Asus’ ROG Phone for gamers gives you phantom shoulder buttons – CNET

Aloysius Low/CNET

What’s the hardest part about playing console-quality games on your phone? The lack of buttons, I’d say. Asus may have a thing for that.

Unveiled on Tuesday at Computex in Taipei, the ROG Phone is truly one for gamers. It has some crazy accessories and impressive features, but mostly sets itself apart with virtual keys that basically give your phone shoulder buttons.

The sides of the phone are equipped with what Asus call AirTriggers — sensors that can register the touch of a finger. Each shoulder can be programmed with a function, like braking and reversing in a racing game for instance. 

Long story short: Shooting will be much easier in PUBG Mobile.

The ROG Phone is not the first one to be marketed as one for gamers, as it followers last year’s Razer Phone. But that device, though it had big speakers and an awesome 120Hz display, felt like a modified device from Nextbit Robin, a phone company acquired by Razer. The ROG Phone feels built from the ground up to be a gaming phone.

This is seen even in small details. For instance, there are two charging inputs: One on the bottom, as in traditional, and one on the side. The idea is that you use the latter one while you’re gaming, so the cord doesn’t get in the way of your hands.

Then, there are the big things, like a crazy accessory called the TwinView Dock. It transforms the phone into a Nintendo DS-like dual screen device. One half of the case has an extra display, while the top half has an area the ROG Phone can be slotted into.

Not only does the case add two extra (physical) shoulder buttons and 6,000mAh of extra battery power, but there’s a selfie cam for streamers to record themselves as they play.

I was able to play a few minutes of PUBG-esque battle royale game Free Fire using the TwinView Dock and it’s wild. It felt much more like a handheld gaming platform than a tweaked phone setup.


In the TwinView dock, the phone sits on top, while it runs the game on another display below. 

Aloysius Low/CNET

The phone’s 6-inch, 18:9 display runs at 90Hz, meaning it refreshes 90 times a second. That’s not quite as smooth as Razer’s phone, but it’s above the competition, as most phones have a 60Hz refresh rate.

A peripheral called the AeroActive Cooler will also be available: If the ROG Phone gets too hot, you can attach the Cooler and it’ll, well, cool the phone down. Unlike desktops and laptops, there’s little space in a phone to cram a powerful fan inside, so this’ll be a welcome addition to you if you like long gaming sessions. Best of all, every phone will come with the AeroActive Cooler.

The Razer Phone ($ 699.99 at also had some excellent speakers, which the ROG Phone hopes to match: It’ll come with dual front-facing stereo speakers, dual smart amplifiers and support for 7.1 channel surround sound.

Now Playing: Watch this: Asus’ ROG Phone is a gaming phone with actual gaming…


Key Specs

  • 2.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 18:9, 6-inch AMOLED display, 2,160×1,080-pixel resolution
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • Dual front stereo speakers
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • 128GB, 512GB storage options
  • 12MP+8MP dual cameras, 8MP selfie camera
  • ARCore support
  • Gaming HDR support
  • IPX7 water resistance 

Asus claims the ROG Phone is the fastest on the market at the moment. It also said that the phone’s battery will last for over 7 hours during Wi-Fi-connected gaming. We look forward to putting that to the test, though the company didn’t announce when exactly the phone will be released.

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