The ROG Phone 6 and 6 Pro carry over a lot of the excellent display tech from the last gen ROG Phone 5 and 5s. No complaints there. The display still has a 6.78-inch diagonal, with a 20.4:9 aspect ratio and 2448x1080 pixel resolution. That works out to a crisp 395 ppi. Asus is still shopping at Samsung for its panels. This one is a Bespoke Panel from the Korean giant.
As we said, it is an excellent all-around display. Kicking things off with brightness and contrast, Asus claims that the panel has a range between 5 nits and 800 nits at an APL of 100, meaning when the entire screen is filled with content. And it can reach up to 1200 nits of max brightness in a 1% window.
In our standardized display testing, we got 501 nits of max brightness out of the ROG Phone 6 Pro in its standard display mode with 100% brightness on the slider. Max Auto brightness managed to put out a very respectable 829 nits. Neither figure is industry-leading but is more than plenty for a truly comfortable outdoor experience, even in sunlight.
Since this is an AMOLED, contrast is technically infinity, though Asus markets a more quantifiable figure of 1,000,000:1.
|Display test||100% brightness|
On to color rendition and accuracy then. The ROG Phone 6/6 Pro has many color modes to explore. Optimal is the default one, which seems to target the DCI-P3 color range, but has slightly boosted colors, particularly red and magenta. Natural tones down most of the colors but covers a slightly wider color range than Optimal. According to Asus marketing, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro is capable of 111.23% of the DCI-P3 color space and 150.89% of the sRGB one, which we have no reason to doubt.
Then there is Cinematic mode which basically nails the DCI-P3 color space with deltaE values well into what would be considered color accurate. Finally, Standard mode nails the sRGB color space about as well. You can also select the Customized option and tune the white point manually on top of being able to adjust color temperature in each mode.
The ROG Phone 6/6 Pro display has HDR10+ certification, which is great to see. In terms of content decoding, its software reports support got HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG, just missing Dolby Vision. HDR content looks really stunning on this capable panel in person.
The ROG Phone 6/6 Pro is also certified for the highest possible Widevine L1 DRM, allowing platforms like Netflix to offer it FullHD streams and fully saturate its resolution. It is worth noting that at the time of writing, the Netflix app refused to offer 4K streams while the phone was connected to a 4K external display. There was no HDR support on Netflix either. Both things could and probably change eventually as the phone goes out to customers, though, since Netflix operates its own per-device whitelists.
One of the more notable upgrades for the display of the ROG Phone this year is the 165Hz refresh rate, up from 144Hz in the ROG Phone 5/5s. It is accompanied by 720Hz touch sampling rate for the lowest possible input lag.
Asus engineers have never been satisfied with simply getting the fastest available hardware, though. Just like its predecessors, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro comes with extensive tuning to every part of the input and output chain from the display down to the bare metal, through the Android core and rendering pipeline and back to the display itself. This has allowed Asus to get the total end-to-end input latency on the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro down to a mere 23ms in 165Hz mode. Impressive stuff.
The ROG Phone 6/6 Pro generally handles its refresh rate in a very straightforward manner. Opening the display settings up, the user is presented with an extensive list of refresh rate modes that cover all of the modes the panel can operate at, as reported by the system - 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz, 165Hz and an Auto mode. Generally speaking, the higher the refresh rate, the more strain you put on the battery, so it is important to manage this setting properly.
Generally, the specific value options operate as simple hard switches. This means that if you select a particular refresh rate, you can generally expect the UI, as well as most of your apps and games, to run at that refresh rate, whether they can take advantage of it or not.
This might sound wasteful on the surface, and it kind of is, but it is also a far better approach in terms of actually understanding what mode of operation you are getting. The ROG Phone does not implement any smart automatic switching of refresh rates when told to operate at a given value, and that's the kind of straightforward simplicity we appreciate.
There are some niche cases where certain apps will break the firm refresh rate requirement set forward by the user, but these are generally expected and break said rule for good reason, like Google Maps, which forces 60Hz via its app manifest. Or some less explainable ones like AnTuTu benchmark 9 (but not AnTuTu 8) or the game Dead Trigger 2.
Speaking of games, we tried a selection of titles we know can operate at above 60fps and got most of them to behave properly and abide by our refresh rate selection. You can verify that using either the refresh rate counter from the Android developer options or the fps counter Asus provides for an actual fps reading to see how well the game is making use of your refresh rate "cap".
Since the ROG line is all about options and the ultimate gaming experience, it should be no surprise that you can set a custom refresh rate on a per-game basis using Armoury Crate. This means you can fine-tune your library to perfection to make the most of every game engine and not waste battery power in the process.
For any other general purpose usage of the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro, we would advise using the Auto refresh rate mode. It generally sticks to 120Hz while some motion is happening on screen and very quickly drops to 60Hz with a static on-screen image.
