With ROG Phone II, Asus is packing some firepower to own niche gaming segmenthttps://indianexpress.com/article/technology/mobile-tabs/with-rog-phone-ii-asus-is-packing-some-firepower-to-own-niche-gaming-segment-5841352/

With ROG Phone II, Asus is packing some firepower to own niche gaming segment

The ROG Phone II, which is a sequel to last year’s ROG Phone, offers the specifications that are enough to run the most challenging graphics-intensive games available.

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Asus’ ROG Phone II is the first smartphone in the market to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

Asus hopes its ROG Phone II will become the best smartphone to play games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite. The game-oriented smartphone, which is a sequel to last year’s ROG Phone, offers the specifications that are enough to run the most challenging graphics-intensive games available. The Taiwanese company is looking to target serious mobile gamers, in addition to luring PC gamers.

The ROG Phone II is the most advanced Android smartphone in the market, claims Asus. The phone has a 6.59-inch AMOLED, 2340x1080p display with 10-bit HDR support as well as a 120Hz refresh rate and 1ms response rate. With a 120Hz refresh rate (a first OLED on phones), everything feels more natural from scrolling around in apps to switching between screens and playing games. This beats OnePlus 7 Pro’s 90Hz and matches the Razer Phone 2’s refresh rate.

The Asus ROG Phone II is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus, a slightly advanced version that promises a bump in performance and graphics. The Snapdragon 855 Plus features 15 per cent faster graphics and a CPU clock speed of up to 2.96GHz. Asus’ ROG Phone II will be the first phone to use this chipset.

Asus is hoping these features will help differentiate the ROG Phone II from the competitive devices, including OnePlus 7 Pro, Galaxy S10+ and iPhone XS Max.

Other key features include:

*Asus’ Aura RGB lighting

*6,000mAh battery with 30W fast charging support’

*Dual front-facing stereo speakers

* 48MP + 13MP dual rear cameras, 24MP front camera’

*Programmable AirTriggers touch sensors’

*3D vapor-chamber cooling system

*Up to 12GB RAM, 128GB or 512GB UFS 3.0 storage

*Option to use either ROG UI or ZenUI 6

*In-display fingerprint scanner

*3.5mm headphone jack

*Quad Antenna design

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There is also a range of accessories, including a much-improved clip-on AeroActive Cooler which blows air over the back and should accelerate heat dissipation, a device which offers you a dual-screen handheld mode, the Mobile Desktop Dock for a desktop-style gaming experience, and Nintendo Switch-style clip-on controllers.

For Asus the ROG Phone II, which is its second Android-powered smartphone to be produced under the Republic of Gamers brand, is never intended to be a mass-market device. According to the data provided by market research firm Canalys, Asus only shipped over 80,000 units of the first ROG phone between launch and March 2019, with over half of those shipments coming in China and Taiwan.

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The ROG Phone II’s design is very much inspired by the company’s ROG-branded laptops. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

“Mobile gaming is definitely hotting up, and apps like Fortnite are taking astounding revenue. But the case for dedicated gaming mobile phones is less clear,” said Ben Stanton, who leads Canalys’ devices research in the EMEA region, told indianexpress.com over mail. “There is a small demographic which values this type of device, but the truth is that most game developers design their apps to work on devices up to five years old. Consumers don’t need cutting-edge hardware to get a good experience of the latest games.”

Stanton agrees that the market for a gaming phone is emerging to be an interesting category, but at the same time, there is the need to prompt developers to cater to these high-spec devices. Otherwise, it is difficult for consumers to justify the purchase price. Other than Asus, Razer, Nubia, and Xiaomi-backed Black Shark are all trying to break into the gaming phone segment. The Nubia Magic 3 starts around Rs 35,999 ($522) in India. This is the cheapest gaming-centered phone in the market, featuring the Snapdragon 855 processor and 90Hz display.

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Users can purchase a number of compatible accessories with the ROG Phone II, including a Nintendo Switch-style clip-on controllers. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

“Gaming phones are not really needed for the latest games. It is true that typical flagships match most of the specifications anyway. For some users, though, the brand does matter. If they use a ROG PC or a Razer PC, then the brand makes a difference to them, and they derive value from a ROG phone or Razer phone. But again, this is only a small demographic of people,” he said.

The Asus ROG Phone II will be available sometime later this year; pricing has not yet been announced.