It seemed inevitable that ASUS’s gaming brand Republic of Gamers would enter the gaming smartphone space. The Taiwanese company might not be the first one in the space but it’s making sure it’s coming out with a bang. And so we welcome the ROG Phone.
Debuting at Computex 2018, ASUS ROG Phone is a result of the company’s attempt to follow where the gamers are going. And these days, gamers are multi-platform users and a lot flocking to the mobile gaming space. According to ASUS EMEA TPR lead Chih-Hao Kung, mobile is the largest games segment by gaming revenue. It is pulling in $46.1 billion, with a 19.3 year-on-year improvement. In contrast, console is pulling in $33.5 billion and PC is pulling in $29.4 billion. Aside from the gamers, ASUS is also targeting esports enthusiasts as esports viewing has been growing and is projected to grow further in the coming years.
And to address these markets, ASUS set out to do four key things: provide lag-free performance, efficient cooling, blur-free and beautiful visuals, and gaming-centric handling. How are they able to deliver on these fronts? Let’s take a quick look.
ASUS arms the ROG Phone with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with gaming-optimized Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU. And it isn’t just any version of the processor, Kung says they are using the “best version” of the processor with it “speed-binned” to 2.96GHz. ASUS partners this with 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB storage. ASUS claims it is the “fastest smartphone under sustained loads.”
For such a high-performing device, cooling is going to be an important part of the equation. ASUS packs in its GameCool 3D vapor-chamber cooling system that promises to keep performance up and heat down for long gaming sessions. It has a carbon cooling pad, copper heat spreader, and 3D vapor-chamber cooling system that provides 16 times larger heat dissipation area. This system promises five times longer peak endurance and 60 percent improved CPU cooling efficiency.
And if that isn’t enough, ASUS introduced an “extra cooling boost” courtesy of the AeroActive Cooler. It attaches to the side of the device and as its name suggests, helps cool the phone further.
Blur-free and beautiful visuals
ASUS promises vivid colors and HDR visuals with this smartphone’s 6-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel. The ROG Phone comes with a dedicated chip that can scale SDR gaming to HDR gaming. On top of this, ASUS claims it’s the “fastest” AMOLED in the world with a 90Hz screen refresh rate and 1ms ultrafast pixel response time.
On the ergonomic front, ASUS has included some nice touches that shows it’s consideration to its users. The phone has what ASUS calls Airtriggers, which are ultrasonic, touch-sensitive, and programmable buttons to the right of the device. It improves four-finger gameplay experience. ASUS pairs this with a vibration system that simulates the action in the game. The phone isn’t that unwieldy either as it shares the overall footprint of the ZenFone 5Q. It’s still mostly a two-hand kind of device but it’s thin enough to be comfortable in hand. Its Strix-inspired, metal build feels good and premium in hand.
But what drew a big response from the crowd during the media sneak peek was the availability of a USB-C port on the left side of the phone to let you charge more easily as while playing in landscape (there is still the regular charging port at the bottom of the phone as well). ASUS promises fast, safe, and cool charging with ROG Hypercharge. What the company has done is place the dedicated charger IC inside the charger instead of in the phone to allow for fast direct charge the 4,000mAh battery without raising the temperatures inside the phone.
Accessories and everything else
Now, what’s a gaming-centric phone without accessories? ASUS is extending the fun with three different accessories. One is the Mobile Desktop Dock to allow for desktop-style gaming. You can connect your ROG Phone to your monitor or TV and keyboard and mouse to play on a bigger screen.
ASUS has also partnered with Gamevice for the WiGig Dock, which provides you with console controls and lets you connect wirelessly to a display to let others watch as you game or let them join in on the fun.
The last accessory is the TwinView Dock, which does a couple of things—lets you live stream while you play or act as a second screen for some games. ASUS says they are working with game publishers to allow for custom support for two-screen gaming.
ASUS Philippines said we can expect the ROG Phone to land in the country in the third quarter. They haven’t said how much it’ll cost, and which of the accessories they’re bringing in. In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of its specs:
Display: 6.0” 18:9 AMOLED HDR (2,160 x 1,080 resolution) w/ 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms pixel response time
UI: ROG Gaming UI
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.9GHz octa-core
GPU: Adreno 630
Memory: 8GB RAM
Storage: 128GB/512GB internal storage
Cameras: Dual: 12MP + 8MP (120° wide-angle) rear; 8MP front
Connectivity & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ad, Wi-Fi Direct, WiGig; Bluetooth 5.0, aptX; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou; NFC; custom USB Type-C and regular USB Type-C, supports USB 3.1 Gen 1; 3.5mm audio jack
Audio: Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier, 24-bit/192kHz hi-res audio, DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround sound
Dimensions & weight: 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm, 200g