November 26, 2022

Gaming smartphones have become quite a thing, even if almost all high-end smartphones are well capable of running those games anyway. This subset of the mobile market promises extra features to level up the gaming experience, like invisible extra buttons for additional controls or tiny cooling fans for better thermal management. Almost all of them also come with telltale designs of a gaming device in contrast to the more discreet looks of typical smartphones. All of these unconventional designs and features are, of course, intended to appeal to gamers, but none of these come for free. Sometimes, the price is quite literal, given how much these gaming smartphones cost. For one such special phone, however, the price also comes in the way you might least expect, especially if you accidentally sit down on or bend the phone out of proportion.

Designer: ASUS

To be fair, ASUS’ Republic of Gamers, or ROG, needs to be lauded for putting out one of the most powerful smartphones this year as well as one of the most striking gaming phones so far. The white ROG Phone 6 Pro, in particular, delivers a unique and novel aesthetic that makes it look like it was taken straight out of a sci-fi movie set. The company’s attention to detail is definitely commendable as well, from the bulky yet interesting packaging to the embossed text on the glass back that exhorts the holder to “Join the Republic.”

There are also a few touches that would really appeal to gamers, like the small LCD display on the back that can be used to display logos and animations, not to mention notifications. There is also a second USB-C port on the side of the phone, allowing the user to play games while the phone charges without the cable getting in the way. The latter is completely new, though, since it was also present in last year’s ROG Phone 5. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two generations of gaming phones don’t end there.

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YouTube channel JerryRigEverything’s typical torture test started well enough, with the phone doing quite well when it comes to scratching and burning the phone. That second test is admittedly now just for fun and tradition, but the scratch test inspires confidence that your gaming partner will survive your pocket or bag unscathed. Unfortunately, it might not survive a splash in the tub because of its meager IPX4 dust and water resistance rating.

Unfortunately, things take a nose dive immediately during the bend test. Just like its predecessor, the ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro easily bent in half, suggesting that there may have been no significant improvement to its structural integrity. The rear glass completely shatters, though the small display ironically still works. The main screen is bent beyond repair and no longer works either. It still warrants a thorough investigation with a teardown, but the most likely culprits are the phone’s split batter design and the placement of that second USB-C port.

While you’re unlikely to try and bend a phone the way the YouTuber did, accidents do happen from time to time. It’s definitely not reassuring that a $1,300 phone like the ROG Phone 6 Pro could be so weak, especially when you consider it isn’t properly waterproof either. That doesn’t bode well for the sustainability of the phone in the long run since damages could easily mean throwing away the broken phone. The ROG Phone 6 Pro might look like it’s from the future, but it definitely didn’t make any progress in its durability and sustainability.