Smartphones are being launched on a daily basis these days and there is a particular smartphone for every reason these days. Makers put interest in gaming smartphones and Asus launched the ROG Phone last year which made everyone interested in these phones. Later this year, Asus has launched the successor to the last year’s Asus ROG phone 1, the ROG Phone 2. How well does this device perform when compared to its competition? Well, read out our Asus ROG Phone 2 review below to find out more about the device’s aspects.
Design and Display
The Asus ROG phone 2 has a huge 6.59-inch display upfront being 9.48mm tall which is about 1.3cm taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. With about 9.5mm thickness, this is surely one of the thickest phone available in the market right now. With the huge display, the side bezels are thin but the device has a thick chin at the top and bottom housing the stereo speakers and the selfie camera.
On the back, we have a similar aggressive design as we have seen with the predecessor with a backlit ROG logo, curved glass which runs along with the panel, and the dual-camera setup with dual LED flashlights. Coming to the side panels, the device has not one but two USB Type-C ports, one in the usual bottom panel and the other one at the side. This side placed USB Type-C port can help you charge the device while gaming and connected accessories. With the power button and the volume rockers placed on the right side, the device also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Coming to the gaming side of it, when the device is held in landscape mode, there are left and right touch-sensitive areas where you usually place your fingers while holding which acts as AirTriggers. Apart from that, a subtle squeeze on the device wakes up the X Mode, which produces some wallpapers, activating the RGB lights in the back and overclocking the CPU for best performance. Overall, the design is aggressive and even a normal person would really like the looks of it once they hold it in their hands.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 sports a 6.59-inch AMOLED FHD+ display with a resolution of 2340×1080 and also comes with 10-bit HDR capabilities, 500000:1 contrast ratio. Although the display isn’t as sharp as the one on the Sony Xperia 1, the 120Hz refresh rate really catches you up with the colors also looking exceptionally good. The viewing angles and the depth of color in blacks are great, unlike other AMOLED displays. However, the brightness levels are not up to what we expected at just 600 nits max which will make you struggle a bit in direct sunlight.
Software and Performance
The Asus ROG phone 2 runs on Android 9.0 Pie with Asus’ ZenUI ROG edition on top of it. However, in the setup process, you can choose a vanilla Android themes instead of the ROG theme and when in X Mode, the phone gets into a dark red-accented theme which looks aggressive. It doesn’t come with much bloatware except for some pre-installed Google apps, Asus Data transfer app, and the Armoury Crate app which lets you configure lighting effects for the logo behind, monitor the CPU temperatures, and modify pressure levels for the AirTrigger.
Apart from the above-mentioned features, there are customization options for the screen’s refresh rate, display color modifications, always-on display with its tweaks, and under the Advanced section in the Settings, there are plenty of customization options.
To the bigger movie, the performance, the Asus ROG phone 2 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC which is clocked at 2.86GHz coupled with 8GB/12GB RAM depending on the variant. While gaming, it would be no issue for you to hold the device but for normal usage, if you are accustomed to lesser weight devices, you might find it a bit stressful to handle this device. Now, with the 120Hz display, everything feels buttery smooth and with our tests being done with various apps, there was no issue with multi-tasking or heavy browsing either.
We played all the high-end games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, Call of Duty Mobile and I can say that this is the best mobile gaming experience I’ve ever had. Just imagine being able to switch or multi-task between these heavy games, yes, it is so easy and smooth too. With X Mode and with Game Genie, you can customize most of the features and set up the display to monitor temperature, framerate in real-time.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 has some special game-worthy features like the AirTriggers which will help a lot if you play games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty, or any other shooting games. You can simply rest your fingers and put pressure in that area to trigger the buttons. Apart from these exceptional features, you can also buy connecting accessories which will help you better the experience.
Cameras: Asus ROG Phone 2 Review
The Asus ROG Phone features a dual-lens rear camera setup with the primary sensor being a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera. Coming to the shooting modes, the camera app has modes like Auto, Portrait, Pro, Night mode, and neat Motion Tracking mode which is capable of tracking objects.
The images taken with the primary sensor came out interestingly well considering this is a gaming inclined smartphone. The images taken in good lighting conditions came out pretty good but the HDR only gets into the picture if you are shooting in low resolution. Other than that, you should bump it up to 48MP to capture crisp quality photos. The colors look natural, but when in low light conditions, the Auto mode doesn’t work that great. So, switch to the Night mode and you can find the images coming out better. Portrait mode is also on point and also works with other objects other than human faces.
Upfront is the 24MP selfie camera which, as claimed by Asus is positioned perfectly for the viewing angles to be looked good. Videos can be shot at 4K 60fps with the stabilization working at all resolutions. It also comes with four noise-canceling microphones to shoot those videos in the utmost quality. You can check the camera samples below for yourself.
Battery and Miscellaneous
The Asus ROG Phone comes with a massive 6000 mAh battery under the hood and is capable of keep running for at least two days when used at a minimum level. Putting that aside, with the 30W fast charger given in the box, you can charge it up to 50% in just 30 min of time. If you still need more juice out of the device, you can lower down the refresh rate and get those extra hours. Other than these, there are also plenty of other battery-saving features.
The connectivity options, network stability is great and the stereo speakers are just wow. The speakers are one of the best I’ve heard in recent times. The display also has a special feature with HDR content where the display automatically gets brightened up.
Verdict: Asus ROG Phone 2 Review
The Asus ROG Phone 2 is priced at Rs. 37999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant and is a perfect deal if you are really looking to max out in most of the aspects for a bit. This is a true gamer’s paradise phone and as MKBHD himself spoke about this device is closer to his dream phone 2019, Asus got a win here absolutely. As said earlier, this is the best gaming smartphone available in the market right now and if and only if you are looking at gaming intensively, consider buying this device. Otherwise, I would suggest you look for other smartphones in this price segment.
- Incredibly powerful
- Fantastic 120Hz AMOLED screen
- Long-lasting 6,000mAh battery
- Plenty of power and storage
- Multiple USB-C ports
- No waterproofing rating
- The cameras aren’t great
- No wireless charging
- Aggressive design won’t be for all