I'm no gamer – but I'm still smitten by the ASUS ROG Phone

As smartphone designs creep ever closer to total iPhone-like homogenization, any manufacturer that bucks the trend is one that makes me sit up and take notice. So when ASUS announced its crazy ROG Phone at Computex in June, I knew I'd be falling over myself to cover it come release. And that day has finally come.

It's not so much the spec upgrades, like the slightly-speedier Snapdragon processor, that have me stoked for the ROG Phone. It's the fact that ASUS built it for a specific application – gaming – and didn't even think about compromising that vision in pursuit of mass appeal. One look at the heavily stylized casing design, replete with copper cooling vents, ultrasonic triggers and a glowing Aura logo, tells you all you need to know about why the ROG Phone exists. That's before you even connect the AeroActive clip-on fan, just one accessory of an entire ecosystem made to guarantee the ROG Phone gives you a mobile gaming experience like no other.

I'll have to use that whole ecosystem before I decide whether the ROG Phone is worth its base price of $899 (especially in light of the fact that its closest competition is $100 cheaper) ... but my early impressions are strong enough that I'm positively giddy about getting the chance to try. Check out Part 1 of my ASUS ROG Phone Review above, and be sure you're subscribed to the MrMobile YouTube Channel so you don't miss Part 2 coming in a few weeks!

