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Asus has a monster phone for serious mobile gamers

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Gamers have had a choice of beefy, ultra-high-spec PCs for years. But when it comes to mobile phones that are good for gaming, it’s mostly down to choosing a flagship that hopefully won’t melt after 30 minutes of PUBG. 

This may change with Asus’ new phone, announced at Computex on Monday. Called the ROG Phone — in line with Asus’ ROG family of gaming-oriented products — it’s got the specs to power the most demanding of mobile games. 

The Asus ROG Phone is a 6-inch smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor clocked to 2.96GHz, Adreno 630 GPU, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. That’s top of the class by any metric; in fact, no other phone on the market offers such powerful specs at this moment. 

The phone’s AMOLED, 2,160×1,080 display has HDR support as well as a 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms response rate. This has to be the first time a phone manufacturer focused on these aspects of a phone’s screen, making gameplay smooth and color-rich. 

As for cooling, the phone has a “3D vapor-chamber cooling system” that Asus claims provides 16 times larger surface area for heat dissipation than your “standard” heat-pipe cooling system. The phone’s got a copper heat spreader and carbon cooling pads inside, and it all boils down (sorry) to 50% faster sustained clock speeds than a “standard” smartphone CPU, according to the company. 

There’s more. The phone has three ultrasonic “AirTrigger” touch sensors — two are designed to be left and right triggers at the top of display for gaming in landscape mode, and a third one designed for portrait-mode use. These are programmable and will ideally give gamers an edge by letting them use two extra fingers (instead of just their thumbs) when playing a game. The AirTriggers are activated by a light touch and have haptic feedback. 

If you want to turn the phone into (essentially) a gaming console, you can do that with the optional TwinView dock which gives you a dual-screen handheld mode, or the Gamevice controller, which is applied to the sides of the phone to give you physical buttons and knobs for better control. Finally, you can get the Mobile Desktop Dock for a desktop-style gaming experience. 

The Asus ROG phone has a few software tricks to enhance gaming as well. For example, the phone’s “X mode” (activated by squeezing the phone’s sides, HTC-style) freezes background RAM and dedicates it to games. 

Other tidbits include water resistance, Asus’ Aura RGB lighting, front facing stereo speakers, a beefy 4,000mAh battery and an adapter that supports Asus’ HyperCharge technology for faster and cooler charging. There’s also a 12/8-megapixel camera combo on the back and an 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front. 

All of this makes the ROG Phone quite heavy at 200g, but that’s understandable for a device that puts performance and cooling above everything else.

Asus’ beefy new phone is not the only smartphone that’s advertised as gaming-friendly — Razer Phone and Moto Z2 Play come to mind as well — but it Asus has definitely taken the concept further than anyone else.  

The Asus ROG Phone will be available in the third quarter of 2018; pricing has not yet been announced. 

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