‘Republic of Gamers’ is the division specialized in gaming of ASUS. After several years using this brand on their laptops and computers, now it reaches mobile devices with the ASUS ROG Phone. It is not the first mobile specialized in this market niche that we have tried, but it is one of the last to arrive.
Taking into account that most high ranges incorporate the same processor, this ASUS ROG Phone presents several additions to convince the most gamers. Among its most outstanding features we have an AMOLED HDR 90Hz refresh screen, a steam chamber cooling system and a striking body with several LEDs and designed to adapt to the horizontal position. We have been playing with the gaming smartphone of the Taiwanese manufacturer during the last weeks and here we leave you with our analysis of the ASUS ROG Phone.
ASUS ROG Phone Data Sheet
|ASUS ROG PHONE
|AMOLED 6″ 18: 9 Full HD + (2160 x 1080 points) with HDR support, 90 Hz refresh and 1 ms response time
Gorilla Glass 6
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 8 cores at 2.96 GHz (optimized without overclocking)
|Adreno 630 optimized for games
|8 GB LPDDR4X
|4000 mAh, ROG HyperCharge Technology
|12 + 8 megapixels, f / 1.7, wide-angle, 1.4μm, OIS, 4K / 60fps
|8 megapixels, f / 2.0
|Android 8.1 Oreo
ROG Gaming UI
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
|158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6 mm
|LTE, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, minijack, USB-C x 2 (side and bottom)
|Steam Camera GameCool 3D Steam, Front speakers with 24-bit DAC, radioFM
|From 916 dollars on Amazon
A striking and striking design that is best enjoyed in landscape mode
The ASUS ROG Phone is a mobile phone with considerable dimensions. With a screen size of 6 inches, both the side edges and the top and bottom are quite wide. It is also a thick and heavy device. Its 8.6 millimeters and 200 grams feel less light than most of the high ranges of this year, but it is in line with that seen in other gaming terminals such as the Black Shark, the Razer Phone and more stylized than some like the Nubian network Magic.
In the comparison table we can see how, compared to the rest of the devices that could interest the most players, the ROG Phone stands out as one of the thinnest. While it is true that its weight slightly exceeds some alternatives.
|ASUS ROG PHONE
|RAZER PHONE 2
|XIAOMI BLACK SHARK
|POCOPHONE ARMORED EDITION
|6″ FullHD + (18:9)
|5.7″ QuadHD (16:9)
|5.99″ FullHD + (18:9)
|6.18″ FullHD + (18.7:9)
|6.3″ FullHD + (19.5:9)
|158.8 x 76.2 mm
|158.5 x 79 mm
|161.6 x 75.4 mm
|155.7 x 75.5 mm
|157.9 x 74.3 mm
But the size does not seem to be a concern for the players. The ROG Phone is designed to be used in landscape mode, usual placement in the vast majority of games. It is something that is appreciated in the numerous details of the casing that are placed taking into account that. On the front we find a double speaker with red tones with the same shape that offers the terminal an attractive symmetry. In addition, they are placed just so that when holding the mobile the palm of the hand does not cover them.
The “Air Triggers” chromed sides are pressure sensitive, are customizable for each game and act like the buttons on the old portable consoles. The position is correct, although its haptic response is harder than other solutions such as Google or HTC.
On the right side we have the on / off button next to the volume button. They have no special touch, although they are easy to press. In the upper area, there is a small hole that is not for the SIM, but a noise canceling microphone. On the right side there is the tray for the double nanoSIM. We also find a double USB C port, which ASUS recommends to use for its accessories. The standard USB C port is in the lower zone, although not in the center but closer to the left edge. On the other side we will have the minijack port, an inclusion that many gamers will appreciate and contrasts with the tendency to eliminate it that we have seen lately.
ASUS presents a mobile phone with a design far removed from traditional lines. We have LEDs, logos, side ports and a very resistant housing that encourages us to use the mobile in horizontal.
The back shell is completely opposite to the traditional design lines. Minimalism is conspicuous by its absence and in its place we find multicolor RGB LEDs, a copper plate to keep the terminal cold and help prevent slipping and an elongated and rectangular fingerprint reader almost at the height of the camera.
