ASUS ROG Phone 2 Review: Gamers’ Delight!

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Introduction

Here is the next line of gaming-centric ROG phones from last year. The first one from Asus was a great gaming phone but more like the regular handset, but the ROG Phone 2 is bigger and carries more power than ever.

Given the slow growth in the mobile gaming industry, the jury is still out on whether we need gaming smartphones. For all those who are interested should see Asus ROG Phone 2 as a gaming device that can provide the ultimate experience in all forms of gaming.

It’s not just the ROG Phone 2, because the smartphone comes with cool accessories to enhance the gaming experience compared to competing smart devices like the Razer Phone 2 or Red Magic 3.

Price in India, Variants, Availability

The Asus ROG 2 base variant in India starts at Rs.37,999 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Maxed-out version with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage costs Rs. 59,999.

Asus sells 18W Quick Charge 4.0 adapter with the base variant of the ROG Phone 2 along with an Aero case. Buyers who opt for the top-end model will be provided with a 30W ROG fast charging adapter, Aero case and AeroActive Cooler II, all in a box.

A gaming phone without complimenting accessories is a bane. Thankfully, Asus made sure that its set of accessories will enhance the users’ gaming experience.

The TwinView Dock II comes with a secondary screen which is the same as that on the ROG 2. It has a turbo-fan cooling system and is powered by a 5,000mAh battery. It can be used with the Kunai Gamepad and costs Rs 19,999.

The Asus ROG Kunai Gamepad is a modern take on gaming controllers. It has three parts: bumper case, kunai controllers and holder. Now, users have two choices here – attach the controller to the holder to use as a gamepad, or place the bumper case on the phone and attach the two controllers to the side. Its price is Rs.9,999.

Adding to this, Asus also offers a mobile desktop dock for extended functionality with USB and HDMI inputs, priced at Rs 12,999. There is also the Aero Active Cooler II offered by Asus, which adds a separate fan cooling system to the ROG Phone 2. Its price is Rs 3,999.

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Box Contents

8GB + 128GB variant: ROG Phone II, 18W QC 4.0 charger, USB type A to type C data cable, Aero Case, SIM ejector pin, user manual and warranty Card.

12GB/512GB Variant: ROG Phone II, 30 Watt QC 4.0 charger, USB type C to type C data cable, Aero Case, Aero Active Cooler II (worth Rs 3,999 for free), SIM ejector pin, user Manual. 

Besides the ROG Phone II, Asus also launched the phone’s supported accessory. Here are the details:

  • Kunai Game Pad: Rs 9,999
  • Aero Active Cooler: Rs 3,999
  • Professional Dock: Rs 5,499
  • TwinView II: Rs 19,999
  • Mobile Desktop Dock: Rs 12,999
  • 30 Watt Charger: Rs 1,999
  • Lighting Armor Case: Rs 2,999

Specs at a Glance

Here’s what the device has to offer:

  • Display: 6.6-inch 1080 x 2280 OLED panel
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 640 (675MHz)
  • Memory: 8GB + 128GB, 12GB + 512GB
  • Rear Camera: 48MP f/1.8, 13MP f/2.4
  • Selfie Camera: 24MP f/2.2
  • Battery: 6000 mAh, 30W fast charging, 10W reverse charging
  • Security: In-display fingerprint scanner, Face-unlock

Design and Build

This device has an unattractive gaming aesthetic. Sharp angles, colour accents, RGB lighting and weight of the material all fit into the crowded design. We, unsurprisingly, really dig the phone, but so do most gamers. It feels brick and seems to be made of hardwood. The buttons on the right feel touchy and crisp, and with Zero Play, the USB-C and 3.5mm ports attached to the bottom are well placed, and the rear camera on the top is unique in its shape.

There are “air triggers” on the right side of the Asus ROG Phone 2, so you can use capacitive holder buttons in games when you place your phone in the landscape. These work great because they integrate into the design, and you completely forget about them until you use them.

Dual USB-C ports are mounted on the left side to dock the phone for various ROG accessories, including the included fan attachment. The problem with this is that the rubber dust-cap can easily be misplaced if the in-display fingerprint scanner is accurate, if not the fastest. The abbreviation for “GLHF” is printed on the dual SIM tray and is one of the few phones with a discreet notification LED!

Display

Featuring a full HD + resolution 6.59-inch AMOLED display, the Asus ROG 2 offers more playing space than its predecessor, the original ROG phone.

The display’s refresh rate has been increased to 120Hz with 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 colour gamut and is certified 10-bit HDR, which means your games look great.

The on-paper features translate to a higher quality screen for playing games, as the high refresh rate provides a better viewing experience, which is suitable for gaming.

The front has noticeable bezels around the screen, giving it a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. Asus tends to believe that full-screen display brings uninvited touch inputs to the edges, so bezels allow fingers to rest without interfering with the screen.

Another advantage of bezels at the top and bottom is that it provides space for dual-stereo speakers and four mics for noise cancellation. The fingerprint scanner sensor is in the display.

