While notches and bezels and, recently, elevating cameras have been the recent obsessions of the smartphone market, there was a brief period when they were eclipsed by what seemed to be a very niche line: gaming phones. From Razer to Xiaomi to ASUS to even Samsung, one manufacturer or another have put out or is rumored to put out a gaming-centric smartphone. It’s hard to deny, however, that the ASUS ROG Phone is perhaps the most curious one of all. And Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD, shares a hands-on of a working prototype that proves it’s more than just a gaming smartphone.
Of course, it is a gaming smartphone. The entire design of the device, from the aesthetics, especially the RGB lights, to the special software tools, are all geared towards an experience that ASUS’ Republic of Gamers fans are all too familiar with. That’s not to say, however, that is limited to gaming. In fact, one can probably say it is bloated with features that go beyond that use case.
It is, of course, an Android smartphone first and foremost, and a very premium one at that. In addition to high-end specs, you get the staples like fingerprint sensors and basic face recognition. You also have, however, fingerprint gestures, motion controls, gesture drawing on lock screens and even ASUS’ own animoji spin called, what else, ZenMoji. It also has squeezable sides which work both in regular smartphone mode and in gaming mode as “Air Triggers”.
It’s probably no understatement to say that the ASUS ROG Phone is overloaded with features, which brings up the question of who will buy such a niche device. Or more importantly, who will be able to afford one. That last bit, of course, depends on how much ASUS plans to charge for such a smartphone but you can bet it’s not going to be easily affordable.