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Asus ROG Phone II Review: OnePlus 7T Killer
The most powerful gaming smartphone- Asus ROG Phone II has been officially launched in the Indian market. Asus has launched the company's second-gen. gaming smartphone at a very aggressive starting price of Rs. 37,999 for the 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM variant. The 8GB variant will go on sale starting September 30 via Flipkart and will ship with the 10W QC 4.0 charger and the AeroCase metal case in the box.
- Best-in-Class Gaming Experience
- 120Hz AMOLED Display Is A Delight
- Best-in-Class Audio Performance
- Top-class Battery Life
- 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Two Charging Ports
- Premium Design
- Fluid And Clean Software
- Multi-Accessory Support
- Display Lacks Resolution
- Heating Issues At Maximum Throttle Speeds
- No MicroSD Card Slot
- No IP Water-Dust Rating
The higher variant with 12GB RAM and 512GB inbuilt storage will be launched later this year in India at Rs. 59,999 and will be bundled with the powerful 30W ROG Charger, AeroActive Cooler, and the Aero Case in the box.
The Asus ROG Phone II brings some mind-blowing features and hardware that even beats the recently launched Nubia Red Magic 3 gaming smartphone and blows the OnePlus 7T out of the water. It offers the world's first 120Hz AMOLED display, massive 6,000 mAh battery, improved Air triggers and is backed by the speed-binned Snapdragon 855+ SoC. If you are an avid gamer, this is an obvious choice. Let's find out everything about the new Asus ROG Phone II.
Extremely Eye Catchy And Premium Design
Gaming smartphones are extremely tough to design but Asus has done an excellent job. The ROG Phone II has got all the design elements of being a high-end gaming device. The overall look and feel of the smartphone is not much different from the first-gen. ROG phone but the new device looks more subtle, premium and a definite upgrade.
The glossy back panel, which is still a fingerprint magnet, flaunts aggressive lines and uniquely shaped diagonal camera module featuring two sensors.
The RGB logo sits in the middle and lights up with auro lights making the device an instant head-turner. The colour shades keep changing and also notifies you for any incoming notification. Paired up with the ROG CNC case that ships in the box, the ROG Phone II looks extremely robust and spectacular. Not just gaming enthusiasts but anyone who sees this device will be awestruck.
Four-Layer Architecture To Keep The Device Cool
The Asus ROG Phone II is designed to dissipate the maximum amount of heat to keep the internals cool while you play the graphically intensive games on a stretch. The handset features four-layer architecture. The first layer houses the internal thermal design backed by a 3D vapour chamber. The level 2 offers heat dissipation via a built-in copper heat sink. Then comes the heat transfer vents at level 3 and at last an Active cooling solution that uses an AeroActive cooler II.
Buttons And Ports- Two Type-C Charging Ports
This is the worlds' first device to feature not one but two Type-C ports. The primary Type-C charging port is placed at the bottom and is accompanied by a microphone and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The left edge houses a dual USB port that can be used to mount the handset with ROG accessories to further enhance the gameplay experience. These ports are sealed under a rubber-duct.
You can use the secondary Type-C port to connect Type-C headphones or other game-centric accessories while you charge the phone from the primary Type-C port. It's such a neat and thoughtful feature that makes the ROG Phone II an absolute bliss for avid gamers.
Best Used With Two Hands
The industrial design, hefty 6,000mAh battery cell and a big AMOLED display makes the ROG Phone II a heavy-duty machine. While you can use the phone with one hand for basic tasks, it is best-suited for a two-hand usage. I would recommend using this device encased with case and with extreme caution to prevent damages.
6.59" AMOLED, 120Hz Display With240Hz Response Time
The screen forms the basis of a good gaming smartphone and Asus ROG Phone II brings the best-in-class display on a gaming device. The handset sports one-of-its-kind future-ready 6.59"AMOLED screen. The OLED panel has a 120Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. Moreover, the extremely fast 240Hz touch response rate and 49ms touch latency make this OLED the most responsive touchscreen in the market. The OLED panel on the Asus ROG Phone II is even better than the 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the recently launched OnePlus 7T.
