When I received the famed gaming phone for review I immediately transferred all of the games I was playing into it… Even restarted ones that I have stopped playing to give it a chance on the best mobile hardware on our to date. And so after a few weeks with me, grinding out and doing daily things gamers do, I can now voice out my thoughts on the second iteration of the ROG Phone – the ROG Phone 2!
The Unboxing Experience
Taking a phone out of a box is something you’d call ubiquitous this day and age but the ROG branding is not just there to blend into the background. The ROG Phone 2 comes in a chamfered triangular box and the proper way of taking out the phone from it is from the top, standing up.
Honestly I almost felt like some smoke should’ve come out of it when sliding it out the first time, that is how extra this thing is. The variant that was sent to me is the 12/512 global version that comes with the Aeroactive Cooler.
Now the ROG Phone 2 is quite tall, it’s so tall in fact that it stretches out one of the “universal” phone holsters we have in here. The aspect ratio is a bit uncommon at 19.5:9 sporting FHD+ resolution. It weighs 240grams which translates to significant heft – you tend to be a bit more careful with it because of the glass construction and the included case doesn’t protect as much because it is intended to be used with the Aeroactive Cooler.
Let’s talk about that accessory for a little bit. The Aeroactive Cooler attachment connects to the ROG Phone 2 using the side mounted connector which looks like two USB-C ports side by side.
It allows for power delivery as well as drawing power to spin the fans providing a much needed temperature control on extended gaming sessions. It can also act as a stand but it loses out on the charging capability when you do that. When connected, the lighting effect shifts from the rear ROG eye into the front Republic Of Gamers text logo at the bottom of the Aeroactive Cooler and the rear ROG eye below the fan. The fan turns on and you can expect a 2-3° temperature drop quite consistently.
Gaming with it on actually elevates the feel of the ROG Phone 2 as a dedicated gaming device and no longer simply a phone – it really matches well with the Kunai accessory to complete that dedicated gaming device feel… and don’t get me started on the Twin View Dock alright, that’s just multitasking all too much which you won’t do if you’re competing at e-sports level.
The dual cameras on the ROG Phone 2 are a 48MP primary camera and a 13MP ultrawide which is plenty good for taking photos with… not that you’d be doing much of it here as you’ll probably going to be dealing more with screencaps and video streams of various game conquests.
The Gaming Experience
Being a dedicated gaming phone means you can do normal phone functions at another higher level basically. It is that very sweet 120Hz display that makes all the difference, even if the game you’re playing is basically locked to 60fps, it STILL feels faster and you’re able to appreciate it even more seeing all the graphics and effects the way the developers intended for them to be displayed.
I’m currently playing Ragnarok M, Fate Grand Order, and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius at this time of review, none of which are optimized for 120fps on the ROG Phone 2 but run flawlessly despite that. The 6000mAh battery recharges in no time at all keeping gametime up more consistently – this is especially important for games that necessitate grinding which practically all the good ones do.
One of the most notable improvements to the experience, apart from the air triggers of course, is the Game Genie which can be accessed by swiping from the side of the device while gaming that grants access to very important controls and toggles like recording, going live, blocking out notifications, locking brightness, triggering X mode for that sweet lighting effect, dedicating mobile data, and even macros! The intention really is to provide all the things a gamer might want to utilize at any point in the game providing them with the advantage that someone on a non-ROG phone would not have as easily.
Game Genie also provides access to a floating live panel that displays the battery level, the CPU/GPU utilization, overall temp, and current FPS which can be repositioned to anywhere outside of the area of active play at any time. With this the user can see if the device is being stressed so much that it might impede gameplay since performance is king when it comes to racking up points in whatever game is being served.
The Armoury Crate also makes an appearance with the ROG Phone which serves as a placeholder for all game titles AND accessories currently installed in the device as well as the settings and controls you can toggle for each or all of them at once. Its a really amped up control center which is very fitting to the gaming theme that is existent with the ROG Phone 2.
If there’s anything to pick at, for me it would be that the ROG Phone 2 is incredibly biased to landscape gaming which means those that run in portrait, like FFBE, are flushed to the top and not centered which require a bit of “reaching” which dampens the otherwise perfect game performance.
The ROG Phone 2 is an incredible machine to game in, practically unparalleled by the competition especially in terms of it being the core of a system which dedicates itself to mobile gaming.
This is where the decision point kicks in – the ROG Phone 2 works perfectly well all on its own without any accessories, but it was designed so that these accessories compliment the primary device really nicely to the point that you’d want to complete it even if you didn’t have to. The flair also extends to the skinned UI which is perfectly suited to the device that you wouldn’t want to customize it any more.
It looks, sounds, feels, and handles really great and the instantaneous response provided by the 120Hz screen is absolute eye candy… plus it still has an audio jack!
The ROG Phone 2 has 2 official variants in retail stores:
Php 49,995 for the 12GB / 512GB
Php 59,995 for the 12GB / 1TB Ultimate Edition
A few other variants have crept up in the gray market but be forewarned that these are not recognized by ASUS support locally. These are the lower specced ones which include the Tencent CN Version