Gaming smartphones seem to be all the rage these past few months with brands announcing smartphones targeted at gamers. The trend seems to have hit a fever pitch with more and more brands entering the foray. That said, who else would know gamers better than a brand who has been producing gaming systems for more than a decade?
Much like their tagline, ASUS’s Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand is proving its daring by bringing its gaming manufacturing prowess to the smartphone arena. The move comes as no surprise given the company’s background in manufacturing gaming systems and peripherals as well as smartphones with their Zenfone brand. In fact, it seems like the most logical evolution.
The newly announced ROG Smartphone brings top of the line mobile specifications in a sleek, ruggedly designed body which is definitely designed for gamers. The body comes in at only 8.6mm thick and weighs about 200g.
The good looks of the smartphone aren’t where the gamer focus ends. The ROG Smartphone packs specifications which should make playing even the most processor taxing games a breeze. On the processor side of things, the ROG Smartphone is equipped with a uniquely tuned version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. The processor is clocked at 2.96GHz – 200MHz faster than the standard Snapdragon 845. The processor is complemented by the Adreno 630 graphics processor and 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It’s also equipped with either 128GB or 256GB internal memory. Keeping performance in mind, the storage used is the faster UFS 2.1 format.
ASUS explains that the ROG Smartphone is able to support the higher speed processor due to the unique cooling system it has. The ROG smartphone is the first smartphone to use the GameCool vapour-chamber cooling system. This system allows the excess heat generated to be dissipated effectively. The high heat capacity of the compound used allows more heat to be absorbed before being evaporated.
On the display front, the ROG smartphone comes with a 6.0-inch AMOLED display. The display has a FullHD+ resolution of 2160×1080 pixels and an 18:9 aspect ratio. The display has been tuned for gaming according to ASUS with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1ms pixel response time. It also has a 10000:1 contrast ratio and covers 108.6% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. This should make for some really good gaming graphics and even a really nice video experience overall. ASUS says that the ROG Smartphone is also equipped with a discrete image processing chip which allows it to support high dynamic range (HDR). Enhancing the multimedia experience further are dual front firing stereo speakers which support 24-bit hi-res audio at 192KHz. It also has support for DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround and Qualcomm aptX high definition Bluetooth wireless audio.
On the connectivity front, the ASUS Republic of Gamers Smartphone supports WiFi on the 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad bands. It also has a 2×2 MIMO configuration which should lead to better stability and speeds over WiFi. It also supports WiGig 802.11ad which theoretically can transfer a feature-length movie in 4K UHD in 18 seconds. Bluetooth 5.0, Near Field Communication (NFC), GPS, aGPS, Glonass and BeiDou are also supported.
The ROG Smartphone will stand out from the crowd with its unique port setup. The smartphone comes with a USB-C and 3.5-mm headphone port on the bottom of the device. However, it also has a custom USB port on the side of the device which is able to support USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectivity, Fast Charging at 15W which supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and 4.0 and Power Delivery 3.0. It also supports ASUS Hypercharge direct charging.
On the camera front, it comes with a dual-sensor setup on the main camera. The setup is a 12-megapixel lens paired with an 8-megapixel wide angle lens. The front-facing selfie camera is an 8-megapixel sensor.
Peripherals to enable a more immersive gaming experience
The ROG Smartphone isn’t just launching as is. The phone will be receiving a number of peripherals which will take advantage of the USB-C ports on the device as well as the cutting edge connectivity technology built-in. The smartphone will be able to support Bluetooth keyboards, mouse and gamepads already available in the market. In addition to that, the device will also have a complementary line up of accessories which will expand its functionality.
The ASUS ROG Smartphone will be bundled in the box with a “AeroActive cooler” attachment. This cooler module attaches to the phone through its side mounted USB-C port. It assists the cooling of the phone when used in prolonged gaming sessions.
In addition to the AerActive cooler, the ROG Phone also comes with gaming peripherals including twin view dock and WiGig dock with GameVice. The former provides a multiscreen experience while the latter uses WiGig connectivity for a big screen experience akin to the Nintendo Switch. The Twin View Dock has its own 6,000mAh battery which powers the additional screen and also charges the ROG Phone when docked. It also comes with triggers on the back of either side for a more natural gaming experience. The WiGig dock with GameVice comes in 2 parts: a GameVice controller peripheral and a WiGig wireless display receiver. The GameVice gamepad grips the phone on either side and connects via the USB-C port on the bottom of the device. It equips the phone with joysticks, directional pad, triggers and action buttons. It also transmits the display wirelessly to the ASUS WiGig display received via WiFi 802.11ad.
The final peripheral for the ROG Phone is a desktop dock which allows the phone to enter desktop mode. It also comes complete with HDMI, USB and power ports to mimic a desktop experience. You’ll be able to use the desktop dock to play your games using a keyboard and mouse while connected to a monitor of your choice.
Pricing & Availability
No pricing has been announced as of yet. However, it has been indicated that the ROG smartphone will be rolling out sometime in Q3 (July – September) 2018. The first country to get the device will be Taiwan with the rest of the world to follow. The peripherals for the ROG smartphone will be available in the middle of Q3 in bundles.
Also published on Medium.