The ASUS ROG Phone 2 vs Black Shark 2 PRO Comparison!

Now that both the ASUS ROG Phone 2 and Black Shark 2 PRO have both been announced, the question mobile gamers are asking – which is the better gaming smartphone?

In this article, we will compare both the ROG Phone 2 and the Black Shark 2 PRO, and see which is the better gaming device!


Gaming Smartphones?

Both the Black Shark 2 PRO and ASUS ROG Phone 2 claim to be gaming smartphones. What’s the difference between these two “gaming” smartphones and “regular” smartphones?

Black Shark 2 PRO vs ASUS ROG Phone 2 Comparison!

While ALL smartphones can handle games pretty well, especially if they are flagship devices, gaming smartphones claim to offer an edge to serious mobile gamers, like :

  • fast CPU and GPU, with high-speed memory and storage
  • better cooling system to sustain gaming performance
  • large display with a high refresh rate, or low latency, or both
  • better wireless connectivity to ensure no lag during gameplay
  • large battery for longer gameplay
  • better audio for more enjoyable gameplay
  • special controls or buttons or optional gamepad add-ons

Of course, many flagship-class smartphones already offer many of those features, which is why some argue that gaming-specific smartphones are merely a way for some brands to carve a niche to survive in the ultra-competitive smartphone market.

But we digress… let’s compare the two top gaming smartphones that are coming, or will soon come to a store near you – the Black Shark 2 PRO and the ASUS ROG Phone 2.


ASUS ROG Phone 2 vs Black Shark 2 PRO Specifications

Let’s start with a quick comparison of their key specifications.

Specifications Black Shark 2 PRO ROG Phone 2
Display 6.39-inch AMOLED display
– 1080 x 2340 pixels
108.9% DCI-P3 colour gamut
60 Hz refresh rate
6.59-inch AMOLED display
– 1080 x 2340 pixels
108% DCI-P3 colour gamut
– up to 120 Hz refresh rate
System Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
Processor 1 x Qualcomm Kryo 485 Gold core (2.96 GHz)
3 x Qualcomm Kryo 485 Gold cores (2.42 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kryo 485 Silver cores (1.8 GHz)
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 640 (672 MHz)
Storage 128 GB / 256 GB UFS 3.0 512 GB / 1 TB UFS 3.0
Front Camera 20 MP with f/2.0 aperture 24 MP front camera
Rear Cameras 48 MP Sony IMX586 sensor, with f/1.75 aperture
12 MP telephoto camera, with f/2.2 aperture
48 MP Sony IMX586 sensor, with f/1.79 aperture
13 MP ultra-wide camera, with 125-degree field of view
Connectivity 4G : LTE Cat18 – 211 Mbps UL, 1.2 Gbps DL
WiFi : 802.11ac, 4×4 MIMO
Bluetooth : BT 5.0
4G : LTE Cat18 – 211 Mbps UL, 1.2 Gbps DL
WiFi : 802.11ad, 4×4 MIMO
Bluetooth : BT 5.0
Special Sensors ForceTouch Sensors Ultrasonic AirTrigger
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, In-Display Optical Sensor
Audio Dual front-facing speakers Dual front-facing speakers + DTS:X Ultra
Battery 4,000 mAh battery 6,000 mAh battery
Charger 27 watt fast charger 30 watt fast charger
Dimensions 75.0 mm wide
163.6 mm tall
8.77 mm thick
77.6 mm wide
170.99 mm tall
9.78 mm thick
Weight 205 g 240 g


ASUS ROG Phone 2 vs Black Shark 2 PRO

Although there are quite a few more differences between the two models, we are going to focus mainly on the gaming and mobility aspects in this comparison.

Performance : Tie

Both Black Shark 2 PRO (Price Check) and ASUS ROG Phone 2 use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus mobile platform, and come with 8 GB or 12 GB of LPDDR4x memory.

Recommended : The Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Snapdragon 855 Comparison!

Storage : ROG Phone 2

Both Black Shark 2 PRO and ASUS ROG Phone 2 use UFS 3.0 storage, which is about 2X faster than UFS 2.1. However, the ROG Phone 2 comes with twice as much storage as the Black Shark 2 PRO.

Cooling : Black Shark 2 PRO

The Black Shark 2 PRO features a Mille-Feuille full area liquid cooling system that, according to them, is far superior to that of the ROG Phone 2.

