Still the most hardcore gaming phone on the market - and this time with a pretty good camera.
Asus ROG Phone has always had the slogan "for those who dare", but in reality it should just be "the ultimate gaming phone" because that is precisely what they are aiming for, not only by design, but by choice of components, aesthetics and accessories.
It comes in two colours, sort of, a normal version in black and a Pro version in white. The normal version comes with 12/16 GB of RAM, and 256/512 GB of storage - although I will say 256 should be enough for most people. At £899 it's also a lot cheaper than the Pro version (£1,099), which in fairness, is the one we tested, and which has 18GB or LPFF5 memory and 512 GB of storage. I still haven't met an application that uses 18GB of RAM, but it does provide a total fluid user experience even with many open apps at the same time.
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The specs and features list is as expected, vast and high-end. The core base is the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform, using the Adreno 730 GPU, Android 12 with the ROG and Zen UI on top. I do however feel that two years of security updates is underwhelming, while two full OS updates is reasonable.
The Display is a 165Hz AMOLED, 1ms, 395ppi, 6.78", 2448x1080p screen, with a massive 720 Hz touch sampling, by far the fastest I have tried, and a combined 23ms touch latency. If you use a PC with Nvidia reflex and know the combined latency of your entire computer, you will most likely not be able to beat 23ms no matter the hardware you are using, unless you have a money tree in the garden. Brightness is specified as low as 5 nits, 800 nits average, with 1200 nits at max, and a 111.23% DCI-P3 colour gamut, and a Delta E<1. This is serious business, you can grade video on a professional level with this display, and I can't remember anything hitting 100%, let alone going above 100% DCI-P3 within the consumer market. Besides the normal Gorilla Glass, they even coated the screen to reduce friction.
A cover is included in the box no matter what version you buy, along with a 65w charger for the 6000 mAh battery that has opted for two charging ports instead of one, and wireless charging. Only problem is that it adds to the weight of the phone, 239 grams makes it somewhat of a chunky thing. However, 6000 mAh might sound like a lot, but using the AeroCooler 6 and gaming at high settings will drain your battery fairly quickly. That is not something Asus can do a lot about, but for those who dare, you can skip the AeroCooler to gain a lot more battery time, but also increase the wear and tear on your battery long term.
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The side of the phone has the ROG classic Air triggers, and the Pro version has a coloured PMOLED display on the back. Because... well, it looks fancy. While a 50MP main camera system has been chosen, the sensor is the Sony IMX 755. Upgrading performance a lot since the 5 series, this is combined with a 13MP ultra-wide, a macro lens, and a 12MP front cam. Video can be captured in 8K/24fps, 4K/60FPS and slow motion in 4K/120fps. The stereo speakers are as always on a ROG Phone, rock solid.
The connections are Wi-Fi 6E, 2x2 MIMO support, and Bluetooth 5.2, which is impressive, and supports A2DP, LDAC, AptX HD and AAC. Not bad. Both a gamepad and the AeroCooler 6 can be bought separately, the last one is a pretty good investment as it adds not only extra cooling, but also provides four physical triggers made to a high quality.
As the list of games that support high refresh rate, or ROG Phones animated theme packs isn't that long, there is a good chance you will play them as they are pretty popular, including Real Racing 3, Dead Cells, Genshin Impact, AFK Arena, and the 60Hz Diablo Immortal, along with COD Mobile and Streets of Rage 4. The Aerocooler 6 managed to keep the test unit at 24 degrees, 4 degrees lower at idle, while gaming only raised the temperature to 37 degrees (46 degrees without), and at a very low noise level. The phone itself does have both vapor chamber and graphite sheets to cool the SoC. The explanation of the cooling takes some eight pages in the review material, so we are not going over that letter by letter.
The phone is pretty advanced, even setting it up is done through a small AR game, and the Armoury Crate software gives an insane level of custom options and themes, however, it's the Game Genie OSD you will be using the most.
But let's get down to business. The sound is good and having actual midrange, I ran in to no problems in regard to coverage from Wi-Fi or 5G, but the most impressive thing, well, besides the cooling, is the vivid colours of the display combined with high refresh rate. This is technically beating every single handheld console on the market, and while the triggers on the AeroCooler takes time getting used to, it works really well.
For pure benchmarking, here are the stats:
3D Benchmark - Wild life Extreme: 2798
Geek Bench 5: 1318 single core, 4188 multi core, GPU 6623 openCL / 6746 vulkan
PC Mark reached an impressive score of 17480
And then there is the camera, which really let me down last time, but Asus has made some serious improvements, and while not on par with the OnePlus 10, this time the camera is fully at flagship level with very low image noise in the darker areas, clear colours, and auto-focus that actually works, and the 5MP Macro lens does a lot better job than last time, making the ROG Phone 6 a fully fledged flagship phone that can game, instead of being a gaming phone that can also on occasion act as a decent camera phone.
Asus has managed to upgrade all of the weak points of the 5 series, and updated all of the strong points, making it the best gaming phone on the market for the really hardcore mobile gamers.
10 / 10
Great camera. Top of the line performance. Made for gaming all the way.
A tad heavy. Hardcore gaming drains the battery even with 6000mAh.