Nowadays, it’s not difficult to discover a cellphone that’s highly effective sufficient to run most video games on the App Retailer or Google Play Retailer, neither is it too pricey. It’s additionally simple to purchase a DualShock four or Xbox One gamepad, then pair it to your cellphone by way of Bluetooth so you may have a console-like controller expertise with out being glued to your sofa.
Each of these factors make it very laborious for me to persuade anybody to purchase the Asus ROG Telephone II, an $899 gaming-focused cellphone that has its personal ecosystem of expensive proprietary equipment. The equipment had been made for the cellphone, and the cellphone was made for these equipment, for higher and worse.
It prices some huge cash to unlock the potential of this cellphone, however there are fairly a number of issues that I like concerning the machine by itself. It has three USB-C ports: one on its backside and two joined collectively alongside its facet. Two of them can be utilized to cost the cellphone, whereas the opposite is completely for Asus’ equipment, and it’s marked orange to point that. It’s considerate of Asus, particularly since that is primarily a gaming cellphone, to mount a USB-C cost port in a spot that gained’t distract you whilst you’re taking part in video games in panorama mode.
The ROG Telephone II is without doubt one of the strongest telephones which you can purchase, and it’s simple to see the outcomes of this in motion. There’s completely no slowdown whereas utilizing apps and video games, and switching between them is sort of instantaneous. A couple of issues inside the cellphone contribute to that: the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor that was created to be sooner and extra environment friendly throughout gaming, the speedy UFS three.zero storage, and its 12GB of RAM.
Every part seems incredible on the ROG Telephone II’s massive 6.6-inch 1080 x 2340 HDR OLED display screen. It has a 120Hz refresh fee, which permits for clean in-motion visuals and seamless scrolling. It is a expertise that I feel is crucial for gaming, whether or not you’re doing it on a cellphone or a PC. Every time I went again to utilizing my private Pixel three, I missed wanting on the ROG Telephone II.
This cellphone’s 120Hz refresh fee show is enjoyable to make use of, but it surely’s solely pretty much as good because the content material that helps it. Fortunately, there are many video games from the Google Play Retailer which can be optimized to run at as much as 120 frames per second. A couple of well-liked examples embody Alto’s Odyssey (and its predecessor, Alto’s Journey), Don’t Starve, DOTA Underlords, Minecraft, and Rayman Adventures. Asus appears to be including extra titles and compiling them on its web site.
Lastly, I like the AirTriggers function. When you’re in sport in panorama mode, there are two touch-sensitive areas close to the ability and quantity buttons that act like triggers on a controller. This function might be switched on by means of Asus’ Armoury Crate app, its console-like dashboard that comes preinstalled on the cellphone.
When you activate it, you choose a spot on the display screen the place every AirTrigger will just about faucet on a per-game foundation. This lets you designate a button to certainly one of these triggers, so that you don’t want to achieve to press an annoying-to-reach on-screen button. I didn’t suppose various cellphone controls may get any extra artistic than the Black Shark 2’s MagicTouch function, however this outdoes it handily.
The accent breakdown
The cellphone comes with a skinny case in addition to the AeroActive Cooler 2 detailed beneath. There are seven extra equipment which you can purchase individually. If you happen to purchase each accent made for the ROG Telephone II, it would price you $1,996.97, together with the price of the $899 cellphone. Let’s run by means of them, what they do, and the way a lot they price.
- The Lightning Armor is a case that snaps onto the cellphone, tags up with it by way of NFC, then prompts a theme on the show in addition to colourful LED that shoot an array of sunshine by means of the case. It’s $59. And since different case makers most likely gained’t be making ROG Telephone II instances, your choices are restricted and, apparently, fairly pricey.
- The Kunai GamePad primarily turns the ROG Telephone II right into a Nintendo Swap-like moveable console. This accent package features a case that connects to the cellphone by way of USB-C, permitting you to slip on some Pleasure-Con-like controllers. Asus actually isn’t being delicate right here with constructing off of its influences. Alternatively, you may insert the controllers right into a controller grip, a la Pleasure-Con grip, that’s within the field. That is $149.
- The TwinView Dock II is the holy grail of equipment for the ROG Telephone II, and probably for any cellphone. It turns the cellphone right into a dual-screened clamshell machine, virtually like a Nintendo 3DS, however with a second 120Hz OLED show, 5,000mAh of battery, and further cooling energy by means of some small followers on its underside. The cellphone latches into the underside part of the dock, plugging in with its two, side-mounted USB-C ports. And since the ability and quantity buttons on the cellphone are inaccessible whereas it’s docked, Asus cleverly constructed the buttons close to the second show. This accent helps you to, say, watch YouTube movies whilst you play a sport on the opposite display screen. It’s $329.99 and possibly my favourite of the equipment which can be out there. Nevertheless, it’s additionally cumbersome, and the construct high quality isn’t nice.
- Asus makes a cell desktop dock that lets you join the cellphone to a much bigger show by way of HDMI or DisplayPort. As far what the dock helps, it could hook up with a 4K display screen with as much as a 60Hz refresh fee. It additionally has 4 USB three.1 Gen 1 Sort-A ports for a mouse or keyboard, an Ethernet port, and a three.5mm headphone jack. Asus’ Sport Genie software program helps you to map the controls in any sport, and except for the cellphone’s show not rendering appropriately on the monitor I examined this on, I used to be shocked by how a lot this felt like gaming on a reliable PC — with out my assortment of PC video games, in fact. This prices an additional $229.99. However throughout my testing, a regular USB-C hub labored high-quality for plugging it right into a monitor or TV. Nevertheless, the cellphone appears to output video solely by means of its side-mounted USB-C port. (The orange one subsequent to it’s completely used for Asus’ equipment.)
