Asus isn’t enjoying round with the ROG Telephone 2. It is a severe gaming telephone, heaving with energy and efficiency, extra add-on components than a brand new automotive, and for the obsessive completist, Asus will even promote you an enormous ROG-branded (Republic of Avid gamers) suitcase together with the telephone and a mountain of equipment.
However relatively than solely concentrating on players, Asus thinks three teams of individuals are going to lust after the newly-unveiled ROG Telephone 2. Followers of the ROG model who play video games for not less than six hours per week; then hardcore players enjoying for 16 hours or extra per week; and eventually the tech fan who needs a enjoyable, highly effective telephone and desires to be part of a rising group. However can Asus obtain the virtually unattainable and make a specialist telephone that appeals to the less-committed tech lover? The reply is sure, if you may get previous the design.
RGB! And a 120Hz display
Asus has retained the placing, particular person look of the unique ROG Telephone for the sequel, with a number of alterations that make it a little bit extra visually interesting The offset fingerprint sensor has been faraway from the again and changed by an in-display sensor, which I didn’t get to check out on the early mannequin I used.
The pretend vents have additionally been taken away, however there’s now a single, smaller, and subtler useful vent. The telephone continues to be a loud-and-proud Republic of Avid gamers machine, proper all the way down to the RGB-lit ROG brand on the again.
Across the entrance is a 6.59 inch AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 facet ratio; it’s flanked with bezels at both finish. Why isn’t there any try at a bezel-less design like on the OnePlus 7 Professional? Asus has packed in stereo front-facing audio system within the bezels on each ends; they assist DTS:X Extremely, and are set inside bigger chambers for two.5x the quantity over the unique ROG Telephone. The corporate additionally mentioned bezels make it simpler to carry and use the telephone in panorama mode.
Right here’s the place the gaming credentials begin to shine via. The bezels are joined by a flat piece of glass relatively than one with curved edges, as a result of once more, in panorama orientation, it’s higher to carry. The AMOLED panel has a 120Hz refresh fee and a 1ms response time — much like the iPad Professional. Quick-moving video games are clearer with much less blur, and are simpler in your eyes. The 120Hz refresh fee works all through the telephone, so that you’ll see smoother scrolling in apps and the browser too. We’ve just lately swooned over the OnePlus 7 Professional’s 90Hz display, so stay up for having fun with the ROG Telephone 2’s display extra.
The advantages are evident even utilizing the telephone for a short while. It’s so slick, and immediately jogged my memory why the OnePlus 7 Professional’s display is such a winner. There’s no lag and no stutters, no matter what you’re doing. Whether or not a 120Hz refresh fee offers a noticeable enchancment over 90Hz will solely develop into clear with further testing, however even earlier than figuring out this, the upper refresh fee typically, in comparison with different screens, is a giant bonus for anybody utilizing the telephone regularly and never only for players.
The ROG Telephone 2 is tremendously succesful and genuinely thrilling, offered non-gamers can get previous the design.
The ROG Telephone 2’s display tech continues. It has a 240Hz contact sampling fee, which implies contact enter on the telephone will really feel way more responsive. Particularly, Asus claims an extremely low contact latency of 49ms, which is spectacular. In Asus’ assessments, the Samsung Galaxy S10 returned a time of 87ms, and 85ms for the OnePlus 7 Professional.
The display can also be calibrated within the manufacturing facility to indicate probably the most correct colours, and makes use of 10-bit HDR for 1073.74 million colours, as an alternative of an Eight-bit SDR with 16.77 million colours. The means you see what the developer or content material creator needs you to see, and extra particulars are revealed within the darker, shadowy areas too.
I just like the ROG Telephone 2’s design. It satisfies the sci-fi fanatic inside me, and avoids trying precisely the identical as some other smartphone obtainable immediately. It embodies what’s cool concerning the Republic of Avid gamers model, whereas not pandering to followers by attempting to cash-in. The telephone is on the heavier aspect at 240 grams — the iPhone XS Max weighs 208 grams, for instance — however the weight is evenly distributed, and the 78mm width means it’s holdable with out being too giant.
The side-mounted USB Kind-C charging port genuinely improves the ergonomics too, particularly in panorama mode, and display once more is oh so incredible.
The Asus ROG Telephone 2 would be the first to make the most of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, which on the CPU aspect is four% simpler than the usual model with a most velocity of two.96GHz.
Extra importantly, the Adreno 640 graphics processing unit (GPU) has a 15% enchancment over the usual Snapdragon 855. Additionally onboard is UFS three.zero reminiscence for quicker write and rewrite speeds, so you need to see 15% quicker speeds for loading video games and opening apps. There’s as much as 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of space for storing as customary.
Andy Boxall/Digital Developments
In a formidable feat of engineering, Asus has stuffed an enormous 6,000mAh battery contained in the ROG Telephone 2. With four,000mAh batteries changing into widespread, and the Asus ZenFone 6 taking over a 5,000mAh battery, that is the logical subsequent step for Asus’ flagship machine. The compromises come within the weight of the telephone and no assist for wi-fi charging — however none of this actually issues when the telephone merely gained’t want charging daily.
