The ROG Phone 6 and ROG Phone 6 Pro are ASUS’s latest gaming smartphones, but what gives the pro model an edge over the standard version, and do these extra features make it the better choice of the two? The first ROG phone was launched in 2018 as ASUS’ first gaming smartphone, and a successor has followed every year since then.
The ROG Phone 6 series has arrived a bit late compared to the ROG Phone 5 series. ASUS has also cut down the number of models released this year by one. The ROG Phone 5, which was launched in March 2021, was available in three variants — the standard ROG Phone 5, the ROG Phone 5 Pro and the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. The ROG Phone 6’s late arrival also means there likely won’t be a mid-cycle refresh, unlike its predecessor, which got more powerful variants in the form of the ROG Phone 5S and ROG Phone 5S Pro.
With respect to design, ASUS’ new gaming phones pick up from where their predecessor, the ROG Phone 5S, left off. Both phones share a similar cyberpunk-like look with etchings on the back and blue or red color accents around the rear cameras and on the buttons. However, a major design difference sets them apart. The ROG Phone 6 has customizable RGB lights on the back, and owners can mix the colors and lighting schemes of the ROG dot-matrix logo to create millions of combinations. On the other hand, the ROG Phone 6 Pro swaps the RGB lighting for a two-inch OLED color display and also allows users to choose from various animations to display on the screen or create their own. In addition, the two phones have an IPX4 rating and can be purchased in black and white.
The similarities between the ROG Phone 6 and ROG Phone 6 Pro continue with their specs. Both phones have a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with an upgraded 165Hz refresh rate and a 720Hz touch sampling rate. In addition, the screens are protected from scratches and drops by Gorilla Glass Victus. They also support HDR10+ and have DC dimming. Powering the two phones is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, and it is paired with 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB of RAM and up 256GB or 512GB of storage on the ROG Phone 6. In contrast, the ROG Phone 6 Pro comes in a single configuration with 18GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. On the camera front, the configuration is the same on both devices — a 50MP Sony IMX766 primary camera capable of 8K recording, a 13MP ultrawide angle camera and a 5MP macro camera. There is also a 16MP camera in front for video calls, selfies and live-streaming.
ASUS has equipped both phones with symmetrical dual front-facing speakers. There is also an audio jack for users to hook up a gaming headset. To further improve the audio experience, ASUS has partnered with Dirac to optimize the sound output on the two phones. They also have support for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound and aptX Adaptive codec for hi-res and super low-latency audio even when connected to Bluetooth headphones. The two phones have a 6000mAh battery that is split into two 3000mAh cells, and with the included 65W adapter, they can be charged from empty to full in 42 minutes. In addition, ASUS also allows for customization of the charging features. Users can control the charging speed or choose to bypass charging during gaming sessions. With bypass charging, the phone draws power directly from the power adapter rather than the battery. Owners will also find the same connectivity options across the board, such as dual SIM, WI-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC. They also have an in-display fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock, and ultrasonic sensors for the improved AirTrigger 6.
The ROG Phone 6 and ROG Phone 6 Pro are compatible with the same accessories, including the improved cooling fan and the Kunai 3 Gamepad. In summary, the only differences between the two phones boil are the OLED display on the back of the pro model and its additional RAM. To be frank, they don’t seem like a lot to warrant it being called a “pro” model and may not do much to convince buyers to choose it over the standard version. The rear display will be turned away from the user most of the time, and 18GB of RAM is overkill for any Android app or game. Nevertheless, ASUS is charging €999 for the ROG Phone 6 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, while the ROG Phone 6 Pro with 18GB RAM and 512GB storage will sell for €1299. Both phones will be available in the U.S., but details about pricing and availability are yet to be disclosed.