Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro Review
Nothing if not a niche phone
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro delivers a brilliant gaming experience thanks to its responsive screen, excellent performance standards, and large battery. However, it won’t suit you if you’re not a keen gamer based on our testing.
- Muscular performance
- Smooth and responsive screen
- Good battery life and fast-charging
- Cameras aren’t the best
- Not for non-gamers
- UKRRP: £1099
- EuropeRRP: €1299
- Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1This handset runs on Qualcomm’s latest and greatest mobile chipset
- 6000mAh batteryThe ROG Phone 6 Pro has a beefy battery capacity
- 6.78-inch AMOLED screenThis large, high-end display has a 165Hz refresh rate, a 720Hz touch sampling rate, and HDR10+ support
If you’re reading this review, it’s because you’re looking for a top-end gaming phone that can deal with any game you throw at it with ease, no matter how demanding the specifications. If that doesn’t describe you, then you’d likely be better off looking elsewhere, because this device is built from top to bottom, inside and out, for enthusiastic mobile gamers – and no-one else.
To that end, it is one of the very first devices on the market to rock Qualcomm’s newest flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, which should give it an edge even over some of the other fearsome Android handsets we’ve seen already this year, including the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, OnePlus 10 Pro, Xiaomi 12 Pro, and more. The silicon is buttressed by a whopping 18GB of RAM, and counts on the advanced GameCool 6 heat dissipation system to stay in fine form. The screen is equally uncompromising, with a refresh rate of 165Hz and a touch sampling rate of 720Hz, and it’s juiced up a colossal 6000mAh cell.
If this smorgasboard of superb specifications has got your mouth watering, then just read on to see how it performs in action.
Design and Display
- Invigorating gaming design
- Very large, but manageable in landscape orientation
- IPX4 rating
- Great screen
An unwritten rule of the industry is that all gaming phones must advertise their speciality from a distance of at least 50 yards away. Just as with the Black Shark 3 Pro or the Red Magic 7 Pro, you couldn’t mistake this for anything other than a gaming phone. However, whilst the aesthetic doesn’t particularly appeal to me in general, I have to say that the ROG Phone 6 Pro is by far the most stylish of all the gaming phones I’ve yet used, certainly in the white colour scheme.
With its geometric lines, light-up panel and reams of label-like text across the back it does stay true to its gaming roots, but the cool white panel with light blue highlights gives it a lightness that makes it looks a little less aggressive and intense than its peers. Some of the other gaming devices look as if they’re compensating for something, but I feel like this one just projects confidence.
If your eye isn’t at first taken with these unusual design aspects, you’ll likely just be blown away by the sheer scale of the handset. The screen measures 6.78 inches, which is only a smidgen smaller the enormous Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it is 10.3mm thick which is significantly chunkier than most other devices on the market today.
If you were to use this upright most of the time then you’d find it would be difficult to manage due to its bulk and length, but when held in the hand in landscape mode (as you’ll no doubt be doing with this phone a lot of the time), it sits there comfortably. The sides are rounded, wand the rear panel is smooth and tactile so you can hold it for hours without it being bothersome.
Hardware-wise there are plenty of useful bits and pieces here for gamers as well, naturally. One particularly unusual aspect is the inclusion of two USB-C ports rather than just one, so the extra one can be used for plug-in accessories such as an external cooling fan.
When the Areoactive Cooler is attached to the device, it whirs into action whenever the processor is put through its paces and lights up too, with bright LEDs giving a colourful display. It clips on and off easily, adds some physical shoulder buttons, and did not obstruct my hands from where they would normally rest on the body of the phone.
You might have been looking for dedicated trigger buttons on the frame of the phone, a design tip often present on gaming phones that’s intended to let you use your phone just like a real controller. However, it’s not here, at least noticeably; instead you’ve got Air Triggers, which you can calibrate to register as soft or hard a touch as you’d like, and once set up you can just tap the sides of the phone with your fingers to give the same feedback that shoulder buttons would deliver. I kind of missed the physically clicking of the buttons, which can be strangely cathartic, but the system worked excellently when I used it in-game.
