We saw ASUS’ dive into mobile gaming with the first ROG phone back at its debut at Computex 2018 and now, it’s back—bigger and better. Obviously, the ROG phone 2 is a gaming phone so it’s packed with game-worthy specs such as a killer processor and gorgeous screen, among others—that hardcore gamers would surely appreciate. But let’s see if the ROG phone 2 is truly worth the splurge.

Bold and Edgy

While other smartphones flaunt their holographic, jewel-toned casebacks, the ROG phone 2 sports a glossy, all-black look with bronze details and geometrical cutouts for its cameras and dual LED flashes. The design is cohesive and unique—right down to the packaging. From the metallic embossing to the little metal plate to the black grooves that run across the matte black surface translate directly onto the actual phone itself.  

The ROG Phone 2 maintains the same look as the first ROG phone (except for the size) and the hard-plastic case it comes with further adds to the futuristic, sci-fi feel of the phone. The ROG logo at the center of the phone brings it all together. The logo is also RGB illuminated and can be turned on and off and be synced to fellow ROG phones via Wi-Fi. It’s a fun little feature to play around with as you can change the pulses and colors via ASUS’ pre-installed Armoury Crate app that is made specifically for gaming. It allows you to control the phone’s systems, default settings when in-game—but more of that later.

Admittedly, the ROG phone is not made for everyone. First, it’s an unashamedly large phone and so it’s not something you can easily slip into a pocket and not have it make a dent. It’s also not the lightest device and can get pretty bulky when you’re lugging all of its accessories with it. So, whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for sure, it’s definitely a standout.

 Lighting fast

Max out the ROG phone 2’s 6.59” HDR OLED dream of a screen with its 1080 x 2340 resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate. It has virtually no bezels on the sides but the top and bottom get thicker edges. The front camera isn’t set in a notch here but is simply part of the top bezel, like it used to be before all the other smartphone makers competed to be the one with the most screen. It doesn’t feel small though, being larger than most of the typical smartphones out there. Another feature that I love on the ROG Phone 2 are the Air Triggers on the top of the phone that function like the LR buttons on a console that can be mapped to any in-screen button on your game. Set on an etched surface, the ultrasonic they add a console feel to your game and vibrates these make it a whole difference when playing games and personally, I like using it as a shooting trigger on FPS games like Call of Duty. When not used in game though, the air triggers can also be used to turn on google assistant, flashlight, take a screenshot and others in the settings of the phone.

Once you’ve gamed on it, you can never quite go back to your regular phone. Every detail is crisp and the colors pop. Everything is extremely smooth with absolutely no lag or delay. Honestly, I can go on and on about it but it’s something best seen than talked (or written) about.

Obviously, it is specifically made to perform when gaming with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 plus processor overclocked to 2.96 GHz paired with an Adreno 640 GPU. It also features a whopping 12GB of RAM and 512 GB of ROM. Hard hitting games are a piece of cake to the ROG Phone 2 (as it should be) and its Game Genie optimizes game performance with X-mode and blocks calls and notifications. It’s like the gaming operations center of your phone and you can call it out by swiping from one side of your screen. Here, you can do a several things like adjust settings, set up your livestream, record your game, and more. The macro feature, for instance, allows you to pre-record the repetitive things you do on screen (such as closing pop-up windows) when launching a game so that you can jump right into playing.

The battery also gets a huge upgrade from the ROG Phone here, going from 4,000mAh to a huge 6,000mAh because no doubt, that 120 Hz refresh rate and the RGB lighting is going to drain it out. There is also a Power Master setting that allows you to choose between performance and energy saving modes to extend battery life. But it pulls through a day easily. The Phone also runs on Android 9 Pie out of the box and has a clean interface with no bloatware.

