Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review

GSMArena Team, 05 July 2022.

Synthetic benchmarks

Having the latest and greatest chipset around is already expected of ROG Phones as they aim to constantly be at the top of the mobile gaming scene.

Asus sources the most tricked-out versions of the current top-tier chipsets, and since its competitors have access to the same hardware, then they also enhance the experience in other supplementary ways.

This year, the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro comes out just in time to get the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 on board. This should avoid the need for any confusing refreshes like the ROG Phone 5s last year, which came out mere months after the ROG Phone 5 just so that it can ship with the Snapdragon 888+ instead of the regular Snapdragon 888.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

So, what's the big deal with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 anyway, and how is it better than the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 1? Well, both use essentially the same core design and components, but Qualcomm switched from Samsung's 4nm 4LPE manufacturing process in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to TSMC's 4nm N4 process for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

TSMC's process apparently makes for more efficient silicon, up to 30% if Asus' numbers are to be believed.

The extra headroom also allowed the push to higher clock speeds. The CPU configuration is 1x 3.2 GHz Kryo Prime (Cortex-X2 based) + 3x 2.75 GHz Kryo Gold (Cortex-A710 based) + 4x 2.0 GHz Kryo silver (Cortex-A510 based), which is a small clock bump across the board and the same goes for the Adreno 730 GPU, which now runs at 900 MHz. Again, according to Asus numbers, this results in about 10% better performance overall in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

But anyone who opts for the same chipset is going to have the same hardware benefits. What Asus is putting extra effort into is the thermal management solution as well as the way it has implemented the chipset from a user standpoint, making it uniquely "open". For example, you can tweak the thermal behavior of various components of the system. In other words, how far you would like to push your maximum and sustained internal temps. Depending on how well you do it, it can ultimately get you better peak and/or sustained performance since thermal constraints are the main limiting factor within a closed passive or semi-passive with the AeroActive Cooler 6 system, such as the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

Transitioning into some actual synthetic benchmarks, we made sure to run all of our tests at the default Dynamic mode, X Mode, as well as X Mode+, which only gets unlocked and substitutes the regular X Mode when you attach the AeroActive Cooler 6 to the ROG Phone 6 Pro.

We've left all of the other in-depth tuning sliders on default, cooled the phone between runs and had the AeroActive Cooler 5 manually set to max for those tests. For thoroughness, we will reiterate that we are testing the 18GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB UFS 3.1 SSD storage ROG Phone 6 Pro model. With the methodology out of the way, we can kick things off with GeekBench and a pure CPU test.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    4706
  • Realme GT Neo3
    4079
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    3980
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    3889
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    3855
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    3845
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    3682
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    3672
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    3667
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    3665
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    3658
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    3657
  • Xiaomi 12
    3652
  • Poco F4 GT
    3637
  • OnePlus 10R
    3564
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    3521
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    3512
  • vivo X80 Pro
    3505
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    3433
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    3403
  • Oppo Find X5
    3331
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    3145
  • vivo X70 Pro
    2956
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    2831
  • Oppo Reno7 Pro 5G
    2691
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    2659
  • Poco X3 GT
    2310

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    1741
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    1329
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    1300
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    1251
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    1246
  • Poco F4 GT
    1244
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    1196
  • Xiaomi 12
    1187
  • vivo X80 Pro
    1184
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    1180
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    1176
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    1175
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    1175
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    1169
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    1160
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    1127
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    1117
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    1110
  • Oppo Find X5
    1110
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    1105
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    1042
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    1002
  • Realme GT Neo3
    968
  • OnePlus 10R
    881
  • vivo X70 Pro
    875
  • Oppo Reno7 Pro 5G
    815
  • Poco X3 GT
    693

It comes as no surprise that when operating at its peak "pedal to the metal" performance, the ROG Phone 6 Pro manages chart-topping burst performance scores. However, what is way more interesting to note and explain is the huge difference or, more specifically, the drop in benchmark scores that occurs when performance mode is turned off. That is not an oversight or mistake by any means. On the contrary, that's ASUS' careful tuning at play.

