If you’re like most gamers, then you’ve definitely heard about Asus’s ROG (Republic Of Gamers) Division. The high-end brand puts out some of the most powerful laptops and the flashiest of peripherals with powerful hardware, ergonomic design, and great build quality.
Now, get ready for all of that in the palm of your hand as Asus moves into the high-end phone market.
With Android gaming steadily on the rise; and with titles like Free Fire, PUBG and Fortnite making their way onto mobile, it’s clear to see why Asus chose to jump into the market right now.
See also: The best gaming Tablets
The ROG gaming Phone comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, paired with an Adreno 630 GPU. It’s overclocked, leaving behind the 2.8 GHz for a slightly higher 2.96 GHz. Asus’s patented GameCool system features a vapor-chamber cooling system, with a copper heat spreader and carbon cooling pads on the circuit board, it has a 16x larger heat dissipation area and 47% more CPU cooling efficiency over standard smartphone cooler designs. And, if you’re ever looking for lower temperatures during those long gaming sessions; the ROG Phone comes boxed with a neat little external clip-on cooler.
The next big thing on this smartphone has to be the screen – and I say that quite literally. A 6-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels; it uses an AMOLED that runs at 90Hz with a 1ms response time, HDR visuals and a 10,000:1 Contrast Ratio. The ROG phone features Full HD+ but does so at 420 PPI, which is slightly lower than the other phones in its class. The screen also features a 10 point multi-touch input – if you ever need it, it’s there.
The ASUS ROG Phone features a rounded aluminum body with front-facing stereo speakers, each of which possesses an amplifier that maximizes volume and cuts distortion. The little exhaust vent is colored the same copper as the speakers. There’s a custom USB-C port on the side, to fit the cooler on. Once the cooler is clipped into place, you have an extra USB port and audio jack, so it’s easier to game in landscape mode without the annoyance of wires sticking out the sides. On the opposite side, there is a set of hidden, but fully programmable ‘Air Trigger’ touch sensors, which are essentially a pair of touch-based shoulder buttons that come into play when landscape gaming – which makes it much more convenient to play a game. There’s yet another Air Trigger that can be used by squeezing the phone while in portrait.
Another unique feature that the ROG Phone possess is its ‘advanced vibration haptics’, which distributes vibration between different sides of the phone; for example, with certain titles, this translates to the direction from which you’re being shot at.
The camera sits toward the top left, with the flash right next to the corner. Below it, and a little to the right, is the fingerprint scanner; fingerprint scanners are pretty much a staple in mobile security today.
The ROG logo on the back of the phone sports some crisp RGB lighting that offers you a choice in lighting schemes: static, breathing, strobing or color cycling.
The USB ports mentioned earlier can also be used to connect the phone to a range of accessories that come along with it. These include the external cooler, a mobile desktop dock, and a few interesting joysticks.
The ROG Phone has dual cameras: A 12mp and an 8mp. The secondary camera offers a 120-degree view for a wide angle capture.
The front facing camera is a standard 8 mp.
As the focus of the phone is on gaming and not photography, you can expect a decent camera, but nothing mind-blowing. The real shake-down will come once Asus starts shipping review models, as the booth model was more of a showpiece and rather limited to tests.
Connectivity and Audio
The ROG Phone comes with most modern auxiliary radios: such as NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD and the usual array of sensors you find on almost any phone such as light and proximity.
There’s also dual-band 11ac/ad Wi-Fi and up to 1.2Gbps LTE (Cat 18) thanks to the Qualcomm X20 modem.
On the audio side of things are a 2.1 headphone jack (plus the extra via the detachable cooler mentioned earlier) and DTS Headphone:X with 7.1 virtual surround sound and Hi-Res Audio support.
The highlight, in this instance, is the stereo speakers mentioned earlier; they are reported to be some of the most powerful speakers featured on a smartphone.
The ROG Phone has a 4,000 mAh battery. Whereas 3,000 mAh is the average for a smartphone in 2018 –
With the higher speed of the Snapdragon processor and the high refresh rate on the screen; it isn’t hard to see why it’s necessary. But, will it be enough? Asus says you’ll get 11 and a half hours of video playback and 7 hours of gameplay, both over Wi-Fi and with the LTE radio running.
The traditional port on the bottom supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. However, the custom side port supports up to Quick Charge 4.0 and Asus’s own HyperCharge direct charging, which can get the phone to a surprising 60 percent in just under 33 minutes.
Despite sporting a glass rear panel, the ROG Phone does not support wireless charging. Which is rather odd, seeing as the technology is being utilized effectively and to much acclaim by Asus’s new-found competition.
The phone comes with Android 8.1 Oreo. It also uses Asus’s own ROG Gaming UI interface which blends in perfectly with the style of the phone.
Overall, it seems to be a pretty stock version of Android, other than a few aesthetic changes (Like the icon pack, for example).
Asus also provides the Game Center, which offers a quick glimpse of system resources; from here you can tweak a few performance options, such as the fan speeds of the external AeroActive Cooler.
Switching the ROG Phone into ‘X-Mode’ frees up RAM so that you can use it for some serious gaming and utilize the maximum performance of the 845 processor.
Asus ROG Phone: Specs
- OS – Android 8.1 Oreo
- Screen – 6in (2160×1080, 402 PPI) 90Hz AMOLED display
- Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- GPU – Adreno 630 GPU
- RAM – 8GB RAM
- Storage – 128/512GB storage
- Security – Fingerprint scanner
- Rear Camera – Dual rear-facing cameras: 12Mp + 8Mp phase detection autofocus, LED flash
- Front Camera – 8Mp front-facing camera
- 802.11ac/ad Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD
- USB-C 3.1
- Front facing stereo speakers smart amplifier
- 2.1 and 7.1 audio ports
- Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
- Dimensions -159x76x8.6mm
- Weight -200g
What do we think?
Asus really has gone to town to provide the best gaming experience on mobile, while stepping far outside their comfort zone. With a number of neat features and accessories, like the Air triggers, the souped-up Snapdragon, the external cooler, the 90Hz AMOLED and the possible 512GB of storage – Asus has created a phone in its own league, a phone which puts gaming first, and being a phone second. A phone that could just be the Leviathan to put gaming phones back in the spotlight; or to push them further into obscurity.