Asus ROG Phone Review - A gaming smartphone that lacks nothing

8th September 2020

In the middle of last year, Asus came up with a novelty, which he called ROG Phone. This unusual smartphone is made for those who are so-called passionate players, which logically reflects its hardware. In addition to a powerful chipset or high-end display, it also has an additionally connected fan to cool the back during playing a graphically demanding title.

And not only that. Among other things, its activity has the task of wrapping the user's hands , which means that they will not be sweaty or even unbearably hot. But we will talk about the functionality of this specialty a little later . First we throw the eyelet to the technical specification and then we start traditionally with the design, where I noticed a few minor shortcomings.

The equipment of the Asus ROG Phone consists of the masters themselves. But there is also nothing to be surprised about. You will pay something around 900 euros for this piece. Such a high price tag is due to the sophisticated OLED panel, powerful hardware, top audio and the presence of non-standard components or functionalities, which will be appreciated by anyone who can spend hours playing on a smartphone. It's a bomb.

Technical specification

  • 6 ″ OLED display (90 Hz, HDR, 108.6% DCI-P3, 1 ms response).
  • Snapdragon 845.
  • 8 GB RAM.
  • 128 or 512 GB storage.
  • 12 + 8 Mpx (classic + ultra-wide) main camera (1.4 µm, 4-axis OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF).
  • 2 stereo speakers + 2 amplifiers.
  • specially performed cooling + external cooling.
  • 2x USB C.
  • 2x 3.5 mm port.
  • 4,000 mAh battery + Quick Charge 4+.
  • Android 8.1 Oreo + ROG Gaming X UI.
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Asus ROG Phone

Construction and design

The waterproof construction of the Asus ROG Phone bears a typical futuristic design and consists of two pieces of glass, which are so slightly different . However, not by brand, but by generation, because they placed Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back .

The sides of the smartphone are lined with a heavier metal frame with nice visual details. But it's not just him big. The whole construction has above-standard dimensions and weight, so it is necessary to take into account that it can be felt in the pocket.

As for the ergonomics of holding, I did not notice any problem at all. That is, except that he got up to a 6-inch diagonal . But since the ROG Phone is narrow and long, it fits in one medium- sized palm.

Only the lower edge of the metal frame bothered me here, because it cut me gently while holding the device. Fortunately, it wasn't terrible. When you play it, you keep it horizontal anyway, and then it's a poem for a change. Even in this area, you will adequately feel that it is a purebred piece for players.

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Asus ROG Phone

In this case, you will find up to two USB C ports on the construction. One is located in the classic place, ie at the bottom, and the other on the right side of the smartphone, so that it can be charged while playing.

However, I was also a little disappointed by the rubber cover on the above-mentioned port, from which a piece was already missing after the arrival of the testing device. I don't know how many newsrooms he managed to go through, so I can't even tell if it arose spontaneously during normal use or if someone was handy. Fortunately, there are two spare pieces in the package.

Even the damaged  surface paint around the main camera did not escape my critical eye. The slightly raised frame that lines it can spoil the impression from a certain point of view that it is a premium hi-tech model for the most demanding. However, only those who look better at the details will notice. The problem area is really small .

In addition to the fingerprint sensor, the back also hides what the manufacturer calls a passive cooling system . A metal part emerges from the present openings, from where the dissipated heat again emerges from the inflamed bowels of the smartphone. And if that doesn't happen to you, you can reach for the original active alternative from the basic package.

Sophisticated cooling

As I mentioned, this smartphone from Asus excels compared to conventional pieces in several ways. In addition to the aforementioned passive, the offer also includes sophisticated active cooling , which you will not normally find on the shelves of electronics stores.

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Asus ROG Phone

In the non-traditional looking box, you will find a handy cooling system, which consists of a powerful fan, including RGB lighting , because it covers the RGB lighting on the back of the smartphone structure. Cooling can operate at different levels, switching either automatically or manually. It all depends on the user's claims. However, we will talk about the application in the software section of this review.

