Asus ROG Phone II Will Use Qualcomm's New Snapdragon 855 Plus

(Image credit: Asus)

Updated, 7/22/19, 5:45 a.m. PT: Android Central today revealed additional details about the ROG Phone II's specs and launch schedule. Asus seemed to pay special attention to improving the gaming smartphone's display: it now features a 6.59-inch AMOLED display running with a 120 Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. The company also improved the touchscreen with a 49ms latency, said to make it the fastest-responding touchscreen yet. Asus is working with publishers to help them support the ROG Phone II's display.

Additional premium specs include a claimed battery life of two days--presumably during normal usage rather than marathon gaming sessions--while recharging to full in just over an hour. It features 12GB of LPDDR4X memory, 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage and significantly improved camera modules that match those found on the Asus ZenFone 6. The phone uses four antenna for Wi-Fi connectivity and an impressive microphone array. 

Asus will also offer a variety of accessories. There are two docks, one wired and one that uses WiGig for wireless streaming, to use with a monitor or TV. There's a TwinView Dock II that sports another screen used to show more information about a game. (Kind of like the Nintendo DS except it's okay to separate the screens.) There's a gamepad that can be used with or without a wired connection. And there are Kunai controllers, which are basically the Joy-Con controllers used by the Nintendo Switch but with a bit of "Naruto" flair.

Unfortunately there's precious little information about how much the ROG Phone II will cost in the U.S. and Europe. Asus is releasing the device in China later this week, according to Android Central, and then rolling it out worldwide on September 4. Pricing information wasn't shared, but with all these improvements it's hard to imagine the ROG Phone II being cheaper than its predecessor. Since the ROG Phone started at $900--with the accessories quickly raising that price even higher--don't be surprised if the ROG Phone II costs a grand.

Original article, 7/15/19, 7:10 a.m. PT:

It turns out there was a fire causing all that smoke: After months of rumors, Asus today confirmed that it's planning to release the ROG Phone II, its second-generation gaming phone built around the new Snapdragon 855 Plus that Qualcomm called its "most advanced mobile platform to date."

Asus released the original ROG Phone (one might say the OG ROG Phone) in October 2018. The device attempted to appeal to gamers with Adreno graphics, a 90Hz display, and numerous accessories meant to make playing games on a smartphone more comfortable. DigiTimes reported in April that Asus planned to release the ROG Phone's successor in 3Q19, with TechRadar saying in June that the device would be announced sometime this month.

Now the ROG Phone II has finally been confirmed. Asus didn't offer many details about the device, however, with the promise that "full details and specifications of this exciting new gaming phone will be announced in the coming weeks." We suspect the announcement was made today because Asus wanted to be the first smartphone maker to reveal a product based on the Snapdragon 855 Plus, which Qualcomm officially announced this morning.

Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 855 Plus was designed to "deliver leading experiences in multi-gigabit 5G, gaming, AI and XR." The new platform features a Qualcomm Kryo 485 CPU with a clock speed up to 2.96GHz, a Qualcomm Adreno 640 GPU said to offer up to 15% better performance than its predecessor, and the new Snapdragon X50 5G modem that works alongside the Snapdragon X24 LTE 4G modem to offer support for next-gen wireless.

Snapdragon 855 Plus also updates the not-at-all-humbly named Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience with "Game Jank Reducer, Game Fast Loader, Game AntiCheat Extensions, and more." (At least Qualcomm's can't be accused of making the software's purpose unclear.)  The Snapdragon 855 Plus' full specs can be found here.

Asus said in its announcement that "with this high-performance foundation complementing a raft of exciting new features and enhancements, ROG Phone II is once again poised to take the world of mobile gaming by storm," but otherwise the company didn't reveal anything Qualcomm hadn't. Apparently the company needs a few weeks to kindle the flame, so to speak, before it's ready to properly reveal the ROG Phone II.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.