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ASUS ROG Phone 6 Review: An Unbeatable Gaming Smartphone!

Gaming-centric devices are particularly common in the laptop and desktop space but it’s not particularly so in the smartphone world which is why we were incredibly excited when ASUS launches the next generation’s ROG Phone 6 in Singapore last month.

Just like last year’s ROG Phone 5 (Review), the new ROG Phone 6 is a full fledged gaming smartphone that aim to elevate mobile gaming experience by offering dedicated hardware which we don’t normally see among mainstream devices, including those expensive ones from Apple and Samsung.

But apart from it’s flawless firepower, does the ROG Phone 6 has enough allure for you to fork out $1,400 for it? Let’s find out in our review!

Design

If you happen to be fan of unconventional smartphone design such as the Nothing Phone (1)’s design, trust me, you’ll be equally impressed by the new ROG Phone 6’s gaming-centric aesthetic specifically tailored to suit the taste of mobile gamers.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Design -1

Needless to say, the biggest highlight in the design department is perhaps the dot matrix display which fires up futuristic Aura RGB lighting that lights up the back of the phone whenever you power on the device or load a game.

However, other than flashing out the signature ROG logo, the dot-display display doesn’t actually serves any other purpose like showing the current time or notifications. Still, it’s a really cool feature to have onboard which certainly gives the phone the extra punch it needs to stand out from the crowd.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Design -3

Apart from the dot-display, the ROG Phone 6 also comes with several other space-age elements such as the ”Dare To Play” backlit that sits on the opposite side of the dot-display. Just in case you’re wondering whether these extra lightings actually take a toll on it’s battery life – the answer is no as there isn’t any notable drop in battery life when the feature is kept active.

Like most other gaming phones, the front display of the phone adopts a flat panel to prevent mistouch when gaming. The back of the phone on the other hand, features a subtle dual-curve design with rounded edges that makes it more comfortable to hold especially during prolonged usage.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Design -2

However, the phone’s 173 x 77 x 10.3mm dimension means it’s by no way a small device. But if you happen to be a user of large device such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Review), then the difference in size will probably went unnoticed.

To improve the durability of the phone, the ROG Phone 6 is IPX4 rated for water resistance. That’s an underrated feature which we don’t often see among gaming smartphones.

Display

The ROG Phone 6’s larger-than-usual footprint can be attributed to it’s spacious 6.78” AMOLED display that offers plenty of screen estate for work and most importantly, mobile gaming. As a gaming-focused smartphone, it’s not surprising that the ROG Phone 6 has one of the best display in the market.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Design -5

More specifically, it’s fast 165Hz refresh rate is a step above any other flagship phones, allowing users to enjoy buttery-smooth graphics on games that support high frame rate. As with any other high-end display, the screen refresh rate is also adaptive in nature, meaning a high refresh rate will only be adopted when necessary to conserve battery life.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Design -4

For mobile gamers, the most important feature probably lies in it’s super responsive 720Hz touch sampling rate as well as an incredibly low latency of just 23ms which allows every touch to be registered instantaneously. This certainly provides an additional edge in first-person shooter games such as COD Mobile.

Needless to say, those aren’t the only highlights of the front display which also supports a sharp-looking FHD+ screen resolution with Delta-E < 1 color accuracy for a truly immersive and realistic viewing experience when playing your favorite game or streaming your favorite Netflix movie.

Other than that, it also comes with an impressive peak brightness that goes up to 1,200 nits to ensure the screen remains visible across all lighting condition, even when using the phone directly under the sun.

Performance

Under the hood, the ASUS ROG Phone 6 is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform which provides the phone with all the performance juice needed to run any game titles flawlessly at high graphics settings.

Of course, apart from mobile gaming, it’s ”overkill” performance also makes multi-tasking felt like a breeze on the device when paired with an ample 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage in the memory department. Otherwise, you can also leverage it’s high performance internals on other resource intensive workloads such as video editing.

Just like it’s predecessor, the new ROG Phone 6 is backed by an upgraded GameCool 6 cooling system which features an optimized thermal design that helps to cool the CPU from every direction. On top of that, it’s cooling calibre can be further improved with an additional pocket-sized external cooling fan dubbed as the ActiveAero Cooler 6 which can be easily clipped to the back of the phone.

