate

Both phones run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, packing incredible performance standards, and they run on the Android 13 operating system, too — but besides these two elements, there are still plenty of distinguishing features.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate boasts Asus’ Armoury Crate gaming software, where you can house all your Android games and pick out handy tools to get the best out of them, from a screen recorder that supports inline sound to enabling modes that offer varying performance balances depending on how you want to game. In terms of software support, Asus has promised two OS updates and four years of security updates.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra still holds its own in terms of performance, capable of running Genshin Impact on max settings without any frame rate drops, so it is still worthy of consideration from serious gamers. This may partly be down to the improved clock speed on the main Cortex X3 core, which is unique to the Samsung handset.

The front display on a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung’s One UI software does feature some useful tips and tricks, including handy battery widgets and Expert RAW access directly from the camera app. However, it does prompt you to download an array of bloatware on startup, and the Samsung ecosystem apps are often just duplicates of the standard Google app suite, although there are some notable efforts, such as Google Wallet or Samsung’s browser that are widely considered superior to the default options. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will be supported for five years, including four major OS updates.

Overall, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate offers some good gaming options in its software package, but the longer-term support of the Galaxy S23 Ultra may make it a wiser investment.

Battery life

Asus ROG Phone 7 review gaming controller

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a very demanding phone, so it stands to reason that it should have a beefy battery to keep it ticking. The 6,000 mAh cell should be enough to get through a full two days of regular usage, even with the screen cranked up to its maximum 165Hz refresh rate. Once drained, you can top the battery back up again in around an hour thanks to the speedy 65-watt fast charging —and the brick is included in the box.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a smaller battery, at 5000mAh, and while it has a correspondingly shorter battery life, it’ll still manage a day and a half’s life out of it on a single charge — and that was with the always-on display enabled, the top screen resolution, and on Wi-Fi connectivity for most of the time. Wireless and reverse wireless charging support, both unavailable on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, is another feather in its cap.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with Spigen 15 wireless charging stand

Unfortunately, though, the device’s charging credentials are less impressive. The Galaxy S23 Ultra supports 45-watt fast charging, which is significantly below some competitors (such as the OnePlus 11), and it generally takes somewhere between an hour and ninety minutes to charge from 10% to 100%. The real kicker is that despite the cost of this phone, there’s no charging brick included; you’ll have to beg, borrow, or steal a PPS-supported charger if you want to get the highest possible speeds.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Ultimate boasts better battery life and fast charging, though the Galaxy S23 Ultra is still more than adequate in these regards, even if it doesn’t hit the heights of some peers.


Asus ROG Phone 7 review rear close-1

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has a triple camera arrangement on its rear, consisting of a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and an 8-megapixel macro sensor. On the front, there’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera. While this array acquits itself better than most of its gaming-centric competitors, such as the Red Magic 7, you shouldn’t buy this device for its photographic ability.

Yes, it might come in handy to take some snaps if you don’t have a proper camera at hand, but despite significant software improvements since the previous generation, it just isn’t on the same level as the best camera phones.

On the other hand, the camera is the star of the show as far as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is concerned. Its main sensor has an incredible 200-megapixel resolution, and while shots are pixel-binned to 12-megapixels by default, images are still pleasingly punchy, while the array of lenses provides a great deal of versatility to take the right shot at the right moment.


The trademark Samsung image oversaturation remains here, and this could prove divisive; some users might enjoy the enhanced green and blue colors, but some might find them off-putting and unnatural. Shutter lag is another potential downside, a common bugbear with this manufacturer’s camera systems, which can capture motion blur when subjects are in action.

If the camera is a priority for you — or even a significant consideration — then the Samsung Galaxy S23 is the phone to choose. Despite a few flaws, it is still leagues ahead of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate in this regard.

Which is right for you?

If you’re considering either of these great Android phones, then you’ll have to be prepared for an expensive outlay, and for a device that is physically large and uncompromising in most of its specifications.

The key points of difference are in all-around gaming performance, where the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate edges out ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and in camera performance, where the latter surpasses the former with consummate ease.

Samsung“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The better smartphone

$1050 $1200 Save $150

The Galaxy S23 Ultra packs in almost everything you’d want in a smartphone. There’s a large, immersive screen, a multi-skilled camera array, and a strong processor, and it certainly looks the part too. While the relatively slow charging speeds and some camera niggles are drawbacks, these aren’t enough to stop it from being one of the very best flagships that (a lot of) money can buy.

If you are a passionate gamer who’s not bothered about taking pictures, then the ROG Phone was made with you in mind, but if you are looking for a more well-rounded flagship smartphone experience, as most people are, then the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the better option.

Asus ROG Phone 7 product box
Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

Gamer’s pick

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a no-holds-barred gaming phone, and that comes with some distinct benefits and disadvantages. On the one hand, its screen is beyond reproach, it is very powerful, and there are a few software tricks to help you stay competitive. On the other hand, the cameras are far from flagship standard, and its design may put off more casual fans.

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Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Which is better for you?

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