It’s not every day you buy a phone specifically designed for gaming. Inspired by the original ROG series of gaming laptops, ASUS has been launching its ROG series of smartphones since 2018. And I got my hands on the latest iteration – the ASUS ROG 6 smartphone.
In terms of design, the rear panel really stands out! The familiar metallic ‘Republic Of Gamers’ logo sits in one corner, while a bold new ‘Dare To Play’ inscription is hard to miss on one side. Arguably the most notable design detail is the RGB panel that illuminates dot-matrix style. While it’s not something I can actively enjoy seeing when I’m playing on my phone, the cool quotient of someone else seeing it light up is undeniable.
The screen is 6.78 inches across and the form factor is heftier than most flagships I’ve used this year. But it seems to have been traded in for a powerful processor and twin battery that comes packed. Despite feeling a bit heavy, the phone sits well in my hand, with a smooth grip.
ASUS ROG 6 unboxing
Not one for gory games, I download Sky: Children of the Light where I get to explore fantasy lands, bring fire to parts of unknown civilizations and pack collectibles to unlock during the journey. The visuals are stunning on the AMOLED screen that offers up to 165 Hz refresh rate. I’m also trying out Opus: Rocket of Whispers – a post-apocalyptic story in which the jaded, bitter son of a rocket engineer and a young witch set up space burials for those who didn’t make it through an epidemic plague. It’s during the Opus that I notice how great the built-in speakers are – the sound is deep, well-rounded and perfect for listening to some music while trying to get some shut-eye at the end of the day.
Several aspects of the user experience can be largely customized. Take the X mode shortcut for example. It helps me increase system performance and touch responsiveness, making it ideal for gaming, and also offers the “Ultra Durable” option right next to it in case I want to prioritize battery life by compromising a bit on refresh rates and system performance.
The game library turns out to be a sort of super-customizable dashboard where you can adjust system preferences, add macros, and customize key mapping for each game on the phone. All the recordings and screenshots I have recorded are also easily accessible here, during each game.
One of the most unique features that the ROG series has to offer is the ‘AirTrigger’ – these are two ultrasonic sensor zones on the phone that can be customized to perform different functions. In portrait mode, I program it to open Google Assistant with a short tap on either side, but have to quickly disable it when it starts up while using other apps.
The camera of the device – a 50-megapixel sensor – somehow does not match the quality of a flagship smartphone. In decently lit indoor photographs, the results are a bit grainy when I zoom in to check the clarity of the images. There is also a secondary camera of 13 MP which again gives rather average results.
The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and the device I reviewed had 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. On the AnTuTu benchmark test, the ROG 6 placed itself right among the two best smartphones tested in recent times. My hands-on experience validated that score with the smartphone never experiencing any lag. It gets a little warm during a couple of long sessions of Mortal Kombat.
The 6000 mAh twin battery in the system does its job quite well and might be a reason why ASUS hasn’t upgraded it since the last ROG5 smartphone. The charge dissipates slowly and the device also charges super fast, with the 65W charger in the box. Battery life is excellent – it barely drops 10 percent charge for every 1.5 hours of gaming.
While the ASUS ROG 6 is one of the most powerful phones on the market right now, it’s not an ideal choice as a daily driver. It’s a decent choice if you want a dedicated phone to satisfy the hardcore gamer in you, especially since it gives you the ability to customize your mobile gaming experience to a great extent.
Benefits: Great battery life, highly customizable features
Cons: Sturdy build, gets a bit warm, ASUS game recommendations in the phone could be better.