For a little while there a few years back, it seemed like gaming phones were on the verge of going mainstream, as several tier 1 brands (including Samsung
) showed active interest in joining “specialized” companies such as Asus and Razer to help the relatively small niche grow and appeal to a wider and wider audience.
That… didn’t exactly happen after all, leaving hardcore gamers with few truly great mobile options, especially in markets like the US. Perhaps the overall greatest such option is still the ROG Phone family, whose sixth installment has been unveiled rather discreetly earlier today
The Asus ROG Phone 6 will be available in “regular” and Pro versions… at some point in the near future, arriving at least 15 months on the heels of the Snapdragon 888-powered ROG Phone 5
to set a new (Android) standard in terms of raw speed with Qualcomm’s state-of-the-art Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor under the hood.
(Not) too cool for school
Naturally, that’s far from the only state-of-the-art component of these bad boys, which are focused inside and out not just on delivering unrivaled gaming experiences for long periods of time with a massive 6,000mAh battery but also staying nice and cool during said extended playing sessions.
To pull that off, both the internal GameCool thermal system and the external clip-on AeroActive Cooler accessory are upgraded to their sixth iterations, employing a whole bunch of different cutting-edge technologies to avoid overheating in the most demanding possible scenarios.
With a larger than ever vapor chamber (among other vastly improved parts), the GameCool 6 system promises to lower the ROG Phone 6’s CPU temperature by up to 10 degrees Celsius, which may not sound like a lot until you also take into consideration the up to 25 degrees the AeroActive Cooler 6 add-on can reduce from the “surface temperature near the CPU.”
If that sounds a little too extreme, worry not, as the newest Asus mobile powerhouse is also equipped with the necessary technology to ensure CPU temperatures won’t get dangerously low when you’re playing less demanding games.
Lights, camera, action!
As always, the funky RGB lighting system on the back of the phone is by far the most notable design aspect, at least as far as the “standard” ROG Phone 6
is concerned. The ROG Phone 6 Pro
, meanwhile, mainly stands out from its slightly humbler brother with a little 2-inch OLED panel on its rear cover that uses a one-of-a-kind technology called ROG Vision to display various eye-catching animations.
Although not incredibly useful from a pragmatic perspective, this secondary display will definitely help set the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro apart from all the other best gaming phones
out there in terms of aesthetics and even customization, allowing users to create their very own personal animations.
Alongside all the neat cooling tricks, powerful new SoC, and decidedly conspicuous (mostly in a good way) design, the main 6.78-inch Samsung-made AMOLED screen is without a doubt a key selling point for both the ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro, taking the ROG Phone 5
‘s already stunning 144Hz refresh rate to a whole new level of fluidity.
That’s right, you’re looking at 165Hz refresh rate capabilities here, which Asus presents as a far more drastic upgrade over the 120Hz technology supported by most modern high-end Android phones than you might expect.
Unfortunately for shutterbugs, probably the world’s most advanced smartphone display is not backed by a similarly impressive camera setup. Sony’s “flagship” IMX766 50MP sensor is paired with a 13MP ultra-wide-angle shooter and 5MP macro lens on the rear of the ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro for what sounds like a decent but not exactly outstanding imaging experience.
The devil is in the details
There’s obviously a good reason why the cameras are not on par with what Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra
, for instance, offers in the photography department, and that’s the retail pricing of the Asus ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro.
On the old continent, at least, you’re looking at starting prices of €999 and €1299 respectively, which means these bad boys are likely to cost one thousand and one thousand and three hundred bucks respectively in the US when (and if) they make it to the North American region.
That’s already pretty steep, and with powerful dual front-facing speakers, a blazing fast 65W charger right in the box, Android 12 pre-installed on the software side of things, 5G connectivity (depending on individual market and carrier), and all the other amazing specs and features mentioned above, some compromises had to be made so as not to go over the $1,500 or so mark.
There are no compromises to be found in the storage and memory departments, of course, with the ROG Phone 6 Pro packing 512 and 18 (!!!) gigs respectively and the non-Pro model “settling” for 256GB local digital hoarding room and your choice of 8 or 12GB RAM.
Tipping the scales at 239 grams, these ultra-high-end gaming phones are obviously likely to be just as cumbersome as their forerunners while offering the bare minimum (IPX4) in terms of water resistance and featuring a pair of ultrasonic buttons supporting all kinds of gestures guaranteed to come in handy… as soon as you manage to master them.
Overall, this is certainly not your typical Android flagship package, targeting a very specific group of users that are however unlikely to ever consider the likes of the Galaxy S22 Ultra as a worthy alternative.