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June 5, 2018

Asus ROG Phone shrinks your gaming PC and puts it in your pocket

by John_A

What’s the worst thing about that monster gaming PC rig you’ve got at home? It’s the fact that it stays at home and never leaves because it’s so enormous, you’d practically need a heavy-duty crane just to shift it off the desk. Asus feels your pain, so it has made a smartphone that will satisfy your mobile gaming needs without compromising on power, funky designs, or hardcore gaming credentials. It’s called the Asus ROG Phone, and it’s coming later this year.

If you’re not a gamer, ROG stands for Republic of Gamers and is a division of Asus that focuses on gaming, esports, and modding PCs for the highest levels of performance. Hardware wearing the ROG branding is always impressive specs-wise, and the ROG Phone is no exception. It also introduces a new phrase to phone fans unfamiliar with the gaming world: Speed binning. This refers to Asus cherry-picking the best-performing processors from a production run, in this case, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chip, which hits 2.96GHz inside the ROG Phone, well above the normal 2.8GHz clock speed.

This is exclusive to the Asus phone and instantly singles the ROG Phone out as one designed for people who take mobile gaming very seriously. The chip comes with 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or a whopping 512GB of internal storage. To make sure you have the power when you need it most, a squeeze of the phone’s body — something like on the Pixel 2 and HTC phones — activates X Mode, where processing tasks are handled by the chip’s four fastest cores, and maxes out the clock speed. To avoid overheating, Asus has built a copper heat spreader into the body, and even sells a separate clip-on fan to speed up heat dispersal.

Made of glass and metal, the ROG Phone weighs a hefty 200 grams — in part due to the 4,000mAh battery — and the body is covered in slashes, angular lines, and design elements that will be familiar to Republic of Gamers fans. It looks great, especially the offset fingerprint sensor and glowing — yes, it really does light up — ROG logo on the back. The dual-lens camera is made up of a 12-megapixel lens and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens. Around the front is a 6-inch AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution. On the audio side, you get dual stereo speakers, DTS Headphone X enhancements, AptX HD Bluetooth, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

To go with the ROG Phone, Asus has made a series of accessories including a second display that’s identical to the one on the phone, an external 4K monitor, a 6,000mAh battery pack, and a dock for livestreaming use when you’re at your PC. Several different game controllers are also available to increase speed and accuracy over using the touchscreen, while the phone itself has two touch-sensitive AirTriggers built into the left-hand side of the device for use in landscape orientation.

When can you get a ROG Phone, and how much will it cost? Asus hasn’t announced availability or price yet but says the device should be on sale before the end of the year. The price is sure to be high, given the technology inside and the presence of that speed-binned processor. The bigger question is just how much demand there is for a specialized gaming phone, a segment most recently explored by Razer with its Razer Phone. It’ll be fascinating to compare the two when the time comes. We’ll keep you updated with ROG Phone news right here.

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