Device CPU Temp. GPU Temp. RAM Temp. Chassis Temp.
Black Shark 2 PRO 65.7 °C 51.2 °C 52.0 °C 35.7 °C
ASUS ROG Phone 2 77.5 °C 54.6 °C 55.0 °C 47.1 °C
Difference + 11.8 °C + 3.4 °C + 3.0 °C + 11.4 °C

Display : Tie

The ASUS ROG Phone 2 boasts a 120 Hz display, while the Black Shark 2 PRO only has a 60 Hz display. However, Black Shark has publicly pooh-poohed the usefulness of a 120 Hz display in this recent Q&A session :

Instead of a higher refresh rate, they opted to use DC dimming to reduce eyestrain, and an integrated DSP with MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) capabilities to eliminate unwanted judder and blur.

Touch Screen : Black Shark 2 PRO

Black Shark also focused on reducing the latency of the touch screen display, with 240 Hz report rate even with three fingers.

This is, arguably, far more important for competitive gaming than a 120 Hz display.

Touch Report Rate Black Shark 2 PRO ASUS ROG Phone 2 Difference
1 Finger 240 Hz 195 Hz – 45 Hz / 18.75 %
2 Fingers 240 Hz 145 Hz – 95 Hz / 39.58 %
3 Fingers 240 Hz 135 Hz – 105 Hz / 43.75%

They also claim that the Black Shark 2 PRO (Price Check) has a significantly lower touch latency than the ROG Phone 2.

Touch Latency Black Shark 2 PRO ASUS ROG Phone 2 Difference
Not Shooting 30.7 ms 41.6 ms + 10.9 ms / 35.5 %
Shooting 48.6 ms 70.0 ms + 21.4 ms / 44.0 %

Battery : ROG Phone 2

The ROG Phone 2, on the other hand, boasts a 6,000 mAh battery that is 50% larger than the Black Shark 2 PRO‘s battery. This means you will get to play longer on the ROG Phone 2.

Portability : Black Shark 2 PRO

This may not be important to everyone, but if you want to be able to carry your gaming smartphone in your pocket, the Black Shark 2 PRO (Price Check) is both smaller and lighter than the ROG Phone 2.

Recommended : Black Shark 2 PRO – EVERYTHING You Need To Know!

Black Shark 2 cooling system

Availability : Black Shark 2 PRO

This may not seem important, until you decide you want to buy one.

Only the Black Shark 2 PRO (Price Check) is available to purchase right now. The ROG Phone 2, as is always the case with ASUS smartphones, is destined for a delayed release sometime later in Q4 2019.

Of course, the ROG Phone 2 can be purchased in the grey market, but note that you will pay a price premium and lose warranty on the unit.

Why ROG Phone II Tencent Is Better Than The Global Edition!

Price : Black Shark 2 PRO

Based on the European and Chinese launch prices of €899 and RMB 5,999, we expect the 12 GB + 512 GB ROG Phone 2 Global Edition model to cost RM 3,999 / ~US$999 / ~£799 / ~A$1,449.

That makes it a whopping 33% more expensive than the 12 GB + 256 GB Black Shark 2 PRO model. That’s an extra RM 1,000 / ~US$240 / ~£193 / ~A$349!

Then again, there is the ROG Phone 2 Tencent Edition, which only costs RMB 3,499 / ~US$499 / ~£399 / ~A$724 / ~RM 2,059.

The ROG Phone 2 Tencent Edition is on the other end of the spectrum, costing 31% less than the 12 GB + 256 GB Black Shark 2 PRO model!

Recommended : Why ROG Phone II Tencent Is Better Than The Global Edition!


So Which Is Better?

Frankly speaking, you can game without any issue on any decent smartphone these days. But if you are a serious or professional gamer, a gaming smartphone could give you the competitive edge you need.

To their credit, the Black Shark team was eager to share what they felt would benefit gamers more. ASUS, on the other hand, has only chosen to share details with their favoured media friends.

Black Shark 2 Pro - EVERYTHING You Need To Know!

But barring any surprises from the ROG Phone 2, we are leaning more towards the Black Shark 2 PRO (Price Check) for these reasons :

  • its better cooling system will maintain gaming performance, while keeping the chassis cooler to touch
  • a low latency touch display is arguably more important for gaming, than a high refresh rate display
  • even though the ROG Phone 2 has a larger battery, we suspect the 120 Hz display will significantly limit its battery life
  • the Black Shark 2 PRO is actually available for sale!
  • the Black Shark 2 PRO is MUCH CHEAPER than the ROG Phone 2 Global Edition


ASUS ROG Phone 2 + Black Shark 2 PRO : Where To Buy

Here are online purchase options for the Black Shark 2 PRO :

The ROG Phone 2 Global Edition is currently only available for purchase in China and the US :

You can purchase the ROG Phone 2 Tencent Edition in the grey market RIGHT NOW. *

* Please note that if you purchase a grey market Tencent unit, you will not be entitled to warranty outside of China.


Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Mobile Devices | GamingHome


Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donating to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!



About The Author

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: