Android Central Verdict
The ROG Phone 6 Pro is the fastest phone available today, and the retooled cooling system does a great job managing thermals. The large 165Hz AMOLED panel is an absolute joy to use, the customizable AirTriggers make a huge difference in games, and the side-mounted USB-C port is intact — as is the 3.5mm jack. There's a decent camera at the back, a clean Android 12 interface without any bloatware, and the battery lasts well over a day even with heavy use. In short, this is the best gaming phone of 2022 by a long margin.
Sublime 165Hz AMOLED screen
Currently the fastest Android phone
Bold gaming-focused design
Customizable ultrasonic triggers on the side
Two-day battery life with 65W fast charging
Clean software with zero bloatware
IPX4 splash proof
Loud stereo sound, 3.5mm jack, side-mounted USB-C port
Fewer software updates than other high-end phones
Cameras not on par with other flagships
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Three years ago, ASUS consolidated its phone business into two product lines: ROG and Zenfone. The former is targeted at the high-end segment and features the latest hardware innovations the brand has to offer, and the latter is aimed at the value flagship category. This strategy has allowed ASUS to solidify its presence in two key segments, and the brand is looking to build on that in 2022.
The ROG Phone series debuted in 2018 and is one of the best-selling gaming phones in the market. There's no shortage of choice in this particular category, with the likes of Nubia, Black Shark, and POCO offering gaming-focused phones with bold designs and custom hardware features. But the ROG Phone continues to be the one to beat, and the ROG Phone 6 series brings a lot of exciting new features.
The phone is the first to be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and it has an AMOLED panel that now goes up to 165Hz. The new heat dissipation system allows you to play games for longer without having to worry about throttling, and ASUS is introducing new accessories. With increased rivalry in this segment, can the ROG Phone 6 retain its crown as the best gaming phone of 2022? Let's find out.
About this review
This review was written after using the 18GB/512GB version of the ROG Phone 6 Pro for over two weeks in Hyderabad, India. The phone received two updates during that time — an out-of-the-box OTA to the 32.2810.2204.47 build with camera and stability fixes, and another OTA with 32.2810.2205.63 containing bug fixes and the May 2022 security update. ASUS provided the unit to Android Central for review.
ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro: Pricing and availability
ASUS unveiled the ROG Phone 6 series on July 5, with the phones going on sale globally in the coming weeks. The phones will be available in over 30 regions, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, India, and more.
The standard ROG Phone 6 comes in Phantom Black and Storm White color variants, and the ROG Phone 6 Pro is available in Storm White.
The ROG Phone 6 starts off with a 12GB/256GB model that costs €999 ($1,042) in Europe, and it goes up to 16GB/512GB. The ROG Phone 6 Pro, meanwhile, is available in a single 18GB/512GB variant that sets you back €1,299 ($1,355).
ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro: Design
The ROG Phone 6 Pro shares a design aesthetic that's very similar to last year's ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. While that design certainly stood out, the fact that it was limited to the Ultimate edition meant that it wasn't very accessible, so ASUS ported it over to the standard ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro this time around. In a similar vein, both phones get a Strom White color option, and ASUS is also introducing Kunai gamepads in that finish.
The back isn't as busy as previous generations, and the Storm White finish looks gorgeous. Like last year, there are blue accents that add some flair to the design; the power button, camera ring around the 50MP lens, and the SIM card tray are all decked out in blue. ASUS says the design is "reminiscent of a spaceship hurtling through the universe."
It's usually the camera island that steals the focus at the back, but here the attention immediately goes to the ROG Vision color PMOLED display. It is located further up and the positioning makes it a little more distinctive than last year. You can set up the display to kick in during various scenarios: incoming calls, charging, starting a game, or when the screen is on.
ASUS added over 60 animations this time around, and the best part is that you can make your own effects — whether that's text, a signature, or an image. It is a nice differentiator, and has a decent amount of utility as well; more so than just having LEDs at the back.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro has a frosted glass texture with a matte finish that makes it easy to hold and use the device, and even though this is a tall and heavy phone (239g), ASUS did a great job with the weight distribution — it doesn't feel unwieldy at all. The black camera housing adds a nice bit of contrast to the design at the back, as does ROG Vision. The back glass pane is covered by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3.
Like previous generations, the right side of the phone is busy; you'll find the power and volume buttons, and the ultrasonic AirTriggers here. The left side has the SIM-card tray and a unique side-mounted USB-C port. This has been a mainstay on ROG Phones for some time now, and it lets you easily charge your phone while gaming. The side port is versatile and works over USB 3.1 Gen2, with the bottom port limited to USB 2.0.
At the bottom, you'll find a rare sight: a 3.5mm jack. I haven't used many phones this year that still have a 3.5mm jack, and certainly not any flagships, so it is nice to see the analog jack intact here. And on the subject on features you won't find anywhere else, there is a tiny LED notification light at the front, with ASUS somehow managing to cram it into the bezel.
There's a lot to like with the ROG Phone 6 Pro's design. The aggressive styling at the back is sure to turn heads, the phone manages its heft well — both in one-handed use and while gaming — and the side-mounted USB-C port is very useful.
ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro: Screen
The ROG Phone 6 Pro has a 6.78-inch AMOLED panel made by Samsung, and the tall 20.4:9 ratio (2448 x 1080) means it isn't as usable one-handed. The Samsung-made panel continues to be a standout, delivering vibrant colors, excellent contrast levels, and great viewing angles.
