Asus ROG Cellphone 2 overview: The facility to alter your recreation
“The massively highly effective Asus ROG Cellphone 2 will attraction hardcore players, or anybody who needs uncooked efficiency.”
Stunning 120Hz AMOLED display screen
Lengthy-lasting 6,000mAh battery
Unimaginable processor efficiency
Big selection of equipment
Sensible for video games
Design might not attraction to everybody
No water resistance
Area of interest viewers attraction
Asus isn’t enjoying round with the ROG Cellphone 2. It is a critical gaming cellphone, heaving with energy and efficiency, with extra add-on elements than a brand new automobile. For the obsessive, Asus will even promote you an enormous ROG-branded (Republic of Avid gamers) suitcase with the cellphone and a mountain of equipment.
Nevertheless, as a substitute of solely focusing on players, Asus thinks three teams of individuals are going to lust after the ROG Cellphone 2. Followers of the ROG model who play video games for not less than six hours per week; hardcore players enjoying for 16 hours or extra per week; and tech followers who needs a enjoyable, highly effective cellphone and desires to be part of a rising group. However can Asus obtain the virtually not possible and make a specialist cellphone that appeals to the less-committed tech lover? The reply is sure — if you may get previous the design.
Made ya look
Asus has retained the putting, particular person look of the unique ROG Cellphone for the sequel, with just a few alterations that make it slightly extra visually interesting. The offset fingerprint sensor has been faraway from the again and changed by an in-display sensor, and the faux vents on the again have additionally been taken away, making approach for a single, smaller, and purposeful vent. Reflective, angled traces give the again a sci-fi look, and it’s all slashes and cuts as a substitute of curves and minimalism.
The cellphone is a loud-and-proud Republic of Avid gamers system, proper right down to the RGB-lit ROG emblem on the again. I like it. It stands out, it doesn’t appear to be each different cellphone on sale, and the matte end is glossy, fashionable, and surprisingly proof against fingerprints. The copper accent on the working vent, the multi-color reflective highlights, and the RGB emblem give it actual character. I perceive the ROG Cellphone 2’s design received’t be for everybody, and a few will think about it too “gamer-y,” however recover from this and embrace the design, and also you’ll personal a cellphone that received’t be mistaken for some other.
It’s actually large, and at 240 grams it’s heavy too. The physique’s well-balanced, so it’s not awkward to carry, however you positively comprehend it’s in your bag or pocket. The RGB-lit emblem needs to be manually activated and I like the respiratory impact it makes because it cycles by completely different colours. Weirdly, it doesn’t change off when you might have Do Not Disturb mode enabled, and that’s annoying because it lights up a darkish room. The aspect buttons are straightforward to find and press, though the off-center USB Kind-C charging port is tough to search out in the dead of night, not like conventional ports which can be centrally mounted.
You get a three.5mm headphone jack, and on the left-hand aspect of the cellphone is a second charging port, made for while you maintain the cellphone in panorama orientation so the cable doesn’t intervene with gameplay. It’s lined over with a rubber grommet that’s determined to be misplaced the second you are taking it off, because it’s not connected to the cellphone in any respect. Additionally, the directions let you know to solely use one of many twin USB connectors below the grommet, besides it’s not clear on the cellphone itself, and I can by no means keep in mind which one it’s with out going again to verify.
The copper accent on the working vent, the multi-color reflective highlights, and the RGB emblem give it actual character.
Bezels on the prime and backside of the cellphone imply there’s no notch, however as a substitute, present house for some great-sounding stereo audio system. There are individuals who dislike the shift to notched and bezel-less designs, and the ROG Cellphone 2 is the antidote to them.
Clean display screen
The ROG Cellphone 2 has a very large 6.59-inch, 10-bit HDR AMOLED display screen with a 120Hz refresh charge. Technically, it’s switchable between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz, however I’ve left it set at 120Hz with out noticing extreme battery draw or incompatibility with apps. Why did I depart it set to this? As a result of 120Hz is a visible pleasure and an entire revolution in smartphone visuals.
That is an iPhone degree of smoothness (sure, I do know iPhones have a 60Hz refresh charge). The scrolling is so slick, no matter which app you’re utilizing or even when it’s merely navigating Android’s menus — it’s great. What does this imply to you? It lessens fatigue, makes the expertise extra pleasurable, and provides the cellphone a extra polished expertise. Smoothness isn’t about processing velocity right here, it’s concerning the display screen’s refresh charge.
The display screen can also be calibrated within the manufacturing unit to point out essentially the most correct colours and makes use of 10-bit HDR for 1073.74 million colours, as a substitute of an Eight-bit SDR with 16.77 million colours. This implies you see what the developer or content material creator needs you to see, and extra particulars are revealed within the darker, shadowy areas too.
The fingerprint sensor on the display screen is quick and succesful — extra so than the one on the Samsung Galaxy Word 10 Plus, in my expertise — however the face unlock system is significantly sooner, and also you hardly ever get to the fingerprint sensor in time earlier than the cellphone has unlocked itself. You possibly can set this so that you don’t must swipe up on the display screen too.
