Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro Review: Even Faster, Even Cooler!
So I have in my hands right here the ultimate gaming smartphone. This is the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro and compared to the previous generation, this is quite the huge step up in many departments.
Now as you can tell, this is definitely quite the huge change when it comes to the design. The obvious difference would be that camera cutout on the back. The entire module is now way larger and occupies much more visual space, making it stand out quite a fair bit. The back is also where you’ll find a unique display called the ROG Vision mini-display that can be fully customized via the use of Armory Crate to show things like your notifications, the clock, standby and gaming modes and much more. And on the opposite edge, you’ll find a small text that says “Dare To Play”, in which the lighting can also be customized as well. A really nice touch in our opinion.
With regards to colors, you’ll have the option to choose between Phantom Black or Storm White for the standard ROG Phone 6 while for the ROG Phone 6 Pro here, it’s only available exclusively in Storm White. We take that as a win. This is arguably the nicer of the two. Black and Red might be the usual jam but White and Blue is really refreshing, especially for a gaming centric device. It also does bring out the visual aesthetics a little more. Of course, the look isn’t for everybody, but it does look unique and it feels great to the touch as well. The back is smooth like glass, making it really comfortable to hold and there’s texture at some places as well due to the embossed text.
As for the sides, it’s a matte metallic finish all around and you’ll find the power button and volume rocker on the right, alongside the two Air Triggers which are really customizable, two Type-C ports and surprisingly enough, the 3.5mm headphone jack. A nice sight for sure. Though to note, the phone is only IPX4 rated so definitely do be careful around any water surfaces.
With all that said, it is still a pretty large phone with quite the substantial weight. So your mileage might vary depending on the size of your hand. And personally, we’ll definitely recommend using the included case as well just to err on the side of caution.
But now let’s talk about that display, in which this gets a slight upgrade. 6.78-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 1,080 by 2,448 running up to 165Hz with a 720Hz touch-sampling rate and apparently, 23 ms ultra-low touch latency. It’s also HDR10+ capable, covers over 100% DCI-P3 and gets up to over a 1000 nits in max brightness.
Needless to say, it’s a fantastic display. The resolution is high enough and the colours are really vibrant with great contrast. It’s great for your usual content consumption in YouTube and the such, just browsing the web and of course playing games. On the other end of the spectrum, Asus has also worked with Pixelworks to tune the display for color accuracy, so if you’re more of a content creator, editing photos or videos on the go, this display is going to be fairly capable at that as well.
But again, the best use case here is definitely still going to be gaming, especially with that 165Hz refresh rate and 720Hz touch sampling rate. Games just look great and feel great to play, especially when playing high-refresh rate capable titles. Nothing much about it, it’s just a fantastic no-nonsense display that delivers.
Now visuals is but one half of the equation when it comes to a great gaming experience, the other half is audio. A good set of speakers can really elevate the overall experience and yes, Asus has definitely paid attention.
You get a pair of front-firing speakers that simply sounds fantastic. It’s certainly going to be better than quite a lot of other smartphones out there. In addition, Asus has worked with Dirac to optimize the sound including their spatial audio solution to provide a seriously great audio experience. In our experience, just watching shows on YouTube or Netflix and gaming in games like Genshin, it’s really been a stellar experience and thanks to the placement of it, you wouldn’t block it all that much in a typical gaming grip per se.
Though we do have to say that it still isn’t the best. There’s one other phone that certainly reigns king when it comes to smartphone audio. Feel free to check out our review of that in the card up above.
But now let’s really dive under the hood because this is where the biggest upgrade can be found. We’re talking, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of storage. So basically, you’re getting the best of the best here. As powerful as you can get with a gaming smartphone right now. According to Asus, it’s about a 15% increase in CPU performance and a whopping 50% improvement in GPU performance as compared to the Snapdragon 888 and we would say it definitely shows. In addition, it’s also slightly more efficient as well.
In GeekBench 5, it managed a score of 1,316 and 4,186 in Single-Core and Multi-Core respectively, which is honestly really impressive. This is probably the first Android phone we’ve tested that has surpassed the 4,000 mark in Multi-Core, pretty insane.
As for 3D Mark, we usually test the Wild Life benchmark but unfortunately, it would seem that the ROG Phone 6 Pro is far too powerful. So instead, we ran the Wild Life Extreme test and it managed an overall score of 2,783 with an average frame rate just shy of 17. It might not sound like much, but this seriously puts it on the top end of the leaderboard.
But let’s talk about games because this is seriously what this phone is all about.
Playing games like Genshin Impact, performance at the maximum possible settings yields 60 frames per second with little drops for at least 30 minutes or so before it starts to scale back a little, dropping the average frame rate to 50 or so. It might not sound like much but it is pretty impressive, no less thanks to the cooling system with a larger vapour chamber as well as additional graphite sheets. Throughout the entire gaming session, the Snapdragon chip was able to hover just shy of 50 degree celsius and the surface temperatures were well within reason as well, still fairly comfortable to hold on. We would say that the same holds true for other games such as Apex, Asphalt and much much more.
But if you want to game without basically no throttling at all, the all new AeroActive Cooler 6 accessory is going to be your best friend. This is an add-on accessory that you can attach to the ROG Phone 6 Pro via the side mounted Type-C port and not only would it cool down that Snapdragon chip, but also provide additional buttons and triggers which you can map to whatever you like. In either the Smart or Frosty mode, temperatures were reduced by up to 7 degrees celsius and if you were to plug it in and toggle Frozen mode, that drops by a further 2 degrees celsius. In a game like Genshin, it has really been particularly useful for both the additional controls and performance and the cooler surface temperature.
In addition with the use of Armoury Crate, you’ll be able to set and tune the performance settings for any individual game and accessory so you have full control over the balance between performance and battery life as you like.
And thus we do have to touch upon the battery life. Just like before, it sports a really large battery at 6,000mAh. You can expect all day battery life with general usage and roughly 3 hours or so if you're gaming all the way. It’ll also support fast-charging with the included 65-watt HyperCharge adapter, allowing you to charge from to 70% in just about 30 minutes.
So it’s a gaming phone through and through and in that regard, the ROG Phone 6 definitely delivers. But what about the cameras? Honestly, not too shabby.
You get a triple camera system with a 50MP main camera using the Sony IMX766 sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide and a macro camera. Shots taken with the main camera are by all regards, not bad at all. Great colors, well-exposed, good white balance, all the usual. As compared to the previous ROG Phone 5, we would say it is definitely a step up but it still definitely doesn’t compete with the best of the best from the likes of Sony, Samsung, Google, Apple and more.
Video recording is pretty amazing on the other hand for this is actually capable of not just 4K 60 frames per second, but 8K 24 frames per second. So we did some test footage and more and we’ve to say that while this is definitely not practical in anyway, especially given the fact that a mere 10 second clip would be about 150MB in size in 8K, it definitely is quite jaw-dropping in terms of details when it comes to a brightly lit scene. If slow-motion is more of your fancy, this will be able to do 4K 120 frames per second as well, or Full HD at 240 frames or HD at 480 frames. Your pick.
As for the selfie camera, it’s 12 megapixels and to note, you also don’t get a notch. It’s fine for the most part but definitely make sure that any form of beautification is turned off if you want a more natural looking photo.
Overall, cameras are getting better and better for this genre of smartphones and honestly, they are already plenty great for most people out there, especially if you’re just sharing on social media. There is definitely much to be desired if you were to scrutinize, but for the most part, it’s good enough.
But now at this point, there are a few things we do want to mention that aren't that great about the ROG Phone 6 Pro and to that extent, the standard Phone 6 as well. The first of which would be that fingerprint sensor under the display. While it is accurate and does work, it is a tad slower than others in our experience, about a solid second for it to register. Of course, we’re nitpicking right here but honestly Asus should have just made the power button double up as the fingerprint sensor instead because not only would it be faster, but you wouldn’t need to fumble about to find the exact spot that every occasional time.
Secondly, the included charger. For a flagship gaming phone that’s poised to be the best of the best, it does only have a mere 65 watt charger for fast charging. This would’ve been fine a year ago but since then, the competition has grown much stronger, with the likes of 90 watts or even 120 watts, able to charge a phone from zero to 100% in less than half an hour. Asus definitely has to buck up on this front.
And lastly, we need to talk about the price. This phone is going to be pretty heavy on your wallet.
As mentioned, this is the ROG Phone 6 Pro and it has all the bells and whistles. But that also means a flagship price. Now at the time of recording, we do only have the Euro pricing, but we’ll update the US and local pricing in the description once we have that info. Anyways, we’re looking at 1,299 Euros for the 6 Pro with that ridiculous 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM and half a TB of storage. Not going to lie, that is certainly quite a bit of cash.
If that is a little too much, you can opt for the non-Pro model which will set you back 999 Euros or 1,149 Euros respectively.
Without a doubt, you’re going to get a really great experience here and it’s honesty quite amazing given what Asus has managed to do to tame this powerful beast of a chip. But we do have to mention that the competition is getting really tough and there are many more options available nowadays for arguably the same experience but costing much less. Something to take note for sure.
But in any case, the ROG Phone 6 Pro is a solid gaming smartphone through and through and with all the features it brings to the table, including all the accessories you can get, it certainly puts it a step ahead of others in many ways, but most especially in the cooling department. As long as you’re willing to fork out the price.