Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review: Game on

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

As well as boasting a selection of high-end specs, Asus has gone above and beyond with the finer gaming details and accessory portfolio, making the ROG Phone 6 Pro a compelling package for dedicated mobile gamers with deep enough pockets.
Table of contents

Asus is back with its latest gaming phone for the high-performance market — the Asus ROG Phone 6 series. Between the 165Hz display, Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, and 65W charging, the handsets boast plenty of numbers to catch the eye of the discerning gamer, with a design aesthetic to match.

There are just two variants this year — the ROG Phone 6 and ROG Phone 6 Pro. Asus has dispensed with the Ultimate edition, bringing its best features to the Pro model and opting for a range of memory configurations and price points to suit different regions. Will this more streamlined approach be enough to claim first place? Find out in Android Authority’s Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
About this Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review: I tested the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro over a period of seven days. It was running the latest Android 12 build (32.2810.2204.47) on the 1 April 2022 security patch. The unit was provided by Asus for this review.

What you need to know about the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 (12GB/256GB): £899 / €999 (~$1,088)
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (18GB/512GB ): £1,099 / €1,299 (~$1,330)

The Asus ROG Phone 6 series is the latest in a long portfolio of gaming phones from the Taiwanese brand Asus, with the Pro variant as the flagship model for 2022. The phone sports the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor for a 10% performance boost and greater efficiency than smartphones launched earlier in the year. Along with advanced cooling, controller accessories, and a sci-fi-inspired design, this is a handset built with a very specific target audience in mind.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 series is the latest in a long portfolio of gaming phones from the Taiwanese brand Asus, with the Pro variant as the flagship model for 2022. The phone sports the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor for a 10% performance boost and greater efficiency than smartphones launched earlier in the year. Along with advanced cooling, controller accessories, and a sci-fi-inspired design, this is a handset built with a very specific target audience in mind.

In addition, the phone boasts an improved 165Hz OLED display, although this defaults to a more common 120Hz dynamic mode out of the box. There’s also a faster 720Hz touch sample rate and latency as low as 23ms in 165Hz mode, ensuring smooth input performance while gaming. Asus has thrown in a few other improvements too, including an IPX4 rating for the first time and Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front. While not an earthshaking upgrade over the ROG Phone 5 family, these little details add up to push the envelope that little further.

Of course, Asus packs in plenty of gaming-focused features you won’t find on more typical smartphones. The series’ standard “AirTrigger” system remains and now supports nine mappable gestures, new press and lift settings, and ten different motion control gestures. Asus’ Armoury Crate software now includes rendering quality settings on a per-game basis, including Performance, Balanced, or Quality modes, as well as toggles for anti-aliasing, textures, and variable rate shading where supported. There are now more ways than ever to game your way.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 is available in Phantom Black and Storm White, while the Pro model only comes in the latter. The phones are heading to Europe first with a US launch date to be confirmed later in the year.

What’s the design like?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Asus’ ROG Phone series has always embraced the “edgy” gamer aesthetic and the ROG Phone 6 is no different. Adorned with straight cut lines, neon accents, and slogans such as “dare to play” and “for those who dare,” this is a far cry from a phone designed for the high street consumer. The look is very much in keeping with last year’s Ultimate model. Our ROG Phone 6 Pro review unit came in a box resembling a cryogenic sleep chamber that I really hope ships with retail units as well. Asus might as well go all-in on the aesthetic.

The ROG Phone 6 embraces the ‘edgy’ gamer aesthetic with straight cut lines, neon accents, and slogans.

With an impressive, bespoke 6.78-inch Samsung-made AMOLED display, the Asus ROG Phone 6 is a behemoth. It’s a little on the hefty side, weighing 239g, making it both bigger and heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, while there’s Gorilla Glass 3 with an AS coating for reduced friction on the back. The build materials aren’t quite up to scratch for the premium end of the market, but the phone feels nice enough in hand. Plus, there’s the aforementioned IPX4 splash resistance rating which helps close the gap, though at this price, it’d be fair to expect an industry-standard IP68 certification for immersion in water.

Speaking of displays, the ROG Phone 6 Pro comes with a small POLED display on the back dubbed the ROG Vision Display. You can set this to show the time, a text message, logo, or customizable text string depending on whether the phone’s screen is on, charging, or playing a game. The location and orientation aren’t particularly useful; it’s more part of the aesthetic. This is a small differentiator with the regular ROG Phone 6, which sports an RGB illuminated ROG logo in place of the customizable display.

