Asus ROG Phone 2 is a ridiculously powerful Android phone with Snapdragon 855 Plus and air cooling [hands-on]


Asus today announced the ROG Phone 2 - its second-generation gaming phone with over-the-top aesthetics and impressively awesome hardware. For the uninitiated, ROG stands for 'Republic of Gamers', which is Asus' gaming brand, typically plastered on its gaming laptops and accessories. The ROG Phone 2 is being unveiled in China today, in collaboration with local entertainment giant Tencent, but it's also scheduled to launch internationally on September 4.

Last year's original ROG Phone was a crazy, ridiculous phone, and gamers will (probably) be happy to know that things aren't getting more normal this year. The ROG Phone 2 sticks with the same visual style - a very asymmetrical, shard-like aesthetic that seems very random, but is said to serve a function through the heat exhaust vent that you see on the rear, lovingly dubbed "ROG Aerodynamic System".

Asus is going for a gaming PC type of approach where it tries to push the hardware to its very limits, by working on the heat management solutions found on the phone's inside and outside.

Benefiting from this advanced heat management system is the brand new Snapdragon 855 Plus - a more extreme version of Qualcomm's current flagship chipset. The ROG Phone 2 is the first smartphone launching with Snapdragon 855 Plus. The resulting performance gains actually aren't huge: just 4% for the CPU and 15% for the GPU. However, as this is a purely gaming phone, the 15% extra power in the graphics department will surely be appreciated.

According to preliminary benchmarks data, the Asus ROG Phone 2 manages to edge out other current Android flagships, such as the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

The cool thing is, if you happen to be really serious about mobile gaming (which you are, if you're buying the ROG Phone), you can also pop the optional AeroActive Cooler 2 (fan) on the ROG Phone 2 for some active air cooling, enabling even more extreme performance. This year's Cooler 2 has been improved to be more silent and less hot on the surface. Most importantly, though, we still get the rad RGB ROG logo so that everyone around us would know how badass we are.

6.6" AMOLED display with 120 Hz and super low touch latency



Asus is also making a big deal out of the display on the ROG Phone 2. Perhaps not surprisingly, the diagonal has been increased! Asus argues the new, 6.6" display allows for the maximum possible screen size without making the phone too wide and uncomfortable. We've heard that same story many times throughout the years, so we wouldn't be all that shocked if the screen happens to grow even further next year.

Anyway, this is actually a magnificent display. It is an AMOLED panel, which Asus has chosen for its quick, 1ms response time, and it also has a 120 Hz refresh rate, just like the Razer Phone 2. These characteristics give it a very clean and fast image response that is ideal for gaming. According to the manufacturer, it could even give you a slight edge against your competitors, most of whom will be rocking their standard 60 Hz screens.

That's all good and geeky, but what we find particularly promising is that all of these panels will be factory-calibrated for superb image accuracy.

A humongous, 6000 mAh battery


Here's a question for you: if you play 3D games all day on your phone, what's the one biggest problem you're going to face? If you answered battery life... well, then you must be really smart! This is the correct answer, and Asus knows it, which is why it's managed to stuff a humongous, 6000 mAh juice pack inside the ROG Phone 2. Not 4000, not 5000... 6000 mAh! So, how is that going to keep up with a gamer's demanding usage pattern?

Well, we have some numbers for you, but those assume your ROG Phone 2's display is running at 60 Hz (120 Hz is going to drain more battery). For example, with a full battery, you'll be able to play a cool 7.5 hours of Arena of Valor, or 7.1 hours of PUBG Mobile non-stop, and those are two games that definitely know how to get your phone hot and running at maximum load. In comparison, Asus states the OnePlus 7 Pro can give you just 4.8 hours of AoV, and 4.7 hours of PUBG. Finally, the Galaxy S10+ is rated at 5.5 hours of AoV and 5.1 hours of PUBG. Obviously, a 6K mAh battery is going to give you some crazy endurance, and you know what's even cooler? Its overall lifespan should be longer than that of a smaller battery. Provided you do the same things on the ROG Phone 2 as on any other phone, that would mean you'll be doing fewer charge cycles with the ROG for the same amount of time, meaning less overall wear.

AirTrigger 2 buttons are more responsive and powerful


Remember the innovative AirTrigger shoulder buttons of the first ROG Phone? They are back! But in an improved form. Now, you'll not only be tapping mindlessly on those sexy shoulder buttons from the future. Instead, they'll also recognize a "constant push" position where you can just rest your fingers on them to have the same action repeat again and again (for example, executing an attack), and they'll also be recognizing swipes. Whether or not games will take advantage of this will depend on the developers.

Asus says one of the more common complaints among players was their perceived latency, which the company says was just the vibration latency, while the buttons actually sent their signals on time. Anyway, Asus "worked hard" to fix that, bringing AirTrigger 2 vibration latency down from 63 ms to 20 ms. Hooray for low-latency AirTriggers!

Speaking of vibration, Asus has actually stuffed 2 vibration motors on the ROG Phone 2, allowing for more precise and varying tactile reactions. Do you know what else comes in a pair in the new ROG? That's right - the front-facing stereo speakers, which are now improved and up to 2.5 times louder than before.

There's a camera, too!



With all that gaming bonanza, it's almost amazing how Asus didn't forget to put a camera on the ROG Phone 2. Actually, it's the ZenFone 6 dual-camera system, consisting of a 48 MP main shooter and a 13 MP secondary one for ultra-wide pictures.

