Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate Review
The Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate’s inherent similarity to the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro makes it one of the very best gaming phones on the market by default. It doesn’t offer any meaningful progress over its recent predecessor, and the higher price tag is a bit of a put-off, but it comfortably retains the brand’s apex predator position within the gaming phone market.
- Extremely powerful
- Fantastically large and fluid display
- Useful gaming buttons
- Barely any different to the ROG Phone 6 Pro
- More expensive than before
- Somewhat cumbersome
- MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ chipsetThis handset runs on a high-spec processor built on a 4nm process
- 6000mAh batteryThe ROG Phone 6D Ultimate has a large battery capacity
- Stereo speakersFront-facing speakers have Dirac HD sound
At the time of writing, the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro gets our nod for the best gaming phone on the market for its top performance, slick display and exemplary battery life. The Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate is essentially the exact same phone but with a different processor and a new cooling portal.
On the one hand, this makes us wonder why Asus bothered. On the other, it makes the 6D Ultimate either the best or second-best gaming phone on the market by default.
Given that its launch price is actually £100 higher than the 6 Pro’s, it’s a curious move, and one that you have to suspect relates more to Asus’s profit margins or component supply issues than any burning need. But how does the final product fare?
Design and Screen
- Large and heavy but balanced design
- IPX4 rating
- Big, responsive display
Asus hasn’t changed its design language for the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate. It’s another big, heavy and explicitly gaming-focused device.
The phone is a whopping 10.4mm thick and weighs 239g. That’s about the same weight as the iPhone 14 Pro Max and even heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. I used the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate as my main phone for a week or so, and I found its heft to be distractingly conspicuous.
The rear of the phone is distinctively ROG-ish, with a gunmetal Space Grey finish that’s a little more restrained than the 6 Pro’s glaring white. Not that it’s subtle – you still get a sprinkling of light blue highlights, angular sci-fi decals, and snippets of text dotted around.
IPX4 certification makes a return, which means that Asus hasn’t taken the opportunity to make its flagship gaming phone any more dust- or water-resistant.
Then there’s that 2-inch rear screen, known as the ROG Vision. This display shows custom graphics for incoming calls, when charging or playing games, and more. It’s pretty much entirely superfluous, but anyone wholly invested in the gaudy gamer aesthetic will doubtlessly find it cool.
Opposite that display on the back panel is a new AeroActive Portal. This mysterious grey plastic door mechanically slides open when you affix the included AeroActive Cooler 6, exposing the phone’s hot innards to even more airflow than the 6 Pro. Given that the latter never really struggled with maintaining performance over the long haul with its own fan attached, it’s a cool (pun unintended) but inessential addition.
The fan itself has a dual function (triple if you count the included kickstand). Besides allowing the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate to run at high clock rates for extended gaming sessions, it also bears four physical shoulder buttons. This, along with the phone’s built-in capacitive Air Triggers, lends you an impressive array of controls to map to key controls. If you’re looking for a competitive edge in shooters like Call of Duty Mobile, Apex Legends, or PUBG Mobile, short of hooking up a full Bluetooth controller, this is it.
Another gaming-friendly feature is the provision of two USB-C ports: one on the bottom edge, annoyingly placed to one side, and the other on the left edge for connecting the aforementioned fan. It also makes charging while gaming in landscape mode far more pleasant.
Asus has wisely kept the display from the other phones in the ROG Phone 6 series. It’s the same large 6.78-inch FHD+ AMOLED with an extremely rapid 165Hz maximum refresh rate. It’s just about as responsive as displays get, especially with a 720Hz touch sampling rate ensuring that your touch inputs are recorded instantly.
Another key factor for gaming is that there’s no bothersome display notch getting in the way here. The front camera is stashed in the phone’s larger-than-average forehead, making for blissfully unimpeded media playback.
- 50-megapixel main sensor is a decent performer
- 13-megapixel ultra-wide means a big drop-off in quality
- Macro sensor is pretty pointless
I could almost cut and paste the Camera section from the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review right here, as it’s the exact same set-up. You’re looking at a 50-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide, and a 5-megapixel macro – just like before. However, Asus switching to a new chip means new image processing, so it’s well worth putting it through its paces on its own terms.
The main news here continues to be that 50-megapixel wide sensor, which once again sees the Sony IMX766 being brought into play. This is a reliable image sensor that has found its way into the likes of the Oppo Find X3 Pro, the OnePlus Nord 2T, and the Asus Zenfone 9 in recent times.
As gaming phones go, it’s a pretty good provision. I was pleased with most of the shots I took with the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate’s main sensor during my test period, regardless of lighting conditions. Outdoor shots were crisp and well exposed, while indoor shots captured a decent amount of detail without devolving into a smudgy mess, and Night mode kept things commendably clear without over-brightening.
