Release Note

[Media Reviews] THE A-to-Z REVIEW : ASUS ROG PHONE ZS600KL

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azhar75 MYS Level 2 | All posts
Last edited by azhar75 on 2018/10/29 14:46


DATE : Monday, 22nd October 2018 @ 10pm

As a start, I shall rename the Asus ROG Phone, ZS600KL as the "ROG".

The Glossy Black ROG 8GB RAM/128GB has been tested for 10 consecutive days and being used as stock having firmware build number OPM1,171019.026.WW_Phone-15.1616.1808.23.


Hence, future OTAs may improve certain functionality in general.

The review unit packaging are as follows:
02_Box_Side.jpg 03_Box_Perspective.jpg 04_Unbox.jpg

There is a hidden compartment which may be inserted with a free ROG special casing later (?):

A = Android
The Android skin is dedicated to ROG only and thus the UI is called ROG UI.This UI is an extension of the existing ZenUI 5.0.


In a nutshell, the brand new ROG UI (aka ZenUI 5.5) comes with special tweaks called the Game Centre in enhancing the mobile gaming experience. The Game Centre is where all the magic of mobile gaming console becomes reality.


"OK Google" and Google Lens work as designed. Google's Project Treble and Google AR-Core are also fully supported.

Definitely the stock Android experience cannot fulfill the mobile gaming needs. Hence, the ROG UI is developed with modern mobile gaming experience in mind.

B = Body-Built
Starting from 400 conceptual ideas, down to 4 prototypes, Asus has finally decided to give “Tactical Knife” prototype as the 1st ROG design philosophy. From far, the ROG looks like plastic. But never to be fooled by visual looks.The materials and craftsmanship to build the ROG is beyond engineering achievement.
B01_Copper.jpg B02_Cam.jpg

The front panel is covered by precision-crafted 2.5D-curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6. The rear panel is crafted by diamond-cut 3D-curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 with nickel-copper detailing. These two panels are bonded by the metal-framed finished with a bold futuristic styling giving a comfortable gaming grip for an unrivaled gaming experience.

ROG Phone feels instantly good in your hand, ready and waiting for the call of duty. As usual, the oleophobic coatings make the glasses very slippery but fortunately the Malaysia variant will get special casing bundled in the purchase as shown below:
B03_Casing1.jpg B04_Casing2.jpg B05_Casing3.jpg

Physical buttons and ports are positioned properly so that all gaming accessories are well intact and not disturbing fingers movements and gestures. Buttons are satisfactorily give good tactile feedback, sturdy but quite sharp. Are these buttons having anything to do with the “Tactical Knife” sharp edges?
B06_Buttons.jpg B07_Side-mount.jpg B10_Audio_Jack.jpg B09_AeroActive_Cooler.jpg

Camera lens is raised by about 1 mm and can be secured by the given premium case. The ever-die-ing 3.5 mm audio jack is located at the bottom which is the preferred location. However, the type-C port is located at the corner (rather than at the centre) which can be troublesome if mounted at car dock/holder (when simultaneously charging too).

Dual front firing speakers are decorated with copper-color accent to give the gaming vibe and identity.


Dual nano-SIM is not accompanied by microSD slot but the base storage of UFS 2.1 at 128GB is pretty much plenty for game database and multimedia files. Just be extra careful to not flip the SIM tray as there is no indicator showing which side is top or bottom.


Overall, the build quality is solid but due to over-the-top styling for gaming DNA, the ROG is visually more like a “toy” (rear view) rather than exquisite piece of smart device.

C = Connectivity
Call quality is above average with good signal reception. It has triple internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction Technology to reduce ambient noise while engaging a call.

Bluetooth 5.0 tech works as expected. It does pair with my Sammy Gear S3 Frontier smart watch flawlessly with all notifications and call communications running thru the smart watch without hiccup, including my favourite Samsung Pay. The ROG supports dual band Wi-Fi connections for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz ac/a/b/g/n aswell as WLAN 802.11ad at 60GHz (32 Antennas) spectrum. The dedicated 802.11ad spectrum is reserved for the GAMEVICE® Controller that works in tandem with a WiGig Dock to wirelessly stream to TV.

