The first glance at the ASUS ROG Phone II had me worrying it would slip right out of my hands during a really crucial part of a gaming session. It is a robust smartphone, slightly heavier than the ROG Phone, with shallow ridges slashed across the rear for that Quicksilver-esque look, accompanied by the flashing ROG logo. The near-black glossy back was initially worrisome in the case of fingerprints but ASUS has made it so that there are no such marks to mar the appearance. The sturdiness of the phone is remarkable too. Should you not go for a case, do not fret about scratches.
The minimalist in me would have grimaced at the physical design of the device, but the performance pretty much cancels it out.
Whether you are out in the sun or in a darkened room, the display of the ROG Phone II sure is dazzling. The lines are crisper and the contrast is not overwhelming. One of my pet peeves with many recent smartphones is the annoying adjustment from ambient lighting. The sensors on this device, though, make the shift barely noticeable which does not hamper whatever you are doing.
With all the competitive cameras out there, the ones on the ROG Phone II offer nothing new. Some would argue the camera is not a big deal but given smartphones are considered to be the new all-in-one packages offering perfection, this was not exactly forgiveable for me.
The ROG Phone II is silly fast. While playing Asphalt 9: Legends (a racing game exclusive to the device), I barely experienced lags during gameplay which I have too many times with the older phones. Then I wondered about device bias with the game, then I switched to feature-rich Injustice 2 and had the same seamless fun. The device makes the most of the Snapdragon 855 thankfully, and the well-powered ROG UI makes switching between apps glitch-free. In the few weeks I had the phone, there were zero crashes a first for me.
The immersion is enhanced by the cleverly-curated hardware for the ROG Phone II. Audio performance is impressive thanks to the dual front-facing speakers equipped with DTS:X Ultra virtual surrounding sound support, as well as the stereo speaker with smart amplifiers for louder, deeper and clearer sound effects. This menas that whatever sounds come with the games or streaming, there is no distortion, whatever the volume. I tested this during peak traffic in a noisy part of the city and I still could clearly hear the motivational monologues of Baahubali on Netflix.
Another enhancement comes in the form of the Ultrasonic Air Triggers II. Hardcore games will have you nod to these for their resemblance to a console.
Charging is done via an USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C; fast charging is welcome during those short breathers between gaming sessions. The battery, significantly more powerful than that of its predecessor, is already a powerful one at 6000mAh. For some perspective: after two hours of playing Injustice 2, the battery went from 100% to just 64%. Thank goodness, there is a 3.5mm audio jack. However, to elevate the gaming experience, I connected my true wireless ear buds to the device.
It is no wonder this phone has won so many smartphone awards over the past couple of months; plus, every third person working in technology seems to either have this device or the desire to own it. Currently the ROG Phone II is priced at 37,999 (8GB + 128GB) and 59,999 (12GB + 512GB), the latter being more favourable by the heavy duty gamers who engage in long sessions of Fortnite, PUBG and Call Of Dutys mobile editions.
Given its ongoing popularity, it is safe to say the ASUS ROG Phone II will remain a landmark in the brands launch timeline and a favourite across gamers and users.