As soon as Qualcomm announced the Xiaolong 855 Plus, more than five handset makers decided they’d launch a new smartphone equipped with the latest flagship chip in the second half of this year.
ASUS is the only manufacturer with Snapdragon 855 Plus and has already incorporated the chipset in the latest smartphone called ASUS ROG Phone 2. Details about exactly when will other manufacturers use this chipset is still far and between.
Aside from the aforesaid upgrade, ASUS is slated to roll out the usual updates to the ROG Phone configuration based on this hardware in collaboration with Tencent cooperation, offering a superior gaming experience to its huge fanbase.
As soon as I arrived at the office today, WinBoy editor handed me a briefcase and said a three-digital password. This gave me an impression that I might be checking the military computer of Latitude 7214. I didn’t expect to open the briefcase but just to take a quick glimpse of ROG Phone 2.
However, it took a whopping 3 minutes to get the smartphone and its accessories out of the briefcase.
The texture is the highlight of the design
The ROG Phone 2 seems to bear a striking resemblance to its 2018 predecessor as far as the design is concerned.
The slender body, which is bigger than my palm also looks quite familiar. Given that there is no specific use of the front of the shaped screen, the phone isn’t very unique in terms of aesthetics. The ROG breathing light, the hexagonal camera, the Maya covering the back Pattern, and the striking plating color are likely to grab your attention.
Although a layman might not understand the importance of certain hardware incorporated in the ROG Phone 2, these features and hardware are important as this is a game phone.
Similar to the gaming computer at Starbucks, that you come up with the brightest on the MacBook and the Surface.
Despite retaining nearly the same appearance, the ROG Phone 2 has undergone a slew of radical overhauls. These changes are more evident on the back of the phone.
First off, the fingerprint identification area has been revamped. The original ROG Phone adopted a capacitive fingerprint design, so we will see a dedicated area on the back of the phone.
ASUS has resorted to using the hexagonal design in the original design in this portion in a bid to retain the main style and ensure it doesn’t look cramped.
If you look at the smartphone from an aesthetic point of view or even from the comfort of using the phone, the fingerprint recognition of the back still affects the convenience of the user to use the mobile phone and the integration of the fuselage.
The ROG Phone 2 is equipped with an on-screen fingerprint recognition feature, which enhances the integrity of the back of the phone.
As far as the screen configuration is concerned, the ROG Phone 2 sports a 6.59-inch screen with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. Although it does not have 2K resolution, it supports HDR 10 and 240Hz touch sampling.
The latest ROG phone still has no specific use for the special-shaped screens. Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the shape enhances the overall gaming experience. Even if the special-shaped screen develops in Android for a couple of years, it is worth noting that there are several games that are still not compatible with waterdrop notch and bangs screens seen on some new smartphones.
In my opinion, the most appealing aspect of the screen is the 120Hz refresh rate. To facilitate user control of power consumption, ROG also provides a 60 / 90 / 120Hz three-speed refresh rate option in the settings.
However, as a person who has been “sweet” by a 90-liter 90-Hz screen, a person who does not leave the charging treasure, I, of course often open 120Hz, and then enjoy the silky as a pleasure.
Another evident adjustment can be seen in the design of the Maya pattern and the side edge cutting. The Maya pattern in the back area is no longer placed near the camera but stretches more boldly to the sides of the phone, and the viewing experience is more engaging than the previous generation.
The knife-cut modular filter screen has been replaced with a stripe design, unlike the previous two quadrilaterals. This portion looks more restrained now than the bolder Maya pattern.
Housed in a glass frame, the ROG Phone 2 looks and feels great. On the downside, the thickness and weight of the glass body, along with the internal heat dissipation system have made the ROG Phone 2 “a half-pound” heavier.
As a technical editor, I have used multiple phones including the iPhone XS Max (208 g) and Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (236 g). The ROG Phone 2’s 240 g weight; however, redefines what I knew about the weight of the mobile phone (data source Ministry of Information Technology).