The ROG Phone 6 Pro, like any good gaming device, is set up for the "long game" when it comes to performance, quite literally. The idea isn't to necessarily push the hardware to the edge out of the gate and then aggressively thermal-throttle. Instead, performance is moderated intelligently according to the current load so as to be sustained without stutters for the longest possible time.

The same general trend is also visible in AnTuTu scores, which is a much more compound benchmark that considers things like memory size and performance and has GPU tests. It is worth mentioning that for some reason, AnTuTu 9 ran its GPU testing in 60Hz mode on the ROG Phone 6 Pro, whereas AnTuTu 8 was perfectly happy to do so in 165Hz mode. We can't say for sure whether or how much that affected results.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    973756
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    876704
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    793876
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    753871
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    743021
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    737677
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    734067
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    630726
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    585485
  • Oppo Reno7 Pro 5G
    550659
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    539699
  • Poco X3 GT
    506800

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    1103188
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    1094300
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    1056511
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    1056488
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    1012896
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    1007133
  • vivo X80 Pro
    1002570
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    985226
  • Xiaomi 12
    985115
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    980755
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    968359
  • Poco F4 GT
    952124
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    941895
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    940400
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    844901
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    838832
  • Realme GT Neo3
    819348
  • Oppo Find X5
    810715
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    801691
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    786215
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    762090
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    761334
  • OnePlus 10R
    759929
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    735588
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    719815
  • vivo X70 Pro
    694499
  • Poco X3 GT
    578505

If high benchmark scores are what you are after, turn on X Mode, and you can get all the bragging rights in front of your friends. Turning it off results in a much more "laid-back" performance profile that still has plenty of "oomph" to drive a smooth everyday experience while also sparing the battery and keeping the phone as cool as possible.

For better or worse, this "tempered" approach to performance, prioritizing long-term instead of short-term results, is also present in GPU-related tasks.

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    61
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    61
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    61
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    59
  • Xiaomi 12
    59
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    58
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    58
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    58
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    51
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    43
  • Realme GT Neo3
    42
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    40
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    40
  • Oppo Find X5
    40
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    39
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    39
  • OnePlus 10R
    39
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    36
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    35
  • vivo X80 Pro
    34
  • vivo X70 Pro
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    30
  • Poco X3 GT
    29
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    28
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    27

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    46
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    43
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    43
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    41
  • Xiaomi 12
    41
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    41
  • vivo X80 Pro
    41
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    40
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    40
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    39
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    37
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    32
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    31
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    31
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    28
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    28
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    28
  • Realme GT Neo3
    27
  • Oppo Find X5
    27
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    26
  • OnePlus 10R
    26
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    22
  • vivo X70 Pro
    21
  • Poco X3 GT
    20

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    64
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    64
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    63
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    61
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    60
  • Xiaomi 12
    59
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    55
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    46
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    45
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    45
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    45
  • Realme GT Neo3
    43
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    42
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    42
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    42
  • OnePlus 10R
    39
  • Oppo Find X5
    38
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    37
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    36
  • vivo X80 Pro
    34
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    29
  • vivo X70 Pro
    29
  • Poco X3 GT
    28
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    26
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    26

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    51
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    50
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    48
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    48
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    45
  • Xiaomi 12
    45
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    45
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    44
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    44
  • vivo X80 Pro
    37
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    36
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    36
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    35
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    34
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    32
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    31
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    31
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    31
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    30
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    30
  • Oppo Find X5
    30
  • Realme GT Neo3
    28
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    26
  • OnePlus 10R
    26
  • vivo X70 Pro
    20
  • Poco X3 GT
    19

Unlike the CPU cores, which are more than happy to switch to a more aggressive CPU governor with the basic X Mode the GPU mostly seems to allow itself to ramp up fully when the ROG Phone 6 Pro has the AeroActive Cooler 6 attached an is in X Mode+.