Gaming and efficiency
Gaming is why you’ll want to purchase the Asus ROG Cellphone 2. Every part about it’s geared in direction of it, so what’s gaming like? Bloody sensible. My game-of-choice is Danmaku Limitless 2, an exquisite shoot-em-up that depends on with the ability to keep away from a number of streams of bullets. I progressed sooner than ordinary, misplaced extra lives than ordinary, and loved enjoying extra due to the ROG Cellphone 2’s tremendous efficiency.
Asus ROG Cellphone 2 and the Kunai controller accent Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends
Danmaku Limitless performs at 60 frames per second (fps), however you may nonetheless see the distinction in comparison with lesser screens as a result of the ROG Cellphone 2’s display screen refreshes at 120Hz. Nevertheless, good although this and different non-120fps video games look, while you play a recreation with full assist, it truly is next-level stuff. Bullet Hell Monday helps 120fps and performs so fantastically, you virtually can’t consider you’re taking a look at a cellphone display screen. Asphalt 9: Legends is tuned to play effectively on the ROG Cellphone 2, helps its equipment, and is excellent.
I used X Mode, the game-tuning mode that ensures all the ability from the Snapdragon 855 Plus goes to working the sport all through to make sure the best efficiency. What variations did all of it make? I may extra successfully keep away from the bullet onslaught; I may see every little thing; there have been no stutters; and completely no slow-down. I additionally felt the identical enjoying Hitman: Sniper, the place precision can also be necessary to success. Flip off X Mode and revert to 60Hz, and there’s a noticeable distinction in gameplay. Video games are much less enjoyable to play when the hardwire isn’t working at its optimum degree.
Every recreation you play will be personalized too, proper right down to setting the display screen refresh charge individually, the notification alert frequency, CPU energy, and even display screen response time and contact sensitivity. Enjoying on the ROG Cellphone 2 and the specialist hardware makes you a greater participant too, one thing that Asus’s personal analysis backs up. The display screen has a 1ms contact response time and a 49ms contact latency velocity, so that you hearth earlier than different gamers, for instance. We’re speaking about milliseconds, however that may make the distinction in aggressive play.
Asus ROG Cellphone 2 and the TwinView Dock 2 accent Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends
The Air Triggers have been vastly improved over the primary ROG Cellphone. Situated within the prime left and proper of the cellphone’s physique in panorama orientation, they are often configured to activate completely different touchscreen features. They’re efficient hardware-esque buttons, and the haptics have been sped as much as activate while you faucet them and provides an efficient “button” really feel too.
How concerning the Snapdragon 855 Plus? Our ROG Cellphone 2 unit has the two.96GHz chip together with 12GB of RAM and subsequently carried out like a rocket. Not simply any rocket, however one with particular rocket gas to make it go even sooner. Listed here are some benchmarks:
AnTuTu 3D: 396,749
Geekbench 5 CPU: 764 single-core; 2,716 multi-core
3DMark Sling Shot Excessive: 5,395 Vulkan; 6,189 OpenGL
The outcomes are virtually equivalent to the OnePlus 7T, additionally pushed by a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, which places it forward of each different Android cellphone we’ve examined, and solely behind the iPhone 11 collection. Energy is not going to be a priority.
I’ve little question somebody who loves cell gaming will get much more from the cellphone than I’ll.
I solely scratched the floor of what’s attainable with the ROG Cellphone 2 by way of gaming; it makes me wish to play extra and I really feel just like the hardware is making me a greater participant. I’ve little question somebody who loves cell gaming will get much more from the cellphone than I’ll. That’s earlier than attempting out the sport controller equipment seen right here, the Kunai controller and the TwinView Dock 2, for even higher gameplay experiences.
Many individuals have questioned whether or not there’s a want for a gaming cellphone or why anybody would purchase one within the first place. If I lived and breathed Danmaku Limitless 2, or PUBG, Fortnite, or Asphalt; then the ROG Cellphone 2 is one of the simplest ways to take pleasure in enjoying them.
By all rights, the digicam on the ROG Cellphone 2 shouldn’t be good. It’s a gaming cellphone with an emphasis on high-tech, so absolutely corners could have been minimize someplace, like our expertise with the Razer Cellphone 2. The digicam hasn’t suffered unduly, and though it could possibly’t fairly sustain with the brand new iPhone 11 Professional or the Huawei Mate 30 Professional, it does a stable job in most situations and will probably be greater than sufficient for many.
The principle lens has 48-megapixels and the ultra-wide lens has 13 megapixels. Publicity and distinction ranges are pretty on sunny and overcast days, whereas Night time mode provides a small quantity of further ambiance and element, with out ruining the shot. It could possibly’t compete with the OnePlus 7T (I used the ROG Cellphone 2 back-to-back with the 7T and the iPhone 11 Professional throughout a weekend away), however the outcomes nonetheless look good supplied it’s not too darkish.
The digicam app is simple to make use of, and there’s a slow-motion video mode to strive, however it solely shoots at 240fps in Full HD, plus a wide-angle mode and a 2x zoom too. The selfie digicam has been positioned in such a approach that it received’t get lined by your hand when enjoying in panorama orientation, making live-streaming out of your cellphone attainable. The entrance 24-megapixel digicam takes passable selfies and has a software-driven portrait mode that lags behind the competitors in edge-detection.
