Asus ROG Phone II is a device with unique features for the game. As a series of accessories that facilitate the interaction mode or the fan that cools the external body. In addition, it boasts an excellent display that updates with a frequency of 120) Hz, ideal for those games that run at high frame rates. Here is the response on the potential of the terminal after our classic test suite
of Editorial staff published on 14 February 2020 in the Telephony channel
In an increasingly smartphone-centric society, video games, as well as all entertainment content, are changing considerably. There are many games valid for smartphones, capable of offering many hours of fun, deep and open game worlds, and which require a certain amount of skill within multiplayer challenges. In addition, many of these games have detailed graphics almost like that of console or PC games: together with the small size of the screens, they visually appear very defined. Thanks to recent developments in graphics engines such as Unity, developers can therefore indulge themselves in content, game mechanics and even graphic detail.
It is therefore not surprising that hardened players who until yesterday would only have played on a desktop system, today do not disdain to spend a few hours a day delighting with a smartphone game. This is also possible due to the proliferation of an increasingly large number of valid titles. Beyond the usual blockbusters such as Fortnite, PUGB, Clash Royale or Candy Crush Saga , today it goes for the the greater a series of games that perhaps are not the protagonists on the most visited sites in the gaming sector, but which include very important communities, which can no longer be ignored. I refer to the various Archero, State of Survival, Marvel Strike Force, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Raid: Shadow Legends, Airport City, Star Trek Fleet Command, Saint Seiya: Awakening, Shadowgun Legends and War Games , which we will discuss later. If even historical video game producers like Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Rockstar now have divisions specialized in the development of mobile games, and I think of the various Mario Kart Tour or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas , among others, not to mention the various Minecraft, Football Manager 2020 , all with their own mobile variant, it is evident that we are witnessing a great change in the gaming habits of the majority of players.
A change that depends on various factors, the first of which depends on the great variety of stimuli that characterize modern society. With a huge content offer, it is clear that users can focus their attention on the individual content in a fragmented and non-exclusive way. This is why almost all games for smartphones and tablets are structured in such a way as to offer rewarding gaming experiences for reduced time intervals, forcing you to leave the smartphone after a few minutes of play and then enjoy the fruits gained from waiting. A framework that favored the free-to-play monetization structure with in-app purchases, almost completely reversing the power relationships in the industry.
In 120, 1 billion dollars from the game industry in 2019, 64, 4 billion come from the increasingly popular mobile gaming sector, 26, 6 billion from the PC market and 15, 4 from the consoles, according to SuperData market research. These are figures that justify the renewed interest both of video game producers, but also of hardware producers, towards the emerging sector. This is why we should not be surprised if companies like Asus released terminals such as ROG Phone II, a super-armored smartphone with cutting-edge hardware that can guarantee remarkable performance both with the most demanding games and with those dedicated to “casual” audiences.
ROG Phone II is in fact marketed together with a series of accessories, designed specifically to improve and make the gaming experience more immersive. For example, it is possible to apply a fan to improve the dissipation of air on the rear surface of the smartphone in contact with the circuitry used for image processing, but also the gamepad Kunai , consisting of three modular parts that hook around the smartphone.
- Technical specifications
- AirTrigger II
- Operating system
- AeroActive Controller fan
- Technical analysis
- Examples of shooting
Don't forget to see the comparison between screen at 120 Hz ea 60 Hz
From the hardware point of view, one of the peculiarities of this smartphone is the use processor Snapdragon 855 Plus from 2, 96 GHz , capable of reproducing gaming experiences on the smartphone with a quality that can be combined with the consoles. Furthermore, such a powerful processor is required by the ROG Phone II display, which updates to the frequency of 120 Hz . The latter allows you to enjoy more fluid gaming experiences (but also by simply navigating the phone's menus) and, updating faster than a normal display, reproduces the player's interaction more faithfully, increasing its performance.
Of course, to make the best of it, such a display requires very performing hardware. The Snapdragon 855 Plus is in fact assisted by 8 or 12 GB of RAM depending on the model and a battery by ben 6. 000 mAh with technology support Hypercharge from 30 W and allows several hours of play even with the heaviest titles. Also on the battery front, therefore, Asus ROG Phone II is not the classic smartphone. As for the GPU, within this SoC we find a Adreno 640 , also from Qualcomm , which operates at the clock frequency of 675 Hz . Smartphone equips 512 GB of storage memory.
This with regards to the Elite Edition version: but, as you can see on the shop of Asus , there are also the Strix Edition and the Ultimate Edition, respectively with 8 GB / 128 GB and 12 GB / 1 TB. Prices range from 699 to 999 EUR.