The Wi-Fi signal reception is average for all spectrums. As for the hotspot, we can set to any of the three spectrums as shown below:

No infra-red blaster is offered but NFC is presence for convenience in pairing, using NFC Tags and also to enjoy Android Pay internationally.

Broadband data modules are compatible with all Malaysia telcos but local VoLTE support is yet to be discovered. Bands for 4G are derived from FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 32) and TDD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46).

Dual SIM feature derived by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X20 LTE Modem. The advertised 1.2Gbps download speed is supported by 5CA 4x4 MIMO Cat18 protocol.

Wi-Fi Direct and vix Cast to smart TV is supported too. But MHL connection via the Type-C port to smart TV is not supported.

FM radio is a bonus if we are camping in the jungle without any broadband connection.

Overall, if one is expecting stellar versatile mobile connectivity, the ROG should be in the finalist, especially the LTE modem.

D = Display
Asus is betting on the 6-inch 18:9 (2160 by 1080) with 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time AMOLED display at 550 nits max brightness.

For true-to-life gaming experience, Asus adopts Gaming HDR and Mobile HDR panel supported by dedicate hardware display chip; accompanied by 108.6% DCIP3 and 100,000:1 contrast ratio that supports glove touch.

Screen-to-body ratio is roughly 76.8% without notch and well balanced chin at the top and bottom to house dual front speakers.

The screen color can be adjusted like colour temperature, hue and saturation.The blue-light filter can be scheduled.

The 2.5D front glass panel is upgraded with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection (one of the first in the market) with decent oleophobic coating for smooth aiming during battle royals.

Viewing angle is good up to 170° on all corners. Color shifting is mild and presence in any AMOLED panel. Direct sunlight readability is above average at 550 nits brightness level.

As this is true AMOLED panel, AOSD (Always On-Screen Display) to view as table clock at night is available like usual.

The touchscreen sensitivity and responsiveness is always the ZenFone strength. The advertised 90Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time is beyond description and one needs to experience it to believe it.

Overall, taking control over the mobile gaming experience must start with high quality screen and ROG is the best candidate so far.

E = Ergonomic
Without attaching the AeroActive Cooler, the size-to-weight ratio is acceptable. The tall 18:9 aspect ratio of the screen is well balanced; though slight slippery, the device is stable enough to be held when fast typing butnot comfortable enough to be used with one hand. The 200 grams; 8.6 mm profile with textured side edges makes it ergonomically easy to pick-up when lay on flat surface. However, when attaching the AeroActive Cooler accessory, the ergonomic score tremendously drops, especially in vertical/portrait orientation.

F = Fingerprint
Asus claims the fingerprint sensor has 0.3 seconds unlock mechanism which is valid in reality. However, the shape and location of the fingerprint scanner is a little bit odd. Muscle memory will kick in perhaps after the 3rd day ownership.

There is gesture support for notification shade but not in camera snaps. In-display fingerprint tech will be cheap enough in year 2019/2020.

G = Gaming
Handheld gaming consoles vs. mobile gaming smartphones! Remember the Nokia N-Gage back in 2003? Next, Nvidia Shield and Acer Predator 8?

While Huawei offers super-flagship with the Mate-series, Sammy with Note-series, OnePlus with T-series, LG with V-series, Xiaomi with Mix-series, Asus is offering super-flagship product with undeniable expertise in the gaming industry, trying to convince the market to let ROG Phone to be in our pocket every day.

The ROG is the direct competitor to other vendors like Raser Phone 2, Xiaomi Black Shark 2 and ZTE Nubia Red Magic, Huawei Mate20 X and the retarded DOOGEE S70.

One special super-power (talk about gaming language here…) of the ROG is a bunch of accessories and peripherals which other competitors lack of, namely:

  • Premium ROG Phone hard case (SRP : RM199 - Bundled as free gift for Malaysia units)
  • AeroActive Cooler (Bundled in the box)
  • GAMEVICE® Controller (SRP : RM349)
  • WiGig® Display Dock (SRP : RM899)
    G05_WiGig_Display_Dock2.jpg G04_WiGig_Display_Dock1.jpg
  • TwinView Dock (SRP : RM999)
  • Mobile Desktop Dock (SRP : RM599)
  • USB Professional Dock (SRP : RM299)
  • ROG Suitcase (SRP : RM599)

Heavy AAA-gaming titles do not show any micro-stutter at the highest gaming settings.

As shown below, after just 30 minutes of Asphalt 9 (at default settings), both CPU & GPU reached 44°C. This is when the fan setting is off constantly.

The special-picked 10nm FinFET LPP (Low PowerPlus) of Snap845 @ 2.96 GHz; Adreno 630 GPU and 8GB LPDDR4X Double-Channel RAM at 1,866 MHz couple with 128GB UFS2.1 built-in storage; resulting epic gaming experience. The built-in “X-Mode” is useful when dealing with extreme gaming engines.

There is an Assistive Tool called Game Genie which can perform "Macro mode" to ensure repetitive commands can be executed without fail. It's some sort of "cheat mode" in a game. “Speed up” command to release RAM and close all background activities. Other features for Game Genie are recording and Live Streaming functions (YouTube or Twitch), prevent accidental touch to navigation bars, pause all notifications, real-time info such as temperature and FPS.

H = Heart
The heart of ROG is special-picked first ever developed, the 64-bit 10 nm Snap845 64-bit alongside 8GB LPDDR4X Double-Channel RAM at 1,866 MHz couple with 128GB UFS2.1 built-in storage.

Out of the box, 106 GB free storage is available with 18% of RAM is used when the ROG is first boot up.

The big.LITTLE FinFET Snap845 (@ 4 x 2.96 GHzKryo 385 + 4 x 1.8 GHz Kryo 385) & Adreno 630 (@ 710 MHz)  mobile platform SoC makes heavy lifting tasks possible without any lag and hiccups. We can adjust the CPU’s clock-speed as follows:

The 2.96 GHz Snapdragon 845 is “tamed” with an exclusive Asus GameCool system features highly efficient 3D vapor-chamber cooling inside, enhanced with a copper heat spreader and carbon cooling pads onthe circuit board for maximum cooling performance.

With the aid of AeroActive Cooler attached to the body, most heat will be channelling out through the fan of the cooler, especially when the X-Mode is activated.

To prevent interruption, Asus developed the X-Mode, which raises the minimum clock speed to keep the CPU on its toes, and confines tasks to the chip’s four fastest cores (ie 2.96 GHz) to ensure maximum performance.

The effects of all 3D vapor-chamber cooling, AeroActive Cooler fan and X-Mode tech are best described in graphics below.

WITHOUT AeroActiveCooler & X-Mode: WITH AeroActiveCooler & X-Mode:
H04_AndroBench1.jpg H05_AndroBench2.jpg

WITHOUT AeroActive Cooler & X-Mode: WITH AeroActive Cooler & X-Mode:
H06_Antutu1.jpg H07_Antutu2.jpg

WITHOUT AeroActive Cooler & X-Mode:WITH AeroActive Cooler & X-Mode:
H08_Temperature1.jpg H09_Temperature2.jpg

I = Ingress
Ingress Protection (aka IP) rating is unknown for the ROG Phone. But, Asus advertises it to be water “resistance” but to an unknown magnitude of resistance.

J = Juice
The 4,000 mAh sealed unknown brand of lithium-ion polymer cell obviously cannot dethrone "The Best Energy Consumption Smartphone of 2016/2017/2018" which still belongs to LeMoto P2. Claimed talk-time, stand-by time, etc.are achievable for dual-active-nano-SIM LTE phone. Getting beyond 4 hours of Screen-on-Time is guaranteed even under extreme usage.

Stats for 100% data & no Wi-Fi with extreme prolong gaming:
J01_GSAM_3pct.jpg J02_Graph_3pct.jpg J03_Usages_3pct.jpg

Stats for 100% data & 100% Wi-Fi with normal usage:
J04_GSAM_8pct.jpg J05_Graph_8pct.jpg J06_Usages_8pct.jpg

8 hours of stand-by / deep sleep overnight rate is 0.1% per hour which is one of the best in my collection so far:
J07_GSAM_Overnite.jpg J08_Graph_Overnite.jpg J09_Usages_Overnite.jpg

ROG comes with a proprietary power adapter that emits up to 30W, supports PD 3.0; bundled in the box.
Remark :This review unit is from Taiwan. The actual Malaysian unit will have proper 3-pin UK-prong adapter.