Asus ROG Cellphone 2 with out Night time mode
Asus ROG Cellphone 2 with Night time mode
For a cellphone the place the first purpose to purchase will not be the digicam, the ROG Cellphone 2 does an admirable job, and takes stable photographs you’ll be comfortable to share.
Software program and battery
Asus discovered loads with the Zenfone 6, which got here with a Pixel-like Android expertise freed from earlier ZenUI bloat and different person interface atrocities. The ROG Cellphone 2 provides you the selection of the ROG Cellphone expertise — a software program theme known as Darkish Reactor designed prefer it needs to be working a Klingon Fowl of Prey’s flight pc, relatively than a cellphone — or the cleaner ZenUI seen on the Zenfone 6. I like to recommend you select the latter.
There’s a slide-up app tray, a slide-down notification shade, cute little spherical icons, and all of it feels acquainted, comfy, and user-friendly. It’s what I would like from software program on my cellphone. Even the slide-in display screen from the left of the homepage is effectively used — it shows Google Information tales and the climate. It’s not solely freed from issues although — first off, it’s working Android 9 and never Android 10, however arguably the remainder of my gripes comes right down to stuff that would use a little bit of refinement. A very good instance is the always-on display screen panel. You get to decide on the design, and just one has notifications on present, but the numbers don’t change in response to what’s in your cellphone. Mine has mentioned 10 SMS for a number of days, with no precise SMS messages to learn.
Now we come to the battery. It’s a 6,000mAh cell inside right here, and it’s an absolute endurance machine. It’s like having an unlimited V8 engine in your automobile — it lazily delivers nice gobs of energy on a regular basis. With minimal use in direction of the tip of my overview interval, the ROG Cellphone 2 needed to sit idle whereas different gadgets bought some consideration. It fortunately stayed linked to Wi-Fi and 4G in my bag, accumulating notifications, and popping out for the odd gameplay session for 4 stable days. It went from 100% to 30% battery throughout that point.
Utilizing it every day as my essential cellphone, a day with five-and-a-half hours display screen time nonetheless noticed 40% remaining at 10 p.m., and with average use, two days will not be an issue. The large cell maybe doesn’t reside as much as our highest expectations, as given the capability I actually wished two days heavy use at least out of the cellphone and it hasn’t achieved that.
Value, guarantee, and availability
The Asus ROG Cellphone 2 is obtainable to buy on Asus’s personal web site within the U.S. for $900, and it comes with a one-year guarantee.
The Asus ROG Cellphone 2 is an unbelievable spec-powerhouse, and simply one of the competent high-performance smartphones of the 12 months. Nevertheless, its design and gaming credentials do imply hardcore cell players would be the solely ones who actually exploit and revel in its abilities.
Are there any alternate options?
Gaming telephones are not the rarity they as soon as had been. An enormous base of cell players all over the world — PUBG Cellular alone has round 50 million every day energetic customers, in response to statistics from June this 12 months — ensures there’s hardware to draw gamers. The Razer Cellphone 2 is on the market however is getting outdated at this level, plus there’s the Blackshark 2 and the Purple Magic three as effectively, and all include options that can attraction to cell players.
That’s nice, however it’s not like different flagship telephones are incapable of enjoying video games. The Samsung Galaxy Word 10 Plus is highly effective sufficient to take care of any cell recreation, as is the OnePlus 7 Professional, which advantages from a 90Hz display screen too. Then there’s Apple Arcade and an iPhone 11 Professional or Professional Max — a formidable mixture with the technical capacity to draw many.
Nevertheless, the true menace to the Asus ROG Cellphone 2 comes from the Nintendo Swap Lite. Purchase the $150 Kunai controller for the ROG Cellphone 2, which provides Swap-like joypads both aspect of the cellphone, and out of the blue the cellphone turns into actually costly. The $600 OnePlus 7T has the identical quantity of energy, a 90Hz display screen, and a robust digicam. Even if you happen to funds $200 for a Swap Lite, the bundle is cheaper and simply as interesting to the informal gamer because the ROG Cellphone 2.
How lengthy will it final?
The cellphone has the ability and skill to final for not less than two years if no more. It doesn’t have water resistance or a very robust physique, so that you’ll need to be slightly cautious with it throughout that point. Asus has not said when Android 10 will arrive on the cellphone, solely that it’s coming, so persistence will probably be wanted.
Do you have to purchase one?
Sure, however provided that you’re a dedicated cell gamer. The Asus ROG Cellphone 2 is the most effective gaming smartphone you should buy, however it’s not the most effective all-round smartphone you should buy. In case you’re an off-the-cuff gamer, the OnePlus 7T prices much less and gives the identical efficiency. Nevertheless, it simply can’t compete with the ROG Cellphone 2’s hyper-focus, and if you happen to’re invested in cell video games — and which means hours every day enjoying or livestreaming — and are dedicated to enhancing your ability — it’ll do every little thing you need and extra.