Because this phone is built for gamers, Asus continues to put a little extra thought into connectivity. You’ll find the primary USB-C port on the side for charging, data, and connecting Asus’ range of gaming accessories (more on those later). There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom alongside a secondary USB-C port, which only supports limited features when the main port is plugged in but will still fast charge the handset. Two ports are a neat touch, and my only minor gripe is that the off-center bottom USB-C port takes a little getting used to and may impact compatibility with some third-party USB-C accessories.

Speaking of gaming, Asus’ ultrasonic Airtriggers make a return on the top of the device (when held landscape). They’re fully customizable in terms of sensitivity and button mapping and, while not as satisfying to squeeze as a physical trigger, strong haptic feedback makes these a nice option to have without adding bulk.

Stereo 12 x 16mm front-facing speakers flank the phone, and Asus boasts speaker excursion of up to 0.8mm. That might not sound like a lot but it’s a notable range of movement for a smartphone. They pump out plenty of volume and bass that’s better than most but not quite as present as I’d like. Thankfully, Asus’ “AudioWizard” software boasts a full EQ and four presets to tweak the sound to your liking. Paired with Dirac’s tuning and Virtuo spatial enhancements, there’s an outstanding balance between the two speakers that helps create a wide sense of space from the limited form factor.

How’s the gaming performance?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 onboard paired with a completely overkill 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM in the Pro model we reviewed, there’s nothing to complain about in day-to-day usage. Multitasking demanding apps isn’t a problem. Performance scales back somewhat aggressively once the battery hits low levels, but this is pretty par for the course and usually desirable to extend battery life. There’s always the option to flick on Asus’ X-Mode performance toggle to run the phone flat out. If you’re after benchmarks, here’s how the Asus ROG Phone 6 and its Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset stack up against other phones we’ve tested.

Although the phone can blow past the competition in raw CPU metrics, the system-wide AnTuTu and PCMark tests are slightly less convincing. We’re seeing mixed results in the default mode, much like other handsets this year, suggesting that a performance compromise is still necessary for prolonged battery life. However, let the 8 Plus Gen 1 run in X-Mode and it flies past models sporting the regular 8 Gen 1.

Sustained graphics performance has been the bane of 2022 smartphones, and there are mixed results for the ROG Phone 6 Pro as well. The combination of a more energy-efficient system on a chip, 85% larger graphite sheet, and 30% larger vapor chamber than the last generation means that the phone can almost sustain performance throughout the 3DMark Wildlife Stress Test (graph below). However, you’ll have to enable X-Mode and, as such, the phone becomes much warmer than with this mode off, peaking at 51°C (~124°F) versus 43°C (~109°F). Thanks to Asus’ improved cooling solution, the handset performs far better than most. However, heat is still an issue in longer sessions, which is where Asus’ Aero Cooler 6 (an attachable cooling fan) accessory comes in to keep temps reasonable, an analysis shared by real-world game testing too.

Benchmarks aren’t the whole picture, though, and the chipset is more than suited for even the most demanding Android games. Genshin Impact on the highest graphics setting dips to 45fps when loading new areas but is mostly locked to ~59fps otherwise, with temperatures reaching 44°C (111°F) in the standard mode. X-Mode locks the frame rate to 60fps more solidly but dips to 50fps in loading areas. However, temperatures reach a rather uncomfortable 48°C (118°F). Throw the cooler on, and temps drop by 5-10°C. Likewise, Apex Legends Mobile locks a rock-steady 60fps on Extreme HD quality, but X-Mode can help smooth out the odd jank at the expense of some temperature. For the emulation crowd, F-Zero GX via Dolphin hits 60fps apart from on a few courses. But this seems to be down to the emulation layer rather than the chip, which isn’t maxed out during play.

How is the battery life?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With a 6,000mAh battery (dual 3,000mAh cells) on board, you’d expect all-day use and then some, and the ROG Phone 6 delivers. For texting, social, and web browsing, expect two days of service most of the time. But this is a gaming phone, so how many hours of playtime can you expect? We ran a selection of games and emulators (X-Mode enabled) to see how much battery they drained and extrapolated the total play time you’re likely to see from a full charge.

The phone hands in anywhere from three to six hours of gaming time, depending on how demanding the game is in the graphics department. Genshin, in particular, will run for much longer than our three-hour estimate if you stick to 30fps mode and some lower graphics settings. Disabling X-Mode will also deliver longer gaming time, if required.