On top of that, you’ve got a slot for added storage via SD card, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack too for wired audio. There’s an IPX4 rating, so it guards against water splashing but you definitely shouldn’t be dunking this in a bucket of water any time soon, regardless of how hot it gets when you’re pushing it to its limits.
The screen here is a real key feature of the phone, where it stands head and shoulders above many others. This large 6.78-inch panel is AMOLED, so boasts excellent contrast levels, and it has a very impressive 165Hz refresh rate that makes compatible content smoother than ever before. The touch sampling rate is even higher, at 720Hz, and so if your finger is faster to the trigger than your competitors you’ll be able to gain crucial milliseconds of an advantage over them.
These impressive specs, along with the size, make it really easy to just get lost in games. I was entranced by online multiplayer sessions,
The resolution is 2448 x 1080p, and this is really the only quibble you could have with it. Other smartphones such as the Sony Xperia 1 IV do trump this one when it comes to the sharpness, and given that the display is large and often held relatively close to your face when you’re gaming, you might well have wanted a sharper screen than this one.
Overall the ROG Phone 6 Pro has an attractive and distinctive gaming design, and its strong ergonomics make it comfortable to use despite its massive size. Based on my time using it the Cliff Notes is that the display is great for gaming due to its high responsiveness, but it’s not as sharp as could be.
- Triple rear camera led by 50-megapixel sensor
- Decent results from the main camera
- Ultrawide and macro sensors are underwhelming
While a general audience would frequently rate the camera as the most important aspect of a smartphone, it fades into secondary significance for a gaming phone such as this, where the performance and the screen take priority. Nonetheless, it’s so handy to have a camera at hand to capture special moments that it still remains an important part of the smartphone experience.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro is equipped with three sensors on the rear, those being a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 13-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 5-megapixel macro snapper. There’s no telephoto sensor here, but Asus apparently claims that “a clever use” of the main sensor will allow for “genuine lossless 2x magnification during daylight.”
Here’s a selection of shots taken using the main camera:
Images retain a decent amount of detail and pack in some punchy colours too, so although it won’t hit the same heights of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, you’ll still be satisfied with the results in many situations.
Below is an image that makes use of the 2x zoom option:
The end product is decent enough and certainly usable, but I’m a little surprised that this is described as lossless.
When I took some pictures at night, I noticed that the detail could, understandably, be a little fuzzier, but colour reproduction was actually quite good:
However, the ultrawide is unfortunately a big step down from the main camera. Here’s the same shot, taken from the same position, with the main camera first and then with the ultrawide:
Not only that but unfortunately the ultrawide camera’s not the only sensor that underwhelms us; below you can see the result from the macro sensor:
These short-range snappers are of limited use at the best of times. This isn’t the best of times. You might as well ignore this, as it doesn’t add much of value to your photography arsenal.
On the front of the phone you’ll find a 12-megapixel front-facing camera. This also managed to spit out decent quality selfies like the one below:
You’ll find however that the bokeh effect is software-generated and imperfect, not cutting around my face with the exacting precision that really can make such an image burst into life. Also, the level of detail on those trickier subjects like hair and skin is a bit lacking too.
All in all, the ROG Phone 6 Pro is not a device that you should buy if the camera is highly important to you. In that case, check out our best camera phones to find something better suited to what you’re looking for. However, given that this is essentially a handheld gaming console that happens to have a camera attached too it’s not all that bad, and does offer a fair amount of versatility.
- Excellent performance levels
- Gaming-centric software
Of all the sections in this review, the performance is the most important one if you’re looking for a gaming phone. The specs are undoubtedly impressive: this is one of the first phones on the market with the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, and it also packs an obscene 18GB of RAM for some serious multi-tasking. However, real-life performance can sometimes belie the numbers on paper; here’s what we made of the ROG Phone 6 Pro when we subjected it to benchmarking tests and tried out some mobile games.
First of all we ran the Geekbench CPU benchmarks, and as you can see from the table below, the scores were certainly impressive. While it does lack behind the iPhone 13 Pro Max, these scores put its Android competitors firmly in the shade. Even other dedicated gaming phones are not on the same level as this one, which is understandable given the new silicon on board.