The AeroActive Cooler external fan is designed to cool both the hardware present and the user's hands. You will especially appreciate something like this during gaming marathons , when the temperature of the palms increases with the increasing temperature of the mobile device, which then reduces the level of comfort. You will always feel a very pleasant breeze while playing on ROG Phone.

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AeroActive Cooler

The AeroActive Cooler was not noisy even when it was running at top speed. But you will definitely hear it in a quieter environment. In the automatic mode, the maximum power started after a sharp exceedance of the temperature (it showed a little over 40 degrees Celsius). But it didn't happen until I started the built-in  video recording .

While playing PUBG Mobile, it normally jumped from 38 to 39  degrees Celsius and vice versa. Of course, all graphics settings were at maximum, while the brightness of the display, including speed (higher power consumption) reached the maximum possible. And the result? Stable 40 fps .

However, the fps was stable even when the smartphone cooled only the passive system, which consists of three key components - a steam chamber, carbon fillers and a copper heat spreader. The manufacturer professionally calls it ROG Aerodynamic System and with its help, after half an hour of uninterrupted playing of a graphically demanding title, it showed me a little over 40 degrees Celsius.

  • playingPUBG Mobilewithout external cooling: 30 minutes / over40degrees Celsius.
  • playingPUBG Mobilewith external cooling: 30 minutes / alternating 38and39 degrees Celsius.

The biggest joke is undoubtedly the fact that this bundled accessory has  its own ports for connecting a USB C connector and a 3.5 mm jack. When you play in a horizontal position, the bottom of the structure is still covered by the palm of one of your hands.

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Asus ROG Phone

Asus engineers have brought to market something that is nice, functional and even  practical . In addition, no other producer in the industry in question offers anything similar these days. Well, at least I don't know anything about it.

However, I must also mention top-notch audio or the presence of discrete ultrasonic sensors , which will make your operation much easier by reacting promptly to the pressure developed. But we will talk about the details of this specialty a little below.

Audio

Another significant advantage of the  ASUS ROG Phone is its audio. Two stereo speakers on the front can give you an experience you won't want to trust your own ears. So if you suffer from proper sound, you are at the right address, which is confirmed by the in-depth test of the GSMAren server, which marked the present reproduction as excellent .

The present audio system includes up to two intelligent NXP 9874 amplifiers , which take care of creating a breathtakingly loud and surprisingly clear sounding sound stage. And without any exaggeration.

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Asus ROG Phone

However, if it is not enough due to the enormously noisy environment around you, you can also activate the so-called outdoor mode. However, I must point out that some 80 percent of the total potential is starting to come out of the smartphone with insanely noisy  (and at the same time high-quality) audio.

Buttons on the frame

The metal frame on the sides of the structure hides the so-called ultrasonic sensors , which make available up to 3 (2 for horizontal and 1 for vertical position) programmable AirTriggers buttons. You just have to get used to the fact that they do not physically exist.

To use them, you need to rotate your ASUS ROG Phone to a horizontal position, activate the functionality (for example, via quick game settings) and then press one of the places on the frame where they have integrated the relevant technology. The advantage is that we naturally put our index fingers on them, so you can learn this other considerable advantage very quickly .

Every single press basically just mimics the normal touch of our finger. Therefore, an additional modification of the original game environment is required. The interaction takes place (horizontal position) at the top of the screen.

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AirTrigger buttons

While playing the b at tle royal hit PUBG Mobile, I was able to aim, shoot and even make a move at one point . If these but to ns are not available, my dexterity, speed and readiness will drop significantly, which I will then logically feel about the achieved game results. While the opponents even reacted, I managed to give them a few accur at e shots. Shooting is a much more practical m at ter with this useful accessory than under normal circumstances.

Again, this is a pretty decent advantage over rivals with conventional smartphones, which also works like a Swiss watch. The sensors respond to the asterisk unit and also have a pleasant feedback .

Display

Since avid gamers interested except such resolution or color even refresh rate , it is probably not any big surprise that ASUS ROG Phone features luxuriously capable display panel.