If you need to charge back up in a hurry, Asus bundles a 65W plug and USB-C to C cable in the box. The charger and phone support the Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 and USB Power Delivery PPS protocols at up to 65W, meaning you can use a growing number of third-party accessories to fast charge the handset. In terms of charge time from 1%, it takes approximately six minutes to reach 25%, 15 minutes to 50%, and just 36 minutes to full. We recorded times faster than Asus’ own touted 42 minutes, but our battery wasn’t completely empty. The only drawback is that the phone becomes warm while charging, peaking at 43.5°C in our tests.

There’s no wireless charging on board, which feels like a missing feature at this price point. Even though it obviously couldn’t work with an Aero Cooler attached, wireless charging would have been a nice touch for when you want to set the phone aside to charge for a while.

Are the ROG Phone 6’s gaming accessories worth buying?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Asus’ Aero Active Cooler 6 does a great job at cooling down the handset for long gaming sessions. I saw it knock around 10°C off internal temperatures using the default “Smart” management option, which helps sustain peak performance over longer gaming sessions. Attaching the cooler also enables X-Mode+ performance mode, where the SoC runs flat out. There are four shoulder paddles on the back, which can be controller mapped and offer a satisfying click when pressed.

The Aero Active Cooler 6 and Kunai 3 controller are both pretty good accessories for the ROG Phone 6 Pro.

The only drawback is that the cooler drains the battery rather fast. There are three cooling settings: Cool (fan-only) consumes just 0.6W of power, Frosty (Peltier element active) consumes a more substantial 4W of power, and Frozen runs both elements at max while consuming 7W and requiring external power. However, as Frozen only works with power connected to the cooler’s USB-C port, you can’t stand the phone up and benefit from maximum cooling at once. The default Smart mode toggles between Cool and Frosty, and when the latter kicks in, the battery drain becomes noticeable. You’ll want to set the Aero Active Cooler 6 to Cool mode for longer gaming sessions on the go, even if this means slightly higher temps.

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Asus is into its third generation of Kunai gamepad accessories for the ROG series. The Kunai 3 riffs off the Nintendo Switch, with options to use the controller as a battery-powered gamepad or alongside the phone in hand-held mode through the Kunai 3 bumper. The gamepad connects via Bluetooth or USB-C, the latter being a great option if it runs out of battery mid-session. Asus bundles all the necessary software for key mapping in its Armoury Crate app and has some presets that save time.

The build quality of the Kunai 3 is good but not outstanding. The controllers and battery pack feel sturdy and are ergonomically well designed, while the buttons and shoulder pads provide a decent level of feedback. I’m not as sold on the bumper. Functionally, it does the job, but a fair bit of bending and prying is required to place the phone in and out, making me wonder how long it will last. You end up with grubby fingerprints all over the camera lens too. Likewise, the Kunai 3 grip, while nice to hold, can come away from the controllers a little too easily if you don’t make sure it’s securely snapped in.

Overall, both sets of accessories are pretty good. The Kunai 3 Gamepad retails for £105.99/€119.99 and the AeroActive Cooler 6 for £78.99/€89. Both will be available directly from Asus and through select retail channels in some regions.

Anything else?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Camera: Although it boasts a larger 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX766 main sensor, you’re not buying the ROG Phone 6 Pro for its camera. It’s functional but nothing exceptional, and will suffice for some basic snaps. That’s enough to put it ahead of the rest of the gaming phones in terms of photography prowess, but it’s not going to challenge the best out there. Brightly lit outdoor shots are colorful and well exposed from the 50MP main and 13MP ultrawide cameras, though none of the lenses provide much in the way of detail and there are clear signs of oversharpening. There’s a 5MP macro camera, but it’s little more than a gimmick to up the lens count. The selfie camera takes nice snaps but doesn’t have the widest dynamic range. Low light performance is well below par for all the cameras. You can find some full-res samples in this Google Drive folder.
  • Bluetooth audio: Asus leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound optimizations, enabling aptX Lossless, Adaptive, and Low Latency audio options for wireless listeners.
  • Fingerprint scanner: Fingerprint unlocking is as fast and accurate as the best in-display scanners I’ve used, which is a welcome improvement over the ROG Phone 5’s wonky reader. Enrollment is the usual pain, however, with multiple placements required to fully enroll your print.
  • Haptics: Asus has improved the phone’s haptics with a new “super-large” X-axis linear motor. It boasts 80% faster acceleration and vibration frequencies up to 130Hz while consuming 20% less power than last year. Vibrations feel meaty and powerful, but implementation is sorely lacking in the Android game space, outside of emulators.
  • Software: The ROG Phone 6 Pro runs Android 12 out of the box, combining Google’s Material You dynamic theming with its custom icons and your choice of ROG UI or Zen UI Classic flavors. Asus provides a very lightweight skin besides a couple of unnecessary pre-installed apps, namely Facebook and Netflix but these can be uninstalled. Asus’ gaming-oriented Armory Crate software for managing games, controller setup, and other associated settings is pretty great, if not a little difficult to navigate, and the revamped Game Genie overlay offers a host of configuration settings while gaming too.
  • Updates: We’re looking at two years of OS and security updates here, far below the best in the business. Even mid-range phones today offer three years of OS updates, making the ROG Phone 6 Pro a disappointment in this regard, especially for the asking price. Additionally, the ROG Phone series has typically waited many months for major software upgrades, so perhaps don’t expect a timely switch to Android 13 or 14 when they roll around.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro specs

