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Asus ROG Phone Series Review





If you don't have any budget constraints, you can get everything in one package. Flagship class phones feature top end processors and screens, so gaming is just one of the things they do well. However, just like with PCs, gaming can push even the best hardware. Asus is one of a small but increasing number of companies trying to design a phone just for gaming, with no compromises or constraints.

Some well-known products from other companies include the Razer Phone, Xiaomi Black Shark, and Nubia Red Magic. Asus is one of the first to launch a gaming phone in India though. The Asus ROG Phone has dedicated hardware for gaming, including a 90Hz display and lots of design tweaks. Let's check it details.

Design

Build quality is a really top notch. Cool and funky design that’s both fun and serious. It also has a light-up RGB logo at the back, the curved bezels and sides make the phone incredibly comfortable to hold especially in landscape, it's also fairly slim. Face unlock is fast and reliable. But, honestly this is definitely not 'standard' smartphone design so it might be too out there for some. The off center fingerprint sensor in back and its narrow surface area means that it takes some searching for your finger to find it, and then a little more time to properly authenticate with such a small target (you will be better off using the face unlock).

Display

Very good, attractive, AMOLED display. One of the things that makes this a "gaming" phone is that display that can refresh 90 times a second, a first for any OLED phone, the higher refresh rate means less motion blur and faster response times, it is a noticeable improvement over other phones when playing certain games. Other interesting stuff: it supports gloves, and ten-point touch. Nice.


Software

Asus's ROG UI, not to be confused with ZenUI, is packed with gaming features and gaming aesthetics, the iconography is unique, there is Game Center where you’ll find most of these bonus features (among them are an interface to customize the Aura Light, control fan speed on the included AeroActive Cooler accessory, and toggle X Mode a higher-frequency CPU mode), and Game Genie which enables gamers to stream or record their gaming sessions in up to 1080p, silence notifications, and optimize memory for better performance. There are also of course many other non-gaming related software add-ons like ZenMotion (when the screen is asleep you can draw a letter on it to launch an app), and ZenMoji (AR cartoon avatar emojis, a la iPhones).

Performance

The hardware is of course top notch, with the top of the line Snapdragon 845, in fact, Asus has clocked it at 2.96GHz giving it a slight edge over other devices with the same processor. Apps open lighting fast, Android animations are peppy and smooth, games run butter-smooth, and there is no lag to be seen anywhere.

Gaming

Of course the real USP of the phone is how capable it can be as an excellent, portable gaming device
The innovative AirTriggers to expand game control beyond the screen these are pressure sensitive corners that double as bumper buttons for games.

The ROG has two USB-C ports, one on the bottom and one on the side so when you're playing games in landscape mode the power cord doesn't get in the way of your hands the side port also supports accessories like a detachable fan called the AeroActive cooler which comes with the phone. The AeroActive cooler actually makes a big difference in terms of performance, especially if you're going to be playing a game for 20 to 30 minutes without a break, the fan keeps the phone from getting too hot to hold and along with a software setting called "X mode" lets the processor run at its highest speed for longer during gameplay.

This is simply the best gaming performance you can get on an Android phone right now (especially long-duration gaming performance, thanks to the fan) but the new iPhones are in a different league altogether here Apple's iPhone XS with the A12 Bionic is a performance beast that rises a couple of notches above the Snapdragon 845, and it doesn't require a detachable fan, making the Asus solution seem quite clunky in contrast. So if you truly want the best possible performance from a phone, the iPhones are still your best bet. Yep!.


Gaming Accessories

Another big USP here is a ton of optional gaming accessories available for the phone, the likes that can make it indistinguishable from a dedicated gaming device. Accessories include the Twin View Dock (it transforms the phone into a Nintendo DS like dual screen device and adds two physical shoulder buttons, a 6000mAh battery and a selfie camera to stream and record yourself as you play),  Mobile Desktop Dock (turn the ROG into a mini gaming rig complete with nearly every port you can imagine), Gamevice controller (the ROG fits in the middle of the vice like device which has dual joysticks, fire triggers, bumpers, a D-pad and all the buttons you'd expect). There is also an external mouse and keyboard support (if the game itself supports it) - although it can be a bit of a hit and miss experience. But, most accessories are quite expensive though, so if you plan to use these, you will need to count them in the 'effective' price of the phone.

Camera

Asus strong prowess in photography is on display in the ROG, proving that compromises in areas like this aren’t necessary to have the best gaming phone on the market. Image quality from the dual rear cameras is very good they capture a nice amount of detail. HDR mode adds a bit more dynamic range without going over the top with highlights and shadows. The second rear camera gives you a wider field of view so you can pack more into your frame and it is really wide. But, videos and lowlight photography are two areas where the the ROG Phone's cameras lag behind the leading flagships they are decent, but not the best in class.

Audio

The speakers, dotted with copper colored grills, are wonderfully loud and sound fantastic, they're right up there with the best speakers on smartphones in terms of being able to produce bombastic high quality sound.

Battery

Excellent battery life, the 4000mAh pack will comfortably give you a day even with heavy use as a gaming oriented phone must.

Verdict

The ROG phone is the most specialist gaming phone Android has ever had the high refresh rate, the Air Triggers, X mode and the fan actually work to enhance the gaming experience. At the same time, it's also a pretty great "normal phone", it has a good display, a solid camera, and a great battery life. But, it is not the highest raw performance smartphone though, that laurel rests with the new iPhones (apart from a larger library of games on iOS), and it's also not the best choice for non gamers you will want to look at better "all-round" phones like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Pixel 3, OnePlus 6T or Galaxy Note 9 instead.
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