Asus ROG Phone 2 review: Ultimate gaming mobile

Asus recently launched the new ROG (Republic of Gamers) Phone 2 in India. As the name suggests, it is the successor of the critically acclaimed 2018-series ROG Phone. The latter was one of the most feature-rich mobiles last year, but the price (Rs 69,999), played a spoilsport particularly in the price-conscious subcontinent.

Now, the second generation ROG Phone comes with huge upgrades both in terms of the design and internal hardware and costs Rs 37,999 (8GB RAM+128GB storage), almost half the price of the predecessor. I spent a few days using the new mobile and here is my observation.

Display, design and build quality:
Asus ROG Phone 2 is a true premium phone in terms of design and build quality. It comes with a good blend of a glass-and-metal enclosure having Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 6 series shield on both sides.

Asus has incorporated proprietary AirTrigger II technology with a touch-sensitive frame in the ROG Phone 2 and the trigger points are placed on the right side at opposite ends. The device flaunts a tailor-made display for gamers. It has a 6.59-inch AMOLED panel with 10-bit HDR support, 240Hz touch response, up to 120Hz high refresh rate, 1ms quick response, and 49ms touch latency. It can be noted that the device has really thick bezels on both the base and the top. But, I am not complaining, as the device offers good resting space for the hands to play games in the landscape mode.


Asus ROG Phone 2 (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

When held in the hand, Asus ROG Phone 2 offers a smooth and sturdy feel, much better than the rugged predecessor. Also,  the mobile comes with an RGB LED-backlit ROG Eye logo, which lights up when using the phone. This is an eye-catching feature, which makes the device unique among the rival brands.

Also, it has an in-screen fingerprint sensor and during the testing phase, it worked fast in detecting the finger impression and there was low FRR (False Rejection Rate).

Performance:
Asus ROG Phone 2 is the world's first mobile to boast Snapdragon 855 Plus, Qualcomm's latest and most powerful chipset to date. The CPU clock speed can reach up to 2.96Ghz. It is backed by Adreno 640 graphics engine, Android Pie OS, 8GB/12GB RAM, and 128GB/512GB storage.


Asus ROG Phone 2 comes with Android 9.0 Pie OS with a lot of third-party apps (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

As I said before, it has standalone features such as air-triggers on the sides and this is backed by dual front-firing speakers (one on the top and the base), multi-antenna Wi-Fi modem and dedicated accessories to enhance the gaming experience. Also, it has advanced GameCool II vapor-chamber technology with multiple layers of graphene and copper plates to dissipate heat when playing any graphics-heavy games. Also, the Game Genie, Armoury Crate Game section and the X Mode offer disturbance-free gaming, as it will block all calls, message notifications, and other stuff.


Asus ROG Phone 2 Game Armoury Crate (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

Furthermore, Asus offers accessories such as AeroActive Cooler II, which is designed to produce low fan-noise. 


Asphalt 9: Legends game on Asus ROG Phone 2 (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

To be honest, it took some time to get the feel of Air Triggers on the sides to play the games.  But, the fingers got accustomed to the touch-sensitive buttons. By the way, Asus ROG Phone 2 owners will get access to Porche 911 car on Asphalt 9: Legends.

Over-all, I had a delightful gaming experience and as far as normal chores such as internet browsing, binge-watching videos, launching & switching between apps, opening the camera and others, the ROG Phone 2 worked buttery smooth.

Camera:


Asus ROG Phone 2 camera sample (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

Initially, I was a bit skeptical about the ROG Phone 2's camera capabilities, believing Asus might have cut corners to offer the device at such a lucrative price-tag. But, I had a pleasant surprise. Asus has incorporated feature-rich dual-camera 48MP (with F1.8 aperture, Sony IMX 586 sensor)+13MP (125-degree wide-angle lens) with HDR, Portrait mode and more features. 


Asus ROG Phone 2 camera sample (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

It took really good photos in bright light conditions and yes, it too comes with Night mode and the samples are on par with the devices in the sub-Rs 40,000 price bracket.
On the front, it features a 24MP sensor and takes decent selfies.


Asus ROG Phone 2 camera sample with Night mode on (DH Photo/Rohit KVN)

Battery:
It has a 6,000mAh battery, biggest for any tier-1 flagship phone in the market. Under the normal usage, it will easily last two days,

With extreme usage, which includes multiple hours of internet-connected graphics-intense gaming, binge-watching videos on the multi-media streaming app and other activities; it will serve you a full day. Another interesting aspect of the ROG Phone 2 is that it can charge another phone with 10W speed.

Also, Asus in a bid to control faster battery draining, the refresh rate in the X Mode is kept 60Hz as default. You can change that manually.

Asus ROG Phone 2 comes with Type C 3.1-based Qualcomm Charging 4.0 USB port at the base in between the speakers. It will take close to 58 minutes for charging from zero to 66%. There is also another port on the left side, but it is for connecting the accessories.

Final thoughts:
Taiwanese computer-maker Asus has been in the smartphone market for quite a long time, but most often times, get sidelined by popular rivals such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Samsung, Huawei, Apple in both mid-range and high-end segments. 

[Note: There is one exception with the Asus Zenfone Max series, as it was quite popular in the budget segment for its battery life, but not for long].

With Asus ROG Phone 2, Asus has got a real winner and is capable of giving a stiff challenge to top-end rival brands.

Even if you are not an extreme gamer, it will serve you well. However, Asus has to make arrangements to keep a good stock of ROG Phone 2 on Flipkart or else, it will lose a good opportunity to leave a mark in the industry this year.

Pros:
Power-efficient AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
Power-packed processor configuration
Massive 6,000mAh battery
Exceptionally good build quality
Dedicated Game Genie, Armoury Crate Game and X Mode section for the ultimate gaming experience

Cons:
The interface is a bit confusing particularly the gaming module. But it is not a deal-breaker, as I was able to get the hang of it in two days.

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