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.
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)|
|RAM||8 GB / 12 GB LPDDR4X|
|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
Recommended : The Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Snapdragon 855 Comparison!
Storage : ROG Phone 2
Cooling : Black Shark 2 PRO
|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%|
|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
Portability : Black Shark 2 PRO
Recommended : Black Shark 2 PRO – EVERYTHING You Need To Know!
Availability : Black Shark 2 PRO
This may not seem important, until you decide you want to buy one.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 :
- United States : $899.99
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.
- Why ROG Phone II Tencent Is Better Than The Global Edition!
- Black Shark 2 PRO – EVERYTHING You Need To Know!
- ASUS ROG Phone 2 Global vs Tencent Edition Comparison!
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