On top of that nifty auto logic, the ROG Phone is also smart enough to recognize when you are watching a video, be it local or online, with most apps and players out there, with some exceptions and then switch the refresh rate down to 60Hz - optimal for the battery.
All things considered and some occasional per-app bugs aside, we have very little to no complaints with the way Asus handles refresh rate on the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro.
A 6,000 mAh battery is sort of becoming the expected standard with ROG Phone users. Asus actually set the bar pretty high in yet another area with its ongoing attention to battery endurance and longevity combined.
The latest ROG Phone 6 meets expectations on both ends, just like its predecessor, since it borrows heavily from its approach to battery design while also iterating on it a bit further. Just like the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro has a total of 6,000 mAh worth of battery capacity, split into two symmetrical 3,000 mAh cells.
This works pretty well in conjunction with the center-PCB design for the internals and the matching cooling system. Everything is synergistically designed together in this manner.
Asus has another design trick also carried forward from last year - MMT battery technology and a double-wired split design. MMT stands for Middle Middle Tab and increases the energy density in a battery by charging it from the middle outwards instead of from the ends, which lowers impedance and temperature.
Lower temperatures allow higher wattage charging to be sustained for longer periods before entering trickle charge (constant voltage). So, technically, what Asus has done here is approaching the problem of tapering-off charging wattages in a different way, through MMT tech, in place of simply a larger single battery. Neat!
In fact, Asus claims that thanks to further improvements in overall cooling, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro manages its charging temps even better and tops off 10 minutes quicker than its predecessor. But more on that in a bit. Let's look at some actual endurance numbers first.
The ROG Phone 6 Pro scored an amazing total endurance rate of 119 hours. It did great across the board, both in on-screen and off-screen tests.
As a reminder, in accordance with our battery testing protocol, this result was achieved by doing the video playback test at 60Hz, whereas web testing was done at the highest possible 165Hz. Dropping down that particular test to 60Hz results in a web browser endurance of 18:53 hours - a nice uptick, but not huge in the grand scheme of things.
This is great proof that running the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro at its full 165Hz or at least in auto mode, which goes up to 120Hz in general use, isn't that wasteful in terms of battery life.
Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.
Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.
Not only is the ROG Phone 6 overall battery design carried forward from the ROG Phone 5/5s, but so is the 65W fast charging. It is in part enabled by the split design and MMT technology of the battery packs. Native charging on the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro goes by many names - Asus HyperCharge and Direct Charging. We are happy to see that Asus is still using standard USB Power Delivery tech to accomplish its charging - PD 3.0 + PPS, 3.3V - 21V and 3.0A. A pretty elegant system that is not only USB PD compliant but also only needs a standard 3A Type-C to Type-C cable instead of a beefier 5A one.
Asus advertises a charging rate of 0% to 100% in 42 minutes, or about 10 minutes faster than the ROG Phone 5/5s, mostly thanks to better overall thermal management. In our testing, we managed to get pretty much exactly that number, with the phone going from dead to 75% in 30 minutes with a full charge taking just over 42 minutes. That's really speedy.
Higher is better
Lower is better
Asus also takes battery care pretty seriously. This is not a newfound priority either, as previous ROG Phones have also enjoyed more than a few extensive options and features in this regard. Now with the ROG Phone 5, everything related to PowerMaster is merged and organized within the battery settings menu for added convenience.
Starting with the basics, there are quite a few System modes. A few predefined ones, which are also accessible through the Armoury Crate app, since they do a lot more than just weak your battery profile and behavior, but basically, with X Mode, you get the fewest restrictions on battery usage, followed by Dynamic, which is the sort-of default one you are meant to use on a daily basis and then Ultra durable is your battery saver.
The Ultra Durable mode can also be activated on a schedule, which is neat for off-hours. We have to note that we are missing the in-depth Advanced system mode, which used to be a thing on the ROG Phone 5/5s and offered some in-depth settings to control. We guess Asus decided to simplify things a bit.
Beyond this there is also a dedicated Battery care menu. Custom charging limit is a pretty common and well-known feature in the laptop realm. Basically, it allows you to limit the time your battery spends at 100% charge, which is a detrimental state for it in the long-term and have the phone stop charging automatically at say 90% or 80%.
While keeping a battery pinned at full charge for prolonged periods is bad, the biggest battery killer is likely the heat. A faster charging rate usually means more heat. Hence the inclusion of the Steady charging option. It allows you to effectively cap the charging rate to lower wattage and choose longevity over a faster top-off. There are three levels of Steady Charging to choose from - Steady and Ultra Steady with increasingly lower wattage caps. Again, Asus used to have a third option here as well, which seems to be removed for simplicity.
You can also combine Steady Charging and the Custom Charging limit with Scheduled charging. As the name suggests, it is a system that charges your battery intelligently on a curve so that it does not stay pinned at 100%, constantly trickle charging for hours. Especially convenient for overnight charging and includes options such as end time by alarm, do not disturb, airplane mode and turning off the battery led indicator.
