Asus has just launched a new top-spec gaming phone, but does it leave its predecessor in the shade? Here’s the lowdown on the two handsets.
Every year Asus updates its ROG Phone gaming series, and this year we’ve been treated to the excellent ROG Phone 6 Pro, which we awarded 4.5 stars out of 5 after thoroughly putting through its paces. However, does it represent a massive change over its forerunner, the ROG Phone 5, or is it more of a minor upgrade? You’ll find out in this article, where we put the two gaming handsets head-to-head to find out which one is the champ.
Both of these devices go all-in on the gamer aesthetic, so if that’s not your style then you might be disappointed but otherwise you’re likely to be thrilled with the efforts made to renders these phones as appealing as possible to its target audience.
The two handsets both go in strong with some RGB lighting, attractive highlights, and and text. In terms of the physical specification these phones are just as imposing, with both having 6.78-inch screens, both weighing just under 240g, and both being a chunky 10.3mm thick. This works well when you’re holding the phone horizontally, as you will be doing when you’re playing mobile games.
With such similarities, it’s unlikely that the design will sway your decision towards one or the other.
The screen is another highlight of both devices, with each one being packed with top-notch specifications that help stake claim to their positions as excellent gaming devices.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro has a slightly superior refresh rate, offering more smoothness at 165Hz rather than 144Hz, but otherwise the two phones are again rather similar in this regard. Both being 6.78-inch AMOLED panels with 10-bit colour and HDR10+ support, and made from Gorilla Glass Victus, these punchy and vivid displays are excellent to play games and are also robust as well.
However, they both have a 1080p resolution that is sharp but not the highest when compared to top flagships like the Sony Xperia 1 IV.
Performance is the most important of all the features on a gaming phone, so this could be the dealbreaker or dealmaker when you’re making your purchase decision. There’s also a significant difference here between the two phones.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 uses the powerful Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, however the ROG Phone 6 Pro trumps this by being one of the very first smartphones to run on the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. Both devices record phenomenal benchmark scores and moreover they also held up extremely well when put through their paces on some of the most intensive mobile games around.
ROG Phone 5 vs ROG Phone 6 Pro: CPU benchmarking scores
In the above table you can see how the two stack up as far as CPU scores are concerned, with the ROG Phone 5 evidently underperforming its predecessor. In terms of the GPU benchmarks, the ROG Phone 6 Pro actually maxed out our usual sets of scores, so it’s so far ahead that the two aren’t directly comparable.
Though both are powerhouses, the 6 Pro is overall the stronger device due to its newer and higher-spec silicon.
Another key spec, and another even match-up between the ROG Phone 5 and its Pro successor. A large battery can come in very helpful when you’re a keen gamer, as it lets you play on the go even longer when you have a cell than can endure longer and longer.
Both handsets pack a highly impressive 6000mAh battery, which comfortably eclipses the size of most others on the markets. You’ll need it of course, because the demands of high-end gaming can be very draining; but we found in both cases that the devices held up admirably and lived up to the on-paper specification, lasting through most of the day even when gaming regularly.
What’s more, both phones have a 65W fast-charging capability too so that it doesn’t even take much time to juice them back up and return to your games in short order.
While we’ve taken a look at a range of eyebrow-raising specs so far, it has to be said that traditionally, gaming phones do not particularly excel when it comes to mobile photography.
The ROG Phone 5 has a 64-megapixel main camera, which is accompanied by a 13-megapixel ultrawide and 5-megapixel macro sensor. The ROG Phone 6 Pro is not so different, also offering a 13-megapixel ultrawide and 5-megapixel macro but leading with a 50-megapixel main sensor instead.
Above is an image from the ROG Phone 5, which shows how it handles the difficult lighting fairly well, albeit not reproducing the detail in the fur to the same level you might get from the likes of the iPhone 13.
Below is an image taken by the ROG Phone 6 Pro which shows improvement in its sharpness, though it still isn’t on the same level as many flagship camera phones.
In both cases, we found through our testing that the main cameras of these two handsets performed decently enough, though certainly not on the same level as similarly-priced mainstream flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, or iPhone 13 Pro. However, the secondary sensors were actively disappointing, being significantly below the standard set by the wide angle snapper and giving us poor results when we tried to make use of their claimed versatility.
If you’re looking to get the best pictures you can when using your phone, then you should widen your selection beyond either of these two devices and instead look at our comprehensive list of the best camera phones.
As you can see, depsite the generational jump there are still plenty of similarities between the ROG Phone 5 and the ROG Phone 6 Pro. Both handsets have comparable screens, batteries, and even designs, but there is one substantial upgrade that could tempt competitive gamers towards the latter and that’s the inclusion of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 on the newest handset. While it boasts better performance, it’s worth noting that both of the smartphones underwhelm a bit when you look at their camera capabilities.
If you’ve already got the ROG Phone 5 then the 6 Pro is just a minor upgrade that may not be worth the huge £1099 pricetag, but if you’re new to the gaming phone market then you might well want to splash out on the top performer in order to give yourself the best possible advantage when pitting yourself against your competitiors.