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    82
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    79
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    79
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    79
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    78
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    77
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    77
  • Xiaomi 12
    75
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    74
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    69
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    60
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    59
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    59
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    58
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    58
  • Oppo Find X5
    55
  • Realme GT Neo3
    53
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    46
  • vivo X80 Pro
    44
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    44
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    44
  • OnePlus 10R
    42
  • vivo X70 Pro
    40
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    39
  • Poco X3 GT
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    37

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    121
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    103
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    102
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    101
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    97
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    97
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    96
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    96
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    95
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    94
  • vivo X80 Pro
    90
  • Xiaomi 12
    84
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    79
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    76
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    76
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    72
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    71
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    71
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    70
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    70
  • Oppo Find X5
    69
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    64
  • Realme GT Neo3
    60
  • OnePlus 10R
    48
  • vivo X70 Pro
    45
  • Poco X3 GT
    44

This is not a universally applicable behavior but does seem to be the prevalent one and we are willing to scorn Asus for the choice, since it means that in order to truly get the most out of the ROG Phone 6 Pro you need to have an optional accessory in the AeroActive Cooler 6.

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    147
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    146
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    140
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    120
  • Xiaomi 12
    117
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    111
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    108
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    107
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    103
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    103
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    102
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    102
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    100
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    86
  • vivo X80 Pro
    82
  • vivo X70 Pro
    77
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    72
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    72
  • Poco X3 GT
    68
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    65
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    60
  • Realme GT Neo3
    60
  • Oppo Find X5
    60
  • OnePlus 10R
    59
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    58

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    165
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    163
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    161
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    144
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    142
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    136
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    130
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    128
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    128
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    128
  • Xiaomi 12
    121
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    120
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    119
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    117
  • vivo X80 Pro
    113
  • vivo X70 Pro
    108
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    108
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    104
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    100
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    100
  • Poco X3 GT
    97
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    60
  • Realme GT Neo3
    60
  • Oppo Find X5
    60
  • OnePlus 10R
    59

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    180
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    178
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    174
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    171
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    168
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    167
  • Xiaomi 12
    164
  • vivo X80 Pro
    164
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    162
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    160
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    134
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    134
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    126
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    120
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    120
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    120
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    117
  • Oppo Find X5
    115
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    114
  • Realme GT Neo3
    111
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    110
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    109
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    99
  • OnePlus 10R
    95
  • vivo X70 Pro
    85
  • Poco X3 GT
    74

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
    267
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode+)
    263
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 7
    263
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    256
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro
    251
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro
    249
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
    244
  • Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
    241
  • Xiaomi 12
    236
  • vivo X80 Pro
    226
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro (X Mode)
    211
  • Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
    204
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
    186
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1440p)
    182
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (1080p)
    172
  • Oppo Find X5
    169
  • Realme GT Neo3
    168
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode)
    166
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro (X Mode + FAN)
    166
  • Honor Magic4 Pro
    162
  • OnePlus 10R
    159
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
    154
  • Huawei P50 Pro
    149
  • Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro
    144
  • vivo X70 Pro
    129
  • Poco X3 GT
    116

Just to be clear and to Asus' credit, though, synthetic benchmarks are far from the be all and end all when it comes to performance. They are just the only feasible way for us to visualize how a phone handles what is essentially a burst, relatively short load. ASUS clearly tuned the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro for sustained long-term performance. And that's something that sadly we can't really properly test with benchmarks.

In case you are wondering where the 3DMark tests are, the ROG Phone 6 Pro scored the maximum possible result in both Slingshot Extreme and Wild Life, which are currently the ones in our testing roster.

Thermal-throttling behavior

The closest we can get to lengthy load testing on a mobile device is running "torture" burnout tests and monitoring thermal-throttling and performance over time. Naturally, we couldn't skip doing that for the ROG Phone 6 Pro in all three of its performance profiles.

Starting with the regular one (X Mode off), we can see a rather bleak performance chart at first glance. In its default state, the ROG Phone 6 Pro seems to be tuned to aggressively drop down its overall performance and prioritize lower heat output and longer battery life, and a stable, though much lower, performance level.

Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review
Thermal throttling with X Mode disabled

There is no shame in that. Even with its raw performance severely cut down, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 has more than plenty left to drive an incredibly smooth UI experience and chew through everyday tasks. Plus, there are no sudden jarring drops in the chart, and the loss in performance is clearly intentional and deliberate rather than the result of thermal throttling. If nothing else, that is further proven by the fact that even after an hour of CPU Throttling test, our ROG Phone 6 Pro unit remained pretty comfortable to hold.

You are meant to game in X Mode, which Asus makes clear as day by even automatically enabling X Mode once you start practically any game and even most benchmarks. In this mode performance, loss over time is much less. The phone's surface gets very toasty and even unpleasant to touch after around 20 minutes of sustained load. Particularly the middle metal frame. But that's the price that needs to be paid for passively keeping the internals as cool as possible.

Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review
Thermal throttling with X Mode enabled

Of course, there is the massive "party trick" the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro has in the form of the optional AeroActive Cooler accessory. It has always been a stable of the ROG Phone line though this generation it is massively redesigned to include an active peltier cooling element on the inside. The difference is immediately noticeable, particularly on the surface of the phone.

We ran this final throttling test with the AeroActive Cooler 6 set to the maximum "Frozen" setting, which blasts the peltier and the fan as hard as possible and even requires external power. We also ensured that the phone was at 100% charge to eliminate any additional heat output from battery charging, essentially giving the ROG Phone 6 Pro the best-case scenario for thermals.

Thermal throttling with X Mode+ enabled and AeroActive Cooler 6 on Frozen - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode+ enabled and AeroActive Cooler 6 on Frozen - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode+ enabled and AeroActive Cooler 6 on Frozen - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Thermal throttling with X Mode+ enabled and AeroActive Cooler 6 on Frozen - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review
Thermal throttling with X Mode+ enabled and AeroActive Cooler 6 on Frozen

The results were a phone that remained perfectly comfortable to hold even after an hour of torture and impressively little performance loss. Both are impressive achievements, but we can't help but recall the old ROG Phone 5 and the fact that it managed to not thermal throttle at all in similar favorable conditions. And that's with the old AeroActive cooler without a peltier on board.

So, whether it is a difference in tuning or the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is simply that much hotter and harder to handle, we are kind of left feeling like the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro takes a tiny step back compared to its predecessor in the cooling department. It is still massively impressive in the grand scheme of things and still deserves plenty of praise.

AeroActive Cooler 6

Asus totally redesigned the AeroActive cooler optional accessory this year. So much so that it arguably constitutes the most radical change the ROG Phone 6/6 Pro as a whole ecosystem brings over last year's models. Failing that, this is unquestionably the biggest overhaul the AeroActive accessory has had to date. We are mostly referring to the fact that there is now an active peltier cooling element inside the thing.

But before we get to that, let's talk about design first for a bit. The AeroActive Cooler 6 is a beefy piece of hardware compared to its predecessors.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review Left to right: ROG Phone 3 • ROG Phone 6 Pro • ROG Phone 5 Pro

It has experienced a significant growth spurt, mostly due to the extra internal hardware. The design is still very aggressive and "gamery" with bold, strong lines and geometric shapes. The cooler now relies solely on a single Type-C connection to the phone, which it then passes through to its own female USB port entirely transparently, so all of the features continue functioning as intended (charging, HDMI out).

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

While on the topic of attachment, it is achieved via a spring-loaded latch mechanism that now has a button to release and a ratchet mechanism to close back up. The fit is very snug, and putting the cooler on and taking it off are much improved. We personally had major issues with the old POGO pin design with one of the pins actually snapping off, so this change is appreciated and necessary.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

In case you were wondering what happens to the power button once the AeroActive Cooler 6 goes on, Asus thought of that and have added a piece of flexible rubber to "extend" the button outward, making it still usable. There is also a bumper case for the phone that comes with the AeroActive Cooler 6 in the same box and is naturally compatible with it.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

Continuing with other functional bits on the device, it now has four physical, programmable AirTrigger buttons, up from two in last year's model. These feel great and are actually omnidirectional, which is great in practice. It means you can essentially press them in any spot you want and in any "direction," so to say.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

The AeroActive Cooler 6 has its own RGB lighting, which illuminates and shines through the middle transparent plastic bit. Once the accessory is on, this lighting will use the System lighting settings you already have dialed in for the RGB lights on the back of the phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

By the way, while this transparent plastic bit looks great while illuminated, we really don't like the plastic itself. It scratches really easily and just looks ugly once that inevitably happens. But that's nitpicking.