The display is therefore very interesting. It is a AMOLED with 1ms of latency and Delta-E declared lower than 1 , also characterized by a sampling rate of 240 Hz for touch inputs and touch latency of 49 ms . The latter is another aspect to underline: in order to enjoy such a high refresh rate it is very important that the screen quickly receives the player's input and the various interactions it gives so that it can keep up with the gaming needs.
We are in front of a panel from 6, 59 “ which supports the resolution Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixels) with report of 19. 5: 9 , reduced frames (but not too much). We then have the support HDR 10 , fingerprint sensor under the display and 3.5mm audio jack for connecting headphones traditional fie / microphones.
The main rear camera is from 48 Megapixel and take advantage of the Image Sensor Sony IMX 586 . It is a large sensor 1 / 2,0 , with a pixel size of 0.8 μm . Through technology Quad Bayer the effective pixel dimensions increase up to 1.6 μm and this is very important because the sensor gains the ability to capture more light for each pixel offering the possibility to shoot even in dark environments . This is possible thanks to the ability to combine the data of the four surrounding pixels and to improve the definition of the image.
The field of view of this camera is 79 ° . It is also equipped with Autofocus with phase detection on a 2×1 chip lens. In the back we find a second camera from 13 Megapixels and wide angle lens of 125 ° , which guarantees additional photographic space, real-time distortion correction and 11 mm focal length. As for the front camera, however, we have a solution from 24 Megapixel , Aperture F2.0, 27 mm focal length and field of view of 77, 9 °. The smartphone, thanks to these sensors, reaches to record videos up to 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) to 30 / 60 fps for the main rear camera ea 30 fps for the second rear camera.
The smartphone also has four Wi-Fi antennas , the inevitable rear ROG logo backlit with RGB LED , and two AirTrigger sensors II that respond to multiple pressure levels: the player can place his fingers on the side of the smartphone during the game session, and then press a little harder in order to perform the game action set.
The latter are very interesting for the player who loves to play with the gamepad. They are not directly supported by the games, but just swipe the side of the screen to open Game Genie and proceed instant configuration. Two small circles move, one red and one blue, at the part of the screen where the virtual button is located. At that point from virtual that button becomes real, associated with one of the two AirTriggers. In this way, in a shooter you can go in “ironsight” by placing your finger on the left AirTrigger and shoot with the right AirTrigger, while in a driving game you can brake with the first and accelerate with the second. That is, restore the console gaming experience without necessarily buying any additional accessories.
The quality of the speakers of ROG Phone II should also be underlined. They are very powerful thanks to the double front speaker compatible with the standard DTS: X Ultra . In addition, the smartphone is equipped with a speaker with dual smart amplifier NXP TFA 9874 for a louder, deeper and less distorted sound effect. We also find the Standard Hi-Res audio output 192 kHz / 24-bit with support DTS and virtual surround headphones, very important to enjoy positional audio, valuable with competitive multiplayer games. The internal microphone also makes use of noise cancellation technology, to ensure clean conversations with the companions of competitive matches.
The customized operating system for ROG Phone II provides a separate mode that allows you to easily manage the game library and provides a panel with details on the status of the CPU, GPU, system memory used and storage memory used. In terms of temperature and clock frequency, there are separate graphs for CPU and GPU. Furthermore, from this screen you can enable the so-called “X mode” , which basically overclocks the CPU bringing it from 710 MHz at 1, 29 GHz.
As for Game Genie, this overlap allows you to manage advanced features, such as recording of gameplay or the live streaming . Going back to the reasoning at the beginning of this article, players today can have the passion to share the gaming experience with their followers also in terms of mobile gaming. In this context, a function of this type, which moreover does not affect performance at all, is welcome.
Furthermore, from this layer it is possible to pause the telephone module and set the “data only” mode : in the absence of a Dual-SIM system, in fact, a phone call can cause disconnection from the network, which can be a serious nuisance if you play in competitive online multiplayer, ruining the performance. Game Genie also allows you to view real-time information on the frame rate, SoC temperature, CPU clock frequency and X Mode enablement. Consider that some games, such as Shadowgun Legends , are optimized for ROG Phone II and therefore automatically set the best performances
AeroActive Controller fan
The experience with games like Shadowgun Legends with Asus ROG Phone II is terrific. In the central hub the frame rate with this game remains anchored to 60 fps , while going on a mission goes to take advantage of the full computing capacity of Rog Phone II: therefore, turn to 120 fps using the refresh rate top of this display. The difference is also noticeable during the actual gameplay: with a higher refresh rate the performance is improved and you enjoy a greater fluidity and solidity of the images , without compromises due to tearing or stuttering.