In our review of the ZenFone 6, we found the camera to be a bit of a mixed bag. While the hardware itself seemed perfectly up to the task, some scenarios managed to "confuse" the algorithms and cause flat, artificial shots. It's possible that Asus has made some improvements to the software part of the package this time, but we won't know for sure until we can properly put the  camera through its paces. Until then, here are some sample shots taken with the ROG Phone 2 in challenging conditions.


ROG Phone 2 price and release date


Today's launch concerns only the China market, but we can build some expectations regarding the worldwide price of the device based on its predecessor. The original ROG Phone was an expensive phone: it cost $899 for 128 GB, and $1099 for the 512 GB variant. That is a full on flagship price, which is perfectly understandable, considering all the top-notch hardware Asus has running in this thing. We can't be sure yet if the ROG Phone 2 price will be exactly the same, but it'll probably remain in this ballpark.

As mentioned, Asus and Tencent are busy with their blockbuster launch in China, but international gamers shouldn't have to wait long before they can put their hands on the new ROG. Asus has stated its plans to release the ROG Phone 2 in other markets such as the US and Europe on September 4.

Related phones

ROG Phone II
  • Display 6.6" 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Camera 48 MP / 24 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus, Octa-core, 2960 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 6000 mAh

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28 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

It looks like a Nintendo switch lite in the pics with the controls attached... I like it and want it!

10. AbhiD

Posts: 720; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

For sure an amazing device. And PA forgot to mention some more important stuff. There is UFS 3.0 storage, in display fingerprint scanner, 240hz touch response, 4 microphones, 4x wifi antenna etc etc. This phone is decked to the max.

2. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Fastest Android phone will the one with Snapdragon 8CX.Though it meant for tablets& laptops,it can also used for phones.

34. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

no. it produces too much heat!

3. Sam1ne

Posts: 38; Member since: Apr 07, 2019

There's a wrong information in the article. OnePlus 7 Pro doesn't have 120Hz screen.. It's 90Hz!

11. Ray.S

Posts: 455; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Yep, thanks for noticing, I corrected it!

4. dimas

Posts: 3343; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

The great thing with rog phone 2 is that you can switch between 60, 90 and 120hz and the massive 6,000mah battery. I will just wait for the galaxy note 10 launch then I can decide which of the two will have my money.

5. alanrock

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

Unknownguys Warzones will fly on ...

6. rkoforever90

Posts: 435; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

What is the point of this phone when hardly any devs bring in game to take use of such a hardware , I'd rather buy a nintendo switch lite and Mi 9 and would still be able to save few hundred dollars rather than this phone

26. Blazers

Posts: 733; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Emulators. PS2 and Wii are very taxing, so a phone like this could make them run buttery smooth.

7. perry1234

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Phonearena made a Boo Boo : OnePlus 7 Pro has a 90Hz refresh rate. This display is in fact one of a kind.

8. Cat97

Posts: 1861; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

So basically Asus launched a tablet. No, thanks, regardless of specs.

9. AbhiD

Posts: 720; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Didn't know OP7 Pro, XS Max, Note series, S10+, the top flagship Huawei, Sony, LG, Oppo, Vivo phones are all Tablets. RIP logic...

21. Cat97

Posts: 1861; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The Asus is 171mm tall, around 10-12mm taller than all the phones you have mentioned, even 9mm taller than the Note 10+. RIP logic...

16. alanrock

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

gaming on smaller display would be tough experience.

12. nokia4ever

Posts: 13; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

if they want to really make a gaming device they should care about bringing some exclusive AAA games to their device.

13. AbhiD

Posts: 720; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

It's a flagship phone decked to the max that also excels at gaming on all available Play Store titles compared to competitors out there. Any issue?

15. nokia4ever

Posts: 13; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

compared to competitors it is one of the best but why Asus don't try to differentiate itself with new innovation I mean Asus or xiaomi or any other gaming device

22. Buttfrags

Posts: 7; Member since: Feb 28, 2019

It does differentiate itself. Its the first gaming phone with a 120hz AMOLED display and the first gaming phone with a 6000mah battery. also the only gaming phone with this much accessories

17. LawnBoy

Posts: 173; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Now that's a phone. Normal bezels, front shooter and front facing speakers. Sammy, Apple, pay attention.

18. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I was tricked by the first image, I thought the phone has no bottom chin and the speaker grill was the navigation stripe.

19. PortableKaypro

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 07, 2017

Wonder when one of these gaming companies/brands is going to get serious about "gaming" phones and take another stab at an Xperia Play successor? I don't really see enough differentiation from the mainstream on what's being put forth here... shoulder buttons alone are not really enough... and optional air cooling accessory, hmmm...

20. abhicool

Posts: 49; Member since: Sep 25, 2018

All these things to play pubg or those crappy mobile games...ha ha ha..what a joke...better buy a PS4 PRO and have a blast

23. JCASS889

Posts: 505; Member since: May 18, 2018

Mobile gaming is an absolute joke, we need real full AAA games till it can be taken seriously.

25. matistight

Posts: 980; Member since: May 13, 2009

No mentions of screen resolution? 1080p, 1440p or 720p?

35. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

1080p

27. JRPG_Guy

Posts: 140; Member since: Jan 13, 2019

But 1080p?

33. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1246; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

6000mAh battery?? Shut up and take my money, ASUS...

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