The ROG has custom circuitry that reduces heat generated to keep the device at low temperature even while we frag and charge simultaneously. Kind of similar to Oppo's VOOC and Huawei's Super-Charge tech. Asus calls it “HyperCharge”.

The ROG is fully compatible with Qualcomm's Quick-Charge 4.0 (and below) technology. Using the stock charger and cable, re-energising the ROG from 3% to 100% (while device is idle/on), requires 1 hour 40 minutes waiting time to fill-up the whole 4,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery capacity.


Just add about 15 minutes more if charging with certified Qualcomm QC 3.0 adapter:



Testing with Xiaomi 10,000 Pro Slim powerbank (compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0) does not trigger the fast charge rate (using any cables).

Sadly, wireless Qi charging is not present.

One important feature in the ROG UI (and ZenUI) which other vendors should learn is the AI Charging. Finally, we can let the ROG charged overnight (say from 10pm to 8am) without worrying battery capacity deteriorating over long period of ownership.

K = Keys
No hardware capacitive navigation keys for Back/Home/Recent is available nowadays. Hence, the on-screen navigation keys (default) is available. As an option, we can activate the iPhone-like gestures too named as Navigate Gestures.

Volume and power buttons are sturdy. But they are very sharp at the edges.

There are three (3) additional keys surrounding the frame of ROG. They are called AirTriggers.

Although the ROG Phone has a 10-point touchscreen sensitive enough to detect input through gloves, our fingers are best placed on the AirTriggers. These dedicated ultrasonic buttons actuate with only 20 grams of force, giving them a light touch for quick reflexes. There are two on the right edge, positioned perfectly for our fingers with the phone rotated in a landscape orientation, plus one more on the bottom left edge to add versatility for portrait mode. Each one can be customized to perform different functions, including executing macros that reliably reproduce game-specific gestures. The buttons can also be configured for non-gaming tasks, like instantly launching specific apps and activating functions like one-handed mode.

The AirTriggers help keep our fingers off the screen to expose more of what we want to see. Under the hood, an advanced haptic engine generates nuanced vibrations for more detailed force feedback in games.

L = Lights
Notification LED lights is presence with either red, amber, white or green but they are not customisable.

Nevertheless, an aesthetic light is generated from the back panel (as well as AeroActive Cooler accessory). This is called the Asus ROG Aura Lighting.
L01_Aura_Lighting.jpg L02_Aura_Lighting_Setting.jpg

Unfortunately, the Aura Lighting cannot be mapped with Android notifications interface. Hopefully, an OTA will allow us to map the Aura Lighting with incoming calls, missed call, push email notification, etc.

The phone is also embedded with single LED flash (rear only) for low light pix & vix as well as emergency flashlight when blackout or entering the movie theater hall.

M = Multimedia
This is actually another strong offering of the ROG. Media contents consumption is phenomenal for 6.0" FHD+ accompanied by true and effective stereo speakers generated by the built-in 5-magnet speaker with dual NXP 9874 smart amplifier for louder, deeper and less distorted sound effect.

The 3.5mm audio jack is able to play audio files up to 192 kHz / 24-bit enhanced by DTS (Digital Theater System) DTS:XUltra 1.0 for realistic 3D audio rendering featuring immersive 7.1-channel surround-sound with enhanced bass response.


An AudioWizard feature is baked into ROG UI toensure great audio experience and customisation based on individual preferences. Ensure to plug-in high quality headset/earphone to enjoy lossless audio quality.

For wireless option, the ROG supports Qualcomm APTX high-definition Bluetooth Wireless Audio channel for crisp audio signal.

FM radio is hidden in the notification shade panel and the reception is good even when heavy downpour.

In general, the multimedia experience in the ROG is excellent minus the 4K HDR Super AMOLED screen panel quality.

N = Navigation
GPS is working as expected. The GPS module supports GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and QZSS protocols.

Waze, Google Maps and HERE Maps are working normally,even indoors and in aeroplane mode. Driving above 100 km/hr does not lost any GPS signal. Only luke warm heat after 1 hour of continuous navigation.