- The AeroActive Cooler 2 is a fan attachment that connects into two of the cellphone’s USB-C ports and hosts one USB-C port and a three.5mm jack you need to use when it’s in panorama mode. Asus claims that this fan retains the cellphone as much as 5 levels Celsius (41 levels Fahrenheit) cooler. It’s included with the cellphone at no additional price.
- Lastly, there’s a WiGig show dock that permits you to wirelessly beam what’s in your cellphone’s display screen over to the massive display screen. It operates by way of Qualcomm’s 60GHz Wi-Fi band, and it’s easy to arrange and, as I anticipated, it’s extremely quick once you’re standing in vary. I didn’t discover a lot in the way in which of latency between me touching the ROG Telephone II’s show and seeing it occur on my TV. If all you need to do is put your cellphone’s display screen in your TV, a Google Chromecast would possibly suffice. It will possibly’t compete with the WiGig with regards to low latency and visible high quality, but it surely’s $300 cheaper.
The ROG Telephone II is a powerhouse with regards to efficiency. I detailed above that a number of video games help its 120Hz refresh fee show, and, as I anticipated, this Asus cellphone has no concern operating something with out the slightest trace of a slowdown. PUBG Cellular runs flawlessly with all the graphical settings pushed to their limits (although, sadly, this title is locked at 60Hz).
Different demanding titles, like Lifeless Set off 2 and Ultimate Fantasy XV: Pocket Version additionally ran fantastically — particularly so because of their help for its 120Hz refresh fee show. From a technical standpoint, this cellphone should not have any downside maintaining with developments in cell graphics for a while.
Asus’ focus for this machine is clearly on gaming, however I additionally ran by means of the paces of the way it fares with common cellphone stuff. The feel and appear of the software program might be switched between Zen UI, which is shut in its feel and appear to inventory Android 9 Pie and Asus’ ROG UI. There aren’t many purposeful variations to talk of, however for those who’re a fan of the edgy gaming aesthetic discovered on my gaming PC equipment (which additionally occurs to be what the ROG Telephone II seems like), the ROG-themed possibility will seemingly swimsuit you. It swaps the brilliant, sunny Zen UI theme, and all of its app icons, out for a darker, aggressive styling.
When you have deep pockets (each to suit the cellphone and to afford it), the ROG Telephone II could match into your pants pocket, but it surely most likely gained’t be too comfy. This cellphone is a big presence, whether or not it’s in your pocket or your arms. (I say “arms” as a result of, for most individuals, it would require two to carry and function it.) It’s each massive and heavy, weighing 240 grams, which is about 16 grams heavier than the already-beefy iPhone 11 Professional Max. Asus at the very least justifies its weighty construct with a 6,000mAh battery. This cellphone routinely lasts two to 3 days with blended use, even with the show set to 120Hz refresh fee. Granted, the outcomes had been normally much less spectacular if I performed extra video games than ordinary. However contemplating all the ability inside this cellphone, it lasts for a surprisingly very long time.
One thing that I used to be frightened about, at the very least at first, was its optical in-display fingerprint sensor. Our expertise with each ultrasonic and optical, thus far, has translated to slower, extra error-prone authentication than the devoted fingerprint sensors positioned on a cellphone’s facet or again. However surprisingly, this one is simple and quick to make use of.
The ROG Telephone II is able to rather a lot, usually talking, however its cameras are its weakest level. It has a dual-lens digicam system on its again, comprised of a 48MP most important lens and a 13MP 125-degree large angle lens. The identical Sony IMX586 picture sensor that we noticed within the Asus ZenFone 6 makes one other look right here. It places out picture high quality that I feel is best than satisfactory in each day and night time photographs, but it surely doesn’t meet my expectations for a cellphone that prices $899.
These outcomes are extra palatable within the cheaper ZenFone 6, and, apparently, the Honor View 20’s “AI Extremely Readability” mode squeezes much more out of this sensor, coming near rivaling the iPhone XS Max in a shootout. However once more, this cellphone wasn’t made for taking images, so I wasn’t anticipating something phenomenal.
Whether or not the ROG Telephone II is a match for you doesn’t relaxation on you being a gamer who’s searching for the proper of cellphone. If all that you really want is an Android cellphone with a fast-refreshing show and succesful specs, the brand new OnePlus 7T will seemingly swimsuit most, if not all, of your wants for lots much less cash. As I discussed earlier, it’s doable that your present cellphone is perhaps highly effective sufficient to deal with most video games already, and if it’s an iPhone with iOS 13 put in, it has native help for PS4 and Xbox One controllers.
Asus’ formidable gaming cellphone provides numerous energy for $899, and because of its equipment, it’s able to greater than virtually some other cellphone on the market. There’s an viewers for this type of package deal, however for most individuals, it most likely comes with too many compromises. It’s large, heavy, and also you’ll have to spend tons of to see a few of that potential as a conveyable gaming console come to fruition.
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