ASUS ROG Phone Review: Blistering Performance, Intelligent Design

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ASUS ROG Phone: Gaming And Graphics Performance

Next we'll test the ROG Phone with GFXBench, which has been one of our standard mobile graphics performance benchmarks for quite a while now. In order to ensure display refresh (v-sync) and resolution are not limiting factors, we are comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads; we're specifically testing GLES 2.0 and 3.0 rendering performance in the following two benchmark modules. 

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark & GFX Bench
Pushing The Pixels
ASUS ROG Phone GFXBench T-Rex Offscreen

ASUS ROG Phone GFXBench Manhattan Offscreen

No surprise here—the ROG Phone sprints to the front of the pack and hits the same apparent wall that other high-end headsets run into, which is around 152 frames per second in the T-Rex test and 85 fps in the Manhattan test (except for the iPhone X, which notched a couple of additional fps).

We also ran Futuremark's 3DMark, which has been a staple 3D graphics benchmark at HotHardware across all mobile and desktop platforms for many years. In this case we were running 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, which is targeted for mobile devices and also runs at 720p in offscreen mode, so as to take display resolution out of the equation. This test and its 3D graphics engine are also based on the Open GL ES 2.0 API. 

ASUS ROG Phone 3DMark Ice Storm

ASUS ROG Phone 3DMark Ice Storm

If we sort by overall scores in 3DMark's Ice Storm test, the ROG Phone comes out ahead of every other handset, with and without X Mode enabled. There's some variance among the Graphics scores, though it didn't have much effect on the individual framerates.

3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite, so we have fewer results in our database to share, though we do have a few top-shelf Android phones, the iPhone X, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 in the mix. Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based test that employs some advanced rendering techniques like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling Shot Test
Futuremark 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

In this test we again run the off-screen mode, so as to remove display resolution differences from the equation and thus can compare cross-platform results more reliably.

ASUS ROG Phone 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

ASUS ROG Phone 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme FPS

For whatever reason, the ROG Phone struggled a bit in 3DMark's Sling Shot Extreme test, compared to other high-end Android handsets. We find this peculiar—even the 3DMark app indicates that the ROG Phone outperforms 99 percent of phones in this test. Puzzling as it is, that claim wasn't reflected in our own multiple benchmark runs. We suspect optimization in Android 9 Pie are the reason, so the ROG Phone's may perform better here at some point, assuming its OS gets updated.

We're not too concerned with this, though. Overall, the ROG Phone strutted its stuff and led the way for the most part, up until the very end. And when it came to playing actual games (versus running benchmarks), the ROG Phone kept the action consistently smooth.

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