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The most powerful: a first look at the Asus ROG Phone II gaming smartphone

Asus is turning the ROG Phone gaming smartphone into an ecosystem. Among the innovations announced at IFA 2019, not even the smartphone itself is interesting, but how many accessories are offered for it. However, the characteristics of the gadget are impressive in any case.

Just in case, let me remind you what are the main problems of smartphones as gaming devices. In fact, today in the world of mobile phones, the power is so high that it is already comparable to the basic versions of home gaming consoles (and the Nintendo Switch is completely behind). However, home consoles have impressive cooling systems – a luxury not permissible for compact devices. Mobile phones usually do not have active cooling (fan), content with passive ones (radiators), but due to their small size, you can’t even put a massive radiator in your smartphone.

It turns out that it is worth starting something heavy on the smartphone, the system on the chip starts to heat up pretty quickly, and when the heating exceeds the permissible limit, the so-called “trotting” occurs. This word refers to the state in which the processor skips some clock cycles, which is actually reflected in a decrease in the clock frequency (missed clock cycles, that is, when the calculations were not performed, are obviously useless to us). Roughly speaking, the more powerful the smartphone, the slower it is.

Thus, solving the cooling problem for a gaming smartphone is even more important than control. Moreover, games for mobile phones have long learned to take into account the lack of buttons (although here ROG Phone II also has a couple of trump cards).

Asus ROG Phone II Elite / Ultimate
Screen 6.59 “, 1080 × 2340 pixels, 19.5: 9, Super AMOLED, HDR10 +, 120 Hz
Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor 855+ 2.96 GHz
Graphics Adreno 640
RAM 12 GB
512 GB / 1 TB drive
Camera Main dual: 48MP + 13MP, front: 24MP
6000 mAh battery

ROG Phone II uses the Vapor Chamber as a cooling system – that is, a steam chamber. It contains a liquid that evaporates, taking heat from the hot parts, then condenses again, giving off heat to the outside. It is much more effective than a conventional mobile radiator.

However, therefore, with prolonged and high load, the ROG Phone II can be very hot.

As for control, one of the most important drawbacks of mobile gaming is not even touch control (as I said, games are already being developed with this in mind), but the fact that fingers close the screen. Plus, if you need to connect the device to charging, the wire also interferes (most of the more or less large mobile games are designed to play in landscape orientation).

Asus came up with a solution to both problems. Firstly, the right side of the smartphone (if you hold it vertically, as usual) is equipped with touch zones that work roughly like “bumpers” on gamepad consoles (LB / RB on the Xbox One, L / R on the Switch, L1 / R1 on the PS4) . These bumpers can be hung, for example, changing weapons and shooting. Or a jump. In general, the decision is yours. Of course, you won’t be able to completely remove your fingers from the screen, but this already significantly frees up the screen overview.

Secondly, on the left side there is an additional USB-C connector for charging – you can connect the charging cable there during the game. Next to this connector is another one – for connecting external accessories.

Screen
The ROG Phone II is equipped with a 6.59-inch screen with an AMOLED matrix with FHD + resolution (2340×1080 pixels) and support for HDR10 wide dynamic range. The maximum refresh rate is as much as 120 Hz (60 and 90 Hz options are also available in the settings), the pixel response time is 1 ms. At the same time, the input delay from the sensor (input lag) is only 49 ms. The manufacturer claims that the sensor is polled at a frequency of 240 Hz – that is, 240 times per second. As you can see, this is twice the maximum frame rate.

In general, to distinguish the refresh rate from 60 Hz to 120 Hz is quite easy (I checked) – the difference is visible literally with the naked eye, if you switch the frequency in the settings and look at the animation of the interface. Here 90 Hz from 120 Hz is already difficult to distinguish (but 60 Hz from 90 Hz is still easy).

However, it should be borne in mind that not every game allows you to maintain such a refresh rate – many games generally have a limit of 30 fps, that is, they redraw the picture only 30 times per second and frequencies above 60 Hz are redundant for them. However, Asus has already announced a partnership with some major mobile game developers specifically to support 120 Hz.

It is also interesting that the claimed average deviation from the set color (Delta E) for ROG Phone II is less than one, as for professional Asus ProArt StudioBook laptops. However, this can be easily checked as soon as the smartphone gets to us for full testing. Delta E is one of those parameters for which we test every smartphone at ferra.ru.

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