More evidence at :

O = Optimisation
With the ever-improving ZenUI engine, Asus is doing a fine job in optimising the ROG in terms of performance, energy consumption, stability and reliability in its new ROG UI. The Android Doze feature kicks in almost instantly after the screen is turned off (provided Wi-Fi is off too). Incoming push notifications work as intended without the need to tweak the battery performance.

However, due to special-picked 2.96 GHz SoC, overheating during heavy gaming is presence within 30 minutes, long hours of GPS navigation and 4K UHD vix recording. Thus, the supplied AeroActive Cooler accessory is a must have for ROG to stay at low temperature in handling heavy tasks.

During this short review period, Asus has pushed one OTA which is reliable and stable so far. Overall, the optimisation is nothing to be worried about.

P = Photography
Many is awaiting for this part of the review and the Taiwanese company isbetting high on this function until giving Zenfone series special logo and motto "We LuV Photo". Well, the ROG Phone is borned in this planet for hardcore mobile gaming fans and at the same time not disappointing in photography segment.

The ROG is equipped with the Sony flagship IMX363 12MP dual pixel image sensor - 1/2.55" large sensor size, 1.4µm large pixel size is completed with F/1.7 aperture & 26.6mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera covered by 6p lens which generates 78.2° field of view.

As for low light images, the sensor has 6.25x more light sensitivity in low light photos (compared with a typical camera with16MP, F1.7 & 1.12µm pixel size). It also has 4-axis, 4 stops Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) which is usually presence in "super"-flagship category.

For fast immediate snap, the ROG is armed with 0.03 seconds phase-detection autofocus which is blazing fast even in extreme low light environment.

The Asus-branded PixelMaster camera app has tremendous built-in "Smart/AI" mode with dramatic HDR effect. Macro shots are acceptable to the nearest 2 inches distance. Low light image is the best in class while the Pro mode supports RAW file support and up to 32 seconds long exposure. The PixelMaster's trademark of 48 Megapixel "Super Resolution" Mode is always there for printing purposes.

Bokeh and portrait is captured by the secondary rear 8MP OmniVision OV8856 sensor having 120° wide-angle camera allowing 200% wider view for more friends and scenery in the frame. It is at F/2.0 aperture good enough to produce bokeh effect with 12mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera. Overall output for wide-angle shots are above average with good edge detection and separation and the blur effect can be adjusted in real-time mode.

Selfie pix and vix is driven by 8MP OmniVision sensor OV8856 F/2.0 with 1.0µm capturing at 84° field of view; 24mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera, which is above average. The front softlight AMOLED panel as a flash does help a bit in pitch dark pix. Selfie bokeh, face unlock and the unique ZeniMoji (aka Live Emoji) are also using the same camera sensor. Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) is also supported up to 1080P res. Unfortunately, 4K selfie videography is not supported.

Back to the "back" cam (sorry for the pun intended), OIS is only for1080P vix @ 30 and 60 fps. 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps is stabilised with OIS too but not for 60 fps. Slow-Mo is offered at 1080P @ 240 fps; while Time-Lapse at 4K Ultra HD res is also available.

In this showdown, we shall compare between the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the ROG Phone and the Pocophone F1. The main reason to do this comparison is to judge how good (or bad) the ROG pix performing side-by-side with "Super" flagship and "budget" flagship devices. All pix are taken hand-held with point-and-shoot method (not tap-and-shoot). All devices are using Auto-HDR mode with AI features turned on as well. The ROG also has Wide-View shots from its 8MP 120° secondary lens.  

Enjoy the journey...

Mate 10 Pro ROG ROG (Wide) Pocophone F1
M10P_Horse.jpg ROG_Horse.jpg ROG_Horse_WIDE.jpg F1_Horse.jpg
M10P_Fountain.jpg ROG_Fountain.jpg ROG_Fountain_WIDE.jpg F1_Fountain.jpg
M10P_Cart.jpg ROG_Cart.jpg ROG_Cart_WIDE.jpg F1_Cart.jpg
M10P_Cup.jpg ROG_Cup.jpg ROG_Cup_WIDE.jpg F1_Cup.jpg
M10P_Stage.jpg ROG_Stage.jpg ROG_Stage_WIDE.jpg F1_Stage.jpg
M10P_Tea.jpg ROG_Tea.jpg ROG_Tea_WIDE.jpg F1_Tea.jpg
M10P_Elephant.jpg ROG_Elephant.jpg ROG_Elephant_WIDE.jpg F1_Elephant.jpg
M10P_KLCC2.jpg ROG_KLCC2.jpg ROG_KLCC2_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC2.jpg
M10P_Whale.jpg ROG_Whale.jpg ROG_Whale_WIDE.jpg F1_Whale.jpg

