Gaming

ROG Phone 2 review: Mobile gaming on steroids

Unapologetically a gaming smartphone

Published

on

I have said this countless times in previous reviews — I’m not much of a mobile gamer. But there are plenty of things about the ROG Phone 2 that made me enjoy playing.

When the first generation ROG Phone came out, I have to admit, I may have dismissed it right away. I really wasn’t into mobile games, the design was a little too “gaming” for me at the time, and the cameras were — in the words of other reviewers — craptastic.

A year later, ROG is back for a second playthrough. Armed with the experience and knowledge gained from its first turn, the company knew right away to strengthen its weaknesses.

Unequip: 4000mAh battery, Equip: 6000mAh battery 

In our review of the ROG Phone last year, we pointed out how the 4000mAh just didn’t have enough juice to support all of the bells and whistles of the phone. This is no longer the case.

The 6000mAh battery on the ROG Phone 2 performs as expected. Even with the 120hz refresh rate for the display turned on, the phone would last for nearly two days without charging. That’s moderate to heavy use on a mixed bag of tasks like answering emails, browsing on social media, playing a few rounds of Team Deathmatch on Call of Duty Mobile, and playing TWICE and LOONA songs on repeat.

It even messed up my charging routine because it just didn’t make sense to plug a phone that still has somewhere between 60 to 70 percent left at the end of the day. You’ll quit game first before the phone quits on you.

Charging is also fast AF thanks to ASUS’ HyperCharge technology. While this doesn’t boast of the wireless charging feature that many of its contemporaries at its price range has, it’s not something you’ll miss at all.

Discard: 12MP camera, Pick-up: 48MP camera

The sweeping statement that “cameras on gaming phones are bad” is no longer true. If anyone says this, they’re either misinformed or are just flat-out lying.

The ROG Phone 2 is now equipped with a 48MP lens accompanied by a 13MP wide angle lens. It’s a huge leap from the 12MP+8MP combo found on the first ROG Phone.

Photos taken with plenty of light look pretty darn good.

However, it does this weird JJ Abrams thing where there’s a lot of lens flare on some photos even during the night.

Speaking of the night, while the streets where I grew up in isn’t much to look at, I thought the ROG Phone 2 did well enough in capturing a fair amount of detail in low light situations.

P.S. the last photo in this set is clearly not from my hometown but I thought it was a good representation of the phone’s low light capabilities. Yes, I blurred parts of the image as it’s from an event of another brand. ✌🏼😆

The portrait mode even has this neat trick where you can adjust the level of blur after you’ve taken the photo. This means you can say goodbye to those photos where your subject looks like a sticker plastered onto a blurry background.

The selfie camera went from 8MP to 24MP and there’s plenty of improvement here as well. Although it does apply a noticeable amount of beautification even if you have the option completely turned off.

Unapologetically a gaming smartphone

The thing that might scare off most other buyers is also the very same thing that might attract the gamers who this phone has its crosshairs on. The phone’s design just SCREAMS gaming.

It does seem a little more toned down compared to the first generation, but the ROG Phone 2 is still without a doubt designed with the gamer aesthetic in mind.

This was the very thing that I didn’t like about the ROG Phone. And while I still prefer something that’s a little more subtle, I don’t find the ROG Phone 2’s design as appalling as the first one. Although that’s probably my taste changing more than anything else.

Other than how it looks, the ports, buttons, and camera placement are all geared towards gaming. You still get two USB-C ports. One where it’s usually placed and another for when you’re gaming in landscape mode.

The front-facing camera is also positioned in a way that it won’t be obstructed if you decide to stream your gaming session. A feature you can do thanks to the Game Genie that’s at the heart of this phone.

What kind of gamer are you? 

I was hesitant at first because I primarily do all my gaming on a console. Always have and, I thought, always will — that’s until I got to try the ROG Phone 2.