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  • Android gaming is abysmal to be honest. The store is full of ad-riddled trash and idle tapper variants. There are very very few games out there that require anywhere near such CPU and GPU power and even fewer of those that are worth playing and investing any coin in. However I love the phone too. I love its outlandish but sleek design. I love its unnecessary internal power. It's great and like you said, a breath of fresh air in the myriad of all these Chinese iPhone knock offs. The Chinese are capable of great original designs, the Oppo Find 7, OnePlus One and those all screen affairs with pop-up cameras stand out for me. There's no need for them to go down the stereotypical copycat route. Alas though, such is the emergence and power of Chinese manufacturers now, I fear this is most of what we'll see and it'll be down to braver manufacturers to buck the trend.
  • If you are trashing Android gaming then you also have to trash mobile gaming as a whole. Especially since iOS has some of the same games.
  • It's the entire mobile phone gaming ecosystem. I just bash Android gaming because this is an Android phone. Seriously though, there's just too many games where the sole priority is ad revenue, restrictive paywalls or ultra-low chance gachas. The quality of these games is generally poor too. I spend hours trawling through the Play Store just trying to find 1 standout game and I rarely find anything, be it premium or f2p. You get much more mileage out of using emulators on your phone for gaming. PS1, N64, DS and PSP all run superbly with the 3DS an up and coming new entry. The thing with that though is that you don't even need good hardware to run these emulators well, apart from the 3DS emulator at the moment as the recompiler isn't finished for ARM. In the future things might improve though. With many dedicated gaming phones now being released, we might see more demanding games being made and big name publishers releasing better content. So all hope is not lost. I still want a ROG phone regardless.
  • There are plenty of PC ports that are actually pretty good and it's pay once and you're good to go. Specific games that we're built from the ground up for Android is another story.
  • This is my biggest problem, plenty of (overpriced) PC ports and no decent original games.
  • You're not wrong. I've never been able to get interested for more than a couple minutes with any mobile game. The platform is completely unsuitable for games, imo.
  • True I only played angry birds 2 for a long time.
  • Gumballs and Dungeons. Been playing for 18 months now.
  • There's literally a one tap solution to evade every ad riddled games out there just tap the premium tab on the game section. There's plenty of high quality games out there. You sound like someone who haven't ventured there for a couple of years tbh.
  • I check there every day.
  • Well name some games then. Both Order&Chaos and Celtic Heroes are decent but other than that, there are very few games that are compelling.
  • I own more iPhones than Androids, and gaming is better on Android. Better audio, better touch response , higher resolution, better battery life. And unless you are playing on the iPhone 8 or 10, the Android will be smoother as well. The 7 will glitch on ocassion, the 6 will glitch and stutter 30 to 40 times per level, and the 5S will just be stutter city. Take that same game and it's smooth on an Android from 2014, like the HTC M8. We own every iPhone except the 10, and right now the U11 is the gaming champion in our house. Oh, and no ads either ;)
  • It's surprising that "equivalent" Android phones of the time are performing better than iPhones... although in reality it isn't. I've long suspected that the synthetic benchmarks don't tell the full story of Apple's hardware and that it isn't so overwhelmingly powerful in reality. I saw a side by side comparison in operating and loading times between a Sony XZ2 and iPhone X. The Sony was noticeably faster at launching the same apps and games compared to the iPhone. Synthetic benchmarks are meaningless and iPhone hardware isn't all that.
  • Hey Lee, I would tend to agree with that. When we bought the iPhone 8 Plus which had Apples claims of being "almost 200% faster", I thought it would blow us away. It didn't. It's not much faster than my iPhone 7, and it is slower that my U11. Interestingly, the U11 camera is better than the 8, and despite Apple's claims for having the best screens in the world, the U11 screen is better than the 8 Plus. Now, the A12 chip in Apple's three new phones (XS, XS Max, XR), is pretty killer. On top of that, they optimized iOS 12 to prioritize app loading speeds. I saw faster load times on all my iPhones except maybe my nostalgic 5S which is a basket case in terms of performance now. But there's a deal-breaking catch for me: iPhones can't multitask. They can hold apps in RAM, they can pause tasks, and you can have two apps on the screen with third party apps, but ask an iPhone to send an email while you are on the phone? Use the hotspot while on the phone? It cannot be done. Apple knows this, and when we called them last week, Apple said that we need to make an audio only facetime call. Yes, that was their solution.
  • Yeah I'm with you on the synthetic benchmarks. I take them with a grain of salt; a good starting point but nothing else. Until you hold two different devices in your hands and go through your own battery of tests you'll never truly get real works performance questions answered. I realize that most of us will never get to do that but that is the best test. Altema22 (the guy who also responded to you) mentions his HTC's perform the best and that really doesn't surprise me. I mean if Android devices have always done well for me when it comes to gaming (even though I don't game much).
  • Asus is **** At least here in India, their products are way below substandard. I have had multiple experiences of Asus Laptops and mobiles breaking down after expiry of warranty period. Their customer care also is very very bad. So think twice before buying an Asus product, no matter how good it seems on paper
  • I'm still bitter about my Asus transformer prime. Man that thing ran like dog
  • oh man, the Asus Transformer Prime, that takes me back. It was my first real android tablet. I previously had a Windows convertible that was great other than questionable viewing angles. I remember the camera was kinda good. Anyway Asus makes awesome products but they make some bad products too.
    It's important to know that ASUS ROG is different than regular ASUS, ROG is the republic of gamers. Their stuff is usually top of the line high quality stuff. I owned a good Asus gaming laptop before but it had some compromises and I avoided Asus for years after but I recently decided to try an Asus ROG motherboard and Asus ROG video card and I am EXTREMELY pleased with how it works, how it looks and how it performs. That's what made me decide to even look at this Asus ROG phone. Being so happy with the ROG brand.
  • I wouldn't even use this thing for gaming if I bought it. I just like the ample amount of RAM and battery capacity, and SHE'S GOT THE JACK!
  • same. I just like the way it looks. Phones are coming out with the same features nowadays and I recently got into the ROG brand and I freaking love it. I'd really like a breathing ROG logo on my phone.
  • I think the phone looks cool, even if it's cooling system is ineffective.
    But what surprised me is Mr. Mobile being ok with bezels and fake buttons. He has crucified other phones for those same things.
  • To be fair, he hasn't done his full review yet. Maybe he'll touch on that in his next video.
  • Hi I was wondering if this phone has any kind of water resistance as some sites say it does and some sites it is not anyways if anyone knows or has this phone and can confirm it would be great, thanks