Taking accessories into consideration, the expansion performance of the ROG Phone 2 is nothing short of impressive. Aside from the 3D Vapor Chamber condensing system + copper plate thermal pad + graphene thermal pad design of the mobile phone body, similar to the ROG Phone last year, the new machine features an external cooling fan.
As a result, the side of the old and new ROG Phones will have a set of interfaces for external accessories, unlike ordinary phones. Moreover, we can connect the fan to the mobile phone and enable heat dissipation. Regrettably, this increases the overall weight of the mobile phone.
When you are playing your favorite game, the USB-C interface acts as a charging port of the mobile phone, preventing you from operating in the horizontal screen, as you’d normally do. Alternatively, you can connect the mobile phone to a dedicated base, expand the picture to the display, and use the mobile phone as a portable game console.
As for the conventional interface, the ROG Phone 2 is also quite comprehensive, with a 3.5mm headphone jack, in addition to the USB-C.
Following the elimination of the earphone hole in some phones, several users were left with no choice but to use wireless headphones. But much to their chagrin, the wireless earphones have failed to completely address the concern associated with the delay.
Thankfully, the ROG Phone 2 gaming smartphone has not dumped the headphone hole, and it is a wise decision, according to me.
The first Snapdragon 855 Plus has excellent performance
ASUS’s decision to employ the Snapdragon 855 Plus for its ROG Phone 2 isn’t surprising at all. Given that the ROG Phone used the upscale version of the Snapdragon 845 last year, ASUS has enjoyed a “special treatment” from Qualcomm.
Keeping in line with that, ASUS launched the Snapdragon 855 Plus, which seems more like the bloody version of 2018’s Dragon 845 to me. The only difference is that the upgraded Snapdragon 855 Plus broke the Qualcomm’s consistent product rhythm and was highly praised, and Qualcomm made it available to more manufacturers outside of Asus.
While I didn’t expect much from the Snapdragon 855 Plus before opening the box, it turned out to be the strongest Android phone as soon as I started checking this 855 Plus+12GB+512GB. It is the strongest Android phone. I even figured out the big difference between the Snapdragon 855 and the Apple A12 after running points, games, and comparisons.
This Qualcomm does not include too many adjustments to the configuration of the Snapdragon 855 Plus, particularly in terms of core frequency and GPU performance optimization:
- The core frequency has been upgraded from 2.84GHz to 2.96GHz of the Snapdragon 855;
- The graphics core Adreno 640 is optimized for gaming and entertainment features, with a 15% improvement in performance.
The Snapdragon 855 Plus deserves to bear the Plus suffix. These upgrades confirm that the product is indeed a revamped configuration for the performance of the mobile phone, making it a better gaming phone.
Through the comparison of GeekBench, we can see the performance gap between Qualcomm and Apple’s two processors:
Compared to the 3010 / 10802 points (single / multi-core) of the Snapdragon 855 (sample plus one 7 Pro), the 3580 / 11206 points (single / multi-core) of the Snapdragon 855Plus is still quite impressive.
When compared to the Apple A12 (the prototype is iPhone XS Max), the multi-core performance is very close, but the single-core performance still has an evident gap in terms of performance.
The 3D Mark score shows the gap between the two Adreno 640s. In the Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1 test, the Snapdragon 855 Plus scored 6203 points, which is higher than the 5,038 points of the Snapdragon 855.
In the Vulkan performance, the Snapdragon 855 Plus surpasses the 5,057 points of the Snapdragon 855 with a score of 5393.
As far as processing power is concerned, the up-and-down Snapdragon 855 Plus can’t outperform the Apple A series in terms of single-core performance, but it has a significant improvement compared to the Snapdragon 855, which is already very strong, so this product without an iota of doubt, deserves to sit on the throne of the strongest processor in the Android camp this year.
As a regular user, you don’t need to worry too much about the score. After all, if there are not two different numbers, the gap between the Snapdragon 855 and the Snapdragon 855 Plus is still difficult to be reflected, because even before the upgrade. Dragon 855 has also run most popular games without any sort of lag.
