Asus ROG Phone 2 | FULL REVIEW:
A ‘gaming’ may seem like a very exciting proposition for smartphone enthusiasts, but how can a manufacturer get the average smartphone buyer to feel the same way? Asus launched the first ROG phone (review) last year, and while it was a good product, it was about Rs. 70,000 at the time meant that you really needed to be a die-hard gaming addict to consider an iPhone, Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy device. This is exactly what Asus wants to replace with the ROG Phone 2.
While Asus has taken its time to launch this phone in India, we have seen other companies try to make a dent in this area throughout the year. We now have the Black Shark 2 (Review) which has a pressure-sensitive display, and the Nubia Red Magic 3 (Review), which boasts an internal cooling fan, considers options as a gaming smartphone. Although Asus has left no stone unturned for its follower, it can be packed with every feature that everyone can think of. The icing on the cake is definitely the price. The ROG phone starts at Rs. 37,999 in India, which is great not only for gaming enthusiasts, but also for someone who is looking for a powerful chief on a budget.
So, should you consider the Asus ROG Phone 2, on the new OnePlus 7T (review) at the same price? And if you’re not a gamer, does ROG Phone 2 still make sense? let’s find out.
- Very good build quality, premium design
- Best all round performance
- Vivid, high refresh-by-performance
- Solid battery life
- Good daylight camera performance
- Heavy and heavy
- No waterproofing or wireless charging
- Cameras struggle a bit in low light
Asus ROG Phone 2 | Full Specifications
- Brand : Asus
- Model : ROG Phone 2
- Forming factor : touch screen
- Dimensions (mm) : 170.99 x 77.60 x 9.78
- Weight (g) : 240.00
- Battery Capacity (mAh) : 6000
- No removable battery
- Color : black
- Screen Size (inch) : 6.59
- Touch screen : yes
- Resolution : 1080×2340 pixels
- Security Type : Gorilla Glass
- Aspect Ratio : 19.5: 9
- Processor : 2.6GHz octa-core
- RAM : 8GB
- Expandable storage up to : 128 GB
- Back camera : 48-megapixel + 13-megapixel
- Rear flash : yes
- 24-megapixel front camera
- No flash in front
- Operating System : Android 9 Pie
- Wi-fi : yes
- Wi-Fi supported : 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
- GPS : Yes
- Bluetooth : yes
- Nfc : yes
- USB Type-C : Yes
- Headphones : 3.5 mm
- Sim number : 1
- Wi-Fi Direct : Yes
- GSM / CDMA GSM
- 3G : yes
- 4G / LTE : Yes
- Fingerprint sensor : yes
- Compass / magnetometer : yes
- Presence detection sensor : yes
- accelerometer : yes
- Ambient Light Sensor : Yes
- Gyroscope : yes
Asus ROG Phone 2 | Design
The Asus ROG Phone 2 sports an industrial look similar to the first version, but this time it is a bit more. The exposed air vent at the back is smaller and more discretionary; The orange highlights look more subtle for the stereo speakers on the front; And the darker finish makes it look even more covert. There is still nothing wrong with an ordinary smartphone, especially the ROG logo on the back.
The ROG Phone 2 is both larger and heavier in size than its predecessor, making it one of the heaviest phones we’ve held in a while. It is very thick at 9.48 mm and weighs 240 grams. Weight is not a major issue when using it in landscape orientation with both hands, but normal one-handed use quickly becomes fatigued.
Asus has swapped the rear capacitive fingerprint sensor for the in-display one. Authentication works well but we found that we had to rest our finger a little longer than normal before doing this job. It is not as sharp as some other display sensors we have used, such as the OnePlus 7T (review). Facial recognition is very fast and works at odd angles as well. The power and volume buttons are placed on the right side of the phone and there is good response.
There is an additional USB Type-C port on the left side, along with a custom port for accessories. This Type-C port supports USB 3.1 (Gen2) standard, with video resolution up to 4K resolution and Quick Charge 4.0, and can be used to charge when gaming in landscape mode. The Type-C port at the bottom supports USB 3.0 speed and also supports fast charging. The 3.5mm headphone socket is placed at the bottom right, so wired headphones won’t get in the way while you’re gaming.
The 6.59-inch AMOLED display has full-HD + resolution but what is impressive is the 120Hz refresh rate. It also supports 10-bit HDR and is claimed to be color accurate with a Delta E average of less than 1. Maximum brightness is 600nits and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for safety. The display has thick bezels on the top and bottom, but it does not make the phone ugly. The earpiece and bottom speaker are forward-facing for better stereo effect. Dual nano-SIM trays are placed on the left side, but there is no slot for expansion of storage.
The ROG Phone 2 also features a second version of Asus’s AirTrigger system or the right side shoulder buttons. Asus says the algorithm has been reworked, so now you can rest on them without activating your fingers. There also exists a new dual vibration system. The phone also uses a 3D vapor chamber system for cooling. According to Asus, a total of four Wi-Fi antennas and microphones are placed at strategic points around the phone, which should provide optimal signal performance no matter how you place it.