ASUS says the device has the lowest touch latency of any phone in the market at 23ms, and when coupled with 720Hz touch sampling, you get a thoroughly enjoyable phone. Day-to-day interactions are fluid like no other device, and coming from a 120Hz Pixel 6 Pro, there is a level of immediacy that is easy to get used to.
There's also HDR10+, and like the Find X5 Pro, the phone is calibrated to an average Delta-E of <1 at two brightness levels: 450 nits and 100 nits. This ensures that the phone delivers the same color accuracy at higher brightness levels, and I had zero issues in this regard. The phone gets sufficiently bright in outdoor use, going up to 800 nits in auto mode and 1200 nits for HDR content.
There's also dual stereo sound with large 12x16mm channels, and the sound is tuned by Dirac. As you'd imagine, the onboard audio is among the loudest of any phone, and Dirac's tuning makes a difference here. The 3.5mm jack works with Hi-Res products, with the port able to deliver up to 24-bit/192kHz playback. ASUS's AudioWizard continues to be a noteworthy addition, offering a 10-band EQ and various modes to switch the sound profile accordingly.
The only feature that the phone misses out in LTPO tech. The dynamic refresh tech allows devices to scale the refresh dynamically based on the content playing on the screen, but ASUS isn't using it here. You can select the refresh to 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz, or 165Hz, and there's also an auto setting that switches the screen refresh between these five levels automatically.
You'll notice there are larger bezels than most phones in this segment, with the front camera tucked into the bezel. That's not a bad thing necessarily as you get an all-screen design without any cutouts, and for what it's worth, it makes using the phone a little easier.
There are a lot of small tweaks that culminate in the ROG Phone 6 Pro being a fantastic device for gaming. The AMOLED screen has vibrant colors, the onboard audio is loud enough for most use cases, and the phone has a great in-hand feel, particularly while gaming.
There aren't many games that take full advantage of the 165Hz tech, and ASUS is working with game publishers to get more titles added to the list. The Taiwanese manufacturer has been doing this for several years, and we're at a point where there are a lot of great games that run at 120Hz, and playing titles like Oddmar on the ROG Phone 6 Pro is an absolute joy.
ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro: Performance
I'm not exaggerating when I say that the ROG Phone 6 Pro has the best hardware package of any phone I've used this year. The best Android phones are powered by Qualcomm hardware, but a few manufacturers don't utilize the entire capabilities of the chipset — that isn't the case here.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and it goes up to an insane 3.2GHz for the Cortex X2 core, 2.8GHz for the A710 cores, and 2.0GHz for the A510 cores. Qualcomm touts a 10% uptick in CPU and GPU performance over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but what's more interesting is the energy efficiency: the 8+ Gen 1 consumes 30% less power for the same workloads.
While both platforms are built on a 4nm node, Qualcomm switched foundries for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which is being fabricated at TSMC. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was manufactured at Samsung LSI, and it's evident that Samsung ran into a lot of issues with its 4nm node. As a result, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 consumes a lot of power and runs into throttling issues. With the switch to TSMC, Qualcomm managed to offset those issues and delivered sizeable gains in a mid-cycle refresh.
|Category||Galaxy S22 Ultra||ROG Phone 6 Pro||Xiaomi 12 Pro||iPhone 13|
|Geekbench 5.1 (single-core)||1004||1306||1239||1717|
|Geekbench 5.1 (multi-core)||3151||3653||3522||4492|
|3DMark Wild Life (score)||6923||Maxed out||7381||8647|
|3DMark Wild Life (FPS)||41.5||Maxed out||44.2||51.75|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme (score)||2098||2827||1903||2418|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme (FPS)||12.5||16.8||11.45||14.45|
The Geekbench scores clearly show the ROG Phone 6 Pro pulling out a significant lead over its Android rivals like the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Xiaomi 12 Pro. This is evident in real-world usage as well, with the phone breezing through multitasking tasks and just about anything I threw at it.
The phone manages an even bigger lead for gaming, maxing out 3DMark's Wild Life, a demanding test in and of itself. It even outscores the iPhone 13 and its mighty A15 Bionic in synthetic workloads, being the first Android phone I've used to do so.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro has a distinct edge over just about every other Android phone, delivering the same level of performance while consuming less power. That holds up in real-world use, with the phone lasting nearly two days on a full charge with medium use. The phone absolutely flies during gaming, effortlessly handling demanding titles. ASUS did a great job optimizing the hardware, and I didn't see any slowdowns whatsoever.
The two built-in ultrasonic AirTriggers make a huge difference, and this year ASUS added the ability to configure two different actions for the same button — one when you're pressing down, and the other when you're lifting your finger off the button.
What I particularly like about ASUS's gaming phones is the sheer amount of customization on offer. Armoury Crate is a fantastic utility that gives you granular control over the hardware. You can choose between three modes — Dynamic strikes the ideal balance for daily use, Ultra durable is designed for energy efficiency, and X Mode turns everything up to 11.
Game Genie comes in handy as well, with the overlay giving you easy access to adjusting networking settings, disabling incoming calls while gaming, setting up macros, and so much more. It's these features that give ROG Phone 6 Pro stand out from its rivals. It isn't hard to make a gaming phone, but the amount of work ASUS put into customization and unique features make it the go-to option.