Regarding the fingerprint reader, comment that despite being quite fast the area is very small and its use is not comfortable if we have the phone vertically. It improves slightly in horizontal, although during these weeks I have not managed to get used to it. Yes it has his explanation and is that the accessory of the steam chamber is added in the back and covers the area where we usually have the reader. Facial recognition works correctly, although it is somewhat slow and in dark areas it also fails.
The construction of the ASUS ROG Phone, despite being robust and lacking premium feel, is excellent. The oleo phobic layer is quite effective and is not usually impregnated with fingerprints. The front glass is also Gorilla Glass 6, which makes it a tough terminal.
As mobile to carry in your pocket and use it to navigate has seemed too big, but to hold it with both hands is when you feel better. ASUS has created a solid mobile, little slippery and that feels cold in hand. It is a different sensation, but it fits very well with what one looks for to play calmly with the mobile.
AMOLED screen bright and sensitive, but with very loose viewing angles
The screen chosen by ASUS for its flagship is a 6-inch AMOLED panel with an 18: 9 format without ‘notch’ and a FullHD + resolution with 2,160 x 1,080 pixels. The screen ratio, according to GSMArena, is 76.8% and its pixel density is 402ppp.
Among its most striking technical features is the compatibility with HDR content, a refresh rate of 90Hz and a response time of 1ms. Despite not measuring it directly, our experience has been relatively satisfactory. The screen responds quickly although it is difficult to appreciate. The same goes for the refresh rate. By default it works at 60Hz, although it is possible by software to activate it at 90Hz to take advantage of compatible games. While with the Razer Phone we did notice a slight increase in fluency, in the ROG Phone and its 90Hz it is not so evident.
The contrast of AMOLED panels is perfect, although the color representation is not the most accurate. It is quite noticeable that it tends to quite warm tones and when we rotate the phone we can see the typical degradation of the AMOLED panels. Some brightness is also lost in these viewing angles. When we play we do it in front, but in this case we can see that the panel could be of better quality.
The screen of the ROG Phone offers us one of lime and another of sand: the brightness and the tactile response are excellent, but the colors and angles of vision are not up to the best AMOLED panels.
To play outdoors we will not have problems. The maximum brightness is very high. The theoretical level that marks ASUS is 550 nits, although we would say that it is even more. The automatic also works well. Here it is appreciated to have this brightness to play. The crystal produces some reflections, but with the high brightness is compensated and we can play anywhere without being concerned about the amount of light.
ASUS is a manufacturer very used to add all kinds of settings and options and with respect to the screen we also have them. Among the most prominent is the intelligent screen that remains active while we have the phone in hand, the ability to hide the navigation gestures, adjust the color temperature and the Always-on option to show the clock when the screen is off.
Refrigerated and fast: Excellent performance
The technical specifications of a mobile gaming must be the highest available for the manufacturer. Otherwise it will be difficult to convince the most demanding. The Snapdragon 855 has not yet reached the smartphones, so ASUS opts for the expected chip: the Snapdragon 845 and its Adreno 630 GPU along with a generous amount of RAM such as 8GB LPDDR4X. It is a known combination and we have seen it repeated in other mobile gaming, as well as in multiple high ranges. Additionally, ASUS promises us that it has reviewed all Qualcomm processors to meet the theoretical 2.96GHz.
How could it be otherwise, we have passed the various benchmarks to check the score achieved by the ROG Phone and the results are excellent? Having tested the Mate 20 and its Kirin 980, this ASUS manages to overcome the barrier of 300,000 points in AnTuTu with overclocking. In other recognized tests, the results are also first class and are significantly higher than other mobile phones with the same chipset. Of course, it is important to emphasize that they are figures obtained under the X mode, in normal mode they are also above but the difference is not so remarkable.