The base model of the ROG Phone 2, which we have, ships with an 18W charger, Type-C cable, SIM ejection tool and aero case. The latter is more of a bumper case, as only the top and bottom have plastic reinforcements, while the rest of the body has larger cutouts for the rear vent and logo. Asus says that this case was designed so that you can use the aeroactive cooler without removing it. This cooler is an optional accessory but if you buy the 512GB variant, it comes bundled. The top-end version, priced at Rs. At 59,999, you also get a 30W charger in the box.
You can also get other accessories for ROG Phone 2, which cost from Rs. 1,999 all the way up to Rs. 19,999.
Asus ROG Phone 2 | Specifications and Software
According to Asus, the ROG Phone 2 is built using some of the best components available on the market, including a special speed-binned Snapdragon 855+ SoC, LPDDR4X RAM, and UFS 3.0 storage. The phone is available in two RAM and storage variants – one with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (Rs 37,999) and the other with 12 GB RAM and 512 GB storage (Rs 59,999). There is a big jump going for the high end version, and even with the extra accessories, this price is too high.
You also get dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, NFC, FM radio, generic sensors, satellite navigation system and USB-OTG. The ROG Phone 2 supports high-resolution audio via a 3.5 mm headphone jack with the ability to decode 192kHz / 24-bit files. However, this phone misses some key level features such as water resistance and an IP rating for wireless charging.
Like the first ROG phone, Asus has done a lot of work in the software this time. You get Android 9 Pie with August security patch and custom skin. For ROG Phone 2, you can choose more vanilla Android themes during the setup process instead of the default ROG theme. The latter looks cool and you have a choice between a dark and light version of it. Also, when you enable the X mode, which is the display mode of Asus, the wallpaper and highlights around the icon get aggressive red accents. If you’re not a fan of this, there’s always a classic theme to come back to.
In terms of installed apps, there is not much bloatware. There is an Asus data transfer app for transferring data from your old phone to the ROG Phone 2, and the Armory Crate app, where you configure the lighting effects for the logo; Monitor temperature of CPU and GPU; Set the force level for Air Triggers, etc. There is also a digital well-being suite of Android 9.
There is more customization to be in the phone’s Settings app. Audio Wizard lets you choose different sound presets. There is an ‘outdoor’ mode that increases the volume by slightly sacrificing the sound quality. You can manually choose between 60 Hz, 90 Hz and 120 Hz refresh rates for the screen, but you cannot perform dynamically based on these activities.
Display colors can be rotated; There is always an on-display mode; And you can choose which icons you want in the status bar. The latter feature is very handy because you can have icons for things like NFC, X mode, refresh rate, etc. in the status bar, so you can see what is enabled in the notification shade without checking the toggle.
The ‘Advanced’ menu in the Settings app has a ton more options for twins. Mobile Manager lets you clear RAM, manage data usage, and scan for viruses, and Game Genie is a very useful toolbar designed to configure live streaming on Air triggers, YouTube, Live Touch, etc. Can be accessed from within the game. And motion gestures, screen recording, and one-handed mode. The Air Triggers menu lets you add ‘squeeze’ gestures to the trigger below, which can launch an action or app with a short or long squeeze.
Asus ROG Phone 2 | Performance and Battery life
The huge size and weight of the ROG Phone 2 is a bit tricky to use. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not a problem when you’re holding the phone with two hands for gaming, but for most other use cases, it gets fatigued very quickly. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t mind a big, heavy phone, you’ll probably like it. The glass back is a bit slippery but the bundled case makes it easy to hold this phone with one hand. The earpiece has a nice touch in addition to an LED.
As you would expect, the ROG Phone 2 is also a beast of an artist. The 120Hz refresh rate allows apps and gameplay (in supported games) to be incredibly fun and scroll through the fluid. If you want to save a bit of power, the 90Hz also provides a pleasing experience, but battery life isn’t really a concern here, which we’ll talk a little bit about. Apps load quickly and multitasking is handled very well. Of course, the main draw of this phone is gaming, and it is one of the best devices, if not the best one for it.
We ran heavy games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends as well as a number of simple games including Ramon Adventures and Mario Kart, all of which ran flawlessly. Even in the 8 GB RAM version of this phone, we were able to switch between any of these games quite seamlessly.
Now keep in mind that the back of the phone gets quite hot during gaming, especially near the side-mounted Type-C port with some spots that get very hot. We recommend playing with bundled case, as you do not feel as much heat and it provides better grip. The heat could be better controlled with the Aerocoler II accessory, but it would cost extra and we didn’t have one to test.
We didn’t feel the need to use the X mode most of the time, except for a few instances in PUBG when the Framart felt mildly choppy. The X mode prevents the throttling of the CPU and at the same time does not allow the speed to go below 1.3 GHz. Keep in mind that this will also drain the battery faster, so we would suggest you not to use it unless you absolutely need it.
