Asus ROG Phone Business usage review

Why would you use a “Gaming-smartphone” for business use? Because it is one of the fastest phones available, has a great display, great camera, great battery life, lot’s of storage, headphone jack, actually: make that 2 headphone jacks, and even 2 USB ports for charging. On top of that very good sound quality, which really helps with speakerphone calls in a conference meeting.

But does it not look strange to use this device in an office environment? After all, it looks like a toy, doesn’t it? Well no. Nobody notices it actually. We never got anyone asking anything about this phone. Most of the time your phone is laying down, with the display upwards. It looks rather classy that way. And the backside looks a lot more normal in real life than on pictures. We like it. No problem at all to use it in a meeting. Only gamers will see this is a gaming phone, and that is alright.

Change the background (we actually think the Asus backgrounds look great), and change the icons, and everything will look normal. The Asus skin on top of Android looks great. We love how the notification panel and the settings screen look. We love how notifications are styled both in the banners that pop up, as on the lock screen. This phone just feels so nice to use. We installed Nova launcher on it, and this makes everything look even better.

We had no real big issues setting this phone up. Everything went smooth, and everything we installed just worked without issues. The Blackberry Hub just flies on this thing compared to our other flagship smartphones.

On the internet there are a lot of reviews contradicting each other on just about everything about this phone. One says: great camera, the other says: terrible camera. Same goes for battery, speakers, GPS,… Read on for our findings.

We found that this phone feels even more snappy than our Huawei Mate 20 Pro, despite most benchmarks would let you believe the Huawei should be faster. Data speeds both on WiFi and 4G+ (LTE Advanced) are excellent, and at the same level as our desktop PC’s. Bluetooth connections are fast and good. Pairing with new devices goes a lot faster than with most of our other phones.  NFC is lightning fast. We tested if we could browse the internet using mobile data, while making a telephone call, and that worked just fine.

Battery life is almost as good as on our Mate 20 Pro. That is with the screen set to the 90Hz option all of the time, and the always-on display on. That is another thing we love: the default always-on display is very soft and has a mostly deep red color. Perfect for usage as a nightstand. Most always-on displays on other smartphones are too bright to do that. We usually have more than 50% battery left at the end of the day with normal business use, and watching some movies, and browsing the web. A lot better than most other smartphones like our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for example. No complaints here. The Mate 20 Pro is still king when it comes to battery life, but the Asus ROG Phone comes close.

We are also happy to have a flat display again. We really do not like these curved displays that more and more manufacturers start to put on their flagship phones. The display looks great, even outdoors, and with the 90Hz refresh rate, is very nice to use.

GPS seems to be very accurate, even indoors. We had an issue the first day when using Waze. Several times during navigation, Waze lost GPS reception. After following some basic troubleshooting tips on the Waze website, things worked fine however. No more issues here.

The camera is a bit of a mixed bag. The main camera is very good. Asus does not alter or sharpen the images much. This results in an image that looks a bit softer and has a bit more noise then some other smartphones. But there is a lot of detail preserved, exposure is mostly spot on, colors are very beautiful and realistic. Almost no artifacts and smearing visible. There is a special kind of way this camera captures the light. If you do not zoom in to 100%, pictures look awesome. With sufficient light, we often prefer the pictures from the ROG Phone compared to the ones of our Samsung and Huawei devices. In lower light, the camera performs a bit less than the competing flagship phones, but the difference is acceptable. No special night mode here however. The wide-angle camera is not as good as the one on the Huawei P20 Pro, and is just OK. This camera is fixed focus however, and images never look really sharp. The main camera, however, focusses very fast and accurate. Faster and better than our Mate 20 Pro. Taking a picture is also a lot faster. No need to keep the camera steady for seconds after you take a shot like you often need to do with Huawei devices. We very much like the results this camera is producing, and we are very demanding when it comes to smartphone cameras.

2019-01-22 16.27.50
Sample picture from the main camera of the Asus ROG. We are very happy with the results.
2019-02-11 14.46.48
Sample picture from the wide-angle camera of the Asus ROG Phone. In good conditions it delivers nice pictures, but sharpness is not always good.

So what about the fingerprint reader and face unlock? At first it looks like the fingerprint reader might be in an awkward position. It is not however. Just point your finger to the top middle of the device, and it will fall into place. You will not hit the camera. Unlock happens accurate and very fast. We had to re-register our fingerprints that we registered at the initial setup, however, to make it work reliable each time. When using as case, however, the fingerprint unlock becomes difficult. Face unlock is incredible fast in good to normal lighting. In darker environments you will need to use the fingerprint reader.

Nothing bad? Actually not much really. The only small issue is that the edge of the display is maybe a little bit to sensitive. Holding the phone in the palm of your hand sometimes causes accidental touches to register.

This is the first phone in years that actually brings a smile on our face, each time we use it. It is a joy to use. Almost no irritations. It is very well build, and you just see and feel that this is a product that was made with a lot of care. It feels like driving a fine car or using any high-end product. This phone is worth the high price, unlike some other smartphones on the market.

Update: we received the special cover from Asus for the ROG phone. It feels wonderful, and you do not need to use the stickers to attach the cover to the phone. It will stay just fine without the stickers. Off course the looks maybe not so suitable for the office environment.

We highly recommend the ROG phone for business use. It might be overkill for most, but if you are looking for the very best: this is it! Our Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro, and our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are gathering dust now.

 

 

 

 

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