I really am not one to play mobile games. It’s not a knock on people who enjoy playing them. It’s just that for me, my phone has always been more a tool for work, communication, and media consumption.

But I had to play. I’m not exactly a fan of the more popular mobile games right now so I sought out other games — ones I think I would enjoy.

Before I move forward, I’ll be casually mentioning the accessories that come with the ROG Phone 2. Won’t go into too much detail. You can just watch our unboxing to see what the accessories are. You can check the pricing for each one on this link.

Okay. Let’s play. 

First up was FF15 PE — the mobile version of Final Fantasy XV. Role Playing Games or RPGs are really more up my alley. The game utilizes a lot of swipes and taps on the screen. Which is great if you’re not keen on getting the other accessories that come with the ROG Phone 2.

Next up, I tried Injustice 2. This is also another title that has a counterpart on consoles and PCs. The game is versus fighting and was adapted nicely to mobile phones. Like FF15 PE, it utilizes plenty of swipes and taps. It does have on-screen buttons that you can map on the Kunai Gamepad. I tried the screen and gamepad combo here but that didn’t feel like a natural way to play.

Instead of playing PUBG, I opted to try Call of Duty Mobile. This is perhaps the game I enjoyed the most. The Team Deathmatch mode feels like a throwback to my time playing Counter-Strike waaaaay back in the day. This game plays really well whether you’re just using the phone or if you have the Kunai Gamepad equipped. Quick note though, the right analog stick’s sensitivity is pretty bad for aiming, so I stuck with aiming on the screen instead of using the gamepad.

Next, I played Honkai Impact 3. It’s an Action-RPG and is probably one of the best use-cases for the Kunai Gamepad. The graphics is near-console if not already console-level, and all the buttons you need to press can all be mapped on the Gamepad. It was an absolute joy to play.

I also tried NBA Live Mobile. I’m too cheap to spend on NBA 2K20 and I’d rather play that on my PS4 so for mobile I went with EA’s free-to-play game. It plays alright and you can also get the most out of the Kunai Gamepad here, but I don’t see myself playing this for any other reason than for testing devices.

Lastly, I played Asphalt 9 which had direct integration with the Kunai Gamepad. This was hands down the best experience. The game detected the Gamepad right away and took me straight to a tutorial knowing the gamepads were equipped.

Takeaway? The whole experience is a mixed bag. That’s not to say it’s bad, but wouldn’t be better if the accessories just worked seamlessly with the games?

The one thing holding the ROG Phone 2 back is a wider support from a larger catalogue of games. It’s a tough ask. However, if ROG can get more game developers involved, that could take mobile gaming to another level.

You might have noticed I barely mentioned the other accessories. I think after the Kunai Gamepad, the next most useful one is probably the Mobile Desktop Dock. But that requires you to get a few more other peripherals if you don’t already own them.

The ASUS Wigig Dock can be helpful but if you’re a gamer and you own a TV, I’m willing to bet you also probably own a console. Personally, I don’t see the appeal of playing mobile games on a bigger screen. But that may just be me. If you enjoy it, that’s perfectly fine.

And then there’s the Twin View Dock II. It’s an interesting piece of tech and almost aligns with the foldables that came out in 2019. But like those other foldables, it still feels premature. As of writing, it only really supports two games. You may discover other use-cases for this but I find the price too steep for an experiment.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

To give the ROG Phone 2 a low rating simply because it’s not a smartphone that’s catered for the general public is criminally missing the point.

ROG knows who its market is. I’d like to think this phone was made specifically with them in mind. And if you think that market is small then you must have been living under a rock.

The gaming industry is worth billions of dollars. It’s attracting so many eyeballs that Netflix considers Twitch more of a competitor over other entertainment streaming platforms. That’s how big gaming has become.

So if you played any game, on any platform, for an extended amount of time at any point in your life, I would consider taking a look at the ROG Phone 2. That’s with or without the accessories.

