Connectivity & Ports
In terms of WiFi connectivity, the ASUS ROG Phone is definitely the best right now. It’s the first ever smartphone to be compatible with 802.11ad WiFi that uses the 60GHz part of the spectrum and has 2×2 MIMO support as well. One of the accessories – the GameVice controller with WiGig Dock – utilizes the AD WiFi to cast the game to the TV. More info about it here.
If you don’t use AD WiFi then fret not, the ASUS ROG Phone also supports 802.11ac WiFi.
At the bottom, the ASUS ROG Phone has a microphone, off-centered USB-C and a 3.5mm audio jack.
At the top, there’s nothing except for one microphone. This is the second microphone.
At the right side, there’s the power button and volume rocker. Looking at it closer, we can see the AirTriggers on both ends as well. But that’s not all.
The ASUS ROG Phone also has a triple microphone setup like the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5z. Unlike those phones however, the ROG Phone has optimized the position of these 3 microphones. When we played PUBG Mobile, I covered the top and bottom microphone and yet my teammates can hear my clearly since there’s another microphone beside the AirTrigger.
At the left side, this is where we can find the proprietary 48-pin connector that is custom-made for the ROG Phone itself. It’s a standard USB 3.0 Type-C port + special-speced port.
Speaking of the two USB-C ports, they’re actually made differently. Back at Computex 2018 when we were first shown the ROG Phone, we were told that the bottom USB-C is actually inferior to the side USB-C port.
- Side: Custom 48-pin connector; USB-C with USB 3.1 Gen 1/DisplayPort 1.4 (4K resolution)/Quick Charge 3.0/4.0 and PD3.0 (15W)/Direct Charge
- Bottom: USB-C with USB 2.0/Quick Charge 3.0 and PD3.0 (20W)/Direct Charge
We can confirm that this is true since the Pioneer USB-C PD Dock (APS-DKPD001) dock that we reviewed here only worked with the side port.
Why did ASUS do this? Well, for the accessories of course.
The included AeroActive Cooler plugs into this proprietary 48-pin port and the AeroActive Cooler itself is not just a cooling fan. It converts the proprietary 48-pin port to a standard USB-C port and also a 3.5mm audio jack.
Why did ASUS do this? So that you can play games using your 3.5mm audio jack while charging the phone at the same time without the cables getting in the way of your hand. This is a brilliant design, yet ASUS didn’t force users to use the AeroActive Cooler for the 3.5mm audio jack and USB-C.
Though, I do wish that ASUS had a better implementation for the rubber plugs for this 48-pin port. It’s quite difficult to remove and the rubber plug can only fit in one direction. Also, the rubber plug can be misplaced easily. I already lost one of it!
To ASUS’s credit, they know about this and that’s why they’ve provided two more extra rubber plugs for this 48-pin port.
When we first plugged in the AeroActive cooler, we were notified that the fan noise might hinder the microphone and asks us if we want to configure it to automatically disable the microphones while the AeroActive Cooler is plugged in.
On the left side of the ROG Phone is also where we can find the card tray and another AirTrigger at the bottom. The card tray here only has slots for two Nano SIM cards – and the reason here is that microSD cards cannot match the speed of internal UFS 2.1 storage chips.
Interestingly, the card tray actually has a rubber lining but the ROG Phone is not IP-certified. Unsurprisingly, I can get 4G+ network on both SIM 1 and SIM 2 as well.
The AirTrigger on the left side of the phone is not for gaming, but instead for squeeze functionality like the HTC U-series of smartphones. More on this later at the software part of the review.
At the front is where we can find the two front-facing speakers. These speakers are loud and they’re just fantastic for gaming. I found myself not needing earphones and I can still get my chicken dinner in PUBG Mobile.