There’s normal hardware, and then there’s gaming hardware. The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro falls squarely into the latter camp. It holds nothing back, slapping down high-end specs and an over-the-top design at every turn. A smartphone this grandiose comes with a price to match, weighing in at €1,299 (which could land it anywhere from $1,300 to over $1,500 when it eventually drops in the US). So, let’s have a look at what all you get for that money when you could grab an iPhone 13 Pro or Galaxy S22 Ultra for less.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Photos
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Design and Features
One man’s gaudy is another man’s gorgeous, and the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro isn’t going to suit everyone aesthetically. It goes big and bold, accenting the power button, dual SIM card tray, main rear camera, and various lines on the back with an icy metallic blue. The rear of the phone is made to look techy, and sports a small logo saying “DARE TO PLAY” that can light up red. The Pro version of this phone I tested also has a little color display about half inch tall and two inches wide to show off fun little effects, display small notification icons, or show battery charging details.
On the front, the ROG Phone 6 packs a monstrous 6.78-inch AMOLED display that’s flanked on top and bottom by thicker bezels than I’m used to seeing from $1,000+ phones. Those bezels make room for a selfie camera that doesn’t cut into the display any and a pair of matching speakers. A fingerprint scanner is situated beneath the display, as we’ve seen from many recent Android flagships, and it’s quite snappy at unlocking the phone.
The display is big, bright, and sharp at 2,448 x 1,080 resolution. Asus is also pushing it fast with a 165Hz refresh rate, much faster than you’ll find on most phones and still faster than we’ve seen flagships going lately. The display also supports a 720Hz touch sampling rate for improved responsiveness. The phone can automatically adjust the refresh rate as the situation demands, helping it save on battery when those 165Hz speeds aren’t needed.
There’s not much need to be conservative with the battery though, as it’s a pair of 3,000mAh batteries (6,000mAh total) and can charge up in 42 minutes with 65W charging using the included HyperCharge power adapter. To fit in extra hardware for managing cooling on the ROG Phone 6, Asus had to forego wireless charging though. The company did include two USB-C ports for charging, with one on bottom and one on the left side. Both ports also support direct charging, which lets the phone run off wired power, avoiding strain and unnecessary heat for the battery.
Another sacrifice made for gaming is durability. Though the front display is covered in strong Gorilla Glass Victus, the rear of the phone feels like plastic and the whole assembly only gets an IPX4 rating for water resistance. That’s only good for a bit of splashed water. Meanwhile, flagship phones coming from Apple and Samsung can spend extended periods fully submerged in water with their IP68-rated protection. Of course, those flagships both lack the 3.5mm combo jack that Asus has kept around for this phone.
In proper gaming fashion, the ROG Phone 6 also includes shoulder buttons. They’re touch-sensitive patches on the right edge of the phone, each with “ROG” engraved on them.
With all that Asus is packing in, it’s surprising the phone only weighs 239 grams – just one gram lighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. All the same, the phone feels unwieldy, and is tough to manage in a single hand. Asus includes a slim case that at least makes holding on a little easier.
While they aren’t part of the package, it’s also worth noting that the ROG Phone 6 line supports a handful of accessories from Asus, including a Nintendo Switch-like controller case (that felt a bit flimsy) and a peltier cooling attachment with extra buttons and a kickstand on it.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Software
The ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro come running Android 12 with ROG UI & Zen UI. Aside from the pre-installed Armory Crate app, the Game Genie overlay, and the X-mode for gaming performance, there’s little in the way of extra fluff added to the operating system. It feels much like running a Pixel 6, except with an edgier icon pack. Asus will offer two OS updates and two years of security updates, which isn’t great given it’s starting on Android 12, which is due for an update soon.