Mate 10 ProROG ROG (Wide) Pocophone F1
M10P_Water.jpg ROG_Water.jpg ROG_Water_WIDE.jpg F1_Water.jpg
Panorama not available Panorama
M10P_KLCC3.jpg ROG_KLCC3.jpg ROG_KLCC3_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC3.jpg
M10P_Water2.jpg ROG_Water2.jpg ROG_Water2_WIDE.jpg F1_Water2.jpg
M10P_Play.jpg ROG_Play.jpg ROG_Play_WIDE.jpg F1_Play.jpg
M10P_KLCC4.jpg ROG_KLCC4.jpg ROG_KLCC4_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC4.jpg
Bokeh not available Bokeh
M10P_Fountain2.jpg ROG_Fountain2.jpg ROG_Fountain2_WIDE.jpg F1_Fountain2.jpg
M10P_Tree.jpg ROG_Tree.jpg ROG_Tree_WIDE.jpg F1_Tree.jpg
M10P_KLCC5.jpg ROG_KLCC5.jpg ROG_KLCC5_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC5.jpg

Mate 10 Pro ROG ROG (Wide) Pocophone F1
M10P_Tree2.jpg ROG_Tree2.jpg ROG_Tree2_WIDE.jpg F1_Tree2.jpg
M10P_Grass.jpg ROG_Grass.jpg ROG_Grass_WIDE.jpg F1_Grass.jpg
M10P_Water3.jpg ROG_Water3.jpg ROG_Water3_WIDE.jpg F1_Water3.jpg
M10P_KLCC7.jpg ROG_KLCC7.jpg ROG_KLCC7_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC7.jpg
M10P_KLCC8.jpg ROG_KLCC8.jpg ROG_KLCC8_WIDE.jpg F1_KLCC8.jpg
M10P_Water4.jpg ROG_Water4.jpg ROG_Water4_WIDE.jpg F1_Water4.jpg
M10P_Water5.jpg ROG_Water5.jpg ROG_Water5_WIDE.jpg F1_Water5.jpg
M10P_Spotlight.jpg ROG_Spotlight.jpg ROG_Spotlight_WIDE.jpg F1_Spotlight.jpg
  Light-trail not available
M10P_Backlit.jpg ROG_Backlit.jpg ROG_Backlit_WIDE.jpg F1_Backlit.jpg

Mate 10 Pro ROG ROG (Wide)Pocophone F1
Bokeh not available Bokeh
M10_Flower3.jpg ROG_Flower3.jpg ROG_Flower3_WIDE.jpg F1_Flower3.jpg
M10_Flower4.jpg ROG_Flower4.jpg ROG_Flower4_WIDE.jpg F1_Flower4.jpg
M10P_Roundabout.jpg ROG_Roundabout.jpg ROG_Roundabout_WIDE.jpg F1_Roundabout.jpg
M10P_kfc1.jpg ROG_kfc1.jpg ROG_kfc1_WIDE.jpg F1_kfc1.jpg
M10P_kfc2.jpg ROG_kfc2.jpg ROG_kfc2_WIDE.jpg F1_kfc2.jpg
Mate 10 Pro ROG ROG (48 MP) Pocophone F1
M10P_centipede.jpg ROG_centipede.jpg ROG_centipede_HiRes.jpg F1_centipede.jpg

Pix below are crop at 250x250 pixels at different timing to show the detailing of each camera. Night pix are with flash:
Mate 10 Pro ROG ROG (Wide) Pocophone F1

[Now, vix...

1080P @ 30fps : Night

1080P @ 60fps : Night

4K UHD @ 60fps : Night

1080P @ 60fps : Day

4K UHD @ 60fps : Day

Q = Quirks
In terms of hardware, the next ROG Phone 2 should have camera slider to protect the lens properly. Gaming in high adrenaline levels will definitely smudge (even scratch) the camera lens in no time.

