Asus has just launched two new gaming smartphones called the ROG Phone 6 and the ROG Phone 6 Pro. The main difference between the two models is the design of the back panel and, the RAM and storage configurations, while the rest of the specs and features remain the same. If you thought last year’s ROG Phone 5s series had hit its peak, Asus has managed to offer even better features with the new models. We’ve managed to get a sneak-peek at the ROG Phone 6 Pro, so let’s check it out.
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro will only be available in a single configuration in India with 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage priced at Rs. 89,999. The previous ROG Phone 5s Pro and ROG Phone 5 Ultimate (Review) had the same configuration but it still amazes me to see a smartphone with more RAM than most gaming laptops. The standard ROG Phone 6 will have 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 71,999. The internal storage is not expandable on either model. The standard ROG Phone 6 will be available in Phantom Black and Storm White, while the Pro model is only available in white.
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is the first phone to launch in India with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, which is not only supposed to be more powerful than the 8 Gen 1 but more importantly, claims to be more more power efficient which is what you want in a gaming smartphone. Asus claims it has upgraded the cooling system in the new model and along with the optional new Aero Active Cooler 6, it should allow you to game for longer durations without having to deal with overheating or performance throttling.
Coming to the phone itself, Asus hasn’t messed around with the formula too much as the ROG Phone 6 Pro is still a massive chunk of glass and metal with similar dimensions as the ROG Phone 5s Pro. The new model weighs 239g and has a thickness of 10.3mm, making it quite a handful. However, it is now IPX4 rated for splash resistance against liquids, which is the first we’ve seen on a premium gaming smartphone. This water resistance applies to the standard model too.
The massive display on the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro has nearly the same specs as its predecessor but with a few key upgrades such a maximum touch sampling rate of up to 720Hz in certain games and a higher 165Hz refresh rate. It’s still a massive 6.78-inch AMOLED screen with a full-HD+ resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and a peak brightness of 800 nits. In my short time using the ROG Phone 6 Pro, the display looked stunning with punchy colours and had very good touch response. A few games that I tried looked great and ran very well, as you’d expect.
The ROG Vision OLED display on the back of the ROG Phone 6 Pro can be used to showcase some of the preloaded animations for different events such as an incoming call, charging, etc. The back of the phone is also peppered with plenty of gaming motifs such as inscriptions and graphics. I feel it’s done tastefully and isn’t over the top, compared to the early generations of the ROG phone.
What makes the Asus ROG Phone special compared to any other gaming phone are the software customisations and additional hardware features. The ROG Phone 6 Pro runs Android 12 and you can choose between Zen UI or a more gaming-oriented ROG UI skin. Asus promises two OS updates and at least two years of security updates for the ROG Phone 6 series. Both phones feature an additional USB Type-C port on the left side of the frame so the charging cable doesn’t get in the way when holding the phone horizontally for gaming. This port is also used to power the Aero Active Cooler 6. The ROG Phone 6 Pro has two Super Linear Speakers on either end of the body and they get very loud.
The Asus Armoury Crate app offers a tonne of customisation for individual games. It also lets you monitor the CPU and GPU’s temperature, modify the system lighting, and tweak the functionality of the phone’s AirTriggers or ultrasonic buttons along the right side of the frame. The latter gets new functionality in the form of a ‘Press and lift’ gesture that allows you to perform two actions within a game with a single gesture.
Game Genie, the phone’s in-game dashboard, has been redesigned and can now be summoned via a swipe-down gesture. This menu lets you toggle all kinds of settings such as changing the refresh rate, blocking notifications, engaging X-Mode, and lots more.
The Aero Active Cooler 6 is sold as a separate accessory and now includes a thermoelectric cooling system based on a Peltier chip, in addition to the fan. You can set the type of cooling you want from the Armoury Crate app. Asus claims it can reduce the surface temperature of the phone by up to 25 degree Celsius with the ‘Frozen’ cooling mode, but this requires the phone to be plugged in. The cooler also has four additional buttons (two more from the previous model) which can be mapped within certain games. The new cooler works only with the ROG Phone 6 series and is not compatible with the older models.
The cameras in the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro have been upgraded. There’s a 12-megapixel Sony IMX663 selfie camera and on the back, you get a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 primary camera without OIS, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. Apart from the usual shooting modes, the ROG Phone 6 Pro supports premium features such as 8K video recording. Camera performance is probably not going to be top priority for anyone looking at buying this phone but I’m glad Asus has taken the effort to offer better sensors nevertheless, instead of simply reusing the ones from the previous model.
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro features a massive 6,000mAh battery (a combination of two 3,000mAh batteries) with up to 65W fast charging. Asus has its own 65W charger but this isn’t bundled in the box. Instead, Indian retail units will ship with a 30W charger. Asus says that any USB PD 3.0 charger with PPS (Programmable Power Supply) and the right wattage should be able to fast charge the ROG Phone 6 Pro at its full potential. Wireless charging is one premium feature that’s still missing.
Overall, the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is a beast of a smartphone and builds on the strengths of the ROG Phone 5s series, which Asus says will continue to be sold in India so that buyers have a more affordable option. However, is the new ROG Phone 6 Pro worth the upgrade over the previous generation? Stick around to Gadgets 360 for the full review, coming soon.