Republic of Gamers, computer and tech company Asus’ gaming label, announced a game-centric Android smartphone Monday during the kickoff of Computex 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan.
The 6-inch phone features built-in “AirTriggers” on the edge of the phone, a tweaked version of the SnapDragon 845 CPU that clocks at 2.96GHz, an AMOLED screen with 90 Hz refresh rate and 8GB of memory. The company also unveiled accessories for docking the phone at a desk or giving it a second screen, physical triggers, and dual haptic feedback while on the go.
The phone hits this summer in configurations with 128GB and 512GB of internal storage. Both of which come with the AeroActive Cooler accessory, which snaps onto the back of the phone to improve heat dissipation during “strenuous gaming sessions.”
In announcing the new, gaming-centric phone, Republic of Gamers noted its 12 years of supporting better gaming experiences through motherboards and laptops.
“The smartphones in that early era barely qualified as such, but they started a revolution that transformed the computing landscape,” according to Asus’ website. “We watched closely as these digital sidearms became increasingly capable gaming machines and all-around computers, and we saw how developers harnessed their growing power to take mobile gameplay and graphics to the next level. We also gained insight from esports professionals, regular players, and game developers on how mobile gaming devices could be improved. Now, the time is right to introduce the ROG Phone.”
Asus follows Razer into the burgeoning gaming smartphone market. Razer introduced its game-centric phone last November. While Razer’s phone focused on improving things like the screen refresh rate (the 5.72 inch screen runs at 120 Hz), memory (8GB) and sound (twin Dolby speakers), the company didn’t do much to add to the typical offering of a smartphone.
While the new Asus phone may not have the same screen refresh rate or speakers, it promises to deliver some substantial changes to the way a phone functions during play, both through design and imaginative accessories.
For instance, the triggers on the left edge of the ROG Phone are designed for use while the device is rotated in a landscape orientation. There is a third trigger on the right edge of the phone for use in portrait mode. All three 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 company also added a charging and headphone port to the right side of the device so that cables don’t get in a player’s way while playing in landscape mode. The AeroActive Cooler also plugs into this multi-purpose port and includes its own landscape-friendly connectors for both charger and headphones. The side-mounted port also supports Gigabit Ethernet over Type-C, plus HDMI and USB.
ROG also added a bit of color to its upcoming phone. The logo on the back can light up in static, breathing, and strobing effects, or cycling through a spectrum of colors. You can synchronize RGB illumination across up to five ROG Phones wirelessly to match the rest of your squad. The lighting also syncs with optional accessories that plug into the side-mounted connector.
The Mobile Desktop Dock lets you build a complete desktop around the ROG Phone, including hooking up a 4K monitor, Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1-channel speakers, and USB peripherals.
The TwinView Dock features a secondary display that is identical to the one on the phone. It also features physical trigger buttons and dual haptic feedback engines. Enhanced cooling keeps performance on point, while a massive 6,000mAh auxiliary battery extends the run time for your mobile adventures.
The WiGig Dock takes a different approach to secondary screens by using low-latency 802.11ad 60GHz WiFi to broadcast display signals to a base station that plugs into big-screen TVs. It pairs well with the third-party GameVice controller.
The ROG Phone’s full specs:
Processor Exclusive 2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 630
Display 6.0“ 18:9 (2160×1080) AMOLED
90Hz refresh rate with 1ms pixel response time
108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut and 10000:1 contrast ratio
10-point multi-touch (supports Glove Touch)
Discrete image processing chip supports HDR
Memory LPDDR4X 8GB RAM
Storage UFS 2.1, 128GB / 512GB
Sensors Accelerometer, e-compass, proximity sensor, Hall sensor, ambient-light sensor, fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, 2 x ultrasonic AirTriggers
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 2×2 MIMO
Wi-Fi Direct and WiGig 802.11ad wireless display support
Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC
GPS Supports GPS, aGPS, Glonass, BeiDou
Ports Side I/O Custom USB-C supports USB 3.1 Gen 1, DP 1.4, fast charging (15W)
ASUS HyperCharge direct charging
Bottom I/O USB-C supports USB 2.0, fast charging (20W), Direct Charge
3.5mm headphone jack
Cameras Main: 12MP + 8MP (120° wide-angle)
Audio Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier
24-bit/192KHz Hi-Res Audio
DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround-sound
Qualcomm aptX High-definition Bluetooth® wireless audio
Dimensions 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm