ASUS ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) Review

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In this article, I give you my Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) review with specs included. This is an Asus gaming Android phone, obviously a second-generation it’s 2. ROG stands for Republic of Gamers in case you’re not a gamer. So this isn’t the first gaming phone we’ve looked at look RGB light-up logo on the back.

Reviewing the Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) brings us into the realm of gaming smartphones, a niche market that caters to enthusiasts seeking top-tier performance and specialized features. While it’s true that this review comes a bit later than others, it’s nonetheless crucial to delve into the various models available and dissect their unique offerings.

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Starting with the U.S. variant, it boasts high-end specifications with a hefty price tag, featuring a staggering 12 GB of RAM and a generous 512 GB of storage. Priced at $899, it positions itself as a premium option in the gaming smartphone arena. However, for those seeking a more affordable alternative, turning to reputable importers like Gearbest unveils the Tencent Edition, co-branded for the Chinese market. With a price ranging from $535 to $669, depending on configuration, this variant offers a compelling value proposition.

Now, let’s delve into the specifications, which are nothing short of impressive. Powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, currently the fastest offering from Qualcomm, the ROG Phone II delivers blistering performance tailored for gaming enthusiasts. Even the more budget-friendly variant packs a punch with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, coupled with fast UFS 2.1 storage technology, ensuring smooth multitasking and ample storage space for gaming libraries.

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The display is a standout feature, boasting a stunning OLED panel with a widescreen aspect ratio. With a buttery-smooth 120 Hz refresh rate, it outpaces conventional displays, offering unparalleled fluidity and responsiveness, perfect for immersive gaming experiences. Users can customize the refresh rate according to their preferences, ranging from 60 Hz to 120 Hz, although concerns about battery life may arise with higher refresh rates.

In terms of aesthetics, the ROG Phone II exudes a distinct gamer-centric design, available in matte black or glossy black finishes. While the glossy variant may attract fingerprints, the matte option offers a cleaner look. However, potential buyers should note that this is a GSM unlocked device, limiting compatibility with CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint in the United States.

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One notable drawback is the lack of support for voice-over LTE (VoLTE) in the U.S., which could pose a problem as carriers transition towards VoLTE-only networks. Additionally, the absence of wireless charging and an official IP rating may deter some users, although the device features a vapor chamber cooling system and vents for efficient heat dissipation.

Regarding accessories, ASUS offers a range of gamer-centric add-ons, including the Kunai gamepad controller. Priced at $149, it emulates the design of Nintendo Switch joy-con controllers, providing users with versatile gaming control options. While optional accessories can enhance the gaming experience, they may also add to the overall cost of ownership.

The ASUS ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) caters to gaming enthusiasts seeking uncompromising performance and innovative features. With its powerful hardware, stunning display, and gamer-centric design, it stands as a formidable contender in the gaming smartphone market. However, potential buyers should weigh the device’s strengths and weaknesses carefully to determine if it aligns with their gaming needs and budget constraints.

Diving deeper into the ASUS ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition), we encounter a plethora of accessories that enhance its gaming prowess. One notable accessory is the Twin View Dock, reminiscent of LG’s G8X, featuring a secondary OLED display mirroring the primary screen and a hefty 5000mAh battery, priced at $330. Additionally, the Mobile Desktop Dock resembles a laptop docking station, equipped with built-in fans and an array of ports, including 4K video output via HDMI and DisplayPort, retailing at $230. Other accessories, such as the Wide Gig Dock, further expand the device’s capabilities, albeit at an additional cost, potentially elevating the overall investment in the device.

Speaking of battery life, the ROG Phone II boasts a sizable 6000mAh battery, ensuring prolonged usage sessions. Despite its impressive capacity, battery drain is minimal, with the only noticeable impact stemming from the always-on display feature, which exhibits a negligible eight percent overnight battery depletion. This feature, although visually striking with customizable clock options, may necessitate occasional battery optimization measures, although Qualcomm Quick Charge support and a bundled 30-watt charger mitigate charging concerns, offering fast and efficient replenishment.

In terms of security, the device incorporates an in-display fingerprint scanner, providing rapid authentication, complemented by face recognition functionality, albeit lacking 3D secure authentication. Furthermore, the inclusion of three USB-C ports, with distinct functionalities delineated by color-coding, facilitates versatile connectivity options, although caution is advised to avoid potential damage by utilizing the designated ports appropriately.

An audio enthusiast’s delight, the device features a headphone jack with robust amplification capabilities, accompanied by stereo front-facing speakers delivering immersive sound quality, a prerequisite for a gaming-centric device. Notably, the device’s design integrates air triggers, discreetly embedded within the chassis, offering tactile controls for gaming, a feature appreciated by enthusiasts seeking tactile precision during intense gaming sessions.

Moving to the imaging department, the device’s camera specifications appear promising on paper, boasting a 24-megapixel front shooter and a main 48-megapixel rear camera, augmented by a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens. However, in practice, the camera performance falls short of flagship standards, with suboptimal software optimization resulting in inconsistent color balance and inadequate sharpness, particularly in high-contrast scenes and indoor settings. Although capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second and offering features like slow motion and panorama, the camera’s performance fails to impress, necessitating improvements in software refinement to align with the device’s gaming-centric ethos.

Comparing the Tencent co-branded version with the premium U.S. variant priced at $900, the former presents an enticing proposition for budget-conscious consumers, offering comparable specifications and features at a more accessible price point ranging from $535 to $669. However, potential buyers should weigh the trade-offs, including regional compatibility and accessory availability, to make an informed purchasing decision tailored to their gaming requirements and budget constraints.

If you’re content with 128 gigabytes of storage, the Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) emerges as an attractive proposition. However, it’s essential to note the absence of a micro SD card slot, limiting expandable storage options. Nevertheless, many retailers, including Gearbest, typically offer the device with a flashed worldwide ROM, facilitating seamless operation outside China.

One crucial consideration pertains to receiving Over-the-Air (OTA) updates, a pivotal aspect for enthusiasts keen on staying abreast of the latest software enhancements. Fortunately, Gearbest and similar vendors often ensure OTA compatibility by adjusting the device’s fingerprint or country ID to match the intended region, albeit at a slightly higher cost. For instance, the $669 model from Gearbest likely includes such modifications, ensuring hassle-free OTA updates.

Conversely, the $535 variant may feature the worldwide ROM but might not have the requisite fingerprint or country code adjustments, potentially necessitating manual tinkering for OTA functionality. Despite this caveat, adept users inclined towards customization can leverage resources like XDA Developers for comprehensive guides on flashing ROMs and modifying country codes, enhancing the device’s versatility and value proposition.

At its core, the Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) operates on Android 9 Pie, with no official confirmation regarding updates to Android 10. Nonetheless, it retains Asus’s proprietary Armory Crate software, familiar to users of Asus gaming laptops and desktops. This utility offers comprehensive monitoring of system metrics, including temperature and fan speed, along with an Extreme Mode (X Mode) to optimize performance for gaming enthusiasts seeking maximum power output.

Overall, the Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition) presents an intriguing option for users seeking a high-performance device at an affordable price point. However, prospective buyers should weigh their technical acumen and willingness to engage in rooting and ROM flashing against the device’s unique gaming-centric features, such as customizable LED lighting, to ascertain its suitability for their needs.

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Asus ROG Phone II (Tencent Edition)
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