These are extreme conditions, in which the phone overheats up to 36 ° of temperature perceived on the body . While other accessories for ROG Phone II must be purchased separately, the AeroActive Controller fan is included in the package and must be positioned on the rear body of the smartphone.
On the left side, ROG Phone 2 is equipped with a double port, a USB Type-C connector for charging and the gaming port designed for the connection of accessories. It should also be noted that the fan is not in direct contact with the hardware, but mainly serves to cool the body of the phone. After about an hour of continuous play we detected a temperature of 25, 9 ° with fan applied. The latter is also very useful for cooling your hands even after long game sessions and to prevent them from sweating.
Among the other accessories we find ROG Kunai , which consists of two controllers with a total of 16 buttons that can be connected to the Kunai Gamepad Holder to create a standalone gamepad. The holder also offers 2 extra triggers, 2 extra grip buttons and 5 function buttons for a total of 25 buttons, allowing you to find the best grip and the most suitable configuration for each game. The TwinView Dock is instead an additional display from 120 Hz with an additional 5 battery. 000 mAh.
With a Snapdragon 855 + integrated video game enthusiasts can't ask for anything better. It is the best platform available on the Android market at the time of launch, which is combined with 8 or 12 GB of RAM and from 128 GB up to well 1TB of storage space on flash memory UFS 3.0 . The Qualcomm SoC is based on a CPU with eight proprietary cores, all based on Kryo architecture 485: a core can reach a frequency of 2. 96 GHz, three cores 2. 42 GHz, and the remaining four cores stop at 1. 78 GHz. The GPU is also the owner, that is one Adreno 640 from 700 MHz .
Thanks to these features, the smartphone achieves very high results on all the benchmarks, offering a user experience at the top of the category. The display from 120 Hz further improves the experience: just to make sense of the choice of the high refresh rate display we have brought the graphics with rendering 3D only in mode onscreen , which in fact is the one that most reflects the real use cases with video games in terms of graphics processing. The difference is clear, compared to smartphones from 60 Hz, with the T-Rex 2.7 test of GFX Bench, the “lighter” one in graphic terms: it is with the less heavy titles, or with the better optimized ones, that ROG Phone 2 manages to make the most of the display and offer the best user experience.
ROG Phone 2 it performs very well even with non-gaming tests, representing an excellent solution even for the heaviest tasks such as multimedia editing.
Below are the benchmarks that we have run with the terminal.
The display is one of the crucial points among the technical characteristics of ROG Phone 2 : here we find a state-of-the-art panel, with all the typical characteristics of the same generation flagships. In this case we have a AMOLED from ben 6, 59 inches with screen ratio frames above the 80% (lower than other top of the range anyway) and resolution support 2340 x 1080 derived from Full HD. The aspect ratio is 19. 5: 9 , and we have support for HDR 10 with an extension of the 108% (therefore higher than the profile) of the DCI-P3 gamut. The pride of this panel is the refresh rate at 120 Hz and the touch matrix that can go up to 240 measurements per second of the finger (or the chosen input method).
As regards luminance and contrast, we have a maximum luminance of almost 900 nit , which is absolutely very high and among the highest values ever recorded by a smartphone, and a ratio contrast not measurable because it is too high. This is a characteristic of OLED displays: they can turn off black pixels so as not to produce any type of light when needed.
The smartphone has different ways of displaying colors, of which we report only the most interesting values to take into consideration. Here are all the profiles present:
- Natural: it is the mode with the widest gamut, with colors that are even too vivid compared to the standard.
- Optimal : it is configured as the correct gamut mode up to DCI-P3, while maintaining a cold white point to be more pleasant.
- Cinematic : takes the DCI-P3 as a reference, but maintains a more precise white point than to Optimal mode.
- Standard : very precise compared to the sRGB standard, less extensive than the DCI-P3.
- Personalized : it is the profile that allows precise manual calibration. With the other modes it is only possible to manage the color temperature.
Optimal (with HDR)
The gamut analysis, as we wrote above, shows the maximum saturation of the various complementary and primary colors, and the different behavior between the various profiles: Standard and Optimal are the most precise, respectively with the color profiles sRGB and DCI-P3, while Naturale is the most extensive, with colors that – strangely, based on the name – are less natural than the Optimal profile. The latter becomes slightly more precise with content that enables HDR mode.
Optimal (with HDR)
The white balance at the various gray levels confirms what has been seen with the gamut analysis: with SDR contents we have a evident blue cast with a lower value than the standard for red. Green is more precise. By enabling the HDR mode we have no obvious dominant with a more precise result at all levels. Also in this case the red is a bit of a deficit compared to the standard. Remember that it is not possible to arbitrarily activate HDR, but to access the mode you need content saved with a wide dynamic range codec.
