After a successful release into the global market, the ASUS ROG Phone isn’t done making heads turn with its features. As promised, we spent more time exploring this gaming phone to see what else it has to offer.
Design & Construction
Unique to the ROG Phone is the use of air triggers and side-mounted ports that both enhances a user’s gaming experience. On the left side are two where you can plug in a USB Type-C charger and earphones at the same time. However, if you need a 3.5mm earphone jack, you’ll have to attach the AeroActive cooler first. There’s also a USB Type-C port at the bottom, so you’ll never really run out of ports to put extra attachments in.
At the back panel sits a dual rear camera, a fingerprint sensor and its speakers. On the right side are two areas called the Air Triggers which can act as additional buttons for games. To activate the triggers, simply access the Game Genie menu beside the main navigational buttons and select which functions you want to use the air triggers for. Since this feature is customizable, it can easily work with any game but is most convenient for playing first-person shooter games. The only downside to the air triggers is a slight issue on its sensitivity, as it sometimes takes multiple presses to get it to work.
Display & Multimedia
The ROG Phone’s AMOLED display is truly impressive: with a refresh rate of 90Hz, motion graphics appear smooth and seamless. Colors are rich, bold, and easy on the eyes. Even when the brightness settings are at maximum, looking at the screen for a prolonged period of time doesn’t cause any strain.
When it comes to audio, the dual amplifiers and front-facing speakers deliver amazing sound quality. Its NXP 9874 amplifiers blast out crystal clear audio even when turned up at maximum volume. Though I noticed that there is an issue with the volume: even when already at 50%, the sound is far too low and barely audible. You can only start to hear a difference once the volume level is already upwards of 80%, which can be impractical since leaving the volume on max all the time could spell larger battery consumption.
Considering its price point and specs, the cameras on the ROG Phone are pretty disappointing. There’s a 12MP+8MP dual rear camera and an 8MP selfie camera which can take decent pictures. Nothing spectacular, and to an extent, it’s quite understandable that mobile photography isn’t the ROG Phone’s top priority. Since the phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset, the processor makes up for the lack of higher sensors.
When snapping photos outside, the ROG Phone can perform well as it can still capture detailed images with vibrant colors. It has a few shooting modes that can be pretty useful when outdoors, such as a wide-angle mode and different photo aspect ratios. But when put under low-light conditions, the color quality suffers. Though there is hardly any noise in the images, the colors tend to get washed out.
There’s no doubt about the ROG Phone’s processing power as it possesses the most powerful chipset in the market today. The large 8GB RAM ensures that you can play any game without any lags, and still has enough space for you to do other tasks like live streaming to your audience or playing two games at the same time.
The ROG Phone is clearly built for gamers who are aiming to build a career in esports because of the surprising features that make it easy to share your gameplay with an online audience. Upon tinkering a bit with the Game Genie, I also found that there is easy access to a built-in screen recorder that not only records your gameplay, but it also activates and records videos with the front camera. No need to set up OBS on your PC and play through a Nox emulator to stream mobile games, the ROG Phone already provides a convenient streaming setup with just a few clicks. Though unlike the Honor Play, the ROG Phone’s local screen recorder doesn’t support internal audio recording and still relies on the microphone for sound.
Another gripe that I have with the ROG Phone is how fast it heats up. Without the cooling accessory, a few minutes of gaming already causes a noticeable increase in temperature. There’s also the issue of charging time, which takes over 1.5 hours to go from 0-100% which is far from the expected 0-65% in 35 minutes as advertised.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Phone is a powerful device and its benchmarking scores are proof of that. This is a device made with a gaming demographic in mind and it doesn’t disappoint. We have yet to test the complete set of accessories that come with it, but so far, it’s a pretty solid choice for people who are aiming to build a career on mobile esports and gaming enthusiasts. The ROG Phone is currently available in two storage variants: the 128GB version retails for Php 49,995 and the 512GB version retails for Php 61,995.