It carries over the ROG phone’s thoughtful design, coming with ASUS’ 30W quick charge 4 via USB type-C which you can plug into one of its two ports, one at the bottom and one at the side, so that it doesn’t get in the way when you play. There is no wireless charging here, though. The side port is also where you can connect the various accessories that are made specifically for the phone and the phone for them. The Aeroactive cooler II which is basically a clip-on fan is included in the box with the phone. It has a charging port, 3.5 mm jack, and also has a pulsing logo at the back (as it covers the one on the phone) and a ‘republic of gamers’ one as well up front. It keeps things cool when you’re in a marathon gaming session but it’s best to use it when you’re plugged in.  

Other accessories upgraded from last year that can be bought separately are the Twin Dock II, which is an extra display that also has a 120 Hz refresh rate and 5,000mAh battery capacity. It lets you live stream Another is the ROG Kunai Gamepad which. Additionally, the Mobile Desktop Dock and Pro Dock that remains pretty much unchanged from last year lets you wirelessly expand to a larger screen for a desktop- or console-like gaming experience.

Can’t Have it All

You wouldn’t expect a gaming phone to kill it in other departments and that’s fine, because it totally killed it in the gaming department anyways. If you’re looking for a camera powerhouse, don’t come looking here. But don’t get me wrong, the ROG Phone 2 has good cameras but doesn’t outshine other flagships in its segment. Its 48MP main shooter uses a Sony IMX 586 sensor + 13 MP ultrawide lens performs well in good lighting and the camera also offers well-stocked selection of modes for the more discerning shooter. Despite its lack of sensors, its AI works great in locking in focus, adjusting colors, and stabilizing your shot.  Low-light shots tend to be noisy and its portrait mode lacks the crisp definition of phones equipped with depth-sensing lens. Meanwhile, the 24 MP front camera delivers in good light and struggles a bit in low-light, which is understandable. It also has a surprisingly nice beauty setting when you shoot in portrait mode.

You can shoot videos at 4K here at 60fps and relies mainly on EIS but it delivers clear, stable footage in good lighting. There is also slow motion, motion tracking, and time lapse. Overall, it’s good. Not the best camera out there but not something I’d really complain about. 

Sample Shots:

Our Opinion:

You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to appreciate the ROG Phone 2. Its price is definitely worth it given the hard-core specs it packs in but apart from its gaming capacity, it might not be for everyone, especially if you plan to be using it all the time for your day-to-day tasks. Still, it’s a great phone to have if you have a little extra cash lying around.

Full Specs:

Display: 6.59” HDR OLED, 2340×1080
SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie + ROG UI
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus overclocked to 2.96GHz
GPU: Adreno 640
Memory: 12GB RAM 
Storage: 512GB internal  
Cameras: Rear- 48MP SOny IMX 586 sensor, f /1.8+ 13 MP wide f/2.4; dual LED flash Front: 24MP, f/2.2
Connectivity & I/O ports: accelerator, e-compass, gyroscope, proximity sensor, Hall sensor, ambient light sensor, ultrasonic sensors for AirTrigger II and grip press, dual vibrators, Wireless Technology 4G LTE up to 1.2Gbps downloads with integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem; Qualcomm Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; Wi-Fi Direct; WiGig (802.11ad/60GHz Wi-Fi) wireless display support; 2×2 MIMO; Bluetooth 5.0 (EDR + A2DP), supports Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD; aptX Adaptive NFC; GPS: Supports GPS(L1+L5), GLO, BDS, GAL(E1+E5a), QZSS(L1+L5); Side: Custom USB-C; Supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 / DP 1.4 (4K) / fast charging (PD 3.0) (30W); 30W ROG HyperCharge direct charging; Bottom: USB-C; Supports USB 2.0 / fast charging (PD3.0) (30W) / direct charging; 3.5mm headphone jack
Security: In-screen Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock  
Battery: 6,000 mAh , 30W Quick Charge 4.0
Dimensions & weight:  170.99 x 77.6 x 9.48 mm, 240g
Accessories in Box: Black Aero Case, Aeroactive Cooler II Color : Black Glare Price: P49,995

ROG Phone II Full Review: Game Like No Other
Build Quality 9.5
Form Factor 9
Ease of Use 9
Performance 10
Value for Money9
9.3Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)