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(Pocket-lint) - There's a new ROG Phone in town and this time it means business. Continuing Asus' popular ROG Phone family, the ROG Phone 6 arrives in 2022 after we saw two options in 2021 - the ROG Phone 5 and the ROG Phone 5S.

With all these devices promising to deliver the best gaming experience, what exactly is the difference between them and which model should you be looking to buy?

Release date and price

  • ROG Phone 6 Pro: £1099
  • ROG Phone 6: £899
  • ROG Phone 5S Pro: £1099
  • ROG Phone 5S: £999 / €1099
  • ROG Phone 5 Ultimate: £1099 / €1299
  • ROG Phone 5 Pro: €1199
  • ROG Phone 5: £899 / €799

The ROG Phone 5 entered service in early 2021 with normal, Pro and Ultimate versions and was then followed by the ROG Phone 5S in November 2021. There's been rolling availability of these devices - and many versions, thanks to the different models and RAM options.

The ROG Phone 6 family was announced on 5 July 2022 and sticks to a similar pricing structure, with the ROG Phone 6 (12GB) from £899, the 16GB at £999 and the ROG Phone 6 Pro at £1099.

Not all versions are available in all regions.

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Design and build

  • ROG Phone 6: 172.83 x 77.25 x 10.39mm, 228g
  • ROG Phone 5S: 173 x 77 x 9.9mm, 239g
  • ROG Phone 5: 173 x 77 x 9.9mm, 239g

There's some consistency in the design and build of the ROG Phone devices. Starting with the ROG Phone 5 and the ROG Phone 5S there is no difference: these phones look the same, with the real differences being on the interior of the devices.

The size of the ROG Phone 6 models is the same again - although the ROG Phone 6 models are a little lighter. One advantage that the ROG Phone 6 offers is that it has an IPX4 waterproof rating, which the ROG Phone 5 doesn't offer.

The Pro models are different to the regular models because they have a different rear design. While all carry graphics and text, there's a Dot Display on the rear of the regular models, with the Pro getting the ROG Vision display.

This is true of all the Pro and Ultimate models (regardless of the family of devices), but the ROG Phone 6 Pro boosts this further offering more customisations and animations to make the phone your own.

The ROG Phone 6 also expands the camera housing so it's a larger part of the design.

Display

  • ROG Phone 6: 6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448 x 1080 resolution, 165Hz, 720Hz touch
  • ROG Phone 5S: 6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448 x 1080 resolution, 144Hz, 360Hz touch
  • ROG Phone 5: 6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448 x 1080 resolution, 144Hz, 360Hz touch

When it comes to the display there's a high degree of consistency across these devices. All the displays are the same size and resolution.

That's 6.78-inches with a 2448 x 1080 pixel resolution. All support HDR and in normal viewing we expect the experience to be much the same.

However, while the ROG Phone 5 and 5S are the same, the ROG Phone 6 models boost the display. There's now the option to lift the refresh rate to 165Hz, over the 144Hz offered on the older models.

That's also supported with a doubling of the touch sampling rate to 720Hz. This will ensure that your touches are detected even faster and with greater accuracy for reduced lag and improved performance in games.

So while the specs are much the same, the ROG Phone 6 devices will be better.

Hardware

  • ROG Phone 6: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 12-18GB RAM, 6,000mAh, 65W charging
  • ROG Phone 5S: Snapdragon 888+, 8-18GB RAM, 6,000mAh, 65W charging
  • ROG Phone 5: Snapdragon 888, 8-18GB RAM, 6,000mAh, 65W charging

There's consistency again in the internal hardware, but with an important step: the ROG Phone 6 models are powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

This is actually a couple of steps up over the ROG Phone 5 because Asus skipped the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 of early 2022 and went for the refreshed version instead - so it's rocking the latest hardware.

This is more powerful and more efficient than the older SD 888 variants the older devices sport, while it is also supported by an enhanced cooling system that's more effective, helping to keep the heat down during long gaming sessions to further ensure optimal performance.

ROG differentiates between devices with different RAM levels, offering 12 and 16GB options for the ROG Phone 6, while the Pro gets 18GB. This is similar for the older ROG Phones 5 and 5S too. There may be different versions available in different regions.

All devices have the same battery and this is a split cell, as the SoC sits in the centre of the phone. That means the battery is divided into two cells either side - and there's a total of 6000mAh in all these devices, designed to give you long gaming sessions.

This supports 65W charging (with a charger in the box) and there are two USB sockets on all these phones. This means you can charge via the side socket, which is easier to hold when gaming and charging at the same time.

There's also the option on all these phones to just power the phone and not charge the battery: again, this is designed to support gaming and keep heat under control.

In addition to the phone, there's a range of accessories you can get - and the good news is that the new AeroActive Cooler 6 will be available for both the ROG Phone 6 and 5/5S models, while the Kunai 3 Gamepad will work with all these phones - so there's no missing out.

Ultimately, the ROG Phone 6 models will be better performers because they have the newest hardware.

Cameras

  • ROG Phone 6: 50MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 12MP selfie
  • ROG Phone 5S: 64MP f/1.8 main, 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide, 5MP macro, 24MP selfie
  • ROG Phone 5: 64MP f/1.8 main, 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide, 5MP macro, 24MP selfie

When it comes to gaming phones, cameras aren't top of the list. While many flagship phones only talk about the camera, for a gaming phone, it's barely a passing mention.

The ROG Phone 5 and 5S have the exact same camera setup and the ROG Phone 6 isn't much different - although it's listed has moving to a 12-megapixel front camera instead of the 24-megapixel sensor on the previous models.

One difference is that the ROG Phone 6 moves to a Sony IMX766 for the main camera, over the IMX686 and this sees it move from 64-megapixels to 50-megapixels, but it offers a larger sensor area, so should bring with it a boost in main camera performance.

Conclusions

The ROG Phone is a dedicated phone for gaming, focusing on delivering optimised performance for those tasks - and supporting it with software features to help you focus on gaming. Everything, from the design of these phones to their use is gaming focused.

The big difference here is the core power. The ROG Phone 5 and 5S are only from 2021, but the ROG Phone 6, launching from the middle of 2022, has skipped a Snapdragon chip to jump further ahead. That's supported with a display that will be just about the same in daily use, but will offer gaming advantages with that faster touch sampling.

The tweak to the camera is just the icing on the cake, on a phone that should offer a better experience than those older models. It's also great that the price hasn't inflated over those 2021 models as they launch at the same prices as before.

Of course, the downside to all these phones is the limited software updates (2 years) compared to a mainstream device like Samsung (4 years).

Happy gaming!

Writing by Chris Hall.