The above-mentioned display properties make ROG Phone II a delight for graphically intensive games. You won't feel any lag as the fast pixel response time ensures console-level gaming experience on a mobile phone. Moreover, the snappy touch response also makes general operations extremely fluid.
Just to make it more clear, The 1080 x 2340px resolution screen on the ROG Phone II delivers a pixel density of 391ppi. These are not class-leading numbers but with the kind of smooth touch response and vivid colours you get on the OLED panel, the lack of a 4K display is not a big miss.
The 19.5:9aspect ratio display covers 111.8% DCI-P3 colour gamut and also comes equipped with ‘True 10-bit HDR support.' Overall, it's a delight to play games and stream videos on the ROG Phone II, especially over media streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The screen also features an in-screen fingerprint scanner and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
There's no other smartphone in the market at present that matches the gaming performance of the Asus ROG Phone II. Backed by the speed-binned Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus, Adreno 640, Air-triggers and Asus's gaming suite, the ROG Phone II has the mettle to deliver console-level gaming performance. I have thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay experience on this handset. The graphical-intensive games- Asphalt 9, PUBG, Real Racing 3, etc. never looked this better and ran this smooth.
The AMOLED display might lack in resolution but the high-contrast ratio and deep blacks make the graphics stand out. Moreover, the Full HD resolution works in favour of the device as the Adreno 640 (maxes at 700MHz) GPU comfortably pushes high frame rates for buttery-smooth gameplay.
X Mode For Extreme Performance
To experience an unmatched gaming experience, the Asus ROG Phone II offers a dedicated X Mode. You can enable the X-mode from the notification slider and choose among the various presets to control the performance output. In the console section, you can check the phone's vitals such as GPU/CPU temperature, battery remaining time, memory used, etc. You can even customize the AeroActive Cooler II fan speed and air-triggers functionality.
Within ‘Game Profiles' you can even go one step ahead and customize the hardware to run a game as per your requirement. For instance, I kept the refresh rate to run at maximum 120Hz, CPU at maximum throttle speed and temperature control at high while playing the PUBG and Asphalt 9. Last but not least, you can also customize audio, screen touch and network settings from within the game profiles.
Improved Air-Triggers And Better Thermal Management
The Asus ROG Phone II also brings improved Air-triggers. Though they still work on the ultrasonic sensor technology, the second generation Air-Triggers extends support for both touch and swipe. The sensors are much more precise than before. The vibration latency is just 20ms and you also get the ‘Dual Surrounding Vibration' that further amplifies the gaming response by offering 3D force-feedback experience.
As far as thermals are concerned, the Asus ROG Phone II heats quite a lot with all components running at maximum throttle speed. The edges take the maximum heat effect. We noticed steep heat signatures after playing three PUBG EvoGround sessions or four continues race sessions during Asphalt 9.
Excellent Everyday Phone
Asus ROG Phone II also excels as an everyday smartphone. The underlying factory-overclocked SD855+ CPU uses a powerful core architecture featuring- 1 x 2.96 GHz Kryo 485, 3 x 2.42 GHz Kryo 485, 4 x 1.78 GHz Kryo 485 cores. Combined with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM RAM, UFS 3.0 storage and 120Hz screen, the combination ensures blazing fast response times while using applications, switching between them, web browsing, camera app, etc.
Benchmark Results (With X-Mode Enabled)
We also ran our usual set of benchmarks on the Asus ROG Phone II with X-mode enabled that keeps the hardware components at full-throttle. The smartphone defeated 99% of the handsets by scoring 390672 in Antutu, 6195 in 3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme, 5358 in 3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan and 12615 in PC mark Work 2.0 Performance test. We also ran the Geekbench 5 benchmark and recorded a score of 740 in Single-core test and 1975 in Multi-core test on the Asus ROG Phone II.
Can a gaming smartphone be a good camera phone? Yes, if you are shooting pictures from Asus ROG Phone II. The dual-lens rear camera setup on the Asus ROG Phone II offers a 48MP main camera that works on the SONY IMX586 sensor. The sensor uses the familiar ‘Quad Bayer' technology to capture 16MP pixel-binned shots by default. You can capture 48MP high-resolution images with Pro mode that show better details.
