Since the Razer Phone's announcement in 2017, we've seen a new subgroup of phones emerge. Gaming phones are now a thing, leading to companies like ASUS creating phones that are thoroughly optimized for the mobile gaming experience. And with their second iteration, they perfected it.
ASUS released the ROG Phone last year. They took their expertise with PC gaming and applied it to the phone, using Snapdragon 845 chips from the highest bin and creating accessories that made it unfair to play games with people using "regular" smartphones. But ASUS was plagued by the same problem the entire subgroup deals with: gaming phones don't appeal to non-gamers. With the sharp edges, RGB light, and loud design, gaming phones are a bit much.
ASUS learned from their errors when creating this year's ROG Phone II. While not ignoring gamers, ASUS made the phone more appealing to the masses. The hardware and software is designed with both groups in mind. And while the ROG Phone II still might be dismissed by a few, it will be hard for many to ignore.
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The ASUS ROG Phone II is the gaming phone for everyone. This phone has some of the best hardware you can find with 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage. The screen is a 6.59-inch 120 Hz AMOLED, a first on a smartphone.
Many of the first ROG Phone's accessories are back, including the dual-screen and air cooler for an improved experience. And for the first time, ASUS is allowing you to choose which skin you use on your phone, the gaming-centric ROG Gaming UI 2.0 or stock Android ZenUI 6.0.
ASUS announced the ROG Phone II on July 22, 2019. While China will receive the phone next week, the US has to wait until September 2019. Currently, there is no preorder date.
- Release date: First week of September 2019
- Preorder date: Unknown
- Announced: July 22, 2019
The ROG Phone II will come in two storage options: 128 GB and 512 GB. It uses UFS 3.0 storage, a new standard that more than doubles the previous standard's read and write speeds. This means games install faster and load quicker.
- Storage available: 128 GB, 512 GB
- Expandable storage: no
Pricing hasn't been announced, but ASUS did say to expect a cost around the price of its predecessor. Last year's ASUS ROG Phone had a price tag of $899 for the 128 GB model and $1,099 for the 512 GB model. With the upgrade in specs, expect pricing to be around $100 more for both versions.
- Price: Unknown
Similar to most modern smartphones, the ROG Phone II has a glass back housed in an aluminum frame. For the US model, it will come in matte black, helping to avoid the fingerprints the glossy black China version will deal with. The back logo is also an RGB light which can be controlled via an app.
- Frame: material like stainless steel
- Finish: matte black
The ROG Phone 2 doesn't have an IP rating. Likely with the second port on the side and additional vent on the back cover, an IP68 rating wouldn't be possible. Be aware this is both a tall and heavy phone. For context, It is taller than the Sony Xperia 1, which has a 21:9 aspect ratio. It's only 0.8 oz lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Fold with its dual screens, so this isn't meant for those looking for a small, light phone.
- Height: 6.73 inches
- Width: 3.05 inches
- Depth: 0.38 inches
- Weight: 8.46 ounces
- Dust/water resistance: n/a
- Supported carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile
- Infrared blaster: no
As with most Android phones, ASUS doesn't release information about the relative humidity, operating altitude, and nonoperating temperature of their device. We know that its operating temperature is 32° to 95°F because this is the standard for all smartphones.
- Operating temp: 32º to 95º F
- Nonoperating temp: Unknown
- Relative humidity: Unknown
- Operating altitude: Unknown
The ROG Phone II is running the latest version of Android, 9 Pie. Android 9 Pie was a much more significant change than many realize, especially under the surface. Thanks to this version of Android, the ROG Phone II is much more secure with better protection against malicious apps using the camera and mic in the background, hackers monitoring browsing history, and so much more. There are more than 10 new changes to security in Android 9 Pie and over 40 changes overall.
- Version: Android 9.0 Pie
When ASUS announced the ZenFone 6, they introduced the world to their new skin, ZenUI 6. This update strips down most of the bloatware found in the previous version of ZenUI, giving it a stock Android feel. The result is one of only a handful of skins which offer an enhanced stock experience, similar to OnePlus' acclaimed UI.
ASUS is offering you a choice between this version of ZenUI and ROG Gaming UI 2.0. If you are a gamer (or prefer last year's skin), use the ROG Gaming UI — but if you are casual gamer (or prefer the stock Android look), use ZenUI. This small change will have a massive impact, as it makes this phone more accessible to non-gamers.
- Version: ROG Gaming UI 2.0 and ZenUI 6.0
Here is where the ROG Phone II shines. A 6.59-inch, 2340 x 1080 AMOLED display, nothing special there. But what if I told you it has a 120 Hz refresh rate? And 240 Hz touch sampling rate, which means it reads touches at double the refresh rate as the screen for smoother scrolling. Impressed yet? There's more.
The ROG Phone II has a 1 ms response time, so each input you make is executed immediately. The display is 10-bit HDR and has an average Delta E rating of less than 1 (Delta E is a measurement of display's deviation from a reference color, with lower being better). It is covered with Gorilla Glass 6 for ultimate protection. This combination of specs makes this the best screen to game on, period.
- Screen size: 6.59 inches
- Screen resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Total pixels: 2,527,200 pixels
- Pixel density: 391 ppi
- Screen type: AMOLED
- Notch: no
- Screen-to-body ratio: 80.3 percent
- Aspect ratio: 19.5:9
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness: Unknown
- Refresh rate: 120 Hz (240 Hz for touch-sensing)
- Color temp: Unknown
- Color gamut: 108 percent DCI-P3
Last year, ASUS asked Qualcomm for speed-bin processors, processors which Qualcomm found to perform the best while overclocking. ASUS then overclocked these processors to give the ROG Phone better performance than contemporaries with similar specs.
