The verdict will have to be the same. Asus has nailed it again.
We gave Asus' latest gaming flagship mobile system, the ROG Phone 6, a full 10/10 just a few months ago, and did so with a string of flattering superlatives in the process. And it's now hard not to respect both Asus, and the ROG team in particular, for their focused dedication to giving consumers not just a phone with long battery life, but one of the world's best display panels, and a build quality that seriously puts some of the competition to shame, on top of meaningful features that make it more tactile, and generally nicer, to play on.
Asus now returns just six months later with a new ROG Phone, but instead of being a 7, it's called the "6D", and you don't have to look far to see why. You see, this phone uses the latest Dimensity 9000+ chip from MediaTek, a manufacturer that's really starting to breathe down Qualcomm's neck, and it seems to be the "D" that's given the ROG Phone 6D its name. In addition, we've also got a brand new thermal design under the hood, which mainly consists of the new AeroActive Portal heat sink that allows nine times more surface area for cooling.
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We're not going to spend too much time on the bulk of the 6D because it's some very, very specific stuff Asus has chosen to update. We've looked specifically at the Ultimate model, but it's also available without that adjective. It looks similar to the ROG Phone 6 Pro, but is instead in a matte grey that really suits the whole phone better than the more aggressive white colour from earlier this year. There's the same camera, same custom OLED panel on the back, and same graphics too.
All the core strengths are here again. AirTriggers give you ultrasonic sensors that basically add pretty accurate triggers to your phone, and don't require dedicated software support, but can work for any game. The battery is still a whopping 6000mAh, which can easily get you through almost three days if you're not gaming consistently during that time. You still get access to the same ecosystem of excellent accessories that only extend the potential, and the stereo speakers are still the best you'll find among Android phones. In other words, everything that made the ROG Phone 6 a masterpiece is still here.
The aforementioned AeroActive Portal is the most obvious exterior upgrade. It's an air duct on the outer chassis that consists of a thin vapour chamber with fins on. What this little duct can do is mechanically open up during use, exposing the internal components to fresh air from outside. "But doesn't that present some usage issues?" I hear you ask? Asus says they use the same technology as with their ZenFone Flip, so it should be the case that the little door always manages to close, and the 4-5 tests we've done prove that it does.
And it should be mentioned that this channel is not open all the time, but works in conjunction with the new AeroActive Cooler. Overall, it gives a nine fold improvement in airflow, and thankfully you also get a Cooler included when you buy the Ultimate variant. So does it work? We tested primarily with the AeroActive Cooler on, which incidentally unlocks the highest performance setting, X Mode+, and although we saw temperatures of up to 80-85 degrees on the chip, there was no real thermal throttling. Compared to the ROG Phone 6 Pro from earlier this year, the two chips were in roughly the same category heat-wise, which is pretty impressive.
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So what about the Dimensity 9000+ chip? We ran some synthetic tests, and saw overall a 15-20% improvement over the ROG Phone 6 Pro. That gives a GeekBench 5 Multi-Core score of 4599 against Snapdragon's barely 4000, and a Single-Core of 1381 against 1311 on the old variant. These results held their way in the AnTuTu 9 and GFX tests.
This should be seen in the context of the phone's other qualities. I've already mentioned some of this, and I can't really help but echo the many words of praise we had to say about the ROG Phone 6 Pro earlier this year. However, I have to just say that this display, is very impressive. 165Hz, AMOLED HDR10+ with Delta E deviations of something like 0.1, and a DCI-P3 coverage of over 100%. This display is perfect, and puts all others to shame, as in all others.
The score? Yeah, it's going to have to be the same. The 6D has been a tour de force for me, even me who doesn't that often game on a mobile device. It's worth every penny.