Game Genie lets you enable overlays in games to monitor frame rate, system temperature, and CPU and GPU usage in real-time. Through Armory Crate, you can set a customized profile for each game. For example, Ramon Adventures supports a 120Hz refresh rate, so while playing the game you can switch displays in it and revert to a lower refresh rate for regular use.
Like the original ROG phones, we found Air triggers to be very helpful in games like PUBG Mobile. The vibration effect, when they are triggered, is instantaneous and you can now rest your fingers on them and simply apply pressure when you really need to activate them. This reduces fatigue in your index finger, as you don’t have to keep them hovering in mid-air. If you are going to do this, it is best to increase the amount of pressure required to activate the triggers, preventing accidental activation.
Apart from gaming performance, display and speaker are two other highlights of this phone. HDR videos look great – brightness is automatically increased when HDR content is detected, and it returns to that level when you close the video. The speakers get really loud and the sound quality is good. Stereo sound is evenly distributed on both channels, with decent bass and a good sound stage. When using the outdoor mode, the sound quality is terrible as it cuts the bus and amplifies the treble, making everything tinier and shrill.
Battery life is equally impressive, and not only because of the huge capacity. In our battery loop test, the 6000mAh battery lasts for about 11 hours and 48 minutes, with the screen set to 120Hz and 14hours and 60Hz in 13 minutes. These numbers may not seem particularly impressive compared to other phones that have lasted more than 20 hours with smaller batteries, but the ROG Phone 2 exceeded our expectations in real-world usage.
Even with the screen running at 120Hz and lots of camera, gaming and social usage, we can easily take a full day on a single charge. When heavy 3D games are played non-stop for two hours with X mode at most times, and the refresh rate is set to 90Hz, the battery level is reduced by about 27 percent, giving us plenty of juice. Is left with the extra time which lasts for the other two full days.
The ROG Phone 2 supports several fast charging standards – Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 / 3.0 and USB Power Delivery 3.0. With the bundled 18W charger, we were able to charge the battery up to 52 percent in one hour and it took about two hours to fully charge it. This may seem a bit slower than the competition, but keep in mind that it is a much larger battery than others in this price range. With the optional 30W charger (Rs 1,999), charging should be very fast.
Asus ROG Phone 2 | Cameras
Rear sensors on ROG Phone 2 are similar to Asus 6Z (Review). This phone is missing the laser auto focus sensor, but everything else seems to be the same. The ROG Phone 2 also features a 24-megapixel front camera with f / 2.0 aperture, as it lacks a 6Z motorized rear camera. The main 48-megapixel camera uses the Sony IMX586 sensor, which has f / 1.79 aperture and PDAF, but no optical stabilization. The second camera uses a wide-angle lens with a 13-megapixel sensor.
The camera app is full of features, with many shooting modes such as motion tracking, pro and night, which are among the common people. A toggle within the viewfinder lets you switch between regular and wide-angle lenses. The latter can be used to shoot video, but you cannot switch between cameras during recording.
In broad daylight, the primary camera of the ROG Phone 2 was quite capable and used fine details and colors. HDR images looked vivid and striking, with good exposure and white balance. The wide-angle camera captured slightly weaker details, but the HDR was well handled and the landscapes looked good, with little barrel distortion. The close-up also looked good, with enough detail and nice colors. The camera app lets you adjust the level of background blur in portrait shots, but edge detection was not always accurate.
The low-light landscape shots captured using the Asus ROG Phone 2 were slightly grainy, but using Night Mode helped. The details were still a bit weak and the resulting images were overshared to be too much.
The selfie camera captured a fairly good selfie during the day, with a good skin tone, but we noticed that the background has some small artwork, and the edges of our faces can be sharp. The screen flash is quite effective in low light, providing good illumination. Portrait mode is present with the front camera but the final output looks a bit artificial.
Video quality shot in broad daylight was also impressive. Electronic stabilization worked very well at 4K stabilization as well, and details and colors were well represented. Selfie videos were also stable, and the quality was equally good. The phone faltered a bit in low light, as the video was slightly grainy, and electronic stabilization caused a slight distortion as we moved forward.
Asus ROG Phone 2 is a solid piece of hardware and definitely the most polished and impressive gaming phone we’ve seen so far. It lacks some features like waterproofing and wireless charging, but Rs. 37,999, those things are not big deal breakers. The high-end version costs around Rs. But it seems very expensive. 60,000 even with mass bumps and tied items in storage. The price is around Rs. 50,000 would have been more accessible.
OnePlus 7T is one of the main competitors for the base variants of the ROG Phone 2. It is a solid offer running on Android 10, and has a good set of cameras as well as a fast 90Hz display. If you are not a fan of the weight of the ROG Phone 2, then the OnePlus 7T would be a good choice.
However, if you are looking for an animal from a phone, the Asus ROG Phone 2 is the best from there and is priced at Rs. is less than. 40,000. Even if you’re not a gamer, the vivid display and stereo speakers make it an excellent multimedia device, if you can keep it with the bulk.