What’s a gaming smartphone and does the world really need one? The answer to that isn’t the Xiaomi Black Shark. Nor the Razer Phone. And it certainly isn’t the honor 8 Pro. How about something more hardcore, more obnoxious. Something so ludicrous that only a company like ASUS would attempt? The world doesn’t need a gaming smartphone but it sure as hell wants one. Especially if it’s anything like the ROG Phone.
First, it begs the question: Why? I reckon it’s because mobile gaming is huge and is growing every year. ASUS says, who the f*ck cares, we’re just going to build one. And it’s going to be nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s going to be insanely powerful, edgy and it’s going to be mind-blowingly cool.
Sounds like a lot of hot air, right? In a completely self-indulgent sort of way? The bad news is, it’s self-indulgent. The good news is, it’s self-indulgent.
Say hello to the ROG Phone.
Just unleashed in Taipei, Taiwan today at Computex Taipei 2018, the ROG Phone is a culmination of ASUS’ gaming DNA, years of experience in making gaming hardware and components, and some balls.
Off the bat, the ROG Phone will come off as “not pretty.” It’s chunky, edgy and over-the-top. As a gaming phone should be. It even has ASUS Aura RGB lighting around the ROG logo on the back. It’s not all hard-edged though, as the back is 3D curved, protected by Gorilla Glass.
Under the hood is where ASUS takes a no holds barred approach. The device boasts a speed-binned Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that clocked at 2.96GHz (that’s 200MHz higher than stock!). This could possibly be the most powerful mobile processor in the market right now. ASUS claims the specially tweaked Snapdragon chip would score 300,000 points on AnTuTu, which would make it King of the SoC Hill by a mile.
The scorcher of a chip is coupled with 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM with either 128GB or 512GB of onboard storage.
With such clockspeeds, there’s bound to be challenges in the temperature department. Short of a liquid-cooling solution and a big-ass heatsink, ASUS has devised a 3D vapour-chamber design to help the phone dissipate heat efficiently.
If things get too hot, the device has an AeroActive Cooler that can be attached to the back of the phone.
On the front, lies a 6.0-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 18:9 screen aspect ratio. What’s interesting is that it has a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1ms pixel response time. It’s no match for the Razer Phone’s 120Hz screen, but it’s still impressive. Also, the display has a wide colour gamut – covering 108.6 percent of cinema-grade DCI-P3.
Additionally, there’s an image processing chip that pushes HDR display for gaming and video playback.
ASUS didn’t forget about audio, packing a pair of front-facing stereo speakers and even included an advanced haptic actuator that gives you force feedback when you’re gaming.
That’s not all. There’s something called AirTriggers at the top of the phone that features ultrasonic sensors that you can program for custom actions.
While purpose-built as a gaming smartphone, the ROG Phone isn’t a crappy smartphone outside of its gaming abilities. It comes with a commendable 12MP + 8MP dual-camera system on the rear, while the front gets an 8MP selfie camera.
Keeping it juiced is a large 4,000mAh battery that charges up via USB Type-C. What’s interesting is that it has an additional USB Type-C port at the side, so you can charge it while you play in landscape mode. Very clever.
By the way, the battery supports ASUS’ 20W HyperCharge direct charging. This charging tech can deliver 60 percent charge in just 33 minutes.
Now this is where it gets even more obnoxious better. As if not pushing the envelope enough, ASUS created a dual-screen console. Called a TwinView Dock, the optional accessory provides a secondary 6-inch AMOLED screen, additional stereo speakers, two extra physical buttons, dual-haptic force feedback engine and enhanced cooling. It even has a built-in 6,000mAh battery for extended gameplay.
For those who prefer more tactile controls while gaming, there’s a Gamevice controller with a WiGiG Dock. This adds physical gaming controls with dual analogue joysticks and a D-pad plus extra buttons.
The WiGiG Dock can connect to higher 60GHz 802.11ad WiFi for ultra-low latency wireless display connection.
Last but not least, if you’re feeling cramped with the 6-inch display, you can connect the phone to an external 4K UHD monitor via the Mobile Desktop Dock. Hook up a keyboard and mouse and you’ll be PUBG-ing in no time. The dock also supplies a gigabit LAN port and a 5.1-channel surround sound system.
It all sounds too good to be true isn’t it?
Well, the good news is that it will hit Malaysia as early as July 2018. So, it’s certainly not vapourware. The question is, how much it will cost. That remains unanswered for now, so we’ll have to sit and wait until something official comes out from ASUS.
So, what do you think about the ROG Phone? Is there a place in the world for a hardcore gaming smartphone?
Key specs at a glance
|Processor||Exclusive 2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform|
|GPU||Qualcomm Adreno 630|
|Display||6.0“ 18:9 (2160×1080) AMOLED
90Hz refresh rate with 1ms pixel response time
108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut and 10000:1 contrast ratio
10-point multi-touch (supports Glove Touch)
Discrete image processing chip supports HDR
|Memory||LPDDR4X 8GB RAM|
|Storage||UFS 2.1, 128GB / 512GB|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, e-compass, proximity sensor, Hall sensor, ambient-light sensor, fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, 2 x ultrasonic AirTriggers|
|Wireless||802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 2×2 MIMO
Wi-Fi Direct and WiGig 802.11ad wireless display support
Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC
|GPS||Supports GPS, aGPS, Glonass, BeiDou|
|Side I/O||Custom USB-C supports USB 3.1 Gen 1, DP 1.4, fast charging (15W)
ASUS HyperCharge direct charging
|Bottom I/O||USB-C supports USB 2.0, fast charging (20W), Direct Charge
3.5mm headphone jack
|Cameras||Main: 12MP + 8MP (120° wide-angle)
|Audio||Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier
24-bit/192KHz Hi-Res Audio
DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround-sound
Qualcomm aptX High-definition Bluetooth® wireless audio
|Dimensions||158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm|
For more information, visit ROG.
Photos by Rory Lee, SoyaCincau
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