|ASUS ROG PHONE
|RAZER PHONE 2
|XIAOMI BLACK SHARK
|HUAWEI MATE 20X
300,052 (X mode)
|GEEKBENCH 4 (SINGLE / MULTI)
|2.424 / 8.893
2.520 / 9.401 (X mode)
|2.026 / 8.234
|2395 / 7.106
|1,247 / 4,335
|3,374 / 9,962
9006 (X mode)
How does this translate to the gaming experience? We have a very good performance, without any type of lag and always with the maximum configuration that games allow. Possibly one of the Android devices that more potential extract today from the games available. Temperatures at rest (left) vs temperatures after playing for about 15 minutes at Asphalt 9 with X mode (right)
Although another of the highlights is its cooling system. The rear glass does not heat up and in our tests it remains in very acceptable temperatures. About 27ºC at rest and close to 40 º when we have a good time playing. In addition, similar to what Microsoft offers with Xbox One X, the ROG Phone incorporates a steam chamber system to improve this cooling. It is a small accessory ‘AeroActive Cooler’ that according to ASUS data multiplied by five the life of the terminal to keep the SoC cooler. A base that comes with the mobile, is attached to the back and adds an extra USB C port and a minijack. The fact of having side ports is very comfortable when playing.
The ASUS ROG Phone is a beast in performance. It stays cold, there is no lag and all the games we have tried work perfectly. To date, one of the best Android phones to perform tasks and heavy games.
It is not the only accessory that ASUS has prepared for your ROG Phone, although the rest are sold separately. Among them we find a case, an extra battery, an external screen, a dock and a remote.
At the level of connectivity we are not so happy. On a couple of occasions we had some small cut with WiFi, failing when the next cell phone was going well. Regarding GPS, Bluetooth and data we have not noticed anything strange. Everything is said, when we have been playing it has gone perfectly. For storage, we have theoretical 128GB of which we have 107.73 GB free. A basic amount that not all mobile phones incorporate and is essential to play. And one last detail we want to highlight is its powerful vibration system, one that we can also customize as if they were ring tones.
Gamer aesthetics should not be at odds with reliable software
As my partner Anna asked in the first impressions, why gamer aesthetics is reason for us to have a bad experience? After using it during these weeks, the truth is that the ZenUI interface in its ROG version has not convinced me.
It is not a case of aesthetics, since I understand that certain players reddish and bright tones attract attention. It is simply because he is not going as fluid as he should. If at the time of playing the mobile is perfect, when it comes to browsing and moving around the menus does not seem so powerful. In addition to showing a bug from time to time.
Android 8.1 Oreo with the November patch is the built-in software version. A pity that a recently presented mobile does not arrive with the latest version. ASUS is one of those brands that adds a lot of extra settings. We have pre-installed games like Asphalt to own apps like a sound recorder, a file manager or space in the cloud. They also add certain promos like 100GB free in Drive or special objects in different games.
The launcher can be modified by themes, but the one that comes by default is very far from Android stock. The red tones predominate, both in the icons and in the shortcuts. In this last section, there are a whole series of options such as activating the memory cleaner, squeezable sides, WiGig, HDR mode, glove mode, radioFM or X mode.
The latter is an add-on designed for games that frees up memory, increases processor frequency and blocks notifications. Being a mobile with enough autonomy, we have almost always used it. Because in addition to slightly improving performance, we illuminate the rear LED with changing colors.
ASUS usually adds many options in the software and although some are quite useful and work well, we still have the feeling of being outdated and somewhat slow software.
Other additions of ASUS are the twin applications, emergency alerts, bookmarks, gestures, one-hand mode, pocket mode or your own Game Center , an application that we saw with the ASUS Zenfone 5Z and it helps us to see information in real time , block the brightness and record live.
Double camera with wide angle that stays somewhat short
For possible gamers who buy the ROG Phone, perhaps the photographic section is not the most relevant, but considering the cost of the device and the importance of the photos nowadays, ASUS is expected to incorporate a good camera. We have a double sensor, with a main Sony IMX363 of 12 megapixels and an aperture lens f / 1.7 and a secondary sensor of 8 megapixels, f / 2.0 and with wide angle.
