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Hands on: Asus RoG Phone II review

The ultimate phone for gamers has got even more powerful... and it looks great for photographers too

Asus RoG Phone II review
(Image: © Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Our Verdict

Asus’ ROG Phone 2 looks set to be the ultimate all-purpose gaming phone; that is to say, it won’t just be excellent for gaming, but everything from the battery through to the screen experience and camera are flagship-grade.

For

  • Powerful processor
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Brilliant screen
  • Big battery

Against

  • No optical image stabilization

Asus’ RoG Phone II comes in two editions - Elite and Ultimate, the latter is loaded up with as a monstrous 1TB storage, supports up to 2Gbps mobile data download speeds, and packs a combined 85MPs across its front and rear cameras. We got our hands on the phone at IFA 2019 and can confirm, it’s big, it looks angry and it has specs and accessories like no other.

Design and screen

Asus RoG Phone II review

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

The ROG Phone II is a beast whichever way you’re looking at it, and we’re pretty sure that was the look ASUS was going for. In true gaming gear style, sharp angles unite to create an angry-looking bit of kit, but in the hand, the curved back actually feels great.

It’s a big phone, clocking in at just under 1cm and weighing more than any other mainstream phone out now at 240g. It does feature plenty of ports though, with not one, but two USB-C ports for power and accessory mounting. There’s also a headphone jack at the top of the phone, not to mention four noise-cancelling microphones dotted around the body of the ROG Phone 2. As for the back of the phone, it’s all about the RGB ROG logo a dual-camera.

The screen is impressive on paper and in the flesh, clocking in at 6.59-inches with a class-leading (for AMOLED display) refresh rate of 120Hz. Better yet, it packs HDR10 support, so optimized content should look spectacular on it, and it registers touches at a mind-bendingly fast 240Hz.

Camera

Asus RoG Phone II review

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Loaded up with the same IMX 586, 48MP sensor as found on the Zenfone 6, complete with an f/1.8 aperture, a 1/2" sensor and 0.8µm pixels, it’s a tried and tested well-specced combo. While there’s no OIS present, the ROG Phone 2 does feature electronic stabilization, not to mention PDAF and Laser AF too. 

While most dual-camera phones opt for a secondary telephoto camera, the ROG Phone 2’s main camera is complemented by an ultrawide 11mm 13MP module with an f/2.4 aperture. 

Unlike the Zenfone 6, the ROG Phone 2’s main dual-camera doesn’t flip through 180 degrees to double up as the selfie camera, which is why there’s a dedicated 24MP front camera. Asus claims this is in the perfect place for live-streaming and is capable of capturing Full HD video at up to 30fps.

Power, internals and accessories

Asus RoG Phone II review

Asus RoG Phone II with gaming dock

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Debuting the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, the ROG Phone 2 is categorically the most powerful Android phone on the scene. It features no less than three cooling enhancements - a clip-on fan, copper piping and a vapor chamber to ensure heat doesn’t get out of hand and frame rates stay high.

The phone also supports plenty of accessories, from a gaming dock, through to a Kunai gamepad, which is, in effect, a joy-con controller that clips on to either side of the phone. Coupled with the dual-screen case, this angry looking transformer evolves into what looks like an ultimate portable games console.

With no less than 12GB RAM, multitasking on the ROG Phone 2 should be a breeze when combined with its capable internals. Add to the mix 512GB storage in the Elite edition, and 1TB in the Ultimate edition, and you’ll never need to think about a microSD card again, and with mobile internet speeds as fast as 2Gbps in its priciest variant, while it isn’t 5G, it definitely won’t keep you waiting for your downloads.

Last but not least, this impressive Android gaming phone includes a 6000mAh battery which is the largest we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and thanks to Asus’ HyperCharge tech, powers up by 5000mAh in as little as an hour. 

Asus RoG Phone II review

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Availability

The Elite ROG Phone 2 with 512GB storage and 1.2Gbps LTE is expected to ship by the end of September, and cost around £899. If you’re set on the Matte Black Ultimate Edition, loaded up with 1TB storage and up to 2Gbps LTE speeds though, you will need to be more patient. Availability is set for sometime by the end of the year, with no pre-order date confirmed, but you will bee expected to pay £1,199.

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