ASUS ROG Phone, Satisfying Your Lust For Mobile Gaming
Smartphones have become a standard device for everyone from a wide range of age group to own one. Over the years, smartphones have been improved to be better in many ways its predecessors lack at and to adapt to the latest technology. With the recent trends such as the notches, dual camera setups and face unlock taking the world by storm, most budget range smartphones are starting to function similarly to a flagship smartphone. To make flagship smartphones standout better, companies have been introducing gaming phones and Asus is no exception in this move.
Asus has cleverly designed the packaging to look like it came from outer space for the ASUS ROG Phone. The box has a triangular shape with a stealthy looking design and red highlights around it. Inside the box, the ROG phone comes with a USB-C braided cable which is a really, really nice touch, a 30W power adapter which provides fast charging and an AeroActive Cooler which comes in handy when the phone heats up – does it really though?
Being a gaming phone, the Asus ROG Phone has an aggressive design going on around the back. It does look a little busy but nothing too fancy except for the RGB ROG backlit logo. There is a piece of perforated copper covered by what feels like a plastic material with two cut-outs which you may think is for cooling purpose. This is just for aesthetic purpose only. The fingerprint scanner has a unique hexagon shape positioned slightly to the right from the center. As with most flagship phones, the ROG phone also spots a dual camera setup in another uniquely shaped hexagon. The main camera is a 12MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture and 78.2 degrees field of view. It has 4-axis optical image stabilisation. As for the secondary camera, it is a 120-degree wide angle 8MP sensor without autofocus and optical image stabilisation. The back of this phone is made from Corning Gorilla glass with minimal but futuristic styling and Republic of Gamers writing.
Aesthetics alone are not enough to conclude the Asus ROG phone is indeed a gaming phone. The ROG phone has a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 AMOLED display with a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz and a response time of 1ms. It has a wide coverage of DCIP3 colour gamut at 108.6% and the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. There is a small notification LED on the left of the earpiece, an 8MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture to the left of the earpiece and a pair of front-facing stereo speakers.
There are three USB-C ports, one at the bottom of the phone and two on the left of the phone to connect with accessories designed for the ROG phone. One of the two USB-C ports on the side of the phone is a specially-speced port which renders it useless to charging the phone or even
data transfers. Thankfully, Asus was in their right mind to not remove the 3.5mm headphone jack located at the bottom of the phone.
The ASUS ROG Phone comes equipped with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor paired to 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. With a specification like this, there are other flagship phones that go head on with this gaming phone. Bear in mind, this is a gaming phone and there must be something that makes it different from the rest of the flagship phones. For a start, ASUS includes the X-Mode to overclock the Snapdragon processor to boost performance. Not only does it boost performance, the X-Mode clears all the applications running in the background and allocates all the resources there is just for you to game without any hiccups or interruptions. Unfortunately, there is no manual overclocking available besides the predefined overclocking profile when you enable the X-Mode.
There are four pressure sensitive points on the phone which ASUS calls it AirTrigger. Out of the four AirTrigger points, only two will work in either portrait or landscape orientation. In portrait mode, squeeze the phone at the two AirTriggers to quickly launch your favourite app. While gaming in landscape, the two AirTriggers on top allows you to take full control just like you are playing on a console’s controller. These AirTriggers are programmable so users can program these as they see fit to the games they play.
Geekbench (Single-core/Multi-core) 2537/9494
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL 4724
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan 4262
There is nothing the ASUS ROG Phone can’t handle and this is especially true in gaming. Games are playable in ultra settings even without the X-Mode enabled. Bump up the refresh rate to 90Hz and you can feast your eyes on the high refresh rate with buttery smooth frames. With almost all the bells and whistles fitted into this phone, it still lacks behind in the photography department despite being a flagship phone.
Numbers may look great on paper but how well do the cameras really perform in the real world? The 8MP selfie camera may have a big sensor but colour reproduction isn’t the greatest and certainly isn’t appealing to my eyes. There seem to be some inconsistency and under low light conditions, there is just too much noise. It is nice to see how Asus incorporated the night HDR mode to improve the overall picture quality but it still tries hard to be the best when it actually fails. Don’t get me wrong here. The phone captures decent selfie pictures but it is not on par at all with other flagship phones on the market.
As for the dual camera setup at the rear, again, the pictures are decent enough for your social media posts. It doesn’t take the best pictures but it sure does get the work done. Colours are decent but can appear to be over-saturated depending on the lighting conditions. There is the usual bokeh effect with most dual camera setups these days and it’s nothing new here.
The ASUS ROG Phone is a great gaming phone without a doubt and it definitely goes head-to-head with Razer Phone 2 and Xiaomi Black Shark. It has one of the loudest stereo speakers and interesting, cool yet functional accessories to go with the ASUS ROG Phone. If there is one reason to love this phone, it’s definitely because of its performance and functionalities when it comes to gaming. Unfortunately, albeit being ASUS’s flagship phone, there is a lot of room to improve in the photography department if ASUS wants to take the top position.
ASUS ROG Phone
Strong competitor for a gaming smartphone, but has its flaws in the camera department