Asus ROG Phone 6: CPU benchmark comparison tests
Then we moved on to take GPU benchmark scores with the help of 3D Mark. However, this device maxed out the usual tests we perform, so it’s actually difficult to compare its off-the-scale excellence with the other handsets that we’ve tried out this year. However, on the Wild Life Extreme test, which tests high graphics performance over just one minute, the ROG Phone 6 Pro scored 2816 while the Samsung Galaxy S22 just scored 1926 by point of comparison.
These promising benchmarking scores certainly whetted our appetite for this phone’s performance, and I’m pleased to say that it certainly didn’t let us down when it rolled into action. With racing games and first person shooters especially, the phone felt fast and responsive and delivered an immersive and addictive experience. I felt my performance was improved in multiplayer thanks to the handset’s hardware edge, and that in turn encouraged me to play more and more. While mobile gaming isn’t for everyone, you have to try it on a platform like this to really experience the peak of its possibilities.
The software, like everything else on the ROG Phone 6 Pro, is very focused on the gaming experience. When you kick off a gaming session, the phone will slide straight into X Mode in order to optimise its performance by increasing CPU, GPU, and RAM while also allowing you to adjust the settings at a quick touch. Performance is further ramped up if you connect the AeroActive Cooler via USB-C.
There’s a high amount of customisation available, either when you’re diving into the Settings menu or if you summon the control panel while you’re in-game, so if you’re looking to personalise the experience beyond the default settings then you’re likely to be happy with the choice at your fingertips.
- Strong battery life
- Great adjustable fast charging
These days we’ve become accustomed to the sight of a large 5000mAh battery, but the ROG Phone 6 increases that by another 20% to give a huge 6000mAh cell inteded to keep you gaming on the go as long as possible. Of course, this extra capacity was enabled by the larger footprint of the phone, which is nowhere near as slim as most flagships, but it’s good to see that size being put the good use all the same.
When gaming, I found that half an hour of intense activity would just take 6% off the battery, which is a reasonable rate of attrition. When streaming video, 6% was knocked off after double that time (one hour).
The 65W fast-charging also acquits itself very well. Using the charging brick and cable included in the box, I found that the device got topped up from 0-50% in just 17 minutes, while the full 0-100% charging time only took a total of 40 minutes. Asus actually gave an official estimate of 42 minutes for a full charge, so I was pleasantly surprised that our review device actually exceeded those expectations. Such high-speed charging times are highly impressive and convenient, as just a short period plugged into the mains will give you a great deal of playing time.
If you’re concerned about the battery’s longevity over the time you own it, then you can actually set a custom charging limit of 80% or 90% so that it may deteriorate slower than if it was sat trickle charging at 100% for long periods of times. Similarly, you can also set scheduled charging times for the same reason. This level of customisation is brilliant to see, and it’s refreshing to see these options in the hands of the consumer.
Should you buy it?
If you’re crazy about mobile gaming, this is perhaps the best pure gaming phone that you can buy
If you’re not a gaming fan then your money could be more wisely spent on a phone that better suits your needs
The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is nothing if not a niche phone, but fortunately for its fans it does excel at this niche. Performance levels are fantastic and the screen is very smooth and responsive, so you’re likely to find that this handset will help you to up your game considerably.
If you’re looking for a great camera though, then you’re likely to be a little disappointed with this one. But that’s hardly a surprise as photography isn’t the focus of this handset.
The reason you’d consider this device in the first place is if you’re a keen gamer, so this device’s objectively high performance across the key categories, twinned with its handsome design and its capability for attaching accessories, should make this one a great choice for you.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Used as our main handset during test period
Camera tested in variety of situations with all modes
Tested with synthetic benchmarks and real world use
You might like…
Yes, it has an IPX4 rating
The ROG Phone 6 Pro is only available in Storm White, but the ROG Phone 6 is available in Phantom Black or Storm White
Trusted Reviews test data
You can see a collection of the test data we collected reviewing the ROG Phone 6 and how it performed against key rivals in the table below.
You can see a breakdown of the phone’s specs and how they compare to rivals’ in the table below.
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As part of this mission, whenever we review a product we send the company a series of questions to help us gauge and make transparent the impact the device has on the environment.
We currently haven’t received answers to the questions on this product, but will update this page the moment we do. You can see a detailed breakdown of the questions we ask and why in our sustainability info page.