Megapixel-packed cameras, and software program
I used to be unable to take pictures exterior throughout my hands-on time with the telephone, and the atmosphere wasn’t appropriate for some other significant photos to be taken, so it’s unfair to touch upon the ROG Telephone 2’s digital camera efficiency. Early indicators are good although, because it makes use of the Zenfone 6’s dual-lens setup — a 48-megapixel foremost lens and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide lens — plus a 24-megapixel selfie lens too.
It’s additionally nice information on the software program entrance. Worldwide variations of the telephone could have the choice at startup to make use of a customized ROG person interface, or the brand new ZenUI look we liked on the Zenfone 6 (which is similar to inventory Android).
The software program you see in our video and pictures is just not last, however the look is near what it is going to be like. Once more, just like the digital camera, it’s not truthful to guage the efficiency but, however the choice to make use of the brand new ZenUI is sensible, and reveals Asus is listening to these commenting on not simply the optimistic Zenfone 6 expertise, but additionally negatives in opposition to the primary ROG Telephone.
Equipment and partnerships
After shopping for the telephone, Asus needs you to decorate, and hasn’t held again on the variety of further toys you should purchase for the ROG Telephone 2, all able to make it the last word on-the-move gaming machine. There are numerous official instances, one in all which contains the RGB lighting impact to gentle up the ROG brand, and a clip-on fan to maintain the temperature in test.
Extra attention-grabbing is the Kunai controller system with its Nintendo Change-like joypads, and the Twin View Dock 2, which has a second 120Hz display, a fan, and a 5000mAh battery inside.
A viable choice for informal players in addition to the hardcore.
Asus will even pack all this, and extra, right into a particular ROG suitcase, together with the telephone and a customized backpack, for those who merely must personal all of it. The ROG Telephone 2 isn’t only a gaming smartphone, it’s a complete gaming expertise. Utilizing these equipment with the telephone is enjoyable, and all really feel top quality and strong, however they’re all prone to be an additional costly addition to what we anticipate to be an already expensive flagship telephone. The monetary funding will likely be consultant of your private funding within the ROG model, and cellular gaming basically.
In China, Asus will launch the ROG Telephone 2 with Tencent, the web big chargeable for every little thing from WeChat to gaming-sensation PUBG Cellular. Internationally, Tencent gained’t be concerned, however there will likely be a number of particular goodies with chosen video games, together with a automotive with Asphalt 9. Asus informed us that partnerships are essential to the telephone’s success, however lots of the options are developer-agnostic — such because the cooling and the contact latency — so even when not enjoying specially-adapted video games, the telephone will nonetheless present a superior gaming expertise. However builders do must assist equipment like the dual display and the Kunai controller, and data on additional future assist was not obtainable.
Enjoying video games and utilizing the telephone
The monster efficiency is just not instantly apparent when simply utilizing Android, however is so when enjoying video games. Every thing occurs only a tiny bit faster than telephones not tailor-made for gaming, and people milliseconds can rely. I’m definitely not a gamer, however enjoying on the ROG Telephone 2 is extremely snug, helped massively by the 120Hz display and decrease contact latency, and I felt the ROG Telephone 2 returns a slicker gaming expertise than many different flagship telephones. That’s a commendable achievement.
I performed Asphalt 9 for some time (as a result of I’m garbage at PUBG), and loved each second, notably when utilizing the Kunai controller joypads linked to the aspect of the telephone. The bigger footprint spreads out the load, making it really feel actually gentle in your hand, and the analog joysticks are responsive. These will likely be value choosing up as an additional, and for added versatility can be utilized as a separate controller linked to the telephone with Bluetooth.
Andy Boxall/Digital Developments
Throughout my hands-on expertise, dozens of ROG Telephone 2 pre-production fashions had been used extensively by many journalists, and never one I picked up ever felt something apart from cool to the contact. The brand new vent on the again, and an inner 3D vapor chamber, clearly retains the telephone’s temperatures in test. This implies the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor gained’t throttle itself while you want its efficiency most.
I additionally carried one round in my pocket whereas capturing video of different units, and the load by no means made it really feel annoying. The telephone could be very well-balanced in my hand too, one other important facet of constructing the ROG Telephone 2 a fascinating gaming telephone, and one which’s appropriate for utilizing usually too.
Value and availability
The Asus ROG Telephone 2 will launch in China on July 23, however the remainder of us should await the worldwide model, which launches on September four.
Value has not been introduced, however anticipate to pay round $1,000, identical to the primary ROG Telephone. The equipment don’t have last costs but, however talking to Asus representatives throughout my hands-on time, I used to be knowledgeable the suitcase with the telephone and equipment may price round $1,500.
Asus has listened to the criticism levied in opposition to the ROG Telephone, then utilized a lot of what we preferred concerning the Zenfone 6 to create the ROG Telephone 2 — a flagship smartphone that has fascinating options and much of efficiency to make sure its enchantment extends past players. Now we should wait to see if the digital camera efficiency, the software program, and the value is all as hoped, to make the ROG Telephone a viable choice for informal players in addition to the hardcore.