June 4, 2018 // 5:35 p.m.
Asus has used Computex 2018 to officially announce the long-awaited ROG Phone, a new smartphone with a clear focus on gaming. At the same time, it has also announced the ROG Delta gaming headset and two new gaming laptops: the ROG Strix Hero II and ROG Strix Scar II.
Starting with the ROG Phone, Asus claims that it is consistently the fastest model in a range of benchmarks. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform with a Kryo CPU speed-binned to 2.96GHz. It has an integrated 3D vapour chamber cooler, and also ships with an accessory called the Aeroactive Cooler that plugs in and actively cools the back of the handset. The 6” AMOLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. The resolution is described as FullHD+, so it’s greater than 1080p, but the exact resolution hasn’t been confirmed. It’s also a HDR display, achieving a claimed 108 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 spectrum. Ultrasonic air triggers along the top edge (when held in landscape mode) mean that four-finger gameplay is possible without having to have physical buttons. The battery comes in at 4,000 mAH, but battery life estimations have not been offered. Pricing and availability is also still to be confirmed.
To support the ROG Phone, Asus is making available a series of docking accessories to allow for playing in different ways. The Twinview dock incorporates a second screen, proper shoulder buttons, and an additional battery. The second screen can be used for things like Twitch e.g. to monitor the chat of your streaming session. Asus says it is also working with developers to offer in-game functionality. The Mobile Desktop dock allows you to connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor so that you can play games as you would on a traditional desktop PC. Finally, the WiGig device and accompanying controller (which attaches to the phone) allow you to hook the phone up to a TV and play it via a wireless connection for a more console-like experience. As with the phone, pricing and availability for the docks hasn’t been confirmed.
Next, the laptops. The ROG Hero II is geared towards MOBA players, while the ROG Scar II is aimed at those who prefer FPS games. It’s a small difference, really coming down to which keys are highlighted (QWER or WASD respectively) on the mechanical keyboard, which has four-zone RGB lighting (Asus Aura Sync supported) and n-key rollover. The chassis has a two-tone contrasting brushed metal finish and a new RGB light bar along the front edge. The border around the screen has been reduced by 2.33cm compared to the original models, resulting in a lower overall footprint. The 14” display is a FullHD (1080p) IPS panel with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. The lid is designed so as to not block the rear exhaust vents when opened, and the cooling system has seen a number of upgrades such as extra cladding on the heat pipes, improved fans, and ulltrathin 0.1mm fins.
The specifications will vary, but the ROG Hero II and ROG Scar II will sport 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics, up to 32GB of DDR4 at 2,666MHz, and up to 512GB of NVMe M.2 storage. A 1TB Seagate SSHD is an optional extra. Pricing and availability have not been confirmed.
Lastly, the ROG Delta is a new stereo gaming headset with RGB lighting on the earcups. This lighting can of course be customised through Aura Sync, but, in a revolutionary move, Asus has included a button so that you can turn the lights off. Now that’s what I call progress! The ESS 9218 Quad DAC is used, and Asus has achieved a 127dB signal-to-noise ratio with this. Virtual 7.1 surround sound is supported, too. The detachable cable is a USB Type-C one, but an adpator is supplied for those that don’t have one. Again, pricing and availability is unknown at this stage, but we did get a ballpark figure of $200 excluding tax from a nearby Asus product manager.