The camera application works correctly and is quite complete. In the main screen we have in the lower part a button to activate the wide angle, while in the upper part there is the HDR, the format, the portrait mode, the timer and the flash. By sliding to the left, more options appear, including manual mode, which allows us to control focus, white balance, aperture and ISO.
How does it behave? With daylight the images are correct. The level of detail is good, the approach is quite fast and the dynamic range is wide enough. Still we notice that colors are not as vivid as we would like, sometimes tending to underexposure.
With HDR mode this lack of intensity is corrected, although we still do not have the usual precision that we do have in other flagships. Standard photography (left) vs. HDR mode (right)
ASUS makes use of artificial intelligence to recognize different scenes and adjust the parameters that it considers most appropriate. Even so, these additions hardly manage to capture an unusual image for the camera.
In night photography, the points of light are well treated and the colors are correct, although the detail drops enormously. This is where the difficulties of the ASUS ROG Phone camera are best appreciated.
The second sensor has a double function, on the one hand the wide angle and on the other the portrait mode. The first has a field of vision of 120ºalthough it is noted that the quality is lower since both the level of detail and the dynamic range do not stand out that much. Regarding the portrait mode, the application lets us choose the depth and the results are quite acceptable, with well-defined areas.
In the front camera we have an 8 megapixel sensor with aperture f / 2.0. Here we have portrait mode through artificial intelligence, in addition to the classic beauty mode. Selfies have a somewhat low level of detail in night scenes, although the focus is fast enough and by day we obtain correct images.
In video, the ASUS ROG Phone has optical image stabilization and allows recording in 4K resolution at 60fps. The results are good, they do not come out very moved and the recording of the sound is above the general level of the camera.
A powerful sound does not mean that we have good serious
The ASUS ROG Phone incorporates a double stereo front speaker with five magnets and each equipped with NXP 9874 amplifiers. The sound produced is loud and powerful, with a maximum level of about 101dB but almost always close to that point. From the sound settings we have five settings and a complete equalizer, although we must adjust it well enough to achieve an optimum level of precision.
From my perspective, I think the bass is not very successful and distorted slightly. In spite of everything, the sound is more than correct and in games the listening experience is good. We also have an “exterior mode” to increase more in volume at the cost of losing quality.
The sound section is very important to play and the ROG Phone has everything: double front speaker, DTS, exterior mode and three noise canceling microphones so that the classmates hear our instructions clearly.
It is appreciated to have several add-ons as is the support for Qualcomm aptX for Bluetooth and DTS, which allows you to create 7.1 surround effects with the headphones. And is that from the headphones, the ASUS ROG Phone works very well, without any complaint and up to the rest of high-end phones. Also some are incorporated in the box next to the mobile. We also have a good result in calls. The sound is clear and three noise canceling microphones are incorporated.
Battery: 4000 mAh give for much but less than on other occasions
With a capacity of 4,000 mAh, the ASUS ROG Phone has enough battery to withstand a full day of use without problems. It is a very thick and heavy mobile, so it should not surprise us this amount. However, whether for high brightness or high power, the autonomy of this ROG Phone is slightly below that seen in other phones with 4,000 mAh.
In screen hours, we obtain an average of about 7 hours with moderate use and around 4 or 5 hours if we demand it with games. Normally during these test days we have combined intense phases of games with others more calm, obtaining quite different results but usually with this data named screen.
In the case of passing the PCMark 2.0 test we obtain a result of 8h and 40min up to 20%, with the fixed brightness at 50% and the activated X mode. In general, the ROG Phone complies with this section although we will need to opt for one of its accessories to ensure marathon days. On the contrary, accessories like the AeroActive cooler require energy supplied by the mobile itself.
The ROG Phone offers a fast charge of 30W, which together with its 4000 mAh will allow us to play during long sessions.
Where it does stand out especially the ASUS ROG Phone is in fast charging. It is compatible with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0 and comes with a Hypercharge charger up to 30W (3-11V / 3A). In total, the loading time is one hour and 45 minutes, although during the first 30 minutes we will reach 60%. A good addition that will help us to play again after a short pause.