It is worth mentioning here that the essence of this ROG Phone 2 is not only the replacement of a new processor but also an important part of the cooperation optimization with Tencent.
In other words, Tencent is customizing the game for the ROG Phone 2 hardware advantages and highlighting the features of the phone.
For example, a QQ car with 120 FPS operation:
For example, AirTriggers that can operate a racing game with four fingers:
For another example, let the eye behind the defeated family follow the “Glory of the King” with the rhythm of the game.
Another highlight of the launch of the new machine outside the Snapdragon 855 Plus mobile platform is the use of Qualcomm’s latest real-time dual-band WiFi technology. Ideally, the mobile phone can connect the WiFi signals in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at the same time, that is, “dual-frequency integration.”
Thanks to the real-time dual-band WiFi technology, when a user connects to the home router, the mobile phone can connect to the network of two frequency bands, giving the network advantage of high-speed, low-latency 5GHz, and it guarantees the network through the 2.4GHz frequency band. Coverage and receiving capabilities.
Likewise, the game acceleration packet transmission can be performed in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at the same time. This ensures a lower latency and higher performance WiFi network which is ideal for professional e-sports network acceleration mode – behind Qualcomm. The research and development of Tencent Lab allow real-time dual-band WiFi technology to smoothly interface with the company’s game accelerator.
The fire is fully open, is the fever touching?
I tested the two scenarios without a fan and “installing fan + strongest wind speed”. After 30 minutes of continuous operation (room temperature 26 °C; test game “Peace Elite” HD HDR quality, highest frame rate), with the no limit on the maximum temperature of the fan-mounted body is 35.3 ° C, which, I think is just warm, and not too hot.
Next off, I fixed the fan on my mobile phone and switched to the 4th speed to continue the game. After 30 minutes, the maximum temperature of the fuselage was 29.1 °C and the minimum temperature was 25.2 °C. The temperature control performance was in line with ROG’s promotion of “maximum reduction of 5 °C”.
However, there is a theory to enjoy this cooling add-on. This theory is that it needs to utilize a certain amount of electricity.
This battery life is stronger than ever
Rather than the performance of saturated resaturation, I am more concerned about the life span of mobile phones. I have pointed out several times that “the performance of mobile phones is good, and no power is no good.”
On top of that, this is an entertainment-oriented game phone, and it is still a game phone that offers a refresh rate of 120Hz.
More than the overall performance, I am more concerned about how long ROG Phone 2 can play.
In terms of specifications, the ROG Phone 2 is backed by a robust 6000mAh battery. Yes, that’s right.
This is one of the few phones slated to launch this year that would be drawing its juices from a 6000mAh battery. Compared with the 4000mAh of the ROG Phone of the first-generation released in last year, the new machine has increased by 2000mAh, and that’s bigger than the battery capacity offered by the iPhone 8.
In order to juice up this 6000mAh battery without wasting a lot of time, the ROG Phone 2 comes with a 30W charger.
From the measured data, starting from 4% for 30 minutes, it can charge 37% of the electricity; the whole process is charged to 99%, which takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Once it was fully charged, I left no stone unturned in a bid to utilize the full battery life. However, I found it difficult to use up the 6000mAh battery.
I started with the zero points on the 22nd, because I was just full of electricity at that time, after 8 hours of standby, the phone power was 96%. After finishing my work, I played games for 1.5 hours, listened to the songs for about one hour, watched 50 minutes of online video, and used WeChat Weibo continuously without going offline. Until the 23rd, my phone still has 10% remaining power, the phone shows the total screen time is 5 hours and 45 minutes.
It should be noted that this test is performed under the condition of a 120Hz screen refresh rate. If you use 60Hz used by most mobile phones, the battery life may get 1.5 days/charge level.
The camera performance is in line with the mainstream, which is good enough
Since the starting of this year, all sorts of mobile phones, whether it carries a one-thousand-yuan price tag or retail for thousands of dollars, the 48 million-pixel CMOS in the past six months, has evolved from a new thing to the current standard configuration of the Android flagships.
In the excitement of the camera, pixel jumped to a higher level again, I also had to admire the application speed of the new domestic mobile phone technology.
