One of the most interesting smartphones of the year is finally about to ship. And, no, we don’t mean the iPhone Xs, though that’s definitely interesting, too. At least in the niche market of gaming smartphones, the ASUS ROG Phone probably takes the cake in design, functionality, and ambition. After months of waiting, ASUS is finally ready to start selling the smartphone, at least in Taiwan and the details are as crazy as the phone itself. ASUS’ review “kit” for media includes so many thing that the entire package have to be shipped in a suitcase.
Granted, not everyone will buy everything, especially with these prices. But if they do, they will be able to get everything into that specially-designed suitcase, which is also being sold separately it seems. It might seem like overkill as far as smartphones go, but this is the exact kind of branding that PC gamers demand and the exact kind of marketing ASUS’ Republic of Gamers knows only too well.
Even the ROG Phone itself comes in an unconventional box. More like a prism tube, actually. The packaging unfolds into three segments, with the ROG Phone ironically occupying the smallest amount of space.
The accessories all bear that iconic black and red branding. Included in ePrice’s package is the TwinView dual screen “game pad”. With the phone sitting on the upper half and a second screen below, gamers are offered an extended view of a game. At least for games that support that mode.
The desktop base is the ASUS ROG Phone’s version of Samsung DeX. At the moment, it’s still known what it will offer in terms of productivity. It’s really more about being able to play mobile games with mouse and keyboard or watching on a larger screen.
And then there’s the partners in crime, the WiGig wireless base and the custom-designed GameVice controller. This is ASUS’ “answer” to the Nintendo Switch, letting you play on the big screen from the comfort of your couch.
Given all the features and addons, it should be no surprise that the ROG Phone ecosystem isn’t going to be cheap. The smartphone itself will cost 31,990 NT$ ($1,038) for the standard 512 GB model, with a lower 128 GB version coming next month for 26,990 NT$ ($875). All the accessories, including a protective case, a 5-in-1 USB-C dock, and the suitcase, is being offered for a promo total of 29,990 NT$ ($973), bringing the total to 61,980 NT$ ($2,000), at least for a limited time.