The Asus ROG Phone 2, the successor to the gaming-centric ROG Phone from last year, is here. The first iteration was as great a gaming phone as it was a regular handset, but the ROG Phone 2 is bigger and packs in more power than ever.
While the jury is still out on whether we actually need gaming smartphones, coupled with the slow development in the mobile gaming industry, the Asus ROG Phone 2 continues to cater to the existing niche.
Asus ROG Phone 2 specs
Dimensions: 170.99 x 77.6 x 9.78mm
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
Screen size: 6.59-inch, 120Hz refresh rate
Resolution: 2340 x 1080 (FHD+)
CPU: Snapdragon 855 Plus
GPU: Adreno 640
Rear camera: 48MP + 13MP
Front camera: 24MP
And enthusiasts should look at it like a gaming device that can provide an ultimate experience when it comes to all things gaming.
It's not just the ROG Phone 2 itself either, as the smartphone comes with a bunch of cool accessories aimed squarely at enhancing the gaming experience by a huge margin over rival handsets such as the Razer Phone 2 or Red Magic 3.
We got to try the Asus ROG Phone 2 before its official launch and here’s what we think about it.
Design and Display
The Decepticon-looking design returns on the ROG Phone 2 flush with Asus’ aerodynamic system. The chassis is made of stainless steel with Gorilla Glass 3 on the back.
Underneath the glass back, circuit-like lines run along the body of the phone, which shine in different colors of the spectrum as light falls on them. The ROG Phone 2 is on the heavier side, weighing in at around 240g with a maximum thickness of 9.78mm.
The right edge of the phone is home to Air Trigger II, which are two touch-sensitive areas that act as shoulder buttons.
Overall the Asus ROG Phone 2 design is improved over its predecessor and it does have a premium look and finish. The heft is certainly not favorable for daily use, but as a hand-held gaming device, it's a trade-off you'll likely be able to accept.
With a 6.59-inch AMOLED display boasting a Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution, the ROG Phone 2 provides more play area than the original ROG Phone.
The refresh rate of the display has been bumped up to 120Hz (from 90Hz) with a one millisecond response time and 240Hz touch response time - the first smartphone to feature this.
The screen can reproduce up to 108% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and is also 10bit HDR certified, which means your games should look great.
The on-paper specs translate into a high-end screen to play games on as the higher refresh rate makes for a superior viewing experience that’s as good for gaming as it is for content consumption.
The front has noticeable bezels around the screen, which gives it a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Asus believes that a full-screen display brings in uninvited touch inputs along the edges, so the bezels provide a space to rest fingers without them interfering with the action on-screen.
Another benefit of the top and bottom bezels is that they provide space for dual-stereo speakers and four noise-canceling mics. As for the fingerprint scanner, the sensor is housed under the display.
Under the hood
A week of so before the launch, Asus revealed the ROG Phone 2 would feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset clocked at 2.96GHz. The octa-core CPU paired with the Adreno 640 GPU is supported by up to 12GB of RAM and 128GB/512GB of UFS3.0 storage.
The new Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC is 15% faster when it comes to CPU performance and graphics rendering along with Qualcomm's Snapdragon Elite Gaming suite. So, you can expect a decent increment in the gaming performance of the phone.
Then again, there aren’t many games out there in the market that can fully benefit from this sheer raw power this phone packs.
Games like PUBG Mobile which recently went live with HDR mode for high-end phones are locked at 60fps and therefore cannot fully utilize the power at hand. Asus is working with developers to possibly support the high refresh rate of the ROG Phone 2, but we don’t know how long that’s going to take.
Asus has focused a lot on the thermal management system of the ROG Phone 2 which includes a vapor cooling chamber, heat dissipation plate, and vents.
Other than that, the phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie-based ROG UI, which is the company’s gaming-centric theme. The RGB lighting can be controlled via ROG Aura Sync app that comes pre-loaded on the phone along with the Armoury Crate control app. The app monitors the real-time performance of the processor and battery.
Asus ROG Phone 2 features a massive 6,000mAh battery which supports 30W fast charging in addition to a secondary side Type-C port with fast charging and display port support.
The phone can charge up to 4,000mAh in 58 minutes, and Asus claims that it can run PUBG Mobile for 7.1 hours at 60fps.
Asus seems to have left no stone unturned as the ROG Phone 2 has a dual-camera setup on the back.
It consists of a primary 48MP camera that uses IMX586 sensor and a 13MP secondary ultra-wide camera with 125-degree field-of-view. On the front, there’s a 24MP selfie camera.
As the ROG Phone 2 comes with the same camera setup that we saw on its Asus 6Z, We expect a similar if not better performance from the cameras. However, we’ll try out the camera on the phone when it comes in for the full review.
To further enhance the gaming experience, Asus has also released a couple of new complementing accessories for the ROG Phone 2. This includes the new AeroActive Cooler II which is four times quieter than the earlier version and cools the chassis temperature by up to 5-degrees.
Next up, we have the ROG Lighting Armour Case which has an embedded NFC chip that brings new and exclusive themes and wallpapers to the ROG Phone 2.
The TwinView Dock II has the same display as the one on the ROG Phone 2 along with a 5,000mAh battery and Turbo fan for cooling. The phone can be attached to the dock, and both the screens can be utilized simultaneously.
The ROG Kunai GamePad has a set of 21 keys and can be connected to any phone or PC. The left and right controllers can also be detached from the base and used separately.
Additionally, Asus also provides a MobileDesktop Dock and a Pro Dock to take the gaming experience to a bigger screen.
Asus ROG Phone 2 builds upon the foundations of the previous generation and brings major upgrades to the display, sound, performance, and battery capacity.
It is one of the most powerful Android phones that we’ll have this year, but with all that power under the hood, we now need more games that can reap benefits from the overclocked processor.
Other than that, Asus ROG Phone 2 looks like a solid sequel and a great gaming device, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.