Optimal (with HDR)
The same trend is noticed when evaluating the chromatic fidelity, where the calibration in the HDR mode is more precise: with SDR contents we have obtained, in the Optimal mode, a Average DeltaE equal to 7, 26 , while we reached a Average DeltaE of 6, 42 . The differences are not many, and the result to the naked eye is a fairly precise display in both modes. The ROG Phone 2 panel is not made for video or photographic processing, but the accuracy of the colors is still optimal for consulting multimedia contents or for gaming.
Optimal (with HDR)
The gamma curve with HDR content stops just beyond the 650 nit to about the 90%, threshold from which clipping starts. The display starts to soften the curve starting from 65%, thus presenting a white value out of reference for offer a less clear cut of the highlights.
On the battery front ROG Phone 2 does not disappoint , although we expected something more because of the unity from 6. 000 Integrated mAh . In our autonomy test in Wi-Fi navigation, made by setting the display brightness to the value of 200 nits, we measured a result of 855 minutes . This is a value that places the ASUS gaming phone in the very high half of the ranking, however not enough to overcome Mate 30 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro. The two smartphones Huawei and Apple, net of much smaller batteries, manage to last a little longer if subjected to medium impact activities. .
ROG Phone 2 is however definitely valid in terms of autonomy, thanks also to an extremely long idle period (not evaluated in our test) guaranteed by the significant battery amperage. In addition, support for fast charging with Quick Charge 4.0 technology from massimo 30 W, and the Reverse Charging mode, make it a useful device for 360 °. Thanks to the latter, in fact, it is possible to use ROG Phone 2 to charge an external device (only via cable and not via wireless).
As for the camera ROG Phone 2 adopts a fairly conservative approach, with “only” two modules at the rear. At the front we have only one module from 24 MP with f / 2.2 aperture and 0.9µm size for the single pixel. Let's go back to the rear cameras (of which you find below all the specifications): we have a main sensor from 48 MP paired with an f / 1.8 lens from the focal length of 26 mm equivalent to the standard from 35 mm. The ultra wide angle is from 13 MP with f / 2.4 aperture and focal length of 11 mm equivalent.
It is a module on paper of good quality, but at the level of midrange devices (the Sony IMX 586 from 48 MP was one of the most abused sensors in the mid-range, but was not always shown to be effective). The top of the range of the same generation use more refined solutions and a greater number of modules that guarantee greater versatility.
ROG Phone 2, camera features
- Sensor from 48 MP
- Lens f / 1.8
- Autofocus PDAF / Laser
- Focal length 26 mm equivalent
- Sensor from 13 MP
- Lens f / 2.4
- Focal length 11 mm equivalent
- Video 4K Ultra HD @ 60 fps
- Slow-motion video n Full HD @ 240 fps / HD @ 480 fps
Examples of shooting
Click on the thumbnails to see the original photos
Wide module with active LED flash
How to shoot ROG Phone 2 ? ASUS has shown itself capable of handling the Sony IMX sensor 586 with Zenfone 6, and the situation is not too different with the new gaming phone. Excellent light management (the sensor is not natively the best in this sense), a little less detail, with other smartphones that do better especially in the sunlight. Good colors even when the lighting conditions are sacrificed, and the work done by post-production in the dark is appreciable. Noise reduction is very effective (and the Sony IMX 586 produces a lot of noise), however the camera shake is always around the corner in the absence of a hardware stabilization system.
The ultra-wide angle module takes quality photos, as per ASUS tradition, among the best in the category. The management of the details under the sunlight is of a good level and the exposure is also quite precise, with lights and shadows that are represented without loss of detail. The ultra wide angle is much less effective in the dark, but this is a problem shared with all the same generation smartphones.
Ultimately, we are talking about a terminal intended for a well-defined audience. Who has sensitivity towards a truly quality screen, which benefits from the hardware's ability to render at high frame rates. Play 120 Hz is a whole other story, and even with the “naked eye” one perceives the greater reactivity, fluidity and stability of the image . With Qualcomm Snapdragon at the base 855 +, then, ROG Phone II manages to stand out in a multitude of benchmarks on speed performance, as shown by our test suite, and as regards autonomy. Furthermore, the fan supplied is useful for reducing the temperature on the body.
We speak, therefore, of a complete and absolutely valid smartphone in terms of performance. With an increasing number of games capable of playing at 120 frames per second, and with the mobile world that is progressively eroding quotas on system gaming desktop, could prove to be the right purchase for the player, while remaining recommended for other scenarios.