The power & volume keys are quite sharp at the edges. They seems to be designed as such to blend with ROG concept but the buttons are small and sharp edges make them even “sharper”. The same goes to all opening ports. The openings are sharp around the edges - not smooth like other devices. Perhaps it is because of the original concept of “tactical knife” during the development stage of ROG Phone.

Maybe the monthly Android Security Patch can be improved. There will be hope for Android "Q"uaker Oats in the future as previous ZenFone flagships are getting 2 major OS upgrade without fail.

As the ROG is somewhat categorised as "Super" flagship device, so no wireless charging and Ingress Protection Marking/Rating in its final price seems strange.

No infra-red blaster like in Xiaomis could be a deal breaker for minority.

No option for microSD slot is making potential gamers to think twice. Dedicated triple slot is the future. Well, e-SIM is the true future. Huawei is introducing the nanoSD slot currently. But maybe the next ROG Phone 2 can adopt NVMe storage just like in the iPhone X/Xs/Xs Max 512GB variants.

MHL connection to external monitor/TV is not supported as this primitive tech is replaced by Asus WiGig® Display Dock.

When charging while the ROG is in off state, there is no battery percentages showing the refill status. An OTA is expected to improve this quirk.

Fingerprint scanner could be improved in terms of shape and location. So, in-display scanner for 2019…? Face unlock is achievable but not in pitch darkroom.

VoLTE and VoWiFi is not implemented for any of Malaysia's telcos. Why? In this segment, Apple & Huawei-Honor is the ultimate champion in Malaysia.  

Talk about the screen, the glare on the 6.0” Corning Gorilla Glass 6 is a bit too much. Gaming in direct sunlight will be exasperating. Perhaps next year, we can enjoy Corning Gorilla 7 with matte finished. For the time being, a proper screen protector is sufficient to reduce the glare.

Missing in the ROG Phone family is the entry-level of mobile AR/VR/MR headset something like the Samsung Gear VR headset.

Finally, in multi-window mode, the border between two windows cannot be adjusted. Pocophone & Sammy devices can do so. But majority vendors can't seem to implement this successfully… go figure.

These quirks should not be a deal breaker so long as they are fixable at some point. Hopefully, Asus Product Dev Team will consider all these quirks as a challenge for the next ROG Phone of 2019.

R = Rooting

Flash-a-holic geeks will not be happy in this department. One-Click root is definitely a Big-Fat-No-No because the Bootloader is Locked.

To-date, the ROG does not have any development of TWRP as discussed in XDAforum. This shows that the ROG is not interesting among modding community may be due to its SRP and complexity of ROG features.

S = Sensors
All major sensors including magnetometer/e-compass and gyroscope are presence making sure auto-brightness, GPS navi, EIS vix, Virtual Reality & 360 vixare working as designed.

Asus claims the fingerprint sensor has 0.3 seconds unlock mechanism while the Face Unlock is achievable but not in pitch dark room.

Earpiece/receiver is crystal clear with triple internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction Technology working as intended.

Auto-brightness is working as usual. The screen will be at maximum brightness of 550 nits when facing direct sunlight. But the lowest brightness needs improvement.

AirTriggers derived by dedicated ultrasonic sensors require only 20 grams of force, giving them a light touch for quick reflexes.


Overall, the vital sensors are well equipped and reliable.

T = Tactile  
The tactile feedback from the vibration motor is firm while the device is in the pocket. Fortunately, one can customise the vibration intensity as well as the pattern, if required higher haptics feedback.


Overall, we can't miss any incoming notifications while watching cinema or in a noisy environment. The phone will generate adequate tactile feedback when the phone is in our pocket.

U = USBs
Type-C is standard for flagship. However, it does not support reverse charging.OTG is supported but not for MHL.  

There is proprietary port at the side of ROG called Side-Mount Connector. This port is used with various peripherals like AeroActive Cooler, WiGig® Display Dock, TwinView Dock and the Mobile DesktopDock.
U01_Side-mount.jpg U02_Side-mount_Mark.jpg

As coloured above, only the black Type-C isable to take direct charging while the orange/amber Type-C port is for direct data transmission. Perhaps this is one of the secret for higher frame rates when connecting to any of the wired/wireless peripherals.