This year, Qualcomm did the hard work for them. Qualcomm just announced the Snapdragon 855+, an overclocked version of their latest SoC. The CPU is overclocked from 2.84 GHz to 2.96 GHz, a modest update. However, the GPU is updated from 585 MHz to 672 MHz, a 15% increase, and a major improvement to gaming as a whole.
How does overclocking help? Well, the ROG Phone II will render higher frame rates and more complex graphical effects than its competition. And assisting all of this is 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 512 GB UFS 3.0 storage.
- Memory: 12 GB RAM
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
- Chip size: 7 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.96 GHz (1x Gold), 2.42 GHz (3x Gold), 1.80 GHz (4x Silver)
- CPU cores: 8 (4 Gold + 4 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 640 @ 672 MHz
- GPU cores: 4
You're probably wondering with all that power, has long does it last? Well, a day and a half with normal usage thanks to its 6,000 mAh battery. It also has two USB-C ports, with each port capable of Quick Charge. The bottom port can charge using Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery 3.0. However, the best port is the side since most games are in landscape, allowing you to continue gaming while charging. This port is capable of Quick Charge 4.0 for even faster charging.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Capacity: 6,000 mAh, 3.85 volts (23.1 watt-hours)
- Wired charging: yes, Quick Charge 3.0, Quick Charge 4.0 (side port only), USB Power Delivery 3.0
- Wireless charging: no
The front camera is a 24 MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture. Outside of this, we don't know too much else, as ASUS was pretty light on details.
- Resolution: 24 MP
- Aperture: ƒ/2.2
- Zoom: no
- Flash: yes, screen flash
- Image stabilization: no
- RAW support: Unknown
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG
As for the rear cameras, ASUS did make some improvements. It uses the same cameras as the ZenFone 6 (the 48 MP Sony IMX586) as its primary shooter and a 13 MP wide-angle lens (125°). These specs will make more than capable shooter for gamers who want to take some photos, but photography isn't their primary usage of their phone.
- Resolution: 48 MP (standard), 13 MP (wide-angle)
- Sensor size: 1.6 µm (standard)
- Aperture: ƒ/1.79 and ƒ/2.4
- Zoom: yes, digital
- Flash: yes, Dual-LED
- Image stabilization: yes, EIS
- RAW support: Unknown
- Lens cover: sapphire crystal
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG
Videography is the same as the ASUS Zenfone 6. It supports 4K up to 60 fps. Slow-motion is available at 720p and 1080p, although the latter is limited to 240 fps. Since neither camera is optically stabilized, only EIS is available, although it isn't available for slow-motion mode.
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p, and 4K
- Max frame rate: 30 fps for 720p, 60 fps for 1080p and 4K
- Slow motion: yes, 1080p at 240 fps and 720p at 480 fps
- Time-lapse: yes, 4K
- Photos: yes, Unknown
- Zoom: yes, see above
- Flash access: yes, see above
- Image stabilization: yes, see above
- Object detection: Unknown
- Autofocus: Unknown
- Audio: stereo
- Formats: H.264
Once again, ASUS didn't skimp in the audio department. The ROG Phone II is just one of only a handful that continues to support the 3.5 mm headphone jack. It also has dual front-facing speakers that are even louder than its predecessor. It supports DTS:X Ultra for virtual surround sound audio. Its supports hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
- 3.5 mm headPhone jack: yes
- Stereo speakers: yes, front-facing
- Mics: 4
- Max speaker volume: Unknown
The ROG Phone II supports the same list of file types supported by the Android OS.
- Audio: MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, APE, DSF, DFF
- Video: MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM
Besides the usual set of sensors, the ROG Phone II has AirTrigger shoulder buttons. These "buttons" are pressure-sensitive sides that can act as shoulder buttons in gaming. These buttons can be mapped to touches to free your thumbs for other actions.
- Accelerometer: yes
- Ambient light: yes
- Barometer: no
- Color temperature: no
- Compass: yes
- Gravity: no
- Gyroscope: yes
- Hall: yes
- Infrared: no
- Laser: no
- Pedometer: no
- Proximity: yes
The ROG Phone II supports the usual set of global satellite navigation systems.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: yes
- Galileo: no
- QZSS: no
Like its predecessor, the ROG Phone II has an extra USB Type-C port on the side. This additional port allows for its accessories to attach and for the phone to be powered in the position most games are played. The ROG Phone II is also one of the only phones to support 802.11ad, a Wi-Fi standard that offers fast speeds but needs a direct line of sight between objects. ASUS uses this to improve screen mirroring so you can game on a television with minimal latency.
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ad, 2x2 MIMO antenna configuration, Wi-Fi Direct support
- Bluetooth: 5 (EDR, A2DP) with AVRCP, HID, PAN, OPP profiles
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano SIM
- Port: 2 USB Type-C
- Other: FM Radio
We don't know much about the cellular bands outside of it supporting T-Mobile and AT&T. We do know its modem supports Cat. 18 download speeds (1 Gpbs) and Cat. 13 upload speeds (150 Mbps).
Instead of a physical fingerprint scanner, the ROG Phone II uses the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader. This version of the technology can be used even when your finger is dirty or wet. There is no other secure method of biometrics available to this phone.
- Fingerprint scanner: yes, in-display (ultrasonic)
- Face scanner: no
- Iris scanner: no
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe
We don't know the entire contents of the box, but here's what is confirmed.
- ASUS ROG Phone II
- 30 W HyperCharge fast charger
- AeroActive Cooler II
Many of the accessories released for last year's ROG Phone 1 will be returning for ROG Phone II. These won't be the same exact accessories, they'll be new, upgraded versions that are custom fit to the ROG Phone II. Here are a few of the confirmed accessories:
- TwinView Dock II
- ROG Kunai Gamepad
- Mobile Desktop Dock
- WiGig Display Dock Plus