Performance

When it comes to performance, gaming phones need to pack a punch, and the ROG Phone II comes with trumps. This is the launch handset for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+, which has improved processing power and graphical cloud compared to the excellent Snapdragon 855 found on most major smartphones.

As you would expect, games like PUBG Mobile are playing at an excellent level with a consistent and consistent frame rate. ROG is full of performance-enhancing features, but you would surely see a slowdown in the years to come. 5G connectivity is also a shame that Asus doesn’t add up. Support may be limited in the UK right now, but this is ROG Phone 2 future-proof.

You can capture all kinds of nifty accessories for this handset, including the Kunai Gamepad, which is perfect for fast titles like PUBG. Two trigger-sensitive areas of the air, such as shoulder buttons, are also helpful. These can be mapped to any virtual button in the game and customized to respond to different stress levels. Thankfully Asus has improved haptic feedback, so now you’ve got instant rumble.

The phone’s software is set up for gamers, including the fantastic game Genie tool, which can be integrated into the mid-game with Deft Swipe. It doesn’t allow you to cheat like an old-time game genie, but it does offer a great array of useful features: you can block calls and notifications, so your gaming session is continuous, or check the current frame rate and core if you’re stats. Complete, efficient quad-mic setup, YouTubers can record their crazy capabilities up to full HD resolution.

Asus’ ROG UI appreciates the enjoyable hardware. From neon-tinted app icons to wallpaper on your face, it’s a beautiful interface. You can also choose a standard cell phone launcher if you want to surrender a bit. However, you get an enhanced version of Android that includes bonus features including Dark Mode, Face Recognition and Gesture Recognition.

Software

When Asus released the ZenFone 6, they updated the software ZenUI and dropped many of the customizations they love. Thankfully, they have the same software on their gaming phone, which means all the floats have been moved back to the nearest foundation using some special Asus tools. This has made the phone cleaner, snapper and with minimal disruption.

Rogue Phone 2 launched when the smartphone market is switching from Android 9 to Android 10. It will be out of the box with 9 Pie, but will soon be updated to Android 10. Asus has announced that it is going to release Android 10 Update on Zenfone 6 first and then ROG Phone 2.

Cameras

The Asus ROG Phone 2, which has a dual-camera setup, makes Asus leave no stone unturned. 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.

There is so much to say about the Asus ROG Phone 2; you may forget that it requires a great camera to compete with the flagship. The company went with the same dual rear camera setup used on the Asus 6z. It has a 48MP primary cam and a secondary 13MP super wide-angle camera.

The primary camera clicks 12 MP images by default and provides good output. You’ll also get a special Night Mode that improves the quality of the images clicked in the low-light, as well as the automatic HDR mode. The quality of the pictures taken by the Asus ROG Phone 2 was good for the majority. But there are a lot of innovations around cameras, and it is challenging to beat devices like the OnePlus 7 Pro or the Huawei P30 Pro in this segment.

In the foreground, Asus used a 24-megapixel selfie shooter that clicks amazing images.

Battery Life

Asus ROG Phone 2 has a 6,000 mAh battery, fast charging and display port support along with a secondary side type-C port.

Asus claims that the phone can charge up to 4,000 mAh in 58 minutes and run 7.1 hours of PUBG mobile at 60 fps.

On Battery Power, the ROG Phone 2 is thankfully not as toasty as when gaming. You get the right 3D steam chamber cooling system, complete with a real pin vent to expel that hot air. After two or three hours of non-stop activity, the back of the glass warms slightly around the vent. If you’re charging and playing at the same time, the built-in fan helps keep you cool.

Audio and Security

The new ROG phone actually offers a headphone port (most premium devices left), and I’m happy to use the built-in stereo speakers for games and movies. They are front-firing, so you can get the full sound without the risk of palm. And the stereo effect can be severe.

However, the Bluetooth connection for headphones was a little patchy in busy areas.

Pros & Cons

PROS:
Big, vivid AMOLED screen
Smooth 120Hz refresh rate
Maxed-out performance

 

CONS:
Big, heavy brute
Will empty your wallet
No 5G

Verdict

Asus ROG Phone 2 has set a new remark when it comes to performance and design. The smartphone beast arrives in India with or without Android. Moreover, it is an excellent tool for you to explore and play with. The only challenge Asus faces in selling this device is that ROG is still not very popular - it is a name among Indian smartphone buyers. Brands such as OnePlus and Samsung still have high resale value, making it difficult for consumers to switch to Asus ROG 2. Additionally, users still don't see gaming as an essential area. However, this smartphone is a big step towards filling the gap. This will inspire other manufacturers to offer better gaming features at more affordable prices. When using the device, you feel that Asus has paid attention to the finest details and consulted with many gamers. From design to hardware, the Asus ROG Phone 2 is ridiculously a fantastic smartphone at a steal price of Rs 37,999. The top-end variant is priced at Rs 59,999, but we would suggest the base model, with add-on accessories any day.