Asus ROG Phone II unleashes a 120 Hz OLED display

Flagship Android phones are hard for device makers to differentiate. For the most part, they all run the same SoCs from Qualcomm, have similar cameras, displays, and performance. Into that sea of sameness, Asus has announced the ROG Phone II, a huge glass-covered Android slab with a 120-Hz OLED display and Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 855+ system-on-a-chip.

The ROG Phone II’s large 6.59″, 2304 x 1080 120-Hz OLED display is the biggest (heh) feature of the phone. Those pixels should be plenty colorful, too, since the display can reproduce 108% of the DCI-P3 color space with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a one-millisecond response time. While the OLED panel’s resolution is lower than Samsung’s best on the Galaxy S10 Plus, the ROG Phone’s 386 dpi should be plenty sharp. Asus says the digitizer in the display samples input at 240 Hz, so it should feel quite responsive, as well. Behind the ROG Phone II’s display is an in-screen fingerprint reader, too. The front and back of the phone are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 6.

Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC drives all those pixels. The eight-core Kryo 485-based chip can hit 2.96 GHz on its performance cores and boasts graphics horsepower 15% faster than the ever-so-slightly older Snapdragon 855. Asus paired the 855 Plus with 12 GB of LPDDR4X memory. The ROG Phone II has a 6,000 mAh battery, so it should last a good long while. Asus has endowed the ROG Phone II with either 128 or 512 GB of UFS 3.0 permanent flash storage. Headphone fans will rejoice that the 1/8″ jack has not disappeared from Asus’s latest handset. A USB Type-C port supports both Qualcomm’s latest Quick Charge 4.0 spec for powering up and USB 3.1 Gen 2 for 10 Gbps connections to peripherals or PCs to transfer files.

The camera system has big megapixel numbers, too. A 48-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX586 snapper captures big photos with ideal lighting through  a wide f/1.78 aperture lens. When the lights are low, the sensor groups pixels into a 2 x 2 arrangement to produce higher-quality 12-megapixel images. A separate 13-megapixel wide-angle lens can let you get more of a large or up-close subject into the frame. On the front, an overkill 24-megapixel snapper will handle selfie duties and video chat needs.

The Type-C port sits adjacent to a proprietary connector that joins the ROG Phone II to Asus’s docks. That connector also powers the bundled ROG AeroActive Cooler II. Asus says the external cooler can drop surface temperatures by 3.5 degrees so the SoC can stretch its legs. The ROG AeroActive Cooler II has headphone and USB Type-C passthrough, so it doesn’t block charging or wired audio connections.

The external cooler bolsters an internal vapor chamber that can purportedly dissipate 7.5 watts of heat. An external vent on the rear of the phone dissipates that waste energy. The back also houses a programmable RGB LED logo that has a silvery appearance when the LED is off. The Armoury Crate app lets users customize the LED with many of the effects of Asus’s motherboard and graphics cards.

Asus hasn’t discussed availability, supported cellular networks, or pricing yet. The company told The Verge to expect it to launch in September for around the same $899 price as the original.

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

18 Comments
    • Paul Butler
    • 1 month ago

    The 120hz high ppi OLED display intrigued me to start with for Mobile based VR…
    But then I saw the size and grimaced… It’s impossible to get a mobile based VR headset that can take a phone larger than 6.2″ (my current Xiaomi Mi Max 3 has proven impossible to find a decent M-VR headset for).
    I’ve spent many hours looking for one but cant find anything halfway decent sadly.

    Reply
    • roncat
    • 1 month ago

    What does battery life look like?

    Reply
    • Dreadcthulhu
    • 1 month ago

    For anyone wondering why this phone exists, there is a good sized niche of people in East Asia that have long commutes on public transport, that really like to play games while commuting. Since between work & commute time, they don’t have much free time elsewhere to game. This phone is aimed straight at them. If the main use of your phone is gaming for an hour or three every day, then getting the best phone for gaming makes sense. And considering what Samsung & Apple want for their flagship phones, $900 isn’t out of line price-wise.

    Reply
    • ABundy
    • 1 month ago

    they took out the features that i want in a phone, so i’ll pass on this.

    Reply
      • willyolio
      • 1 month ago

      wait, what features do you want in a phone?

      small batteries? notches? lack of headphone jacks?

      i don’t do “hardcore” phone gaming but this phone is looking extremely attractive for getting the fundamentals right.

      Reply
        • Dreadcthulhu
        • 1 month ago

        Well, this phone does lack an sdcard slot, which is annoying; and the battery is probably difficult to replace (to be fair, the fancy vapor-cooling system adds complication to the design of the interior.) Other than that though, I would agree that it has everything you would expect a high-end cell phone to have, and is well designed for its intended purpose. And of course, if you are not the gamer type, Asus makes plenty of other phones; the Zenfone 6 that is coming out at the end of the month looks real interesting.

        Reply
          • willyolio
          • 1 month ago

          SD cards i can understand, but if you want replacable batteries, i’m sorry to inform you that 2014 was 5 years ago.

          Reply
            • hbarnwheeler
            • 1 month ago

            What happened in 2014 that increased battery longevity to the point that nobody would need to replace theirs?

        • ABundy
        • 1 month ago

        lacks remote control IR sensor, microSD slot, and removable battery. these are nothing but cookie cutter phones. eventually none will have any distinguishing features since so much has been removed. i have no choice now but to go with a china phone that still has these features.

        Reply
    • fyo
    • 1 month ago

    But but where’s the notch?

    My first thought was that this wasn’t the phone for me, but the back gets hidden by a case anyway and the RGB lights can be turned off. I like the front. It’s probably still a bit overkill for my usage – the only thing I really miss on my current 2 year old mid-range phone is better image processing and a dedicated shutter button, like on a Sony. Which is probably what I’ll go with next time if I like their design.

    Reply
    • enixenigma
    • 1 month ago

    [quote]The eight-core Kryo 485-based chip can hit 2.96 GHz on its performance cores[/quote]

    Make that ‘core’. The 855 and 855+ each have one prime core that hits a higher clock than the rest. Both the 855 and the 855+ have three other A76 cores that clock up to 2.42GHz.

    Reply
      • enixenigma
      • 1 month ago

      I really miss the ability to edit posts, btw.

      Reply
    • dragondaddybear
    • 1 month ago

    OMG, is that a pair on front facing speakers? And a headphone jack? Did this thing travel from the past or something? Because that’s just not how things are done these days.

    Reply
    • Sweatshopking
    • 1 month ago

    BUT WHY

    Reply
      • dragondaddybear
      • 1 month ago

      Because gaming and RGB is cool these days. I want the screen and front facing speakers. You have have the gaudy design and battery wasting lights.

      Reply
        • Ben Funk
        • 1 month ago

        The lights can be turned off, at least. The design on the back is a little…excessive, I guess, but it ticks all the right boxes. Huge battery, huge screen, huge performance, and like you said, front-facing speakers and a headphone jack, too. I’d like to have seen an SD slot so I’m not wasting internal storage on my music collection, but that’s the only real downer here. It’s minimal, since I only keep 7-8 GB of music on my phone and this thing has a minimum of 128 GB of storage.

        Reply
          • MOSFET
          • 1 month ago

          and 12GB of RAM? Wow.

          Reply
          • Spunjji
          • 1 month ago

          I stopped being worried about SD card storage once phones started exceeding 64GB of built-in memory – the internal memory never fails to perform substantially better than even the best cards. Also, my last experience of an Android device with an SD card involved it randomly deciding to forget the card existed every 1-2 months, causing me to regularly re-download my entire Google Play Music cache.

          Reply

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