The daylight shots look crisp and show an impressive dynamic range. Some shots I captured on the Asus ROG Phone II even beat the OnePlus 7 series camera output in terms of clarity and contrast. The camera also performs well in low-light as the big aperture size of F/1.79 with 0.8µm/1.6µm effective pixel size allows for good light intake.
The secondary camera is essentially a 13MP, 125˚ ultra-wide lens working on F/2.4 aperture. Asus says that it is equipped with ‘Real-time' distortion correction and to some extent, it works well. The lens distortion is quite minimal in the wide-angle shots captured on the ROG Phone II. The 48MP sensor on the Asus ROG Phone II can record crisp 4K videos at 30 and 60fps. The wide-angle lens can also record 4K videos but only at 30fps.
The video footage lacks hardware-backed stabilization as the lenses are not optically stabilized. However, EIS works even when you are shooting 4K @60fps videos. You can also shoot crisp slow-motion (1080p at 120/240 fps and 720p at 480 fps) and time-lapse videos.
Overall, Asus ROG Phone II offers the best-in-class camera performance on a gaming smartphone.
Audio And Battery Life
Asus ROG Phone II also excels in battery and audio department. The smartphone is backed by a massive 6,000mAh battery cell, biggest ever on a flagship device that lasts really long. The phone can last one full day even if you are playing games and streaming videos on a stretch. If for once you forget that it's a gaming device and use it moderately for just basic tasks, this device can last for more than two days on one single charge.
Asus ROG Phone II also supports Quick Charge 4.0. The phone also gets 30W ROG HyperCharge support that can charge the device to up to 65% in less than an hour. Don't forget that you are charging a behemoth 6,000mAh battery cell.
The two stereo speakers placed in front of the device are the most impressive pair of loudspeakers on a phone. These are essentially 5-magnet speakers with dual NXP 9874 smart amplifier that churns out the loudest and deepest audio on a mobile device. The sound distortion is handled very well even at extreme volume levels.
Besides, the handset also supports DTS:X Ultra virtual surround sound and Hi-Res audio 192kHz/24-bit standard. In short, the Asus ROG Phone II also nails the audio performance.
Connectivity And Software
Asus ROG Phone II offers WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 & 5GHz. The smartphone has Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi direct, GPS (L1+L5), GLO, BDS, GAL (E1+E5a), QZSS (L1+L5), Dual SIM dual standby with Slot 1 supporting 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card s and Slot 2 supporting 2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Cards. There's no microSD card support. The smartphone offers two Type-C charging ports and also offers a 3.5mm headphone jack. Besides, you also get NFC support on the Asus ROG Phone II.
Asus ROG Phone II runs on Android 9 with Asus ROG UI that screams gaming from every nook and corner. The app launcher, icons, notification panel, settings menu, etc. have game-centric elements that go in sync with the overall look-and-feel of the device. The user-interface is minimal and reminds us of stock Android. You can also opt for basic ZenUI theme from the theme settings for a more mainstream user experience.
Asus ROG Phone II is a pro-gaming machine. It is as best as a gaming phone can get in the year 2019. Asus hasn't left any stone unturned this time and we can only wonder what lies ahead for the Aus ROG phone line-up in the future generations. The smartphone brings several best-in-class features. From display to the battery to audio to raw performance, ROG Phone II excels in every department leaving the completion by miles.
And it's not just the gaming performance; the Asus ROG Phone II is also an excellent everyday handset. The cameras are decent and the big AMOLED screen also makes it a great multimedia streaming device. The battery can last for more than a day and the loudspeakers are good enough o make you forget the headphones while playing games and movies.
The closest rival OnePlus 7T does not stand a chance against the Asus ROG Phone II. At Rs. 37,999, the smartphone is a steal and a far better device than the competitors. The entry-level variant only offers AeroCase CNC case in the box and an 18W QC 4.0 charger. The higher 12GB RAM variant will be launched later this year at a cost of Rs. 59,999. It will 30 Watt QC 4.0 charger, Aero Active Cooler II and Aero case in the package.