King October 22, 2019

Sporting big-ticket hardware and quality build, this beast of a phone can be a great multitasker too

There is an unfortunate fact about the smartphone industry that industry watchers often lament about. This is a space where promotional hype often wins half the battle for most products. That’s well and good. But the flipside of this is that at times the right kind of products get pushed to the margins just for the fact that the manufacturer avoids a pre-launch publicity blitzkrieg and let the specs and performance of the product talk for themselves. If one feels that the Asus ROG Phone 2 has not yet got the due it deserves, this could be a key reason.

The first thing that one notices while unboxing the Asus ROG Phone 2 is this is not a light phone. That said, since the phone’s primary targets are gaming enthusiasts, the weight of 240 gm feels quite in sync with the market norms for flagship phones as well as gaming gadgets. The phone looks quite elegant despite its size and feels soft but strong. There is enough grip thanks to the uniquely designed ROG back-panel.

The phone has a massive 6.59 inch display with 1080×2340 pixels display. The screen size is a boon when you play games, especially first-person-shooting games the extra room gives you better views and helps enhance your judgement and strategies.

The display is crisp and sharp. Colours come out true and terrific especially while playing games and videos thanks to Qualcomm’s Adreno 640 graphic processing unit. The ROG Phone 2’s display, protected by the Gorilla Glass, gives an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.

Power to play

The phone offers great refresh rates of 60 fps and doesn’t lag of delay response while gaming or surfing or during video playback.

The ROG Phone 2 is powered by a 2.6GHz processor — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform with 7nm, 64-bit Octa-core Processor, a first for a flagship phone, claims Asus. It is aided by an 8 GB RAM unit, which makes multitasking a lot easier on this game-first phone which runs on Android 9 Pie.

The Snapdragon 855 Plus is built for gaming gaming and fast mobile computing. It helps enabled better graphics and CPU performance, while supporting 4G and 5G connectivity. It’s response to AI programmes are also quite impressive. The 855 Plus is an upgrade of last year’s Snapdragon 855; this time the focus being on improving computing speeds. This will be reflected in gaming.

When it comes to gaming, the phone is a work of art. We tested many of the popular games available on Android — Real Racing 3, Asphalt 9 Legends, GT Racing 2 and many more. The results are more than satisfactory. The phone’s 120Hz refresh rate — which is one of the best in this price range — does an impressive job while playing games such as Minecraft or Alto’s Odyssey.

There are absolutely no blurs or disruptions. Not many games support 120Hz on Android, but if you can manage to get some good ones, you’d know the difference and enjoy the experience. The phone has a dedicated on screen button for games, which is very convenient. The button leads you to the games library from where you can pick and play your favourite games. This process is so simple and the library is clutter-free.

That said, if you play 120Hz games long enough the device gets heated up. Asus claims that the smartphone is built to combat any thermal throttle, even when your gaming gets intense. But our experience shows it needs some upgrades here, even though the smartphone claims to have a highly-efficient and large 3D vapour-chamber cooling, aided by a multi-layer copper heat spreader. The phone’s circuit pad has carbon cooling pads and the heat that comes from the processor should exit the heat vents on the back. Looks like that’s taking some time while playing super-heavy games. Still, the performance is one of the best-in-class.

Click and go

The phone’s front camera is an absolute delight. The AI is really intelligent and doesn’t mess up with your selfies (like in most mid-range or even premium phones these days). Yes, this phone also has the fairness bias but that’s an animal you have to live with these days till gadget companies wake up to political correctness one fine morning. The 24MP front camera negotiates light so well that the results are very DSLR-like. The camera understands almost all environments fast enough and produces brilliant images, even under low light. The images come out neatly saturated and honest.

The back camera unit, 48MP + 13MP, is not really great if you compare it with similar flagship phones. But it won’t disappoint you at all. In daylight environment the results are pretty good. It struggles a bit in low-light but if you are savvy with tuning light for such interior, you will get good results. The dedicated wide-angle button is quite handy while clicking landscapes during a tour. It responds real fast and gives nice results. The camera allows you to shoot in 4K and this is a phone on which you can edit videos really really fast. This makes it one of the best phones short film makers can rely on. That said, it doesn’t support 4K video playback while streaming. If you are playing Netflix or YouTube you won’t see the options above 1080 60fps. Which is a tad disappointing given the price.

The Asus ROG Phone 2 has an audio department that delivers crisp and clear audio. It is loud enough during games and offers a controlled show during video and audio playback. There are no jarring notes or leaky voices. The phone carries a massive 6000 mAh battery, which helps it stay alive for a full day, with heavy-duty gaming and a good amount of web surfing on both Wi-Fi and cellular data. The battery is non-removable.

You could use the phone to its optimum levels only if you buy accessories given by Asus and most of them are obscenely priced, forcing you to look for cheaper versions or models or resort to jugaad.

Verdict: The Asus ROG Phone 2 is a great gaming phone that can double up as an excellent multi-tasker, offering seamless video, audio playback and editing. Good for gamers and short film makers.

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