In recent years we've seen gaming phones carve out their own niche category, handsets that ramp up the specs and the screen sizes, and include customizations to appeal to power users and serious gamers. A year after launching its first gaming phone, Asus is back with the ROG Phone II.
It takes everything from the first phone and upgrades it: 12 GB of RAM instead of 8 GB, a 6.59-inch screen running at a 120 Hz refresh rate rather than a 6-inch 90 Hz panel, and a 6,000-mAh battery instead of a 4,000-mAh battery. Physically, it's bigger too – taller, wider, and thicker.
The dual camera on the back gets upgraded from a 12 MP + 8 MP affair to a 48 MP + 13 MP one, which means when you're not busy gaming you should be able to get some very impressive snaps from the ROG Phone II. It's also the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 855 Plus, Qualcomm's mid-year processor upgrade.
With phones like the LG G8 ThinQ and Samsung Galaxy S10 carrying the Snapdragon 855, this should give the Asus ROG Phone II an edge in the performance stakes. Clock speed is boosted from 2.84 GHz to 2.96 GHz, while the integrated GPU is reportedly able to run 15 percent faster than the one on the Snapdragon 855.
The storage options remain the same as last year though – either 128 GB or 512 GB of storage, though access times should be faster in the newer model. You don't get a memory card slot here so you're stuck with the storage you get out of the box. Those are all specs that will appeal to Android power users as well as gamers.
The distinctive, angular design of the Asus ROG Phone II looks a lot like its predecessor, with copper accents and a light-up logo on the back. Asus has again fitted a custom cooling system into the device so those extended gaming sessions don't overheat it, and the same haptic AirTrigger buttons on the edge of the phone can be used as input options.
Asus has embedded the fingerprint sensor under the screen in the ROG Phone II, and the phone offers a 3.5 mm audio jack as well as a USB-C port, so you can carry on using your existing wired headphones if you need to.
Asus is also promising a variety of useful hardware accessories for the new handset, including an upgraded AeroActive Cooler II, which adds extra airflow and cooling to the chassis. Video output isn't forgotten either, with the option of 4K video output over DisplayPort 1.4 if you want to see your games on a bigger screen.
What we don't know yet is how much all this is going to cost, or exactly when it will go on sale. The original Asus ROG Phone was available for US$899 with 128 GB of storage and $1,099 with 512 GB of storage, so something around those prices is likely again.
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