The ROG Phone 2 houses a 48-megapixel primary camera with a 13-megapixel sub-camera configuration; the main camera is the familiar Sony IMX 586 CMOS.
The combination of the two cameras is still a “high-pixel lens + 125° wide-angle” design. Since there is no lens specifically for telephoto shooting, the camera only provides 2 lossless zooms.
The three or four shots are quite useless. However, for a game phone, the ROG Phone 2 camera can deemed as a luxury.
When it comes to capturing memorable moments, the image performance of ROG Phone 2 is quite good. It features a 48-megapixel CMOS and has outstanding performance in image resolution.
The apple logo in the proofs can still see the full details after the image is enlarged, and the text under the logo can be displayed clearly after zooming in.
We turned on the automatic HDR mode of ROG Phone 2 at the time of the shooting. With the aid of HDR, the details of the clouds hidden in the highlights can be expressed, while the light and dark matching of the clouds highlight the layering.
Of course, this sample still retains a trace of HDR processing. If the user wants the picture to look more natural, you can adjust the contrast after shooting, and the picture will be better.
The close-up ability of the phone is also something to shout about. The surface details can be clearly displayed when shooting food. The blurring of close-up shooting is not bad either.
The color of ROG Phone 2 is primarily based on reduction, and it does not offer too many color adjustment, so it is still relatively flat when shooting food. For a more vivid and appealing color effect, you need to do some post-adjustment after shooting.
For nighttime photography, the ROG Phone 2 delivers an average imaging performance. We turned off automatic HDR shooting and found that ROG Phone 2 is still able to do light control work. While the night sky can be kept clean, we still managed to capture some of the details of the cloud in the picture.
Despite a complicated light environment on the opposite side, the ROG Phone 2 provides a stable output and capture perfect photos with color reproduction. However, because there is no automatic HDR assistance, some of the lighting positions are still exposed.
In addition to maintaining stability, it is imperative for the user to pay attention to the selection of the metering point. In this complex lighting scene, there are certain occasions when you need to press the exposure to retain more detail in the light.
While the ROG Phone 2 can keep the sky clean, there are still a lot of obvious smearing feelings when zooming in on the picture, and you are likely to experience a situation of low resolution at night. Note that these problems are only noticeable when you enlarge the image. It is ideally used to send Weibo and friends, but the impact is not impressive by any stretch of the imagination.
The battery is like a bull, a big horsepower muscle car
If I used the “Fighter in XX” to describe this product in 2019, you might think of me as a person who passed through in 2009. But in the face of this performance to achieve the same top-class products, I can hardly find an exaggerated sentence to describe this phone.
I am considerably inspired by racing games. As I was playing “Wild Car 9” recently, I suddenly flashed such a word in my head. I think the current ROG Phone 2 can be best described as a “muscle car.” To be precise, it can be described as a “high horsepower muscle car.”
Yes, it is like a high-powered muscle car in a mobile phone, because it packs the largest “horsepower” of all current Android phones. I won’t refer to it as a super run, because it’s obvious that its focus is on both configuration and performance.
Just like a gaming notebook, the phone is solid, it’s cool and it specializes in games, but it is big, thick, and hard at the same time. Although ROG has designed this phone to be less exaggerated, the hardcore style has always interpreted “I am a gaming phone, a Gamer or Geek device lover.”
As a game phone, the inclusion of 120Hz screen and Snapdragon 855 Plus enhances the overall experience and improves its market prospects; the cooperation with Tencent Games also makes ROG Phone’s hardware advantages more widely available. This is the first-generation ROG Phone 2 that has struck a perfect balance between performance and gaming.
If it is a game white, you can use its function as an aid; as an avid gamer, I would say, it is a game machine that offers strong performance, long battery life, a SCAR, and an SSS-class car.
The ROG Phone 2 has achieved a large number of upgrades in configuration department this year, taking the competitive incentives in the mobile phone market into consideration. There are still many aspects such as higher resolution screens (which are more pleasing), eye system design that needs improvement.