Asus might be best known for its Max Pro M1 and M2 phones (read our take on the Pro M2 phone) but the company has other phones in its kitty. And none of them is perhaps as spectacular as it’s ROG gaming phone. ROG, incidentally, stands for Republic of Gamers, which is also the name of Asus’ famous range of gaming notebooks. So as you may have guessed, the ROG phone is dedicated to gaming.
And it looks every inch like a gaming device. It does not bother with any notches, but has big bezels around its 6.0 inch AMOLED display, which not only has a full HD resolution but also has a 90 MHz refresh rate (in simple English, it is a terrific, bright display) and is covered by Gorilla Glass 6. The back is a blend of glass and aluminium but is perhaps the most distinct in the market – there are arrow shaped camera and speaker units, and plenty of laser etching. Then there is the brilliant red ROG logo in the middle of the back. There is no way anyone is going to mistake this for anything other than a gaming phone!
It is not just the looks that scream “gaming.” So does the hardware. That display is magnificent, as we have already said. But there is much more – the ROG phone comes with not just the standard flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor but one that has been overclocked (made faster) to deal with gaming requirements, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (although with no expandable storage), the rear cameras are 12 and 8 megapixel with OIS and PDAF support, the front camera is an 8.0-megapixel one, there are stereo speakers (it is a gaming phone!), every connectivity option you would want and a massive 4000 mAh battery on top of it all to make sure all that heavy duty hardware keeps running smoothly.
And oh yes, there is a special cooling unit that can be attached to the phone if it gets too hot (the unit itself is very cool, although the phone does not heat up that much). There is a 3.5 mm audio jack too for those who like their headphones wired. Finally there are a truckload of special gestures and features and add ons designed totally for gamers, especially PUBG fans. There are also plenty of accessories to invest in, and well you can actually connect it to a 4K display if you want!
At 200 grammes, it is a heavy phone and well, it runs Android 8.1, which is now sort of showing its age. But this is a total beast in hardware terms.
The big question is should you be shelling out the Rs 69,990 that it comes for? Well, if you have the money and love playing PUBG, the answer is simple – GET IT! But if you are more of a mainstream user, well, we must say that we are less sure. Don’t get us wrong – the ROG phone is a fantastic phone which will stand out from the crowd in terms of looks and performance both, but unless you are a massive fan of the ROG logo and what it represents and the whole gaming ethos, you might feel tempted by something like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which has similar hardware, minus the gaming special touches but plus a stylus and much better cameras, and well, it costs less too.
Some would even think of the high end McLaren Edition of the OnePlus 6T which is available for Rs 50,900 and comes with 10 GB of RAM, faster charging and the same processor although that one is not overclocked. In travel terms, we would say that the display is fantastic but none of the phone’s special accomplishments are actually of much use to the adventurer or explorer – unless he or she is crazy about playing on their phones. Yeah, it is a great phone to use and has great flaunt value. But go for it only if you really love your gaming – come to think of it, many travellers do! For them, this is as good as gaming on a phone gets. As it does for anyone else!