This is the first clip-on Peltier cooler that does not require a power source.Following the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, ASUS opted to forego Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in favour of the more efficient 8+ Gen 1, ushering in the new ROG Phone 6 series over a year after the 5s. In a nutshell, this beastly gaming phone is distinguished by its faster 165Hz 6.78-inch display, 720Hz touch sampling rate, up to 18GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, larger 6,000mAh battery, expanded internal cooling system, and IPX4 splash resistance, in addition to its useful ultrasonic triggers and proven audio performance by Dirac. The biggest noticeable difference, though, is in the redesigned clip-on cooler, which now includes a thermoelectric chip while still requiring no additional power.
This new AeroActive Cooler 6 is notably larger than the previous model, thanks in part to larger, more ergonomic physical buttons – there are now four of them instead of just two. It also includes a larger kickstand that swings out from the bottom (though this is optional), and a spring-loaded clamp at the top to secure (and activate) the cooler. When the phone is placed, the new Peltier cooling chip is sandwiched between the fan and a huge piece of copper plate, and there’s also a humidity sensor nearby to assist in minimise condensation.
In the updated Armoury Crate app’s console, you can toggle between four cooling modes: “Smart” is basically automatic, “Cool” is fan only, “Frosty” is fan plus Peltier chip, and “Frozen” is pushing the Peltier chip to the limit, but this is only available when external power is plugged into the cooler. ASUS says that in “Frozen” mode, the AeroActive Cooler 6 can reduce the surface temperature of the ROG Phone 6 by up to 25 degrees Celsius. The cold air pouring out of the two sides is a welcome relief for gamers with sweaty palms (like me).
Furthermore, the company provided statistics from more realistic conditions. The “Frosty” mode dropped the phone’s surface temperature from 44.8 degrees Celsius to 37.2 degrees Celsius during a 60-minute session in the notoriously resource-intensive Genshin Impact (at 60Hz), while “Frozen” mode reduced it even more by one degree. In “Frosty” mode, the ROG Phone 6 allegedly maintained an average frame rate of 59.7 fps while remaining cool at 37.2 degrees Celsius, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max allegedly achieved a lower 56.8 fps but a higher 46.3 degrees Celsius, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra allegedly only managed 47.3 fps while remaining cool at 47.9 degrees Celsius. This highlights the significance of cooling in maintaining a steady frame rate over time.
Unfortunately, the AeroActive Cooler 6 — along with its own bumper case — is an optional attachment for the ROG Phone 6 series, so you’ll have to spend extra on this useful piece of equipment. However, there is some good news for current fans: ASUS plans to develop a variation of this attachment for the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, which will use the traditional pogo pins rather than the USB-C side connector. The exact release date will be disclosed later.
The ROG Phone 6 series is divided into two models: the standard ROG Phone 6 and the higher-end ROG Phone 6 Pro, with the main difference being that the latter has a small “ROG Vision” PMOLED display on the back for displaying customizable animation graphics rather than just an RGB-illuminated ROG logo. The Pro has up to 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM instead of simply 16GB. The Pro has a “trade-off,” if you will, in that it only comes in “Storm White,” whereas the normal model also comes in “Phantom Black.” Except for the differing camera module arrangement, “ROG Vision” location, and printed graphics, the two ROG Phone 6 models are nearly identical to their immediate predecessors, even sharing the same glass screen protector and ROG Clip controller.
The modular Kunai 3 Gamepad, which is now available in both white and black, has been given a new lease of life in the form of a bumper built for the ROG Phone 6. If you already own this controller from the ROG Phone 3 or 5, all you need is the updated bumper to attach these Joy-Con-like sticks. Alternatively, you can just insert them into the same old gamepad handle and connect the complete assembly wirelessly through Bluetooth.
The ROG Phone 6 has a new (supposedly better) primary camera with a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor, as well as a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. On the other hand, the tiny Zenfone 8 has a 12-megapixel selfie camera with a Sony IMX663 sensor. The main back camera can take videos at high to 8K@24fps, although I expect most users will stick with 4K@60fps to get the best of both worlds.
The ROG Phone 6 runs Android 12 with ROG UI (you can switch to the less showy Zen UI), and ASUS promises at least two major OS upgrades and at least two years of security patches. There’s the standard Armoury Crate app for accessing your game collection, as well as the console for configuring your system lighting, the back “ROG Vision” panel (6 Pro only, of course), and AirTriggers, and more. Swiping in from any of the two top corners of the screen while in either position will bring up the revamped “Game Genie” dashboard. You may instantly change the screen frame rate, key mapping, screen recording, performance modes, do not disturb, crosshair, and other settings from here.
The new AirTriggers 6 now allows you to map up to 14 specific touchpoints, and you get a total of nine input methods with these two ultrasonic buttons, including the new “press and lift” — basically, toggling one set of actions when pressing down on the trigger and another set of actions when lifting from the trigger. However, casual gamers like me will most likely stick to the standard touch (to fire) and maybe slide controls (to reload). In Armoury Crate, you may also map motion gestures to touch spots if necessary.
A bumper case and a 65W USB-PD charger are included with the ROG Phone 6 series (which takes just 42 minutes for a full charge). In terms of availability, ASUS has only revealed that the ROG Phone 6 series will start at €999 (about $1,000) in Europe for the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage combination, whilst the ROG Phone 6 Pro will only have one version: 18GB RAM with 512GB storage for €1,299 (approximately $1,300). Prices and models will undoubtedly range among nations, so stay tuned for more information.