ROG Phone by ASUS is probably the most anticipated smartphone that most of us would want to have this year. Despite it being introduced quite sometime ago, it took a while for it to reach Malaysia and here I have the review unit. First impression of this smartphone will be fascinating. What a wonderful device which is definitely crafted precisely in each angle and perspective. Each finishing signals high craftsmanship from ASUS. There seem to be no flaws in terms of design if you are looking at a gamer’s point of view. Non-gamer might find this phone to be too futuristic and some might find it not their cup of tea. My review is based on one week of usage and therefore it is solely based on my usage pattern as well as my honest points.

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Design

The best part of the phone is the design itself. Having being under the branding of ROG (Republic of Gamers), most of us know that the specifications will be high-end, classy as well as expensive coming from their gaming desktops/laptops lineup. Having said that, the price of this phone isn’t too expensive compared to its predecessors. There are plenty of slashes,sharp lines and symmetry designed being tested to its max which resulted in a beautiful architecture. The fingerprint sensor isn’t really located at a comfortable place for my liking, but it is indeed super fast to unlock though.

The ROG Phone is sized at 6-inch with a resolution of 2160×1080 powered by AMOLED display. In terms of protection, we have the 6th gen 2.5D curved edge Corning Gorilla Glass while the back is also protected by 3D curved Corning Gorilla Glass. It does catch up scratches but not as easy as other phones. This phone could withstand some hardcore situations, let’s just say how we portray the toughness of a G-Shock watch. The screen to body ratio is 84.5% which means  most display is actually display and not the design of phone covering most part of the display. Dual firing front speakers are my favorite as well as the ROG AURA RGB ligthed logo on the back which gave me goosebumps when I turned it on the first time. There’s a USB Type-C port on the bottom while an additional side mounted ports are there when you’re actually gaming in landscape mode. The bundled AeroActive Cooler ensures that the USB Type-C port on it is usable while gaming without interrupting the comfort level as well as the 3.5mm jack on it. You may also plug in any USB-Type C headphones too based on your preference.

The glossy black finish on the back still looks stunning although it’s fingerprint magnet. The cooling panel has copper colored grills and is known as ROG GameCool System. The 3D Vapor-Chamber sits at the bottom and comprises of the circuit board with the copper heat spreader, while the carbon cooling pad near the surface also improves the overall heat dissipation. This allows the ROG Phone to run at maximum allowed clock speed of 2.96GHz for long period of time without performance issue or overheating. One thing for sure is that most people will be keep on looking at you as the ROG Phone is really attractive and there’s no chance anyone could take the risk to not have a glance at it.

Performance

Though I am actually a retired gamer, I did try few games to put the ROG Phone to test. Fortnite, Reckless Racing 3 and Asphalt 9 ran super smoothly without any issues. Probably the best experience I have ever had in any smartphone gaming. The more you game on the ROG Phone, the more addictive it gets. Those who does not like gaming on their mobile device will eventually love it after using this device. No doubt as this phone has an upgraded version of Snapdragon 845, which runs at 2.96GHz rather than the conventional 2.8GHz in other flagship devices. On top of that, a whooping 8GB of RAM ensures there are no room for mistakes in terms of performance flaws or glitches. Knowing the fact pure Android UI will be the smoothest user experience, the ROG Phone is definitely the closets or even on par even without pure Android UI. Just imagine how smooth it be like if its on pure Android UI?

There is a option called AirTriggers which allows you to squeeze the phone’s body which activates certain features, for example switching the phone to X-Mode instantly. You can also use it as virtual shoulder buttons for games. X Mode closes all open apps, frees up memory and the processor gets a major boost. This should only be used during gaming which of course utilizes plenty of battery life. When you’re on X-Mode, it is also recommended to clip on the ROG GameCool System fan which ensures the phone gets cooled accordingly.

You can also connect to YouTube or Twitch and do a live stream directly from the phone as well as automatically reject any incoming calls while gaming. The profiles can be set accordingly based on your preference.

Camera

The camera on ROG Phone is powered by Sony’s 12-MP lens with f1.7 aperture. It also comes with OIS and PDAF for sharper images. A secondary lens exists for 120-degree wide-angle shots. To take stunning phones, do utilize the Super Resolution mode which takes 48-MP photos. In terms of quality, the images aren’t the best of a 12-MP shooter but certainly isn’t bad at all. The images are decent, struggles a little during low-light conditions and the bokeh mode works fine too. The front camera supports selfie panorama for wider looking shots as well. There are fancy features like the camera focused phones such as Huawei Mate 20, but the AI on ROG Phone does help a little here and there.

Benchmark & Software

I tried some benchmark for the ROG Phone with X-Mode turned on and below are the results:

AnTuTu 3D: 298344

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 3369

Clearly with the help of X-Mode, the scores are pretty high in standard beating most phones out there and having a speed-binned Snapdragon 845 processor, there’s no doubt the ROG Phone is the best gaming smartphone in the market.

The ROG Phone comes out of the box with Android 8.1 Oreo with ZenUI skin on top. System is stable and there’s nothing new in terms of interface except for the special ROG theme. Latest security patch on the phone was August 2018 and hopefully the regular software updates will be there timely though two updates prompted during my one week of usage.