Audio has always been just as much of a top priority for Asus as visuals and general performance. Figures seeing how it is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of a multimedia experience to truly nail down. Living up to its pedigree, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro has two large, symmetrical, front-facing stereo speakers at its disposal.
Asus lovingly refers to the entirety of its audio setup as GameFX, but that name shouldn't fool you since there is a lot more to like here in general audio quality and prowess beyond just gaming-centric features.
Let's start with the hardware first. Each one of the two speakers is a 5-magnet, 12x16 Super Linear Speaker, with a max excursion of 0.8mm. That number might not sound like a lot to any audiophile out there, but remember the kinds of space constraints Asus is working with. Each one of these speakers is connected to its own dedicated Cirrus Logic CS35L45 mono amplifier.
This hardware, alongside all of the special tuning Asus did alongside Swedish experts Dirac results in one of the cleanest and loudest audio outputs from mobile speakers around. Just like the Rog Phone 5/5s and the ROG Phone 3 before, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro is a bit quieter in tests compared to its older predecessors.
What you should really be focusing on, however, is the impressive nature of its frequency response. If you want to just get more dB out of it, disregarding any quality degradation, you could achieve that. For instance, there the ROG Phone 6 specifically includes an option to boost volume for incoming calls, when it could, in fact, matter, to screeching high levels.
Covering the other bit of audio hardware - the 3.5mm audio jack gets to benefit from the Hi-Res Audio (HRA) certification of the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro. That means it can process and play audio files at 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz and output that to a compatible Hi-Res Audio certified output device.
The ROG Phone 6/6 Pro's audio prowess goes way beyond hardware. A couple of years back, Asus partnered with Dirac to leverage their audio platform's unique customizability. This has been carried forward to the ROG Phone 6, as well. You still get all of the systems and behind-the-scenes algorithms as last year, only this time better and improved.
Let's start the software tour with AudioWizard, which is the centralized audio hub on the ROG Phone 6/ 6 Pro.
It offers access to a 10-band equalizer, as well as a total of four pre-made modes: Dynamic, Music, Cinema and Game. Music is meant for general use, Cinema has a slightly wider sound stage and enhances bass and vocals. Game mode has the widest sound stage of the bunch and enhances small sounds like footsteps and high frequencies for a better spatial location.
Finally, there is Dynamic mode, which intelligently switches between Music and Game modes depending on whether Game genie - the Asus in-game overlay is active or not. Our audio tests were done using the default Dynamic mode.
There is truly a lot that Asus and DIRAC have crammed under the GameFX umbrella, so let's start with a few things that are new and improved, particularly for the later ROG Phone 6/6 Pro generation and then go through some of the tech carried forward.
A big chunk of the press materials now talk about Dirac Virtuo, which mostly seems to revolve around better spatial audio.
It brings a total of three things to the table. A better center image with more dynamics promises to pick up and enhance "center stage" content better in particular by delivering better sound location and separation, higher contrast and quality and depth to bass in particular. That better spatial sound separation is also leveraged in game mode to better image things like footsteps and their location relative to the user. Finally, the bass notes should sound more natural and better isolated and clean, thanks to better spatial audio.
As for older and incrementally-improved audio systems being carried forward, we should start with MIMO, which stands for Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output. In short, it is a system traditionally found in luxury automobiles that treats a stereo speaker system as one unified system and co-optimizes its summed impulse and frequency response instead of dealing with each speaker in isolation.
This approach has allowed for MIMO Crosstalk cancellation - a system that adjusts the perceived spacing between the left and right speakers and tries to achieve better stereo separation, despite the physical proximity of the drivers. This is done by dynamically creating an inverted signal from each speaker and feeding it through the other with the right delay and phase.
We were particularly impressed by the Bass enhancement technology. By definition, true bass relies on large speaker volume and moving a large quantity of air. These things are outside the reach of a mobile speaker system, even one as beefy as the ROG Phone's. The proposed solution here relies on psychoacoustics. It's a fairly complex process of adding specific over-tones to the output of the speaker that extend the perceived bass tone by two octaves. In simpler terms, your brain is tricked into perceiving a 33% wider frequency range than what the physical speakers can output (16,000 - 234 Hz, enhanced to 16,000 - 58Hz), with only a small drop-off in volume as a tradeoff.
The key thing to note here is that the increase is just in perceived bass. That means that the tech works better in certain situations than others and is more convincing to some people than others. It is something hard to put into words, but when it works, you can swear that that kind of low-frequency, deep bass sound cannot possibly be coming from a smartphone speaker.
Bass enhancement technology can be experienced on a system-wide level. The same goes for Impulse response correction, which tries its best to clean up impulse frequency response and limit sound tapering-off effects so they don't interfere with other sounds. The same goes for Frequency response correction, which tries to balance and smooth-out frequency responses across the board.