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 :
- really 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 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 (MY | SG | AU | UK) and the ASUS ROG Phone 2 (MY | SG | US | UK | AU).
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
They both 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
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
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. So we think this counts as a tie.
Do note too that a 120 Hz refresh rate uses up significantly more power, which is why ASUS actually set it to 60 Hz by default!
Recommended : ROG Phone 2 : How To Turn On 90Hz / 120Hz Refresh Rate!
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
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 (MY | SG | US | UK | AU).
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 (MY | SG | AU | UK) is both smaller and lighter than the ROG Phone 2.
Availability : Black Shark 2 PRO
This may not seem important, until you decide you want to buy one.
ASUS has always had a reputation for a slow roll-out, and that hasn’t changed with the ROG Phone 2 – even after it was launched, quantities were limited.
Price : Black Shark 2 PRO
Here is a quick comparison table to show the price difference between the two models :
|Countries||Black Shark 2 PRO
(12 GB + 256 GB)
|ASUS ROG Phone 2
(12 GB + 512 GB)
|Malaysia||RM 2,999||RM 3,499||+ RM 500 (16.7%)|
|Singapore||S$869||S$1,299||+ S$430 (49.5%)|
|United States||~$729||$889||+ $160 (21.9%)|
|United Kingdom||£560||£1,149||+ £589 (105.2%)|
|Australia||~A$1,059||A$1,964||+ A$905 (85.5%)|
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.
- 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, the 120 Hz display significantly limits its battery life
- the Black Shark 2 PRO is MUCH CHEAPER than the ROG Phone 2 Global Edition
Recommended : Black Shark 2 PRO In-Depth Review : A Real Gaming Beast!
Black Shark 2 PRO : Where To Buy
Here are online purchase options for the Black Shark 2 PRO :[adrotate group=”2″]
- 8 GB + 128 GB : Shadow Black | Iceberg Grey
- 12 GB + 256 GB : Shadow Black | Iceberg Grey | Gulf Blue
- 8 GB + 128 GB : Shadow Black
ASUS ROG Phone 2 : Where To Buy
Here are online purchase options for the ASUS ROG Phone 2 :
- Malaysia : 12GB + 512GB | 12GB + 512GB
- Singapore : 8GB + 128 GB | 12GB + 512GB
- United States : 12GB + 512GB
- United Kingdom : 8GB + 128GB | 12GB + 512GB | 12GB + 1TB
- Australia : 8GB + 128GB | 12GB + 512GB
You can also purchase the much cheaper ROG Phone 2 Tencent Edition in the grey market. *
* Please note that if you purchase a grey market Tencent unit, you will not be entitled to warranty outside of China.
- ROG Phone 2 : How To Turn On 90Hz / 120Hz Refresh Rate!
- Black Shark 2 PRO In-Depth Review : A Real Gaming Beast!
- ASUS ROG Phone 2 Malaysia – What You Need To Know!
- 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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