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 this month.
When can you get a ROG Phone, and how much will it cost? We finally know the answer. The Asus ROG Phone will be available in the U.S. starting on October 18, and will come with a hefty price tag of $900. That’s no small amount — but in an era of the $1,000-plus iPhone X, it may not be so bad for gamers who want a flagship device. That’s for the 128GB version, too — the 521GB model will be available for an even pricier $1,099. The release date was teased on Asus’ Twitter account, with details following in a report from Engadget.
A carrier in Finland listed the ROG Phone early, and put it up for the considerable price of 1,000 euros. That converts to about $1,160 U.S., and for comparison, the Finnish carrier has the iPhone X 64GB for 1,050 euros.
It appears the ROG Phone can be pre-ordered through the Finnish carrier, and doing so gets you a free pair of Asus ROG Delta gaming headphones. The page shows deliveries starting sometime around September 17, 2018. Asus has not made any announcements of its own.
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.
The dual-lens camera is made up of a 12-megapixel lens and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens. Details on a Finnish carrier’s pre-order page shows the 12-megapixel camera lens has an f/1.8 aperture and a 1.4nm pixel size, while the second lens has a 120-degree wide angle. Around the front is a 6-inch AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution, plus an 8-megapixel selfie camera. On the audio side, you get dual stereo speakers, DTS Headphone X enhancements, AptX HD Bluetooth, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
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.
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 buttons — called AirTriggers — built into the left-hand side of the device for use in landscape orientation.
The big 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.
Updated October 10, 2018: The Asus ROG Phone will be available on October 18 for $900.