Battery & Display

ASUS’s recent smartphones are coming with pretty huge battery capacity. The ROG Phone comes with 4000mAh capacity and supports Quick Charge 4.0 (30W). The phones charges extremely fast(0-60% within half an hour) as this is the first phone that used which supports QC 4.0. Since I do not game much with it, the ROG Phone could last me up to almost 2 days with average usage of social media messaging applications. The charging cable is also a nylon braided and looks pretty high in quality compared to the usual standard ones. Both ends of the charging cables are Type C and therefore you can’t be using the usual Type C cables on the adapter which is bundled on the ROG Phone.

 

Notable mention for the display which supports 90Hz is super responsive and it will be faster than most phones out there except for Razer Phone 2 as it comes with 120Hz refresh rate. Dual firing speakers comes with dual smart amplifiers which supports 7.1 surround sound as well as aptX – which enables HD audio quality via Bluetooth technology. In conclusion, the ROG Phone by ASUS is the most balanced gaming smartphone ever designed for gamers by gamers.

Pricing & Availability

The ASUS ROG Phone is priced at RM3499 (128GB) and is available almost every single authorized shops. You may also opt to purchase it online via LAZADA. ASUS’s official store is having an official year end promotion for 12:12 sale. You’ll get bundled with ROG phone case as well as AeroActive Cooler.(worth RM450)

Processor 2.96GHz specially-binned Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 845 Mobile Platform with 10nm, 64-bit Octa-core Processor
GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 630
UI ROG UI
Display 6.0” 18:9 2160×1080 AMOLED 90Hz with 1ms response time 550nits brightness

108.6% DCIP3; 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Front 2.5D Corning Gorilla 6 glass

Capacitive touch panel with 10 points multi-touch (support Glove touch)

Gaming HDR and Mobile HDR supported

Memory LPDDR4X 8GB RAM
Storage UFS2.1 128GB / 512GB、Google Drive 100GB / 1 year
Sensor Accelerator, E-Compass, Proximity, Hall sensor, Ambient light sensor, fingerprint sensor, Gyro, Ultrasonic sensor
Main Rear Camera 6.25x light sensitivity low light photos (compared with a typical camera with 16MP, F1.7 & 1.12µm pixel size)

Sony flagship IMX363 12MP dual pixel image sensor – 1/2.55″ large sensor size, 1.4µm large pixel size

F1.7 aperture

26.6mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera

6p lens

78.2° field of view

Instant cameras switching

0.03 seconds phase-detection autofocus

4-axis, 4 stops optical image stabilization

LED flash

Second Rear Camera 120° wide-angle camera

200% wider view for more friends and scenery in the frame

12mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera

Front Camera 8MP

F2.0 aperture

24mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera

84° field of view

Video Recording 4K UHD (3840 by 2160) video at 30 / 60 fps for main rear camera

1080p FHD video recording at 30 / 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30 fps

3-axis electronic image stabilization for rear cameras

Take still photo while recording video

Slow Motion video (1080p at 240 fps / 720p at 240 fps)

ZeniMoji

Speaker Dual front-facing speakers

5-magnet speaker with dual NXP 9874 smart amplifier for louder, deeper and less distorted sound effect

Audio Output Hi-Res audio 192kHz/24-bit standard that is 4 times better than CD quality

DTS:X Ultra 1.0 delivers incredibly realistic 3D audio rendering for any kind of games or virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR), featuring immersive 7.1-channel surround-sound with enhanced bass response.

AudioWizard with listening profile

Microphone Triple internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction Technology
FM Receiver FM radio
Wireless Technology WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 & 5GHz

WLAN 802.11ad 60GHz (32 Antennas)Bluetooth 5.0

Wi-Fi direct

Navigation GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo/QZSS
SIM Cards Dual SIM dual standby

Slot 1: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card

Slot 2: 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card

Data rate LTE Cat13 UL up to 150Mbps / Cat18 DL up to 1.2Gbps

DC-HSPA+: UL 5.76 / DL 42Mbps

DL 5CA and UL 2CA supported

4×4 MIMO and CA w/4×4 MIMO supported

5CA 4×4 MIMO up to 1.2Gbps supported

A version GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+; FDD-LTE; TD-LTE

FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 32)

TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41,46)

WCDMA (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 19)

EDGE/GPRS/GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)

B version FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 32)

TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41,46)

WCDMA (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 19)

TD-SCDMA (Bands 34,39)

CDMA (Band BC0)

EDGE/GPRS/GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)

Interface Side: 48 pin Customized connector

USB3.1 gen1/DP 1.4(4K)/Fast Charging (QC3.0+QC4.0/PD3.0) / Direct Charge

Bottom: Type C connector

USB2.0/Fast Charging (QC3.0/PD3.0)/Direct Charge

3.5mm Audio jack
NFC Support
Operating System Android™ Oreo 8.1
Battery 4,000mAh
Power Adapter Output: 10V 3A, supports up to 30W QC4.0 / PD3.0 / Direct Charge adapter
Dimensions 158.83x 76.16x 8.3mm
Weight 200g

 

 

 

ASUS ROG Phone Review - The best gaming smartphone yet
Attractive phone with unique design languageStable performance during heavy gamingMany features to fiddle for a proper gaming experienceBattery charges super fast
Can be bulky for a non-gamer
9.6Overall Score
Display9.5
Design10
Audio9.5
Camera9
Performance10
Battery9.5
Reader Rating 2 Votes
9.4