ASUS VivoBook S14/S15

There were leaks of the ROG Phone for quite some time now. We’ve been wondering if that will ever come true. And today, the ROG Phone is finally official. It comes with a bunch of exclusive technology and hardware to make the ROG Phone the one special smartphone with all these tropes.

ASUS ROG Phone

The new ROG Phone is packed with lots of hardware that are made specifically for the ASUS ROG Phone. The chipset, the cooling system, and the accessories are made specifically for gaming. It is the marriage between the phone and its accessories is what make the ROG Phone unique.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
    • 4x 2.96GHz Kryo 385 Gold (binned) + 4x 1.7GHz Kryo 385 Silver
    • Adreno 630 graphics
  • 6-inch 18:9 AMOLED display with 2160×1080 resolution
    • 90Hz refresh rate with 1ms pixel response time
    • 108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut
    • Discrete image processing chip that supports HDR display
  • 8GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 128GB or 512GB UFS 2.1 storage
  • GameCool 3D vapor-chamber cooling system
  • Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 2×2 MIMO WiFi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC support
  • 2x ultrasonic AirTrigger sensors
  • Double I/O ports
    • Side: Custom USB-C with USB 3.1 Gen 1/DisplayPort 1.4/Quick Charge 3.0/4.0 and PD3.0 (15W)
    • Bottom: USB-C with USB 2.0/Quick Charge 3.0 and PD3.0 (20W)/Direct Charge
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Dual rear-cameras: 12MP primary + 8MP wide-angle
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • 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

ASUS and Qualcomm worked together so that they can obtain the special version of the Snapdragon 845 chipset that is binned. Binned here means that it’s cherry-picked to have the best chip quality. And since silicon lottery is out of the way, that’s why the special edition Snapdragon 845 in the ROG Phone can be factory overclocked to 2.96GHz stable.

Since it is factory overclocked, the phone will need some special cooling to eliminate that extra heat. That’s where the GameCool 3D vapor-chamber cooling system comes into play. With the new cooling system, ASUS claims that it has effective heat dissipation and able to sustain extended gameplay. If you want to go beyond the extended gameplay and have the ROG Phone to maintain its peak performance for a longer period of time, then there’s also a detachable AeroActive Cooler – which is a detachable fan.

Then comes the AirTriggers. They’re ultrasonic sensors on the ROG Phone that function as shoulder buttons like any other gamepads. GameGenie also got an additional feature where users can remap the AirTrigger to input specific touch points on the screen or perform more complicated gestures.

ASUS ROG Phone

Since it has Bluetooth 5.0, the ROG Phone can connect up to a total of 7 Bluetooth devices working simultaneously. Think of the possibilities of multiplayer games! However, audio is a different story. It can connect to 2 different Bluetooth audio devices but only one audio device can be used at once.

ASUS answered one question that we all have – why 90Hz instead of 120Hz display? ASUS says that it is to lift off some demand on the GPU and conserve on power consumption, hence generating less heat. Also, the ROG Phone uses AMOLED display that has 1ms pixel response time – which is comparable to high-end desktop gaming monitors.

ASUS has also said that the ROG Phone is incompatible with Qualcomm QSync – their version of adaptive refresh rate a la NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync – to eliminate screen tearing. ASUS claims that the ROG Phone’s processor is powerful enough to keep the FPS up to 90FPS.

Accessories

Being a gaming-centric smartphone, the ROG Phone has support for external peripherals as well. It can be connected to a keyboard, mouse, and gamepad. Bluetooth mice and USB storages are also supported, and so is MHL. You can connect the ROG Phone to an external monitor or TV via the side USB-C port.

The first accessory is the TwinView Dock. It allows different apps to run at each screen at the same time. ASUS is also working with game publishers to help games take advantage of these two screens simultaneously.

Then there’s also a Mobile Desktop Dock which works something like the Samsung Dex dock. You can game with the ROG Phone using your wide-screen monitor or TV alongside with a keyboard and mouse, Ethernet, and with storage expansions like USB or SD card.

The GameVice WiGig Controller is another unique piece of equipment where the controller itself is actually a gamepad coupled with a transmitter. The receiver box of the GameVice WiGig Controller plus into your TV or monitor, and acts as a screen mirroring device. It uses the latest 802.11ad WiFi standard and from our experience, the delay is minimal.

Price and availability

As for pricing and availability, we have absolutely no rough idea on the price yet. We are expecting to see the ROG Phone in the market in Q3 2018 at Taiwan, starting from Taiwan, then mainland China, South-East Asia, and Japan. Europe and North America will follow after.

The accessories and peripherals will be in the market mid-Q3 2018.


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