Each year at Computex, Asus shows off at least one crazy new concept product – it might be a laptop with a screen on the lid, a phone that docks into a tablet, or even a domestic robot that can entertain your family. This year, at the first of two scheduled events, the showstopper was something equally attention-grabbing – but also a lot more grounded in reality. The brand new ROG Phone takes smartphone design, power, and performance to a completely new level. Asus seems to have found a niche that could actually do with some innovation, and a lot of thought has gone into this product and its surprisingly robust lineup of accessories. Perhaps the best news of all is that this isn’t some wild flight of fancy that will never make it to the market. In fact, Asus has told Gadgets 360 that it intends to bring this phone to India very soon. Read on for everything you need to know about what’s new and different, and how it actually works.
First of all, the Asus ROG Phone is not significantly larger or heavier than today’s big phones. It’s 8.6mm thick and weighs 200g, but handling it is not that much more difficult than using any other oversized phone. The rear is not very slippery, but does get smudged immediately. The orangish accents on the rear match some of Asus’ ROG laptops.
Asus has gone in a completely different direction than pretty much all of today’s high-end phones. The ROG Phone doesn’t look particularly slick and it most definitely doesn’t have a notch. What you do get is a bold, aggressive style that prioritises both actual gaming and the “gamer” aesthetic – and yes, the logo at the back lights up with customisable RGB LEDs.
There are plenty examples of the gaming-first philosophy. There’s enough space above and below the 6-inch screen for front-firing stereo speakers. There are ultrasonic virtual shoulder buttons to give you an edge in games. There’s an accessory port on the side for docking in landscape mode and also charging the phone while you’re playing, so a wire doesn’t stick out where your hand needs to be. And the accessories shown off at the launch event include a hand-held grip with an extra screen, a wireless TV streaming attachment that also gives you physical buttons and analogue sticks, and a desktop dock that lets you play on any monitor with a keyboard and mouse.
All the games we saw running on the ROG Phone’s screen looked amazing. This is an 18:9 2160×1080 HDR AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, which Asus says make it a world first. It can also reproduce 108 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. Sound quality with the two speakers and dual amplifiers is another thing that Asus is promoting, but we weren’t able to get a good sense of audio quality at the preview event held by Asus prior to the official unveiling. The ROG Phone can handle 24-bit/ 192Khz high-resolution audio playback, and supports DTS Headphone:X audio optimisation.