V = Virtual Reality
Other than VR gaming platform, the ROG is also supporting Google ARCore engine.
One of the popular gaming title to support ARCore is Pokémon Go AR+. With the ARCore engine, we can interact with the object in actual dimension as we move close or away from the object. The object is also capable to give reaction based on the actual distance. So, ROG is future-proof in terms of mobile gaming platforms.

Mixed Reality (MR) is yet to be discovered.

The only peripheral missing in the ROG Phone family is the entry-level of mobile AR/VR/MR headset. Perhaps next release of ROG Phone 2, we shall see Asus's spin to the Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream headset.


Gyroscope is presence to view 360-degree YouTube vix. Overall, it is a good option for beginners to explore basic VR contents.

VR-related apps - the ZeniMoji, is a fun new way to express our thoughts and very entertaining.

W = Warranty
1) General device components = 1 year local manufacturer warranty.
2) Battery = unknown.
3) Power adapter and cable = unknown.
4) Other accessories = unknown.

There is no option to extend the warranty like what Sammy is offering today. So, if one is expecting to keep the device after 1 year warranty lapsed, the cost of repair is yet to be discovered. If the screen replacement is above RM400, it is worth to pay for as we cannot get second hand ROG at 50% of current SRP.

X = X-factors

  • The 1st ever-developed 2.96GHz Snapdragon 845 with an exclusive GameCool system featuring highly efficient 3D vapor-chamber cooling inside, enhanced with a copper heat spreader and carbon cooling pads on the circuit board for maximum cooling performance.
  • Included Asus HyperCharge adapter emits up to 30 Watts; fully compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 tech.
  • The front panel is covered by precision-crafted 2.5D-curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6.
  • AMOLED at 90Hz refresh rate with 1ms Pixel response time; 108.6% of the cinema-grade DCI-P3 color space; 100,000:1 contrast ratio with discrete image processing chip to produce HDR visuals.
  • AirTriggers derived by dedicated ultrasonic sensors require only 20 grams of force, giving them a light touch for quick reflexes.
  • Epic Aura Lighting with group synchronisation and support full RGB colour pallette with different effects.
  • WiGig-certified 802.11ad 60GHz Wi-Fi with both 2x2 MIMO and WiFi Direct.
  • Effective 5-magnet dual front-facing stereo speakers with dual NXP 9874 smart amplifiers.
  • Well equipped accessories and peripherals such as AeroActive Cooler, GAMEVICE® Controller, WiGig® Display Dock, TwinView Dock, Mobile Desktop Dock, USB Professional Dock and Suitcase
  • Supports Google ARCore tech for future development and gaming platform(s).
  • Above average pix & vix quality enhanced by PixelMaster tech comparable to the ZenFone 5Z which has scored 90 DxOMark.
  • Unique "Tactical Knife" conceptual design illustrates the bold and strong aesthetic blueprint, totally different than other ordinary boring smartphones.

Y = Yesterdays
Similar devices competing in the same category segment (ie mobile gaming) should be (in no particular order) :

  • Raser Phone 2.
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 2.
  • ZTE Nubia Red Magic.
  • Huawei Mate20 X.
  • DOOGEE S70.
  • And many other yesterdays' devices that you are holding to right now.

Z = Zero-figure
Based price for 128GB at Malaysia Ringgit RM3,499-point-zero-zero (about USD849) is a worthy long-term investment with special-formulated Snap845 @ 2.96 GHz (8GB RAM/128GB UFS2.1) and well developed ROG UI skin. Other than dedicated accesories and peripherals, the ROG's unique build quality, great camera and satisfactory multimedia output are  its best offerings compared toother competitors in the same price bracket in the mobile gaming territory. Mobile gamers definitely going to love this unit as the Game Genie tool, true dual stereo speakers and screen responsiveness is very important during gaming. I am eager to see what Asus is going to push for the next iteration of ROG Phone 2 because the…

Asus ROG Phone = We “Luv” Adrenaline!

Thanks for your time to read my lengthy review and stay tuned for more detailsand updates...


azhar75 @

Other A-to-Z Reviews :

Upcoming "hypothetically" A-to-Z Reviews :
  • ZenFone One (Android One)...?
  • ZenFone Alpha/6Z 2019...?

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