With Logitech and Razer both introducing portable handheld gaming devices recently, it's clear that companies believe there's a demand for gaming on the go. But why buy a single-use device when gaming phones can run mobile games, make calls, and still take a good photo when you need to? I'm talking about the Asus ROG Phone 6, which, besides its gaming-centric features, is versatile enough for mainstream users, too. In fact, aside from gamers, I think prosumers who aren't satisfied with today's mainstream offerings will like the ROG Phone 6 very much.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor with 16GB system memory and 512GB storage
- 6.78-inch AMOLED screen (2,448 x 1,080 pixels, 165Hz)
- 50MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide camera and 5MP macro camera
- 6000mAh battery
Asus has been making ROG Phones for over four years now, and the latest ROG Phone 6 refines this design. There's the touch-sensitive AirTrigger shoulder buttons, and the RGB lighting system for gamers. Meanwhile, the excellent stereo speakers (still comes with a headphone jack!), the bright and vibrant AMOLED screen (which gets a minor upgrade from 144Hz to 165Hz), and the massive 6,000mAh battery will surely appeal to everyone. Asus also says that the ROG Phone 6 is the first IPX4-rated splash-resistant gaming smartphone. But at 239g, this 6.78-inch phone is hefty, matched only by Apple's flagship iPhone. It's about my only complaint about the design — the price of having great battery life, I guess.
Given its top-notch hardware, the ROG Phone 6 puts out impressive numbers in benchmarks. Its Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 4,289 is the highest I have seen on an Android phone, though it's still behind the iPhone 14 (4,702). But the iPhone lacks the ROG Phone 6's ultrasonic shoulder buttons. These AirTriggers 6 now support new gestures like tilt to aim (gyroscope aiming). The cooling system on the ROG Phone 6 is also extremely good. In the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test, the temperature peaked at 48 degrees Celsius for the Asus compared to 56 degrees for the Black Shark Pro 5. Asus has also added a thermoelectric cooler to its Aeroactive Cooler 6 (S$129) accessory. You'll need to plug it into a USB power source to enable the thermoelectric cooler mode. But it works great, lowering the temperature to 44 degrees in the 3DMark stress test.
While the Aeroactive Cooler 6 has two more physical buttons than its predecessor, I didn't find them that useful. Asus also sells the ROG Kunai 3 gamepad (S$179) if you want to level up your mobile gaming experience. Similar to the Razer Kishi, the Kunai attaches to the top and bottom edges of the ROG Phone 6. The buttons are clicky, and the Kunai connects directly to the ROG Phone 6's USB-C port to reduce input lag. You can also use the Kunai via Bluetooth with other non-ROG phones. Of course, performance alone isn't enough. The ROG Phone 6 has excellent battery life. It can manage two days of uptime with light use. On average, I only charge the phone every 1.5 days. In a video-loop battery test at maximum brightness, the Asus lasted an incredible 21hr 15min.
The Asus ROG Phone 6 is the best gaming smartphone now. The Apple iPhone may have higher peak performance, but it cannot sustain the performance due to the lack of cooling. Meanwhile, the Asus will keep going at full throttle, especially with the Aeroactive Cooler. The battery life is also outstanding. Other features, from its great speakers to its bright responsive screen, help to make it an above-average smartphone for all users. The camera could be better — there's no telephoto — but you can't have everything. At S$1,399, the Asus ROG Phone 6's pricing is fairly competitive for its specs. Asus also sells a Pro version (S$1,799) with a mini OLED screen at the back, but I recommend getting the standard model and buying the accessories instead. It's available now from the Asus Store, Shopee, and Lazada.
Note: Review accessories provided by Asus.
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