ASUS ROG Phone Review: Blistering Performance, Intelligent Design
ASUS ROG Phone: Battery Life And Review Summary
Since the introduction of Android 7 Nougat, and even more so with Android 8 Oreo and 9 Pie upon us, our battery life testing has become a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, Google's mobile operating system is getting more aggressive at killing tasks that are consuming significant power and haven't had any user interaction. As a result, our usual PCMark Android battery test now fails on many phones. ASUS's ROG Phone was able to run the test, we just don't have as many comparison points as we would have liked.
Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration.
While our sample size is small, the ROG Phone fell to the bottom half of the graph despite wielding a 4,000 mAh battery. That said, it still managed nearly 8 hours in normal mode. Furthermore, enabling X Mode didn't have a huge impact on battery life. Yes, it was shorter by 40 minutes, but it's not like battery life was cut in half or anything drastic like that.
Straight to the point, ASUS did an awesome job designing the ROG Phone. In terms of raw performance, the ROG Phone's cherry-picked (and overclocked) Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM propelled it to the top of nearly every benchmark we ran, which is noteworthy in and of itself. But what really sets this phone apart are the bits and pieces that are geared specifically for gaming, like the AirTriggers that make the phone feel and act more like a physical gamepad.
The polished software shouldn't be overlooked either, because it's an integral part of the overall experience, at least for gamers. Whether you want to create macros or livestream your gameplay, the ROG Phone makes these added bits easy and convenient. On top of it all, there are subtle touches, like being able to lock the brightness so the screen doesn't go dark in the middle of a game, and a real-time status bar to monitor vitals.
A lot of this stuff isn't geared towards the typical smartphone user (read: non-gamer). However, these added features don't come at the expense of being a premium phone, they add to it. Even non-gamers will appreciate the speed and high-end construction, albeit the design language is certainly grittier than 'regular' flagship phones.
We're not as sold on the accessories, which both add to the cost and are of limited benefit. The TwinView docks is nifty, sure, but without more games supporting split-screen viewing, there's not a whole lot of utility to it.
The ROG Phone doesn't rely on its accessories, though, and functions just fine as a standalone purchase. If you're a gamer, the ROG Phone deserve strong consideration. And if you're not, the ROG Phone may just change your mind.