A stylish and thoughtful gamer-centric design, and a host of useful accessories, ensure the Asus ROG Phone 2 will impress any mobile gamer with 120Hz refresh rate, long battery life, fully customizable, loads of gaming accessories.
There’s no mistaking the Asus ROG Phone 2’s gaming credentials. Part of the Republic of Gamers series by Asus, this angular slab of glass and metal looks like the kind of phone Master Chief might pull from his pocket — and if you don’t know who that is, this probably isn’t the phone for you.
A 6.59-inch screen is flanked by stereo speakers, which makes this a tall phone. It’s an AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz touch response rate, so if you run into any lag, your internet connection is probably to blame. While this is a fast and colorful display, the resolution is 2,340 x 1,080 pixels, which is not as sharp as the display in the S20 Plus.
Moving inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, which is fast and capable. The 865 only offers around a 15% performance bump on the 855+. The Asus ROG Phone 2 packs 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base model, but you can jump up to 256GB, 512GB, or even 1TB of storage, which all come with 12GB of RAM. There’s no microSD card slot here, so choose your storage size carefully.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 does also have a 3.5mm audio port, which is excellent news if you have a favorite set of headphones you like to use for gaming.
The enormous 6,000mAh battery is a definite highlight here. The Asus ROG Phone 2 will last up to two days between charges, and it’s quick to juice up. Thanks to the 30W charger, you can get 40% battery in just half an hour.
Out of the box, you’ll find Android 9.0 Pie running on the Asus ROG Phone 2 with a custom UI on top. Asus adds some value with its gamer-focused software. The game center includes a lobby and a console section, so you can browse your game library and tweak the phone’s performance specifically for each individual game. You can overclock the processor and set the fan speed, but you can also change the colors and pattern of the RGB logo on the back of the phone.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 also features Air Triggers, which are essentially touch-sensitive patches on the top right and left when you hold the phone in landscape, like the shoulder buttons on a gamepad. Naturally, you can configure what they should do. You also get the AeroActive Cooler II fan with the phone, which clips on easily and keeps it cool, even during long gaming sessions.
If you want more, and you’re willing to pay extra, Asus offers a world of accessories, including a special dock with a secondary display, a cooling fan, and its own 5,000mAh battery. There’s also a fully programmable gamepad accessory, which adds controller sections with buttons to the left and right of the phone. Finally, there are a couple of dock options, which enable you to plug the phone into a monitor and game on it using a mouse and keyboard.
Surprisingly, the dual-lens, 48-megapixel and 13-megapixel main camera is quite effective, though it does not cope well with low-light situations, and can’t compete with phones like the Galaxy S20 Plus or iPhone 11 Pro Max. There is an in-display fingerprint sensor and a face unlock option, but you won’t find any waterproofing, support for wireless charging, or 5G connectivity here.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 starts from around $600, but the 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM model will set you back about $900. The accessories are not cheap either; the gamepad costs $150, the TwinView Dock II with the second screen is a whopping $330, and even the more basic Mobile Desktop Dock is $230.
It’s obviously not for everyone, but some gamers will love this aesthetic, appreciate the thoughtfully designed accessories, and crave the granular customizability on offer here. The Asus ROG Phone 2 may be the best specialist gaming phone you can buy right now.