Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
Asus ROG Phone 6: What we want to see from the next-gen gaming phone
Asus unveiled its ROG Phone 5 smartphone at MWC 2021, so we’re likely quickly closing in on the launch of the Asus ROG Phone 6. Designed for gamers, the ROG Phone 3 and 5 reviewed quite well here at Android Authority, both as brilliant gaming handsets and solid all-around phones. The current-gen Asus ROG Phone 5 earned our coveted Editor’s Choice award, partly for its gaming-oriented features as well as excellent hardware choices, ranging from powerful front-facing speakers to fast charging.
We certainly want to see Asus continue to provide the excellent audio, long battery life, and gaming software that make the series what it is. But, of course, there are a few tweaks and improvements we’d love to get next time around. So here’s our wish list for what we want to see from the upcoming Asus ROG Phone 6.
Improved cooling solutions
The Asus ROG Phone series is all about gaming performance, and while we certainly don’t have any complaints in that regard, its latest phone can become a little warm during extended play. Not enough to make the phone uncomfortable to hold but you can certainly feel the heat after 15 to 20 minutes.
Asus bundles its Aero Active cooler accessory with the Pro and Ultra variants but you’ll have to buy it separately with the regular version. It’s a little bulky to use on the go and isn’t the cheapest accessory, priced at around $45. This accessory would also be better if the additional buttons were easier to reach, so perhaps a redesign is in order to make the cooler a little more ergonomic? Additionally, returning to bundling the cooler with all models next time around wouldn’t hurt either.
Alternatively, it would be great if the ROG Phone 6 came with an improved passive cooling system to improve temperatures without the need for accessories. To be fair to the ROG phone, Asus already includes a charging bypass mode and Wi-Fi optimizations designed to lower temperatures while gaming and prolong battery longevity. More of these neat ideas would continue to separate the phone from the competition.
An even better camera package
We liked the ROG Phone 5, in part, because it offers a solid main camera, especially for a gaming smartphone. However, the picture quality from the ultrawide lens and macro camera doesn’t keep pace with the primary snapper. Results from the ultrawide, in particular, could be quite poor, with noticeable distortion. A more robust all-around imaging package would certainly improve the ROG Phone 6’s general flagship credentials.
Similarly, the gimmicky 5MP macro camera could be removed entirely. It really doesn’t offer much in the way of utility but does add up on the bill of materials. Swapping this out for a telephoto zoom lens would offer much more flexibility, matching the capabilities of other phones in the ROG series’ price bracket. A package that more closely resembles the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders, Qualcomm’s phone based on the ROG Phone 5, might do the trick — although hopefully without the bugs and expensive price tag.
A more robust all-round camera package would boost the phone's flagship credentials.
We’re not going to demand industry-leading image quality — gaming is still this handset’s primary focus after all. But a more competitive and well-rounded camera package would certainly make the phone a better long-term investment for gamers and general users alike.
Features with finesse
The Asus ROG Phone 5 isn’t IP rated, doesn’t have wireless charging, and we described the in-display fingerprint scanner as unreliable at best. It’s a shame because we’ve come to expect these features from high-end smartphones that command $1,000 price tags.
With the gaming formula already down to a tee, Asus can afford to work on some features that would improve the phone’s more general use. Wireless charging is a great feature for topping up the battery throughout the day, while a best-in-class fingerprint scanner removes frustration when unlocking the phone. Likewise, a better selfie camera, an IP rating, lower weight, or even expandable storage all add value, especially at Asus’ higher price points. We’d settle for two out of the wish list as a decent improvement on the existing formula.
Read more: Asus ROG Phone 5 review — King of the hill
Addressing these would perfectly complement the already excellent stereo speakers, haptic feedback, and capacitive Air Triggers that make the ROG series such an excellent gaming phone.
Fewer models and variants
Asus sold five ROG Phone 5 models at launch — three different memory variants of the standard model, as well as the Pro and Ultra variants. Throw in a couple of the ROG Phone 5S models that sported an upgraded Snapdragon 888 Plus processor and there were seven different options to pick from at various points throughout 2021. I’d say that’s easily three or four too many and the range would benefit from a simplified portfolio.
For starters, I’d drop the 128GB storage option. That’s not really enough for a decent game and media collection these days anyway. Likewise, 18GB RAM in the Ultra model is overkill and probably doesn’t need to exist either, other than for bragging rights. It also seems a little silly that there are different rear display options for the standard, Pro, and Ultra variants. The price of that little secondary display is obviously a factor here, but it’s such a unique aspect of the ROG’s design that it should probably now be in or out of all the models going forward.
No phone needs to launch with five different variants.
I’d simplify the range down to three models, with RAM, storage, and perhaps camera configurations as the key separators. That’ll make it much easier for consumers to understand the differences, and should still allow Asus to reach price points above and below the $1,000 mark without compromising on the key gaming focus of the phone.
Asus’ ROG Phone 5 is a fine gaming package with only a few minor flaws, so we have high hopes for the next-gen model. A little more attention to some of the finer details would surely make the Asus ROG Phone 6 phone a knockout success.
What do you most want to see from the Asus ROG Phone 6? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comments below.