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro Asus ROG Phone 6
Display
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

6.78-inch FHD+
2,448 x 1,080
AMOLED, 20.4:9
165Hz refresh rate
720Hz touch response
Pixelworks i6 Processor

In-display fingerprint sensor

ROG Vision color PMOLED display

Asus ROG Phone 6

6.78-inch FHD+
2,448 x 1,080
AMOLED, 20.4:9
165Hz refresh rate
720Hz touch response
Pixelworks i6 Processor

In-display fingerprint sensor

Illuminated ROG logo (RGB)

Processor
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Adreno 730 GPU
Asus ROG Phone 6

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Adreno 730 GPU
RAM
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Up to 18GB LPDDR5
Asus ROG Phone 6

Up to 16GB LPDDR5
Storage
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Up to 512GB UFS 3.1
Non-expandable
Asus ROG Phone 6

Up to 512GB UFS 3.1
Non-expandable
Battery
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

6,000mAh
65W wired charging
No wireless charging
65W charger included
Asus ROG Phone 6

6,000mAh
65W wired charging
No wireless charging
65W charger included
Cameras
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Rear:
Main 50MP Sony IMX766, 1/1.56″
Ultrawide, 13MP
Macro, 5MP

Front:
12MP Sony IMX663

Asus ROG Phone 6

Rear:
Main 50MP Sony IMX766, 1/1.56″
Ultrawide, 13MP
Macro, 5MP

Front:
12MP Sony IMX663

IP rating
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

IPX4
Asus ROG Phone 6

IPX4
Headphone jack
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Yes
Asus ROG Phone 6

Yes
Connectivity
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6E
3 Antenna Wi-Fi support
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, NavIC
Asus ROG Phone 6

Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6E
3 Antenna Wi-Fi support
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, NavIC
Software
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

ROG UI / Zen UI
Android 12
2 OS and at least 2 years of security updates
Asus ROG Phone 6

ROG UI / Zen UI
Android 12
2 OS and at least 2 years of security updates
Colorways
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Storm White
Asus ROG Phone 6

Phantom Black, Storm White
Dimensions and weight
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

173 x 77 x 10.3mm
239g
Asus ROG Phone 6

173 x 77 x 10.3mm
239g
Display
6.78-inch FHD+
2,448 x 1,080
AMOLED, 20.4:9
165Hz refresh rate
720Hz touch response
Pixelworks i6 Processor

In-display fingerprint sensor

ROG Vision color PMOLED display

6.78-inch FHD+
2,448 x 1,080
AMOLED, 20.4:9
165Hz refresh rate
720Hz touch response
Pixelworks i6 Processor

In-display fingerprint sensor

Illuminated ROG logo (RGB)

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Adreno 730 GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Adreno 730 GPU
Up to 18GB LPDDR5
Up to 512GB UFS 3.1
Non-expandable
Up to 512GB UFS 3.1
Non-expandable
6,000mAh
65W wired charging
No wireless charging
65W charger included
6,000mAh
65W wired charging
No wireless charging
65W charger included
Cameras
Rear:
Main 50MP Sony IMX766, 1/1.56″
Ultrawide, 13MP
Macro, 5MP

