For a long time, I have had a side eye on the gaming phone market and the ASUS ROG range of gaming phones in particular, I mean look at the thing. They are stunning looking phones so it would be hard not to be at least a little interested. So with the announcement of the ROG Phone 6 PRO I was always going to reach out to ASUS and see if I could in fact get my hands on one for review which is exactly what I’ve spent the last few weeks doing.
One thing that has been true of gaming phones of the past is that they have been made with one thing in mind and have focused solely on that one thing, that thing is of course gaming. As a result of this, just about everything else has taken a huge hit. Well this year ROG have opted to focus on making the ROG Phone 6 PRO both a gaming powerhouse and trying to rival the big hitters in terms of daily use specs. Do I think the ROG Phone 6 PRO is enough to make me swap from an Apple or a Samsung? Probably not, but it comes very, very close. There are still a few quality of life features and hardware limitations that I personally can't be without, but that doesn't mean you will feel the same way. Especially when there's a few things that the ROG Phone 6 PRO does better than both the Apple and Samsung flagships of 2022.
Straight away, the design for me is a massive tick. This thing looks fantastic. It has everything, from angular lines, to LED screens and even RGB lighting. There's no doubt that the ROG Phone 6 is built with gamers in mind. Its white (mechanical) looking finish on the back is the perfect accessory for any gaming setup and still manages to be sleek looking enough from the front for this to be just about anyone's daily phone. The biggest inclusion for me however is the 3.5mm AUX port that ASUS have decided to include with the ROG Phone 6 Pro, this is a huge feature for a lot of people who have sorely missed it since the likes of Samsung and Apple have decided to drop it from their phones altogether.
On paper though the ROG is as good as it gets, I mean every single spec you can think of, the 6 Pro, has just about the best currently available version of that hardware on the market. It has 18GB LPDDR5 ram, UFS 3.1 storage, WIFI 6E, 165Hz AMOLED display, Bluetooth 5.2, USB Type-C 3.1 and a 6000mAh battery. This thing is packing some serious heat. In terms of being a great daily use phone the ROG Phone 6 Pro is great, not quite as good as iPhone or Galaxy phones, but it's good. Surprisingly, I have run a few benchmark tests on both this and my iPhone 13 Pro Max and honestly, the gap between the 2 on paper is way bigger than I expected.
As you can see, the iPhone CPU outperforms the 6 PRO’s but it's in its computational power that truly surprised me with the iPhone coming in with a score that's almost 3x that of the 6 PRO with Geekbench 6 testing. When in real world use, there are quite a few instances that the ROG Phone 6 PRO actually looks and feels faster and more responsive than the iPhone. This is somewhat down to the 165Hz screen but still, I expected this to be much, much closer. I have been using it as my daily phone for almost 3 weeks, racking up photos in the camera roll, browsing Facebook and even using it for slightly more intensive apps for photo editing etc and it doesn't seem to have slowed at all. It never stutters or feels sluggish and handles anything I've been able to throw at it so far. Multitasking doesn't seem to phase it either and while it's missing some of the polish that OneUI and iOS have, the operating system is user friendly enough that most people would have no issues getting used to it after a little while. I still find myself occasionally unable to remember where a certain thing is or how to do some things, but it's only been about 2 and a half weeks of use with a fair bit of iPhone use at the same time.
Another stand out feature for me so far, is the battery life. About 9 months ago, I was blown away by my iPhone 13 Pro Max and its all day battery life. Well, the ROG Phone 6 PRO steps that up to yet another level compared to the iPhones 4352mAh battery. The ROG Phone comes with a whopping 6000mAh and it lasts for forever. Sitting idle for 24 hours, but still getting all my notifications etc. This thing went from 100% to 91% in a day. When being used for general use I never actually got it lower than 40% before going to bed and recharging it. This number takes a massive hit as you can imagine when gaming. I actually found the battery life suffered significantly when doing so and especially when adding the optional extras such as the external cooler etc. For example, when running the 6 PRO through the 3D Mark benchmarking software “WildLife Extreme Stress Test” with the cooler attached my battery went down approximately 1% every 60 seconds meaning if you're playing something super graphic intensive, you'll be lucky to get an hour and a half of gameplay before being without a phone until you can charge.
This is where we talk about the one thing the ROG Phone 6 PRO does really, really well. That is of course gaming performance. I was lucky enough to get to try all the optional accessories available for the phone, each and every one of them made to suit all different kinds of play styles from handheld, to standalone controller and even a clip-on cooler to maintain cool temps during heavy gaming sessions. I won't talk too much about the accessories as they don't come with the phone, however I will say that each and every one of them are excellent. There do seem to be some compatibility issues with certain games such as COD Mobile and Fortnite etc. However for the games they do work with, they work perfectly and make gaming on your phone enjoyable.
Over the course of the last few weeks I have spent anywhere upward of 35 hours gaming on this thing and not once has it missed a beat. From COD Mobile to FIFA Mobile and even Asphalt 9: Legends the thing handles everything you can throw at it and every game looks better than I’ve ever seen it before on a mobile screen with that 165Hz display and to be honest the thing handles the temperatures pretty well on its own, but by clipping on the optional cooler, the thing stayed as cool as a cucumber even when playing some of the most demanding games available. Combine that with my ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 router and my ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds and you've got yourself a perfect storm for fast, responsive and super immersive gaming.
While the difference here doesn't look all that huge, it was when I ran the stress test that the ROG Phone 6 Pro shone, in fact, the iPhone 13 Pro Max wouldnt even run the stress test and the ROG passed with flying colours showing the ceiling of the ROG being way higher than the iPhone.
And here is where we talk about the most disappointing aspect of the ROG Phone 6 PRO for me personally. I understand fully that the 6 PRO is primarily a gaming phone, but I expected way more from the camera. On paper, it should rival its competition, but the results are extremely disappointing. I have a 16 month old child, so for me the camera is very important. Capturing those important milestones and happy memories is a must. This is about 75% of the reason I won't be trading in my iPhone for it anytime soon. The gap is even bigger between it and the S22 Ultra. Every photo I took was very aggressively blurred in the background and left a very harsh blurry outline around certain objects, they were usually oversaturated and honestly despite being a 50MP main camera, the photos came out looking extremely pixelated and low resolution compared to the iPhones 12MP main lens. Overall the camera is the area that ASUS really need to focus the bulk of their improvements for their next ROG phone iteration.
Wireless charging is something that most flagships do now, however ASUS have opted to go without on the 6 PRO. Personally, I love the idea of wireless charging, especially with Apples Magsafe charging, it's too convenient for me to jump in my car now and simply stick my phone to the wireless charger via the magnet and away we go, I know its a very first world problem to have, but carrying around a cable so I can charge my device is a bit of a bummer for me. I am a man of convenience.
Overall, the ROG Phone 6 PRO is no iPhone 13 or Galaxy S22 killer. If you want sheer gaming power above all else, then the ROG Phone 6 PRO is absolutely the best phone on the market for you. But if you want a little more balance between gaming and general Quality of life features then the 6 PRO could still be for you. I would just suggest you be very clear on what it does and doesn't do so well. It has amazing battery life, unbeatable gaming performance, a relatively well designed OS, and its day to day performance rivals the best phones on the market. But things like the camera have been compromised as a result of it doing just about everything else just about as well as any other phone available. For me the camera performance is too big of a miss for me to consider making this my daily phone but I’ll let you make your own mind up on that.
If you have any questions or want to know how the ROG Phone 6 PRO does under certain circumstances then ask away and I will try my best to answer your questions..