Credit: ASUS

To further improve gaming experience, the ROG Phone 6 also features a pair of AirTrigger ultrasonic shoulder buttons which can be easily mapped to any onscreen buttons for better controls. Likewise, there’s also a dedicated port along the right-edge of the phone that can be used to connect peripherals such as the ROG Kunai 3 gamepad that provides users with a console-like gaming experience.

ROG Kunai 3

Other than that, the phone also offers excellent haptic feedback which not only deliver a more entertaining gaming experience, but also makes day-to-day usage of the phone feels more interactive.

To wrap things up, the ROG Phone 6 also features a highly capable GameFX audio system comprising of two front-firing stereo speakers tuned by Swedish audiophile specialist Dirac which never fail to deliver clear and powerful sound effects when gaming.

Cameras

Although the ROG Phone 6 might not be a camera-focused smartphone, but that doesn’t means the phone doesn’t have good cameras. In fact, ASUS had doubled down on the photography prowess of the new ROG Phone 6 which now has an upgraded 50 megapixels Sony IMX766 main camera that was used in many flagship phones such as the OPPO Find X5 Pro (Review).

ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -1
Daylight Sample
ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -3
Daylight Sample
ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -4
Daylight Sample

Compared to last year’s ROG Phone 5, there’s definitely an obvious boost in photo quality in terms of details and dynamic range, with photos now looking more flattering and realistic across all lighting conditions. Likewise, there’s also noticeable reduction in image noise thanks to a comparatively larger sensor size.

ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -14
Low-light Sample
ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -13
Low-light Sample

To help with low-light photography, the ROG Phone 6 also comes with a reliable night mode feature which does a decent job in enhancing the brightness and details of the scene. However, you do need to hold the phone steadily for a couple of seconds to ensure the photos didn’t appear blurry due to the lack of OIS stabilization on the main lens.

ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -2
Ultra Wide Sample
ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -6
Ultra Wide Sample

Joining the main camera is none other than a 13 megapixels ultra-wide camera which is also able to capture some pretty good-looking photos even though dynamic range appears to be slightly narrower than the main unit. Still, it’s a nice camera to have onboard especially for those who love to take landscape photography.

ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -15
2x Zoom
ROG Phone 6 Photo Sample -17
2x Zoom

Last but not the least, there’s also a 2 megapixels macro camera for close-up photography. But like any smartphones with 2MP macro cam, I still find the 2x lossless zoom (via the main camera) to be more user-friendly than the dedicated macro camera which requires you to hold the phone steadily at an uncomfortably close distance from the subject. Most importantly, photos also tend to look sharper and clearer with 2x zoom.

Battery & Charging

To keep it’s lights on, the ROG Phone 6 is backed by a large 6,000mAh battery which offers one of the most lasting battery life you can ever expect from a smartphone. On a typical day-to-day usage with two to three hours of gaming in between, I normally get around 30% battery remaining at the end of the day.

And for those who intend to go all out on gaming, you can expect an average of around six to seven hours of gameplay on a single charge. That’s something remarkable considering that most smartphones can hardly edge beyond the five hours mark.

As usual, the ROG Phone 6 comes with a suite of intuitive tools that give you more control over it’s battery life. These features can be accessed via it’s pre-installed Armoury Crate app which allow you to select between three different system modes such as ‘X Mode’, ‘Dynamic’, and ‘Ultra Durable’ whereby the former consumes the most battery, while the latter offers the best power efficiency.

Charging-wise, the ROG Phone 6 sticks to the same 65W wired charging speed as last year’s ROG Phone 5. That means you’ll get to enjoy a super fast charging speed that’s capable of recharging the phone from 0 to 100% in less than 45 minutes.

Verdict

ASUS has once again established itself as a industry leader in the mobile gaming space with the new ROG Phone 6 which promises a whole new gaming experience thanks to it’s wide range of gaming-centric features such as AirTrigger and Gyroscope Aiming which essentially set the phone apart from any other mainstream devices.

Mobile gaming aside, the ROG Phone 6 also shapes up to be a fantastic workhorse for productivity especially with the amount of power it packs as well as it’s enduring battery life that makes it a perfect phone for both work and play. As such, there’re still many good reasons to get this device even if you’re not an avid gamer.

Pricing & Availability

The new ASUS ROG Phone 6 is priced at S$1,399 in Singapore for it’s 16GB+512GB trim. That’s $100 lower than the launch price of last year’s ROG Phone 5 which was set at $1,499 for the 16GB+256GB variant. Those who’re interested can purchase the phone via ASUS official online store.

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