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Computex 2018: ASUS launches the ROG Phone

We’ve already had a good number of announcements from ASUS so far today, but this one might be the biggest yet. Today, ASUS is launching its first ROG Gaming Phone, featuring a very slim design, metal construction, a 90Hz screen, the world’s fastest Snapdragon 845 chips and 500GB of storage. 

The ROG Phone was quite the surprise for us at Computex this year. From what we’re told, ASUS has created the ROG Phone using speed-binned Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chips, promising the faster speeds than the competition by hitting a minimum of 2.96GHz. You also get 8GB of RAM and a beastly 500GB of storage. In order to properly tame all of the hardware under the hood, ASUS has kitted out this phone with a 3D vapor chamber cooling system. You also get an attachable fan in the box known as the ‘aero active cooler’, which clips on to the back of the phone to provide additional cooling and offers USB-C and 3.5mm passthroughs so you can keep the phone extra cool while charging and using headphones.

The display is 1080p, AMOLED and supports HDR content along with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. With all of that combined, you should be in for quite the experience, whether you are playing games or just viewing media. Speaking of the display, there is no notch, but ASUS has worked on slimming down the bezels.

The corners of the phone have something called ‘air triggers’. These are small areas that you can tap and they essentially act like shoulder buttons on a traditional controller. This gives serious gamers a way to control the action without having to tap away on the touch screen and blocking the image. ASUS has also focussed quite a bit on providing haptic feedback, so in all, gaming on this phone should feel a bit closer to gaming with a traditional controller, but with a big screen in the middle. The ROG Phone will also support third-party mobile gamepads, such as those from Game Vice.

In order to keep things powered, the ROG Phone comes with a 4000mAH battery, which claims to offer up to 7 hours of gaming, 40 hours of music streaming or 11.5 hours of video playback over WiFi on a single charge. The USB Type-C port supports Quick Charge 4.0, so you can juice the ROG Phone back up to 60 percent battery in just over 30 minutes. Another interesting fact about the battery is that the charging IC has been moved outside of the phone, this allows the internal components to remain cool while charging, ensuring that you’ll continue getting peak performance for longer.

Benchmarks results touted at the Computex briefing showed us that the ROG Phone is capable of outscoring the competition in PCMark, GFXBench and AnTuTu.

Other interesting features of the ROG Phone include the TwinView Dock, which provides users with an optional second screen, which will be particularly useful for live streaming, allowing the chat to be seen on one screen and the game on the other. Alternatively, if you are a serious power user, it could also be good for multitasking, or viewing media while also chatting with friends. Similarly to the Samsung DeX, there is also a desktop dock, allowing you to plug in the ROG Phone, hook it up to a monitor and use a keyboard/mouse for the desktop experience.

The ASUS Game Center software on the phone will give you options to adjust the RGB lighting on the back of the phone. It will also show you stats  like CPU temperature, storage used and RAM currently being used. The software also gives you the option to adjust fan speed, so you can balance things between noise and cooling performance.

We don’t have the final specs for the ROG Phone’s cameras, but Briony took some comparison shots that you can see below:

 

So why is ASUS getting into the ‘gaming phone’ business? Well according to the company’s research, mobile is currently the largest gaming segment in the world. The market generates $46.1 billion each year, while PC gaming generates closer to $29.4 billion and consoles generate $33.5 billion. Beyond that, esports viewership continues to grow year on year, which is driving more interest in MOBAs, and Battle Royale titles like Fortnite and PUBG.

We don’t have an exact price or release date for the ROG Phone just yet, but we are told that there will likely be several bundles on offer. This way, buyers can choose between just picking up the phone, or buying it with the Twin View dock and desktop docks included. Considering all of the engineering that went into creating this, and the performance it offers, we are expecting it to be quite expensive- this is unlikely to be a mass market product. However, it is a great ‘enthusiast’ grade device.

KitGuru Says: ASUS has come out swinging with the ROG Phone, which seems to be a spec monster with plenty of enthusiast-friendly features. We’ll be looking forward to getting one in for testing in the future! What do you guys think of the ROG Phone? 

 

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