ANYONE who has made even the most cursory visit to the Google Play or Apple App store will be aware there are games which can be played on mobile phones. Not in the sense of Snake or Tetris, but actual “similar to what you’d play on a PC or console” games.
Modern mobile phones are particularly advanced pieces of kit – the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G comes with a stylus, for example – and they’ve generally all got impressive cameras, internet connections and similar features.
Putting my PC Master Race membership card back into my wallet for a moment, the reality is mobile phone gaming is ridiculously popular and there is a lot of money to be made from it.
Computer manufacturer Asus have realised there’s a market for people who want the ultimate mobile phone gaming experience and have released the upgraded version of their Republic Of Gamers (ROG) phone, the ROG Phone II.
The result is probably the ultimate gaming phone.
The ROG Phone II has a 6.59in 4K-compatible HDR display with a 120Hz refresh display with a 1ms response time, complemented by a Gorilla Glass screen, capable of displaying 4K UHD video at 60fps.
Under the bonnet, Qualcomm chips – 2.96GHz Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform with Octa-core Processor, and its graphics capabilities come from a Qualcomm Adreno 640 graphics chip.
Camera-wise, the ROG Phone II has three – a 24MP font camera, and a dual 48MP and 13MP camera arrangement on the rear.
The phone is running Android Pie and also comes with all the other stuff you’d expect to find such as wireless, Bluetooth and NFC.
There’s even a nifty little externally mounted fan included that attaches to the unit to help keep it cool when gaming at full power – and it didn’t interfere with the experience at all, I found, not did it seem to drain the battery.
I put the ROG Phone II through its paces with some of my favourite mobile games – World of Tanks: Blitz and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, along with the newly released Call of Duty: Mobile.
Performance was superb – fluid, responsive, and the phone even has touch-sensitive trigger spaces where your fingers would rest on a console, and the large screen meant plenty of finger-room for on-screen controls and just seeing what was happening. The images were sharp, clear and detailed, and there were no graphical issues or noticeable frame rate drops either.
The in-built speakers were a bit of a disappointment, however, so I’d be suggesting a decent set of headphones as a priority.
What astounded me was the really, really long battery life – easily two days under normal use, and even when seriously gaming it still lasted several hours.
While the phone was comfortable in my hands, it is a big phone, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have smaller hands or a preference for a smaller phone.
Besides its power and battery, what really establishes the ROG II as a gaming phone is the Kunai controller that comes with it, turning the phone into a mini portable console. The controller can be set up as a stand-alone affair or its components connected to the phone (via an included case frame), which make quite a difference to the experience.
To say the controllers can provide an advantage would be an understatement – I was stomping all over opponents in Call of Duty Mobile, despite my being famously crap at online FPS games.
The ROG Phone II really impressed me, both as a gaming platform and as a mobile phone. While it’s not cheap at an RRP of $1699 from JB Hi-Fi, it’s incredibly powerful, versatile and solid and does a superb job of bridging the line between “gaming device” and “smartphone”.
While it’s all probably a bit excessive for a general use smartphone, if you want to really – and I do mean really – get into your mobile games and want the very best in performance, then the ASUS ROG Gaming Phone II should be at the top of your list.