Asus’ ROG Phone 2 is for gamers. Period. Can a non-gamer use it? Sure. But what’s the point really. If you aren’t into gaming, you don’t need the added heft or the enhanced gaming capabilities that phones like this, the Nubia Red Magic, Black Shark 2 etc. bring. And you for sure do not care about cool RGB lighting.
If that’s the case, you can stop reading this review right now.
With a 6.59-inch screen, the ROG Phone II is massive. And that makes it perfect for gaming and for watching content. It is also a heavy phone, weighing in at 240g, and with a phone this large, the weight makes sense. It will make more sense for gamers because it gives something solid to grip on to — it feels like the phone will deal through any amount of heavy, intensive gaming.
It does too. I don’t play PUBG, but I tried my hand at it on the ROG Phone II and it felt easier than it did on other devices. And that is probably because the ROG Phone II has edges where edges must be, a screen that is immersive and wide enough and in-game buttons spaced out comfortably. It also has two air triggers on top that you can map according to your choice of in-game functions — I didn’t use them for anything because, well, the games I play don’t need them.
However, I fully understand the perks of having that option. The way the phone is, the index fingers on both your hands will automatically come to rest at the points where Asus has placed the air triggers — if you are to use it, it is perfectly placed.
The other very cool thing is the Armoury, an app that has all your games in one place for easy launch and easy exit. The fact that the ROG Phone II does not have gestures and your back, home etc are virtual button functions is a good thing. I have carelessly ended up swiping on home many a time on other devices while playing something like Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
There is the 120Hz refresh rate that makes all games look really crisp, though a 90Hz display looks equally good with the games on hand right now. And the Game Genie app allows you to customise your gaming experience, I just used it to set the colours on the ROG logo on the back of the device. It looks incredibly cool.
This is another place where the phone scores big points — the way it looks. There are sharp lines and angles, thin reflective slivers that shine, that metallic orange speaker grille on the back, hell, even the camera module looks like something that would fit on a spaceship.
The phone also looks very cool with the Lighting Armour Case that comes bundled in the box (it’s an India-only bundle) — the sharp cuts and clean edges of the case when snapped onto the back of the ROG Phone II, makes it looks like a formidable weapon. However, it traps dust. So, you will have to keep taking it off to clean it, and the back of the smartphone, ever so often.
Speaking of that ROG logo on the back, I customised it to an always-on, breathing style that changes colours. Essentially, I was making the phone bleed battery through paper cuts. That 6000mAh battery didn’t break a sweat. I didn’t game intensely, yes, but I used the phone through the day and I didn’t have to charge it again.
The device comes with two charging ports (at the bottom and on the left side so as you can charge on landscape mode as well) and a headphone jack, you know, to hear those footsteps better in PUBG. There is another additional air trigger spot on the bottom left — you use that in tandem with the one in the right for functions like screenshot capture, take a photo or change the ringer volumes, it is customisable.
There isn’t anything you can really have a complaint about when it comes to the ROG Phone II. Except perhaps that it is a big and bulky device. But a gaming phone is meant to be just that — it is supposed to have a design aesthetic that is definitely and clearly different from other devices around it. Remember the Nokia N-Gage? Of course, since then the gaming phone has evolved into a sleeker animal.
Of the other animals we have seen of this type out there, the ROG Phone II has our attention. Especially at Rs 37,999.