Front:
12MP Sony IMX663

Rear:
Main 50MP Sony IMX766, 1/1.56″
Ultrawide, 13MP
Macro, 5MP

Front:
12MP Sony IMX663

IP rating
Connectivity
Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6E
3 Antenna Wi-Fi support
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, NavIC
Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6E
3 Antenna Wi-Fi support
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, NavIC
Software
ROG UI / Zen UI
Android 12
2 OS and at least 2 years of security updates
ROG UI / Zen UI
Android 12
2 OS and at least 2 years of security updates
Colorways
Storm White
Dimensions and weight
173 x 77 x 10.3mm
239g
173 x 77 x 10.3mm
239g

Value and competition

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
Asus’ premium gaming smartphone.
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is a super-powered gaming phone with a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset and plenty of hardware and software extras for dedicated mobile gamers.

There are only a handful of new gaming phones worthy of your attention, with the Nubia Red Magic 7 ($799) and Black Shark 5 Pro ($799) being the most competitive in terms of raw processing power and similar price points. Both claim chip cooling as well as gaming-oriented accessories and features that fill a similar niche in the market to Asus. However, the Asus ROG Phone 6 series is the first to pack the more powerful and efficient Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and a much bigger battery, making it the pick for those clamoring for peak performance. At £1,099 (or a whopping €1,299 in the rest of Europe), the Pro model is notably more expensive than its rivals, though.

The problem with ultra-premium gaming phones is that they position themselves against brilliant all-rounders like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ($1,199), which boasts a far superior camera setup, wireless charging, longer updates, and IP68 rating for a marginal extra cost. Granted, Samsung’s phone doesn’t offer the same sustained gaming performance, shoulder triggers, or custom cooling and controller accessories, but the phone handles modern titles just fine and the Samsung Games Launcher offers a competitive feature set for optimizing and customizing your experience.

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For those who really want a dedicated gaming phone but are on a much stricter budget, the Poco F4 GT (€599) is a bargain, but perhaps the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro’s biggest competitor is the slightly cheaper regular ROG Phone 6 (£899). It supports the same accessories, packs an identical chipset, and offers the same gaming-oriented features. It’s only missing the gimmicky rear display and needless 18GB of RAM — even 12GB is more than enough to run multiple demanding games simultaneously. That’s a more palatable deal for £899/€999 and you can put those savings towards an accessory or a swanky pair of headphones.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review: The verdict

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Throughout our Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review, the phone hasn’t performed flawlessly in every category, but it has pulled out all the stops for its target market. When it comes to mobile gaming, it’s hard to beat the experience on offer here, even if not a huge amount has changed compared to the ROG 5 series.

Importantly, the ROG Phone 6 Pro pairs best-in-class performance with all the features gamers could want. Whether it’s fine-grain performance controls, low touch latency, pass-through charging, low latency Bluetooth audio, or multi-hour gaming sessions, Asus has found space to cram it all in. Coupled with a selection of very nice gaming accessories, there’s a broader ecosystem worth buying into here too.

The ROG Phone 6 pairs best-in-class performance with fine attention to those all-important gaming details — but it comes at a price.

However, at £1,099/€1,299 in Europe, the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is not the jack of all trades you would expect at this price. Without wireless charging, a comprehensive camera setup, an IP68 rating, or a competitive long-term update pledge, Asus is charging a lot of money compared to other smartphones on the market. Even if you spend an hour or two gaming a day, there are better deals in the mainstream flagship market around that same price point and often for far less. Unless you’re going to min/max every Asus feature, we recommend sticking to a more mainstream handset.

If you’re a dedicated mobile gamer that can’t resist the phone’s charms, the regular ROG Phone 6 is almost certainly the better deal. The phone serves up the bulk of the Pro’s experience, especially the features that matter, for much less money. It’s still arguably too expensive for a phone that will only be kept secure for just two years, but at least you’ll save a little more cash to throw down the microtransaction black hole in that time.

Top Asus ROG Phone 6 questions and answers

The ROG Phone 6 Pro has an IPX4 rating for splash protection only.

The ROG Phone 6 series is not currently available to buy officially in North America. It is expected to launch in the region later in 2022.

Yes, the ROG Phone 6 Pro supports 5G networks that use sub-6GHz bands. There’s no support for mmWave 5G.

Yes, the ROG Phone 6 Pro has a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is worth buying if you want the very best gaming phone of 2022 and have a big enough budget. For everyone else, the ROG Phone 6 or a more mainstream alternative may be a better option.

Author: Gamer/ Source