At PhP 49,995, it’s priced right around other flagships that are built for a general audience — fancy cameras, multitasking, a little bit of gaming, and all that jazz. However, none of them are made for a specific set of people that’s steadily increasing in numbers. That’s where the ROG Phone 2 sets itself apart. For the people that this phone is made for, it’s absolutely perfect.

Gaming

PS5’s DualSense controller gets two new colors

Midnight Black and Cosmic Red

Published

on

DualSense

Not too fond of the white DualSense controller on the PS5? Sony PlayStation heard you as they announce two new colors of this haptic wonder — Midnight Black and Cosmic Red.

The PlayStation blog waxed poetic while describing the new colors: “Midnight Black features two subtly different shades of black with light grey detailing to reflect how we view space through the night sky. Cosmic Red offers a striking black and red design inspired by the unique vivid shades of red found throughout the cosmos.”

The DualSense controller is one of the biggest innovations of the PlayStation 5. Combining Haptic Feedback and Adaptive Triggers, it offered developers a new way to have gamers experience games. This was most evident in the recently released roguelike survival shooter Returnal.

The new colors are indeed striking. Could this be a sign that we might see Midnight Black and Crimson Red plates for the actual PlayStation 5?

The new lineup of colors will be available at participating retailers globally starting June 2021. The exact date will vary by location. You may check with local retailers for availability.

SEE ALSO:

Continue Reading

Gaming

LoL Wild Rift: New champions, skins, and character adjustments!

Patch Notes 2.2c is here

Published

on

By

Amidst Rengar and Kha’Zix’s rivalry, new competition is joining in the mix. Renekton is finally getting released later on in the patch to face off against his brother, Nasus. And, the ancient rituals of Blood Moon will make their debut in Wild Rift with Renekton. So, buckle up, there’s a bunch of new things coming with the patch.

Renekton: The Butcher of the Sands

Renekton is an ascended warrior from the scorched deserts of Shurima. The esteemed warrior of his empire was entombed beneath the sands during the fall of the Sun Disc. While the world above the sand changed, he grew resentful and insane. Now free from the deserts’ entrapment, Renekton seeks vengeance over his brother, Nasus (whom he blames for years in darkness).

Riot is doubling down on new skins, new accessories, new events, and champion adjustments. So, if you’ve been out of the loop from the Wild Rift universe, this is the perfect time to come back to it.

There’ll be another update on the patch later this month for what’s to come in June and July. But, the Jubilant Colors event kicks off in just a few days: May 24. Check the patch notes here to read up on more specifics!

Continue Reading

Gaming

PlayStation VR 2 could be 4K with gaze-tracking tech

Hope they have enough stocks…

Published

on

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

Excited for the PlayStation VR 2? A fresh leak regarding foveated virtual reality headset points to the next-gen accessory being a compelling head-mounted display — and far more impressive than the predecessor. Sony has been teasing the launch for quite some time and even left many breadcrumbs for enthusiasts.

However, the report today isn’t official. According to Upload VR, Sony recently shared more details of the next-gen PlayStation VR with the company’s partners. Topping the list of details is a 4,000 x 2,040-pixel resolution, which gives it a stunning total of 8.16 million pixels.

In terms of rendering, it will work smarter by utilizing foveated rendering. That means that anything in the users’ peripheral vision that isn’t being looked at directly will be rendered in lower quality. The new technology will help save computing resources, delivering a better experience.

A single USB-C connection to the front of the PS5 is expected to power the unit. Another welcome touch is inside-out tracking. Now that Sony is ditching the PS Move controllers, the headset’s onboard cameras will be used to track the position of the new orb-shaped controllers instead.

The accessory seems like a perfect companion for the PlayStation 5 and is well equipped to compete. Although, the supply of PlayStation 5 has been severely hit, and the Japanese giant is expecting delays to go well into 2022. The company hasn’t even given us a release date yet — we know only that we won’t be seeing it by the end of 2021.

Continue Reading

Trending