The 13-megapixel ultra-wide is a different matter entirely, experiencing the kind of drop-off in detail, exposure and vibrancy that you’d expect to see from a mid-range non-gaming phone selling for less than half the price. And the less said about that 5-megapixel macro camera, the better.
Still, at least 2x zoomed shots are usable. You can thank that decent main sensor for this, as it enables you to crop in without completely losing all the detail.
I have no problem with the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate’s front camera either. It captures reasonably detailed and well-exposed shots, although skin tones seem a little red.
All in all, it’s a solid camera, but one that can easily be bested if you spend similar money (or even several hundred less) on a non-gaming flagship phone.
- Switches to MediaTek Dimensity 9000+
- Performance comparable with Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
- 16GB RAM, 512GB storage
The single biggest change from the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro here relates to performance. Yet, performance was the one area that was absolutely unimpeachable on the 6 Pro.
For the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, Asus has swapped out the flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip for the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+. MediaTek chips are typically cheaper than their Qualcomm equivalents, which I have to assume is the main driver for this phone’s release.
This is another high-end 4nm chip, and it produces a similar level of performance. In fact, average Geekbench 5 scores of 1382 single-core and 4635 multi-core top those of the 6 Pro, suggesting that the MediaTek CPU is, if anything, a little faster.
On the GPU front, my tests would seem to suggest a swing in the opposite direction. While the 6D Ultimate maxed out the main 3D Mark tests – just like the 6 Pro – it only scored 2663 in the demanding Wild Life Extreme test. That’s 146 points short of the 6 Pro.
We’re talking fairly small margins here. All of these results are extremely impressive and right up there with any non-gaming Android phone.
More importantly, the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, like the 6 Pro, is capable of sustaining its high performance over longer periods of time than those other phones, especially when you clip on that fan. Running the 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test, which runs the aforementioned intensive GPU benchmark multiple times over 20mins, the 6D Ultimate maintained an almost perfect degree of consistency from loops 1 to 20.
Of course, the 6 Pro maintained a similarly consistent performance over the long haul, so you could hardly deem this an improvement.
There’s only one iteration of the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, and it comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. That’s 2GB less RAM than the 6 Pro, but I defy anyone to say that they notice the difference in practice.
- Huge 6000mAh battery
- Solid stamina
- 65W fast charging
Asus has equipped the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate with a huge, split 6000 mAh battery, the same as on the ROG Phone 6 Pro. By separating it into two cells, Asus spreads the phone’s considerable weight, making it a little more comfortable to hold over a longer period of time. It also helps control heat build-up.
Half an hour of gaming on the 6D Ultimate sapped 8% of a full charge, while streaming an hour of Netflix video sapped 7%. That’s 1-2% more than on the 6 Pro, but still not bad. An hour of music streaming sapped 2%.
You get a 65W fast charger in the box as standard, just like with the 6 Pro. This is sufficient to get you to 46% in 15mins, motoring on to 85% in 30mins. Asus claims that you can get to 100% in 42mins, which chimes with my experience. This isn’t the fastest on the wider flagship phone market, but it’s fast enough within a gaming phone context with that extra-large battery.
Asus also goes above and beyond with its battery care measures, which is good news given how much of a beating your average gaming phone battery tends to take. Dive into the battery settings menu, and you’ll find the ability to activate Steady Charging, which essentially slows down rapid charging to protect the battery.
You can also set a lower charging limit, to 80% or 90%, so that you’re never charging to full. This is a welcome way to extend the battery’s natural lifespan.
Gaming phones don’t tend to bother with wireless charging, with resources typically (and justifiably) spent elsewhere. The Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate doesn’t mess with that precedent.
Should you buy it?
You hate notches: One of the phone’s gaming-friendly flourishes is to put the front camera in the forehead notch, leaving a blissfully uninterrupted display.
You expect a top-tier camera experience: The Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate’s main camera isn’t bad, but you can get a much better camera system if you spend the same money (or even considerably less) on a non-gaming flagship phone.
The Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate is another unapologetically niche phone with a laserlike focus on gaming performance. Like the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro, it excels in all the ways that matter, with a big, responsive display, top-tier performance, and a long-lasting battery.
Asus’s bundled-in cooling fan ramps up the performance factor further, as well as adding useful physical gaming controls. The camera isn’t the best, which is par for the course in a gaming phone, but even here, Asus has managed to include a perfectly decent main sensor.
The trouble with the 6D Ultimate is that pretty much everything I just said about the phone was also true of the 6 Pro. The only differences are a new cooling port, accessed through the fan, which is fairly superfluous in practical terms, and a new processor that works out to be equal to the 6 Pro’s, on balance.
Throw in a higher launch price, and you have a phone that’s still the best at what it does but which comes with a faint background note of disappointment.
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
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You get a 65W fast charger in the box as standard, just like with the 6 Pro. This is sufficient to get you to 46% in 15mins, motoring on to 85% in 30mins.
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