December 3, 2023

Asus has announced two new devices in its gaming-focused Republic of Gamers lineup, the ROG Phone 6 and the ROG Phone 6 Pro. They are gaming phones for gamers who love to play, and the upgraded screens look very cool.

Both models are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, and come with up to 512GB of storage. They have 6.78-inch OLED screens, the same size as the previous ROG Phone 5S, but the 165Hz refresh rates and 720Hz touch sampling rates are substantial improvements over the latter model. They have a 6000 mAh battery, like previous models, and an improved three-camera setup. The Phone 6 will start at €999 and the 6 Pro at €1,299 – set to launch in the UK and Europe first, and Asus says they’ll come to the US, India and elsewhere later.

ROG Phone 6 comes in black and white, and 6 Pro in white only. The biggest difference between the two models is the second OLED display on the back of the 6 Pro, which looks kind of cool but isn’t practical overall. You also get a little more RAM on the Pro model — the Phone 6 beats out 16GB of memory, but the Pro will go up to 18GB. Suffice it to say that the regular Phone 6 model is probably enough for most people.

It’s clear that Asus is trying to build a phone that you can also use as an everyday device; The company has slowly improved the design of ROG Phone over the past few models so as not to scream “Gamer’s phone!” Too loud. But this is still very much a gaming phone. Much of the phone’s design has to do with cooling optimization, for example, and the phrase “We’ve developed a unique 360-degree CPU cooling technology” was certainly uttered during the product ad flow. (The steam room is now 30% larger!) Asus has updated the Aeroactive Cooler accessory, which is basically just a giant fan that can be installed as a simple console to play games.

The specs of the phone are more impressive than ever, especially the refresh rates and response of the screen. But as usual with ROG phones, the question is: To what end? You don’t need 18GB of RAM to play even the most complex games on Android. Asus has a somewhat spotty history of timely software updates as well, and they only promise two years of Android and security updates for these devices. For the price, you can probably find a device that does most phone tasks better. And even as cloud gaming brings more high-powered games to your smartphone, you don’t need the same amount of power on the device to make it run well. The ROG Phone 6 is a great device, but it doesn’t seem like a very practical device.

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