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ASUS ROG Phone II – so much speed it should be illegal
4.9Overall Score
Name: ASUS ROG Phone II
Price (RRP): $1699
Manufacturer: ASUS

The ASUS ROG Phone II is incredibly powerful; in fact, it is the most powerful Android smartphone. Why should gamers have all that speed – what about the rest of us?

Not to be boring (as this sexagenarian, Managing Editor does not play games) but the ASUS ROG Phone II is the ultimate, highest power, biggest battery, fastest screen, smartphone on the planet. If you are a gamer, it is everything you could want (if you have a lazy A$1699).

What does the ASUS ROG Phone II offer to non-gamers? Read on.

Before we get into the tests, let’s look at a few of the ASUS ROG Phone II superpowers

  • The world’s fastest processor – 7nm Qualcomm SD855 Plus (the enhanced SD855) and Adreno 640 GPU
  • The world’s best 3D vapour cooling chamber to remove heat from thrashing the processor – peak performance is throttle free
  • A clip-on, powered AeroActive Cooler II for continuous game use – yes, it can get toasty
  • 12GB LPDDR4X RAM – no lag
  • 512GB UFS 3.0 storage – up to 2900MB/s sequential read over two lanes – far faster than 99% of other phones
  • 6.59-inch, 2340 x 1080, 120Hz refresh, 1ms G-T-G, HDR10, 10-bit AMOLED screen (yes, the world’s fastest), Delta E<1 (excellent) covered in Gorilla Glass 6
  • 6000mAh battery and a USB-C PD 3.0 and QC 4.0, 30W fast charger (supplied) as well as top and side USB-C ports
  • Top and bottom front-firing (that is towards you) speakers, dedicated Left and Right amplifiers, 24-bit/192KHz Hi-Res DAC, DTS:X Ultra 7.1 virtual surround, 3.5mm audio, BT 5.0 with aptX/Adaptive/HD/AAC/LDAC, and four mics with noise reduction – best of any phone setup
  • Dual SIM, LTE Cat 20 up to 2Gbps DL, 4×4 MU-MIMO, VoLTE/VoWiFi
  • Landscape optimised Wi-Fi AD multi-antenna 2 x 2 MIMO and WI Gig AD capability
  • Camera – 48+13MP rear and 24MP front for Vloggers
  • Clean Android, ASUS ROG UI or ZenUI with Armoury Crate gaming interface that has heaps of automated optimisation options, open access to system-level values and thresholds for advanced tuning.
  • And a host of accessories like a Kunai Gamepad, a dual-screen option and many more.

Not only did ASUS nail the gaming specs it far exceeded any of its competitors – RAZER Phone 2, Nubia Red Magic 3S, Xiaomi Black Shark 2, OnePlus7 Pro as well as any flagship brands. It is truly unique.

The ASUS ROG Phone II is not perfect.

A flagship buyer expects Qi charging (no), microSD expansion (no), IP rating (no) and it is slippery and heavy at 240g. But gamers will overlook those minor indiscretions.

We are not qualified to comment on the mobile gaming experience so we will borrow a quote from GSM Arena, “You can rest assured that the mobile gaming experience is truly the best money can buy.”

While this is a long review, we will use Fail, Pass, Exceed against all our test parameters if you want to speed read!

ASUS ROG Phone II Model ASUS_ID001DC Dual Sim

Australian Website here

Price: $1699 from JB Hi-Fi includes Kunai Gamepad/case, Aero cooler II, and 30W charger

ASUS ROG Phone II JB

Warranty: 2-years Australian

Warning: JB is the only authorised retailer of the Australian 12/512GB ASUS_I001DC model that supports Telstra, Optus and Vodafone VoLTE and VoWifi.

Do not buy so-called international, worldwide or global models, especially those meant for Asian countries (may be called a Tencent Gaming model that has no access to Google unless you root it). If in doubt check under System, Regulatory Labels for the Australian C-tick.

ASUS ROG Phone II CN
Warning Will Robinson!

Update: According to XDA Developers, the cheaper Tencent version (CN ROM) lacks many features. If you know what you are doing, you can root/flash with a WW ROM, but it does not change the compromised hardware

  • WILL NOT SUPPORT LTE BAND 28 (as it has a CDMA/LTE modem)
  • No VoLTE or VoWiFi (needs Australian certification, firmware and IMEI range for Australia*)
  • Cannot make 000 emergency call without a sim
  • CAT16 modem (slower 2×2 MIMO)
  • Does not support Wi-Fi AD (Wi Gig)
  • Has less RAM and storage (8/128GB)
  • Does not have the same level of sophisticated vapour chamber cooling
  • Does not support the AeroCooler II (and users report the CPU/GPU throttles)
  • Only an 18W (15W plus 3W) charger (not the 30W PD 3.0 or QC 4.0 compatible) plus USB-A to USB-C cable (not USB-C to USB-C)
  • Is locked to the Tencent games store (no Google access including Google Pay)
  • Nor does it come with the accessories

*Note: There are rumblings that Australian Telcos may implement IMEI level blocking for parallel/grey market phones not certified or approved for Australia. It follows Verizon US IMEI blocking “for phones not certified for use on its network”.

Mobile gaming – EXCEED++

Depending on the source of the statistics, mobile gaming is around a US$100 billion industry rapidly growing to $174 billion in 2021. There are more than two billion players (the most significant proportion is in the Asia Pacific) and roughly 50/50 male/female (although each tends to play different games). Gaming is the third most popular app category after social media and music but accounts for about 75% of App Store revenue. Gamers spend over 90% of screen time on games and 78% use Android.

Common titles are (in order of revenue):

  • Pokémon Go
  • Fortnight
  • Candy Crush Saga
  • ROBLOX
  • Toon Blast
  • Clash of Clans
  • MARVEL Contest of Champions
  • Candy Crush Soda Saga
  • Clash Royale
  • Slotomania Las Vegas

Then there are growing titles like PUBG, Rise Up and Subway surfers.