The last functional bit is an extendable kickstand. This time, it comes up from the bottom of the AeroActive Cooler and generally does a great job supporting the phone. Its angle is not adjustable or anything fancy like that. You just get one setting.

On to functionality, then. You can see a handy blowout of the AeroActive Cooler 6 below.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

It is really easy to understand what is generally going on - the cooler sits on the back of the phone, covering its "hot spot" in the middle, where the centrally-mounted PCB resides. There is a thermally conductive pad, a copper plate, some radiators, and a fan. Technically, however, the design is not meant to pull heat away from the back of the phone but rather actively cool it.

That's what the new "special sauce" is, and it all comes down to that peltier element, sometimes called a TEC. It is a thermoelectric piece that takes a current and then uses that to make one of its sides cold and the other hot. So what is actually happening is that the AeroActive Cooler 6 is actively cooling down the back of the phone while the radiator and fan are actively cooling off and pulling heat off of the TEC's hot side.

AeroActive Cooler 6 settings - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review AeroActive Cooler 6 settings - ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review
AeroActive Cooler 6 settings

The AeroActive Cooler 6 actually has its own settings menu within Armoury Crate, which, among other things, lets the user choose between four modes of operation. Smart is a sort of auto that monitors thermals and decides how much to power the fan and the peltier. Cool mode just uses the fan to dissipate heat without turning on the peltier. Frosty and Frozen modes have both the fan and the peltier working. The first one has the peltier working with a lower current. Basically, as much as the phone can provide via its Side port. Hence, Asus' claims that the AeroActive Cooler 6 is the first wireless active cooling solution with a peltier around, which could very well be true. Xiaomi, for instance, has a similar accessory, but it relies on external power. So does the AeroActive cooler to run at its top Frozen mode.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

Just a couple more thoughts regarding the AeroActive Cooler before we move on - there is a humidity sensor on board, which as far as we managed to gather is there to monitor surrounding conditions and detect any excess condensation. Peltier elements are really prone to condensation.

And finally, the fan in the AeroActive Cooler 6 is loud and very much audible. Worse still, our unit constantly changes its rpm up and down while working in pretty much any setting other than Frozen. This is really distracting, and the fan curve should be tuned better and less aggressively with an update if it is the intended retail behavior.

Update, Aug 15: The AeroActive 6 unit received a firmware update over-the-air, which fixed its inconsistent RMP behavior so the issue described above is no longer present.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro review

Also, in case you were wondering how much power the AeroActive Cooler 6 draws, a helpful Asus engineer cleared that up for us, and just the fan should draw around 0.7~0.8 wats, stage one of the TEC sits around 4 wats, and at full blast, it can pull back around 7 wats, but that can only be done with a charger attached.

Reader comments

  • rams
  • 22 Sep 2022
  • uCh

hey no worries, my rog 5 only last for 10 months before everything inside broke down. SIM 1, Vibrate, LR button, bottom speaker, fingerprint sensor all broken and fixed under guarantee. 2 months later most of the problem came back. no more guarantee....

  • Anonymous
  • 03 Sep 2022
  • vaS

While you can't pocket a pc, I agree with you on the other features like sd card and jack. Gamer phones should be the last ones to remove them. There's too many apple wannabees for mainstream consumers already.

  • Sin
  • 23 Aug 2022
  • 3ag

It's great to people good response in the comments and smart people I know this should be obvious but mainstream people often don't realise The asu Rog 6 pro definitely over priced for it's specs The 2 android versions updat...