Asus’s own software isn’t terribly intuitive at times. The split between Armory Crate and Game Genie doesn’t always make sense, and finding the tools for certain things, like remapping controls for Asus’s various accessories proved far more difficult and tedious than it should have been, notably lacking instruction for some basic things, like mapping the analog sticks. Even LG had a smoother, more intuitive process for the dual-screen attachment it offered on a handful of phones. Considering Asus is on its sixth foray into a dedicated gaming phone lineup, I would have hoped things would be more streamlined by now.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Gaming and Performance
Just as everywhere else, the ROG Phone 6 Pro leaves little to be desired when it comes to performance. It’s packing the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 chipset – effectively a souped up version of the 8 Gen1 – and backs it up with 18GB of LPDDR5 memory. It’s also paired with 512GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage.
In every second of every interaction, the ROG Phone 6 Pro feels like it’s cruising. Jumping back and forth between apps is no problem, as the absurd amount of RAM can hold more than I’d ever imagine necessary. After bumping around the phone, answering a text, and playing an entire match in Apex Legends, I was still able to jump back into a different game and pick up right where I’d left off.
In gaming, the phone also goes hard. In multiple matches of Apex Legends, it didn’t show any signs of struggling with UltraHD graphics and a high frame rate setting. Even bumping the frame rate up beyond that it continued to work with ease. For all Asus’s efforts, it still has to content with heat, and though the phone settles at just over 100 degrees after a lengthy game, that’s heat that’ll lead to sweaty palms and fingers.
The controls on the phone feel responsive while gaming, perhaps in part thanks to the speed of the phone but also as a result of the high touch sampling rate. However, the shoulder ‘buttons’ don’t feel as good to use as the physical buttons presented and ingeniously built into last year’s Black Shark 4.
Speeds in and outside of gaming also get a bonus from fast networking. Wi-Fi 6E is supported, though I was only able to see Wi-Fi 6 speeds on my home router. 5G connectivity is on deck, and though an initial test saw the phone clocking over 700Mbps on my T-Mobile connection in Chicago, reception and access to high speed bands proved less reliable. Often I was stuck in the slow lane on 4G or even 3G networks in places where I’d normally get at least slow 5G on my Galaxy S20. This, paired with the ROG Phone 6 Pro’s initial launch happening outside the US, suggests it might not be packing the best radios for US customers.
While you might get caught out hunting for signal, you’re not as likely to be left begging for battery. The 6,000mAh of charge in the ROG Phone 6 Pro is ready for all-day use even with some gaming squeezed in there. In my testing, I never saw it get below a third of its capacity by the end of that day, and I’d run a little gaming, a little entertainment, and even a little mobile hotspot in that time. A 105-minute movie streaming over Wi-Fi with the display at about 75% brightness and volume through the speakers maxed out only sucked down 14% of the battery. And the speakers held up surprisingly well outside against the sound of July 4th fireworks going off constantly. After completely draining the battery, it shot back up to 40% from sitting on the charger for just over 10 minutes, and 20 minutes brought it up to 61%. And sure enough, after 42 minutes, it reached 100% charge, though it got pretty toasty charging that fast.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Camera
If Asus could be caught slacking anywhere, it’s with the cameras. The ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro both include a trio of cameras on the back, and they’re truly nothing to get excited for.
Here are the cameras the ROG Phone 6 Pro packs:
- 50MP Wide
- 13MP Ultrawide
- 5MP Macro
- 12MP Selfie
These cameras almost all produce photos that look fine when viewed on the phone itself, but fall short when viewing them on a larger screen.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Main Camera Samples
The main sensor has decent color and looks plenty crisp when it’s small. But it’s got a tendency toward noisiness, is a bit slow and therefore smears a bit in anything but bright daylight, and looks oversharpened. Every flaw of the main sensor just gets worse with the ultra-wide camera.
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro – Ultrawide Camera Samples
The macro camera is almost not worth mentioning, as it produces images that barely offer anything different than just using the main sensor’s 2x digital zoom.
It’s actually the selfie camera that’s the standout of the bunch. It avoids over-sharpening, meets the lighting conditions well, provides natural color, and is reasonably sharp.