Asus ROG Phone review

Overkill, fresh and a lot of fun

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 Battery life

  • 4,000mAh battery
  • RGB lighting impacts battery
  • Power saving software

4,000mAh of battery power puts the ROG Phone on a par with the Huawei Mate 20, Razer Phone 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 when it comes to capacity. 

In terms of stamina, 90 minutes of FHD video playback, with the RGB lighting around the back fired up, took the battery down to 82%. Power down the lights and you can save yourself a hefty 7%, with the meter dropping to just 89%.

Both sets of numbers are highly respectable, with the latter figure putting the ROG Phone in the upper echelon of smartphone battery performance, despite its overclocked processor.

Perhaps the most notable omission for a 2018 flagship is the lack of wireless charging, found on everything from the iPhone XS to the Razer Phone 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9. It could be argued that this omission is made up for to a degree by the second charging port, but two wired charging ports don’t make a wireless one.


  • 12MP+8MP dual camera
  • One wide angle, one ultra-wide angle
  • Impressive performance

After the precedent for gaming phone cameras set by Razer, we weren’t expecting a great deal from the ROG. The dual-camera system is pretty typical, adopting the LG G7 approach – one wide, one super-wide-angle. 

The main 12MP camera has an f/1.8 aperture and nice big 1.4µm pixels, as well as 4-axis OIS (optical image stabilization) and dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus. The secondary camera is an 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, and no OIS or autofocus, but at a super-wide-angle 12mm equivalent that’s not a big deal.

The camera also supports up to 4K video up to 60fps, and slow motion at up to 240fps at 1080p, which keeps it really competitive. 

These surprisingly positive specs translate to great photos and videos.

The automatic mode is quick to focus and accurate with it, handles exposure well for the most part, and in good light is excellent at capturing detail. The HDR function automatically fires up in challenging conditions and is able to work wonders with shadows, producing pictures that pack vibrancy and detail across their tonal range.

Interestingly, it’s highlights that the ROG Phone finds hardest to deal with, not shadows. When you have a really bright area, the camera can produce vivid banding, as illustrated below.   

When the lights drop, though, it’s all very competitive, with noise creeping in when you’d expect it to, and not before, and no aggressive oversoftening. Instead, Asus leaves a bit of grain in the shot, which we personally prefer, giving you scope to edit it out after the picture is taken if you so choose. 

The ROG Phone also shoots raw, handy for anyone who wants to jump into Lightroom and take control over their edits, and it has a Super Resolution mode which simulates 49MP resolution, pulling out a bit more detail than the automatic mode.

Meanwhile, the selfie camera with its 8MP resolution and f/2 aperture offers bokeh and beauty effects. Pictures are sharp, and the beauty effects can be dialed up and down. A selfie panorama feature simulates a wide-angle lens, while a fun selfie GIF creator lets you create 50-frame animations for easy sharing.

As for video quality, in good lighting it’s great, with the OIS and electronic stabilization working to great effect. Where it drops the ball a little bit is in low light, with no HDR magic to compensate for the small sensor size. 

This means things get a bit grainier at night and indoors than they do with the best of the best, but the fact is that no smartphone has nailed low-light video as of yet, so we’re not too disappointed.

Storage and connections

  • 128GB or 512GB storage options available
  • no microSD card support

128GB of storage is exactly what we would have hoped to see in the Asus ROG Phone’s entry-level configuration – it’s all but essential in the absence of microSD card support, and this capacity should suit most for the lifetime of their smartphone. 

If, however, you’re a hardcore mobile gamer and reckon you’ll get through this sooner, the phone is available in a 512GB flavor too, priced at $1,099 in the US – there’s no word yet of a UK release for this variant.

The ROG Phone’s other connections are also excellent – the Snapdragon 845 delivers download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, while there’s Bluetooth 5.0 onboard, dual-SIM slots, and a ton of accessories available – check out the video below for the full rundown:

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.