Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate review: Take your game to another Dimension

For years, the top-tier Android phones have had one thing in common: Snapdragon processors. It’s almost a given at this point that, if you’re buying a flagship smartphone that isn’t Apple’s, you’ll have a Snapdragon 8-series chipset inside. Whether that be the 8/8 Plus Gen 1 in 2022, the Snapdragon 888 in 2021, or any other Snapdragon version with an 8 at the beginning.

So when Asus announced a new top-level Android gaming phone that doesn’t feature Qualcomm’s platform inside, our interest was piqued. The latest ROG Phone 6D Ultimate is seeking to offer even better performance than the ROG Phone 6 Pro, but doing it with MediaTek’s flagship Dimensity 9000+ chipset instead.

The ‘D’ in 6D, then, stands for Dimensity. But could it also spell Disappointing, Dynamic, or Daring? Let’s find out.


  • 173 x 77 x 10.3mm
  • ‘Space Gray’ colour – IPX4 water resistance
  • 3.5mm port – 2x USB-C ports
  • AMOLED secondary ‘ROG Vision’ display on back
  • Pop-up AeroActive Portal for cooling

On the whole, the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate bears something of a resemblance to previous ROG Phones. It’s a big, bulky device that measures comfortably taller and thicker than even the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s not one for easy one-handed use then, and takes up considerable space in a pocket.

Asus tries to alleviate that heft somewhat with curves in the glass on the rear panel, so that it feels at least slightly comfortable. But it’s clear from a number of factors that it’s primarily designed to be used with two hands in landscape.

The fact that there’s a bit more bezel on the top and bottom of the display, giving you space for your thumbs are an indicator – but also the layout of the internals, where Asus has placed the chipset/motherboard right in the centre of the phone. That means you’re unlikely to be touching the hottest part of the phone when it warms up from gaming or consuming media.

There are a couple of design elements that differentiate the 6D Ultimate from the regular ROG Phone 6 and the standard 6D (which is otherwise identically specced). One of those is the small, secondary colour display on the back, which displays animations, graphics and icons for various purposes. It’s something we saw in previous ‘Pro’ models of the phone too.

You can customise what it does in different scenarios using the Armoury Crate app. It can animate when you get notifications, while you’re playing games, charging the phone or if the screen is just on. And each of those scenarios has different options to choose from. It’s a pretty cool – albeit obviously not essential – feature.

The other element is one that’s easy to completely miss – something Asus calls the AeroActive Portal. This is a small mechanised channel on the back of the phone that opens up automatically when you attach the AeroActive cooling fan, which ships with the Ultimate version only. With this channel open, the fan can blow cold air right into the body of the phone, while also dissipating heat from the rear glass as normal, keeping the device at tip-top performance for long periods.

Without testing it regularly for two years or so, there’s no way to know how durable this mechanism is. However, it has been built with a failsafe, meaning it will automatically shut if the accelerometers detect the phone falling. It’s similar to how manufacturers used to implement their pop-up cameras before they adopted the hole-punch selfie camera. There’s also a manual toggle within the Armoury Crate app that allows you to open it up to clean.

As big phones go it’s an attractive device which – while definitely featuring those gamer-style design elements – doesn’t go over the top. The grey back is only broken by subtle, clean black and blue accents and lines. Matching blue accents are found around the power/sleep key and the SIM tray. It’s cool, but subtle enough so it doesn’t feel too much.

Display and media

  • 6.78-inch AMOLED display – 165Hz refresh
  • 2448 x 1080 resolution – 395ppi
  • Peak 1200 nits brightness
  • HDR10+ support
  • 2 x stereo speakers with amps

As we’ve noted in previous years testing the ROG Phone series, some of the features that make this a great gaming phone also make it fantastic for consuming media on. It’s got a big, bright and colourful display flanked by two powerful and full stereo speakers.

In a world where most phones have ‘fairly good’ stereo speakers, it stands out more than any other feature when a phone delivers loud, balanced and bass-filled audio from both sides of the screen. And there’s good reason for it.

Behind both speaker holes is a 12x19mm driver, and each has its own amplifier powering the sound. So whether you’re head-down in your favourite game and blasting the sound effects at high volumes, watching YouTube videos or cranking up a playlist, there probably isn’t another phone you can buy that produces the sound that comes from the ROG Phone 6D. Except the ROG Phone 6.

From a practical standpoint, those loudspeakers also ensure you’re almost certainly going to hear all of your notifications if you have them turned on, and even if you only have the volume set to 50 per cent. Add that to a 3.5mm port for wired headphones and support for LDAC, and you have a very capable machine for delivering sound.

We have no complaints about the display either. It’s a big panel, with just enough sharpness to deliver crisp and detailed pictures. It’s also very colourful, dynamic and has enough brightness to be visible even outdoors in bright daylight. What’s more, it’s a sensible aspect ratio that makes it ideal for videos and games, and is completely flat so there’s no distortion towards the edges.

