Technology

Asus ROG Phone 6 review

Everyone has the “dream” feature set they’re looking for in a new smartphone. What you like may not resonate with others, and features that seem ridiculous to you may represent something important to someone else. When I was reviewing the Asus ROG Phone 6, this thought was front and center in my mind because this is not a phone that will appeal to everyone but will find its takers among those who want high specs and unique aesthetics that only a hardcore mobile gamer will appreciate. Here are my thoughts on the ROG Phone 6 after using it for a week.

Asus ROG Phone 6 price in India: 71,999 rupees

Edgy feels a bit heavier than regular phones

The ROG Phone 6, like the ROG Phone 4 and ROG Phone 5, remains nearly identical in design except for a few minor changes here and there. Asus is following in the footsteps of Apple and its peers in the phone world by sticking to one design for at least three years which isn’t a bad thing, but this approach doesn’t work all the time. The ROG Phone 6 definitely feels heavy when playing games or watching videos. Many large phones have the same metal and glass sandwich design, but not all of them feel as bulky and heavy as the ROG Phone 6. However, the ROG Phone 6 feels much better when you hold it. The front is a giant screen with an upper and lower chin to allow for the top selfie camera cutout. I also love the speakers hidden under the top and bottom of the glass.

What’s exciting is that the phone remains in the pocket, which means I don’t have to carry the device around in a space case like the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch Lite (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Designed to appeal to hardcore gamer geeks, the back is a far cry from the clean back panel I’m used to with my iPhone. Over the years, I’ve seen Asus gaming laptops develop a unique aesthetic for gaming, and the company has tried to replicate the same with the ROG Phone 6 but in a friendlier way. The back has a glowing element, a small “Dare to Play” RGB logo, and a triple camera/LED flash combination.

You’ll find additional ultrasonic sensors on the side near where your fingers might rest while holding them in the horizontal position. And just like before, the ROG Phone 6 has two USB Type-C ports — one on the bottom and one on the side (which becomes the bottom when playing in landscape mode).

The phone continues with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is rare in most flagship phones today. But on a gaming phone, I can see the point of keeping the headphone jack. The phone is IPX4 rated, which means it is splash resistant. What’s exciting is that the phone still fits in the pocket, which means I don’t have to carry the device around in a space case like the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch Lite. In this way, the ROG Phone 6 is a step in the right direction of miniaturizing a portable console into a phone form factor.

Playing Alto’s Adventure and Apex Legends Mobile on ROG Phone 6 delivered solid gaming performance. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Screen capable of 165 Hz for smooth gameplay

The ROG Phone 6 rocks a 165Hz (6.78-inch, 2448 x 1080) AMOLED display in FHD+ resolution. Asus says the ROG Phone 6’s display can reach 800 nits of peak brightness outdoors and up to 1,200 nits of peak brightness when displaying HDR10 and Dolby Vision videos. The screen also supports a 720Hz touch sampling rate for better responsiveness. Made by Samsung, the 165Hz panel (which adjusts automatically by app) is a nice spec to brag about. But I don’t think even hardcore mobile gamers, who will get the ROG Phone 6, will be able to take advantage of the ridiculous refresh rate. The problem is that there are hardly any known games that have caught my eye that support a 165Hz refresh rate. Most popular games I’ve played are limited to 120Hz, so the 165Hz refresh rate is a bit of a gimmick, but it’s there nonetheless.

ROG Phone 6 looks like a premium gaming phone. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Ultra-fast performance

Before I started using the ROG Phone 6, I knew what a big, powerful phone like this was for. I mainly intended to use it as a part work and part entertainment device. Asus lent me the unit with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of non-expandable storage. As someone who works in the news business, your primary go-to device is crucial. It shouldn’t get hung up on important apps loading and the battery should last a long time. The ROG Phone 6 is decent enough for writing and editing articles on the go.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor is a powerful chip and my own tests confirm that the ROG Phone 6 really lives up to Asus’ claims. The performance is incredibly fast and apps open in no time. Editing photos and videos on the go was a seamless experience. This is a capable device for listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and consuming videos. I was also amazed at its 6,000mAh battery, which lasted a day and a half on a single charge. The 65W HyperCharge socket in the box can charge the phone from 0 percent to 100 percent in about 40-45 minutes. However, it lacks wireless charging.

The front is a giant screen with an upper and lower chin to allow for the top camera hole for the selfie (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Ninja games

I bet many of you are reading this review, simply because you want to know how the ROG Phone 6 fared in games. Playing Alto’s Adventure and Apex Legends Mobile on ROG Phone 6 delivered the solid performance you’ve come to expect from a gaming phone. Yes, even my iPhone 14 is capable of running the same games I just mentioned. But on the ROG Phone 6, I could see the difference in the improved graphics and responsiveness, all thanks to a display that supports a higher refresh rate and dual front-facing speakers that are quite loud and have just enough bass.

A big part of the gameplay on ROG Phone 6 AirTriggers are the ultrasonic sensors built inside the phone that can be set to simulate physical buttons. AirTriggers come in handy when you’re running games like Genshin Impact. I also want to touch on the Armory Crate game launcher, which in some way attempts to mimic the console’s user interface. Basically, it lets you customize things like the refresh rate you want your monitor to run at, how much you want to push the processor power, graphics chip, RAM, and so on. There’s so much to the ROG Phone 6 that I’ve barely scratched in a week.

Notes

ROG Phone 6 comes with Android 12 with ROG UI and Zen UI. I chose ROG UI, which is a flashier version with a gamer-centric user interface. The thing about ROG UI is that it lacks responsiveness and at times it feels like Armory Crate, Game Genie overlay, and X-mode gaming performance don’t work in a consistent way. Asus will offer two OS updates and two years of security updates, which isn’t a great sign when players like Samsung have already committed to four generations of OS upgrades.

ROG Phone 6 camera sample. (Image resized for web)
ROG Phone 6 camera sample. (Image resized for web)
ROG Phone 6 camera sample. (Image resized for web)
ROG Phone 6 camera sample. (Image resized for web)
ROG Phone 6 camera sample. (Image resized for web)

On the front camera, the ROG Phone 6 pairs three cameras on the back consisting of a 50MP wide, 13MP ultrawide lens and a 5MP macro lens. Camera quality is average. Pictures aren’t shabby but they’re nowhere near what my iPhone 14 can capture. They did produce sharper, more realistic images with accurate colors, but overall, consistency of image quality wasn’t an issue. If you’re only planning on sharing ROG Phone 6 photos to Instagram or Facebook and sharpness isn’t your priority, you won’t be disappointed.

Should you buy the Asus ROG Phone 6?

The latest ROG Phone 6 from Asus is like a supercharged version of a smartphone. From a hardware standpoint, I think Asus has nailed the concept of bringing a powerful gaming phone in your pocket. There’s a lot of good ideas that went into making the ROG Phone 6, like creating a “mobile gaming” ecosystem through first-party accessories. But that’s where the peak comes in, making it difficult for Asus to go beyond the formula for creating the most powerful gaming phone it may have worked for some consumers in the past. After working on six generations of gaming smartphones, the ROG Phone 6 was supposed to look like a Steam Deck, a device that successfully brought PC gaming into the handheld form factor.

Previous post
Order of Merit: Hockney’s Crocs find merit with King Charles | News
Next post
Car registration numbers could be printed on McDonald’s food packaging at drive-thrus