First Android Experience: The ASUS ROG Phone

I have been an iPhone user since the iPhone 4S first came out and I loved it. I still have my iPhone 4S and it’s still working. I switched to iPhone SE after that and I’m still using it until now. However, I started playing more and more mobile games and I feel like I need to have an android phone too now. I was first interested when I heard about the Razer phone but, waited a bit more because I couldn’t find the time to try it out. Guess I was just too busy that time. Then I heard about the Razer phone 2 coming out, Xiaomi Blackshark, and also ASUS ROG Phone. Wow, how time flies.

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I got my ASUS ROG Phone right after it became available in my local store. The initial reason why I choose the ROG Phone is because of the headphone jack. Ok, first of all, I know some people are going to say that gaming phone sucks and they only sells because of how they market it as gaming phone while they work just like any other smartphone, and yes, they are quite similar but, looks more badass. And… You can make other smartphone look just as badass with some cool phone cases and accessories. Yup. To experience android phone, I could just buy some Samsung, Pixel or Mate 20. I get it.

My relationship with my ROG Phone is a bit back and forth. At first, I was having a hard time because honestly, when I’ve been using a small smartphone that I can use with one hand for years, it’s hard to handle a phone this big, 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.3 mm (6.25 x 3.00 x 0.33 in), and it’s pretty heavy, 200 g (7.05 oz). I didn’t really have much problem experiencing with the settings and menus. Well, maybe I struggled with the keyboard at first.  The OS is Android 8.1 (Oreo); ROG Gaming X mode UI. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I downloaded and installed quite a lot of games because it’ll be fine. This phone got 512 GB and 8 GB of RAM. No external memory card slot though.

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For gaming, the device is heating up really fast despite the vapor chamber cooling system. When it’s in supernova more (= Very hot and making your hand sweat), the 6.0 inches, 92.9 cm2 (~76.8% screen-to-body ratio) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen becomes less sensitive around the edge so, be careful if you’re playing a game that require you to use small menus near the edge of the screen. The 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~402 ppi density) screen is bright and, really, it’s nice to see games that smooth 90 Hz (1ms pixel response time) and HDR.

The ROG Phone has this feature called AirTrigger. Both are located on the side of the phone. You can set the AirTrigger to your likings. Extra 2 quick buttons for FPS or TPS game fans. Playing games like PUBG with this is fun although, you can have similar effects on other smartphones with cheap made-in-china physical buttons that cost less than $2.

What I love the most is the stereo loudspeaker. They’re just loud and smooth. The positioning is perfect so, you don’t have to worry accidentally covering the speakers with your hand. 24-bit/192kHz audio, DTS Headphone X. Playing games that needs continuos communication with the active noise cancellation is awesome.

The ROG Phone have glass on the back and NFC but, no wireless charging option. Shame. They could’ve made a very wild futuristic wireless charger that cost a lot of money and people would still buy it because it looks sick.

Ok, now the camera…

Let’s skip the camera because nobody needs a camera.

I’m kidding. The camera here is not good. Dual camera, one with 12 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, 4-axis OIS, dual pixel PDAF and, 8 MP, 12mm, no autofocus! It has LED flash, panorama setting, HDR (Of Course!). We also got 2160p@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, (3-axis gyro-EIS) for videos. 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide) front facing camera or we called it selfie camera now. It can record 1080p@30fps video. Let me say this first, ok? The camera is bad. If you want a super camera on a phone, get some XiaoMi. I initially want this phone to be used as a secondary phone and I know that it has bad camera but, I didn’t thought it was this bad. I mean, even my iPhone SE camera is doing better.

We got a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and I’m still not used to this. I wish the fingerprint scanner is in the display like that cool other smartphone but, I’ll just use the face recognition to unlock the phone.

What about the battery super power? Well, fast battery charging, I admit. 10V/3A 30W (Quick Charge 4+). Don’t compare it to my iPhone SE because it’s far far away. The battery is non-removable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery. It last longer than I expected. I use the phone to game with maximum display (Super HD, just the coolest setting) and almost the loudest speaker setting from 11 P.M. until around 4 or 5 A.M. with Wifi on and it still got some juice, less 15% though.

Final thoughts? Well, until now, I like it as my secondary phone. I use it for gaming and other heavy apps. I can see to use this phone as a daily primary phone but, it’s too big for me although it’s very possible and super OK. Just the camera, Man… It’s just that bad. But, other than that, looks sick with that LED on the back and super wild design. I can’t stop loving those speakers. One of the most awesome pair of speakers on phone.

Here’s the full specs if you want to check this long and boring table that my mom won’t be able to understand.

NETWORK Technology GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2018, June
Status Available. Released 2018, December
BODY Dimensions 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.3 mm (6.25 x 3.00 x 0.33 in)
Weight 200 g (7.05 oz)
Build Front glass (Gorilla Glass 6) /back glass (Gorilla Glass 5) & aluminum frame
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
– 3 Ultrasonic pressure sensitive zones
– Water resistant
DISPLAY Type AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 6.0 inches, 92.9 cm2 (~76.8% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~402 ppi density)
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 6
– 108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut
– Wide Colour Gamut
– HDR
– 90 Hz (1ms pixel response time)
– Always-on display
PLATFORM OS Android 8.1 (Oreo); ROG Gaming X mode UI
Chipset Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm)
CPU Octa-core (4×2.96 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
GPU Adreno 630
MEMORY Card slot No
Internal 128/512 GB, 8 GB RAM
MAIN CAMERA Dual 12 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, 4-axis OIS, dual pixel PDAF
8 MP, 12mm, no AF
Features LED flash, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, (3-axis gyro-EIS)
SELFIE CAMERA Single 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide)
Features Panorama, HDR
Video 1080p@30fps
SOUND Loudspeaker Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack Yes
– 24-bit/192kHz audio
– DTS Headphone X
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ad, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS
NFC Yes
Radio FM radio
USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector; accessory connector
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
– Fast battery charging 10V/3A 30W (Quick Charge 4+)
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery
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