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Straight to the Point: Asus ROG Phone 2 – An AXO Review

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Asus ROG unleashed the ROG Phone 2 and it’s practically everything a gamer wants in their phone. It’s got quite a hefty specs list so let’s get right into it.

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Specifications

  • 2.96GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • Qualcomm Adreno 640
  • Android Pie with new ROG UI
  • 6.59-inch 19.5:9 (2340 x 1080)
  • 120Hz/1ms AMOLED 10-bit HDR display
  • Corning Gorilla 6 Glass
  • Dimensions: 170.99 x 77.6 x 9.48 mm
  • Weight 240g
  • 6000mAh Battery
  • LPDDR4X12GB RAM
  • UFS 3.0 512GB
  • *Ultimate Edition: UFS 3.0 1TB
  • In-display fingerprint sensor, face recognition, ultrasonic sensors for AirTrigger II and grip press, dual vibrators
  • 4G LTE up to 1.2Gbps downloads with integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem
  • Qualcomm Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • WiGig (802.11ad/60GHz Wi-Fi) wireless display support
  • Bluetooth 5.0 (EDR + A2DP), supports Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD and aptX Adaptive
  • *Ultimate Edition: as above, but with up to 2Gbps 4G LTE (Cat 20) downloads
  • GPS Supports GPS(L1+L5), GLO, BDS, GAL(E1+E5a), QZSS(L1+L5)
  • Side USB Type-C supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 / DP 1.4 (4K) / fast charging (PD 3.0) (30W)
  • 30W ROG HyperCharge direct charging
  • Bottom USB Type-C supports USB 2.0 / fast charging (PD3.0) (30W) / direct charging
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Front Camera 24MP
  • Main Camera 48MP + 13MP (125° ultrawide-angle)
  • Speaker Dual front-facing stereo speakers with DTS:X Ultra
  • Stereo speaker with dual NXP TFA9874 smart amplifier for louder, deeper and less distorted sound effect
  • NFC Supported

Display

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I will say this now, i love everything about the ROG Phone 2’s display. It might only be Full HD+ resolution, but the 120Hz refresh rate and HDR just makes all the difference in the world. Everything you do on the phone just makes it feel faster and a whole lot smoother. The display is sharp, vivid, and just really good to look at.

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At this point, i don’t think i can ever go back to a phone that doesn’t have 120Hz refresh rate. Going back to my personal Huawei P30, the display feels slow and choppy. Nothing has changed with the phone, but the phone just feels like a stranger to me (even though I’ve used it for 6 months now).

Design

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The design of the ROG Phone 2 is just sleek and screams “gaming”. On the front, it looks like any other phone, but once the screen turns on, you get a very different feel from it. Take a look at the back, and every angle you look at it, every edge you can feel, the phone definitely isn’t shy to show its fangs and claws.

The physical button placements are well researched to not get in the way. Doesn’t matter if you’re using the phone casually or hardcore gaming, your finger will never rest on an ache spot. There’s even a side USB Type-C port that lets you charge and connect the AeroActive Cooler II (comes in the box), more on that later.

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It also has a air vent that allows hot air to be released from the phone to make for a more efficient cooling system. This is so that when you’re in one of those hardcore gaming sessions, the phone is cooled and stays that way. The AeroActive Cooler II plays a big part in that area too.

Sound

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Not many smartphone manufacturers make dual front-facing sound systems on their phone anymore, and I’m really glad Asus decided to implement this on the ROG Phone 2.

Stereo audio really makes the phone stand out from the others. The treble is spot on and there’s just the right amount of bass to not muffle any dialogues. You hear every detail, every little cling and clang to make the most out of your gaming sessions. Even while watching video, i ditch the earphones and watch them straight with the speakers. The audio faces me so I don’t need to worry about disturbing others.

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No matter where the sound comes from. Be it games, music, or videos, I’m very happy to hear the phone make a sound even if it’s just a short notification tone. That is how good the speakers are on the ROG Phone 2.

Camera

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The ROG Phone 2 isn’t known for its camera, but it’s a gaming smartphone that has a 48MP camera that gets the job done. High resolution photos are taken and processed with AI algorithms to make colours pop and details sharpened. Photos are clear but colour reproduction can sometimes be a hit or miss.

Considering you’d be gaming most of the time, you’d have less time with the camera. Here are some camera samples for you to judge yourself on its quality.

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Gaming

Everything that is packed into this beast of a machine is to help with this specific section of the review. From the 120Hz refresh rate display and Qualcomm CPU and GPU, to the liquid cooling system and the AeroCooler II module, gaming on the ROG Phone 2 feels like you’re Zeus in the clouds throwing thunder bolts at your enemies.

I’m not saying you can win every game you play, but it will definitely make each gaming session a pleasurable one. Even when i lose (hardly), i’d still really enjoy how smooth the experience was using the ROG Phone 2 to game.

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To launch games, click on “Armoury Crate” and you’ll be greeted with a next-gen splash screen accompanied with some edgy futuristic sounds. The UI feels familiar when selecting games and the built-in features like “X-Mode” really adds on to the overall gaming experience on the ROG Phone 2.

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On graphic heavy games like Asphalt 9, Arena of Valor, or PUBG, it feels like the phone doesn’t even break a sweat in outputting those pixels. It doesn’t heat up and has just the right amount of comfort in the hand. It feels a lot like holding an actual mobile console because of how big the screen is and how well it performs handling games.

I understand that benchmarking scores are just for reference, but take a look at how the ROG Phone 2 scores with Antutu Benchmark and 3DMark.

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Battery

With the 6,000mAh battery on the ROG Phone 2, I’ve been able to go for two days on casual use. If I were gaming the entire day, i’d still have about 25% of battery left right before i catch some Z’s (usually around 1am).

Pricing and Availability

  • ROG Phone 2 – Elite Version (512GB variant) – RM 3,499
  • ROG Phone 2 – Ultimate Version (1TB variant) – RM 4,499

The Bottom Line

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I realise there really isn’t much cons in this review, and that’s because i couldn’t find much fault with the ROG Phone 2. ASUS really made a win with the ROG Phone 2 and i wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants a phone that lasts, both in terms of durability and gaming. The specs look monstrous on paper, but it really takes holding it in your hand and experiencing it first hand to know why it’s worthy of the mobile gaming smartphone throne.

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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