• Operating System: Android 8.1 Nougat
  • System on Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Display: 6-inch 1080 x 2160 AMOLED
  • Camera: 12+8MP (dual rear), 8MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 + A2DP + LE + aptX HD, 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Dimensions: 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 200g
  • Pros:
  • Gaming design
  • Display
  • Cons:
  • Oversaturated photos

The Phone For Gaming Geeks

Easily what we considered the most exciting reveal at this year’s COMPUTEX, ASUS’ ROG Phone has finally made its way to our test lab and we were more than eager to find out if it warrants the attention.

From packaging to device, ASUS has spent quite a bit of effort on its new gaming smartphone. It comes in a box with a triangular shape that houses the device itself, a fast charger, a back cover, and the Aero Active Cooler fan.

The ROG Phone is a stylish phone with a solid aluminium frame, Gorilla glass for the front and back, and some elements of that edgy design that gamers favour. There’s some bronze gold colouring over the two speaker grills at the front, while the back has that backlight-ready ROG logo and nickel cooling plate for added contrast.

The hardware for the phone would be enough to impress many. Not only does the ROG Phone come with an overclocked Snapdragon 845 chip, but it also has a 6-inch display, dual front-facing speakers, and a large 4,000 mAh battery for hours of gaming or watching videos.

ASUS went with an AMOLED screen that can output 108.6% DCI-P3 colour gamut and supports HDR. We tested it with relevant games like Asphalt 9 and Honkai 3rd Impact, which are titles with a lot of graphical fidelity and movement, and found the colours to be vibrant and accurate. It has enough brightness to be viewable even in brightly lit areas, and the 90Hz refresh rate ensures that the graphics look smooth.

For audio, the dual front-facing speakers are more than loud enough and deliver decent audio quality. They’re still not strong in the bass and the soundstage department, but that’s to be expected for speakers of that size. Fortunately, you can easily plug your best gaming headset to it and enjoy better audio.

Features in the Game Genie truly set the ROG Phone apart from the crowd of high-end smartphones. It allows users to quickly block out notifications, record or stream your gaming session (with face camera!), and the AirTriggers are extremely useful as you effectively gain two additional ‘shoulder buttons’ through the use of built-in sensors. The triggers are actually a bit too sensitive, but we still found them useful for games that have a lot of buttons to press.

Other cool features are like the side port on the phone, which is where the Aero Active Cooler connects to. Once plugged in, it allows you to charge the device and plug a headset to it while in landscape mode – without worrying about the cables getting in the way.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re really into mobile games and want a device with the performance, aesthetics and features to match, this is the one for you.

(to be published in issue November 2018)