What do I mean by that? That it does not offer the usual 60, but up to 90 Hz, and you will feel it adequately while playing. Thanks to the higher refresh rate, the image is smoother and sharper , so if you are looking for room to improve in playing an action multiplayer game, the display can provide it. But a brutally fast response, which reaches only 1 millisecond, can also provide a better experience. And that means whatever the touch, it's an almost instant response.

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Asus ROG Phone

This powerful combination allowed me to gain a significant advantage over my opponent with an ordinary smartphone , because I was significantly faster and more agile with every single potential attack.

OLED and HDR

Among other things, the panel has a realistic-looking black, including a great contrast ratio. As a result, it is not a classic in the form of an LCD, but a more modern OLED alternative.

In addition, there is support for the increasingly popular HDR standard (nicer colors, light, shadows) and effective Full HD + resolution (richly sufficient 402 pixels per inch ). As for the colors displayed, the panel covers a decent 108.6 percent of the DCI-P3 color range, so we're talking about a variety of colors. Therefore, the image lacks nothing at all.

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Asus ROG Phone

But I also have to mention the rounded corners, the 6-inch diagonal, the 18: 9 aspect ratio (long but narrow) or the thick frames - especially the top and bottom. Due to them, the display occupies only 76.8 percent of the front surface of the structure. Fortunately, this area of ​​players' equipment is not very interesting, so this time you don't have to worry about it. On the contrary, a mobile device is at least a good grasp .

Cameras

If someone happens to think that gaming smartphones can't create good-looking shots, they are very wrong .

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Asus ROG Phone

The ASUS ROG Phone has been equipped with unprecedented hardware, which consists of a dual camera with a classic and so - called ultra - wide lens. The user can thus switch between two different modes according to what he needs at the moment. The wide - angle view is useful, for example, in nature or during a holiday by the sea, because it did not get autofocus and not even the same quality as the other. It is therefore necessary to take into account noticeably weaker results .

The camera with a classically wide lens stands out in several directions. I must mention, in particular, large pixels , a relatively large sensor, up to 4-axis optical image stabilization and Dual Pixel AF technology, which many of you know either from competing smartphones or SLRs for professionals. Thanks to it, autofocus is lightning fast and at the same time very accurate , which you will notice especially in the great sharpness.

You will feel the top technical specifications of the main camera both when used on a nice sunny day and after sunset, when it can give similarly good results. The combination of great stabilization, f / 1.8 aperture and pixels up to 1.4 micrometers in size has its fingers in it, thanks to which a decent portion of light gets into the final shot. But I must also mention the almost imperceptible noise, stately colors or the preservation of a rich amount of visual details.

In the photos taken during the day, the great exposure, the great dynamic range and the natural-looking colors are worth a compliment. This may be unusual, but the ASUS ROG Phone is truly one of today's high-end smartphones with the best technology . The front camera on the front is no exception.

Selfie

If someone here is one of the lovers of selfie, the ROG Phone from Asus is not guaranteed to disappoint you in this area of ​​equipment either. The 8 Mpx sensor with f / 2. 0 aperture can take detailed, sharp and colorful photos with the ideal amount of light. And yes, HDR functionality is available here too, including the popular Portrait mode, which creates a natural-looking blurred background behind your face.

Performance and system

Since we are talking about the gaming smartphone all this time, this part of the review is one of the most important. That's why I shone a light on the present Snadpragon 845 chipset from every single side. However, I must admit that even though it is a model more than a year old, in practice you will not feel it in any way .

You can do anything with your smartphone, but even so, you won't notice anything that could somehow throw you out of peace. Of course, this also applies to playing the most graphically demanding titles in the Google Play Store, such as PUBG Mobile.

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PUBG Mobile
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PUBG Mobile

I played the above-mentioned battle royal hit all the time with the highest brightness and maximum visual details, and even so, the fps kept at 40 frames per second , while the same applies to the temperature of the smartphone. After 40 minutes of continuous play, it reached about 38 degrees Celsius , which is more than just great. However, I had to connect the AeroActive Cooler and activate the manual speed setting, which was also at the maximum.

  • CPU utilization (PUBG Mobile): from25to40%.
  • GPU load (PUBG Mobile): from65to85%.

The Adreno 630 graphics processor on the Snapdragon 845 chipset is thus able to deliver uninterrupted performance with the assistance of thoroughly performed cooling. It doesn't even have a problem with the game marathon, when you will probably appreciate the presence of an external fan the most.

Benchmarks

The ROG Phone hardware crushed every single attempt at competition in the AnTuT benchmark application. The only thing he failed to beat is the Kirin 980 chipset. Thanks to him, news from Huawei is occupying the very top of the prestigious ranking. But it's about complex, not just purely graphical performance. In that case, he would defeat the Mate 20 X and also the dreaded  Mate 20 Pro.

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Asus ROG Phone in AnTuT (from left to right: Huawei Mate X, Huawei Mate 20 and Xiaomi Black Shark)

Operating system

During testing of the Asus ROG Phone, Android was available in version 8.1 Oreo with the ROG Gaming X UI extension, which has literally thrilled them . For a long time now, such a perfectly tuned, so nice and so feature-rich modification of the operating system from the workshop of an internet giant did not come in my way.

The ROG Gaming X UI graphical extension will be enjoyed by every single gamer, as it has been adapted for this type of user. However, I think that almost anyone who suffers from quality software will enjoy it. System optimization is not foreign at all to the renowned Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer. Well, at least in this case.

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ROG Gaming X UI

The settings hide several interesting functionalities, among which there is the possibility to activate the 90 Hz refresh rate, HDR display or a temporary increase in the capacity of the chipset. One press of the display will provide you with above-standard high performance via a special application, but in this case I recommend connecting an external cooling system designed for similar situations.

Special application

One of the key areas of the Asus ROG Phone software is the special Game Center application directly from the manufacturer, where you will find probably everything essential . In addition to the temperature and current clock speed of the processors, it will provide you with a tool for adjusting the RGB lighting present, controlling the fan or activating the AirTriggers ultrasonic sensors in a metal frame on the sides of the smartphone.

In addition, you always have quick game settings at hand while playing. If you want to start displaying information about the use of the graphics processor, the current battery status or the hardware temperature, just slide out the system button bar and press the game controller icon .

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Game Center application

When you do so, a multi-button bar (screenshots below) will pop up from the right side of the screen, allowing you to turn on screen recording or live streaming to YouTube and Twitch. But you'll also find it very useful to turn off notifications  or functionality to create handy macros .

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Quick game settings
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Quick game settings
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Quick game settings

Battery Life

The present battery received a decent, up to 4, 000 mAh capacity , which together with energy-efficient hardware such as Snapdragon 845 and OLED display in Full HD +, will last to drive the ROG Phone for one whole demanding day .

You can count on approximately 2 hours while playing PUBG Mobile continuously at maximum detail and brightness. One average-long game ate 15 to 20 percent by the end of the game. After a 120-minute marathon, it showed me 14 percent of the remaining juice, which is the ideal time to use the Quick Charge 4+ adapter from the box, which will be accompanied by a quality wire in fabric.

The charging speed reaches a level that can be placed somewhere between Huawei Mate 10 Pro and Mate 20 Pro. The equal 30 W will ensure that you replenish up to about 60 percent of the total battery capacity in half an hour. A full charge takes about an hour and a half, which is nothing special.

Charging process:

  • 30 minutes - 60 percent.
  • 40 minutes - 75 percent.
  • 60 minutes - 90 percent.
  • 90 minutes - 100 percent.
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Asus ROG Phone

Conclusion

ROG Phone is an uncompromisingly equipped and also exemplary gaming smartphone, which they made for the most demanding customers. If I take it from the gamer's point of view, it probably has everything that every single piece from the respective category should have.

Modern imaging technology, unusually high refresh rate, brutally fast response, two levels of sophisticated cooling, capable chipset, ultrasonic sensors, great endurance on a single charge, soaked audio and USB C port on the side of the design are simply things that everyone who wants spend hours playing on a smartphone. So you will feel the 900 euros adequately . In this case, you don't get an overpriced brand, but a load of hardware that's definitely worth the money. Asus, two inches up .