With HDR10+ support it’ll also deliver video from your favourite streaming services with lots of contrast and great peak brightness. Although generally quite a saturated view, we never felt the colours were over the top, and it was generally a joy to watch TV shows and movies on. In fact, if we were picking a phone purely for media consumption, this would be it.

Refresh rates can reach a peak of up to 165Hz too which – for most apps and services – is overkill, but it does mean that interface scrolling and games with higher refresh capabilities are well catered for.

Performance, gaming and battery life

  • MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor
  • 16GB LPDDR5X RAM – 512GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 6000mAh battery (2x 3000mAh cells)
  • 65W wired charging

As we noted in our ROG Phone 6 Pro review, the Snapdragon version of this phone performs really well when it comes to gaming. So we were curious to see if there was anything notably different about the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate edition. The truth is, unless you dig down into numbers and look at it from a pure benchmark and technicalities point of view, you probably won’t see much difference.

For those who want those numbers, allow us to indulge you. The Geekbench results show our unit as having a single core score of 1400, and multi-core score 4389. Technically, then, the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ is slightly higher scoring than the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. In day-to-day gaming you probably wouldn’t notice it, so you certainly don’t have to worry about the 6D Ultimate underperforming against the more-popular Snapdragon chip.

We played a lot of Genshin Impact with the display settings set to their maximum, and found that it reliably stayed at 60 frames-per-second pretty much the entire time, even as the internal core temperature got a little warmer.

Without the AeroActive cooling fan attached, we’d see that internal temperature creep up above 40-degrees Celsius, causing the frame rate drop momentarily to 55 frames-per-second. That’s pretty good going and – while the body of the phone did get a little warm – we never felt a single spot of the rear get unbearably hot under load.

It has a similar internal design to its predecessor too, as we noted in the design section. The processor is right in the middle of the phone, surrounded by an effective cooling system that helps dissipate heat along the rear.

With the fan clipped on, the performance was flawless, never dropping below 60 frames-per-second and the temperature never reading higher than about 38 degrees Celsius.

There are a couple of added bonuses of using the fan too. Firstly, it has built in buttons, which you can map to different functions in specific games titles. It’s ideal for games like Genshin which have multiple on-screen ‘buttons’ for frequently-used controls like jump, sprint, attack and special moves. With these programmed to the built-in controls instead, it keeps your thumbs free to just move around and control your direction.

The second benefit is that the cooling fan also acts as a stand. So – if you want – you can connect your wireless console controller to your phone, and have the phone standing up, using it without touching the display at all (as long as your game supports Xbox/PlayStation controllers).

Like its hardware, its software is also designed to make the most of gaming, giving you access to all the controls and data you might want if you really need to fine-tune your gaming experience. We go into a lot of detail in our ROG Phone 6 Pro review, and nothing has changed there with the Dimensity-powered model, so be sure to read up on some of the tweaks there.

All of this power, speed and versatility is backed up by a mega 6000mAh battery, making it one of the most capacious smartphone batteries on the market. As mentioned, that battery is split into two cells and mounted on either side of the processor. This design not only aids the thermal management of the phone, but also means Asus has been able to enable its fast 65W charging. Just 30 minutes plugged in is enough to almost refill an entire battery.

Not that it needs refilling tremendously often. Even with 2-3 hours of intense gaming during a day, we didn’t manage to completely drain it. Even with extra power going to the exterior cooling fan. This truly is an all-day device even for the heaviest of users, but there’s reassurance in the fact that even if you decide to go on a mega 5-6 hour gaming session, you can plug it in and have your battery replenished in very little time.


  • 50MP main camera – Sony IMX766 sensor
  • 8K/30 and 4K/60 video recording
  • 12MP ultrawide – 5MP macro
  • 12MP selfie camera

With high-end gaming phones, the one area we typically see some compromise is in the camera department. This is perhaps the one area where the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate doesn’t really compete with the big-name flagships from the likes of Samsung or Apple. But even here, things aren’t terrible.

The main 50-megapixel sensor is the same one that’s in the previous ROG Phone 6, the ZenFone 9 and the Oppo Find X5 Pro. It’s a good sensor, and performs well in well-lit conditions, delivering colorful and dynamic shots outdoors in bright daylight. Colours generally look quite boosted, but not to an aggressively hyper-real level. They give images a ‘pop’, which makes them ideal for modern tastes.

It does appear to struggle a little more in low light as the shutter attempts to stay open for longer without any effective stabilisation to keep images sharp. It’s joined by the ultrawide camera which – again – is perfectly adequate for shots in daylight, outdoors but struggles a little when light levels drop, delivering colours that aren’t quite as rich.

There’s no telephoto zoom here, which is arguably the one big miss. You can zoom digitally which – at 2x – is sharp enough, as it crops into the pixel-laden sensor and still delivers a 12-megapixel image. Once you push past that, detail does start to fall away. We’d have loved to see a proper zoom here instead of the low resolution 5-megapixel macro sensor which – while fine – doesn’t meet the standards set by the other two lenses and generally looks a bit flat.

Original Article