Gaming Phones Battle: Asus ROG Phone 2 vs One Plus 7 Pro vs Xiaomi Black Shark 2

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In 1999, digital gaming was merely an odd hobby. In 2019, everyone is a gamer.

You may not believe this, but the number of gamers worldwide hit 2.2B. That’s more than a quarter of the world’s population, and almost 70% of all people who own a smartphone (number of which has already reached 3.3B.)

The point is, mobile gaming is an entry-level of gaming. Nothing in this world is simpler than downloading a game on your phone. No Steam account is needed, no extra money spent on consoles, just steady access to the internet and that’s it. The popularity of mobile games of all kinds is on the rise, resulting in a 10% growth in mobile engagement per year. And what’s more, resulting in the emergence of smartphones tailored specifically for mobile gaming.

A little bit of history: Actually, gaming phones have been known since 2003, when Nokia released a weird device called N-Gage. It resembled Game Boy Advance and had a very unusual keyboard layout. Here is how it looked like:

Other notable examples were Sony Xperia Play, a so-called “PlayStation phone”, and Acer Predator 6, an often overlooked inspiration for the acclaimed Asus ROG Phone.

And today, we will talk about the second version of Asus ROG Phone with an eye out for two of its rivals: One Plus 7 Pro and Xiaomi Black Shark 2.

Do You Need an Android Gaming Phone?

Choosing the best gaming phone for you, whatever it’s Asus Rog Phone 2, One Plus 7 Pro or Xiaomi Black Shark 2, you need to make sure you really need such a powerful device. Most people who play games are casual gamers. This means that they mostly play simple games and do it spontaneously. A person who plays Candy Crush Saga while commuting is a typical casual gamer.

On the other hand, there are graphic intensive games that require sophisticated hardware to be launched with ultra-high settings. One of the most popular games — PUBG mobile — requires at least 4GB RAM and Snapdragon 660 to be played without any lags.

Other demanding games for mobile are Asphalt 9 Legends, Modern Combat 5: Blackout, and Gangstar Vegas. And just in case you are not a fan of switching phones each year, expect that you’ll need 6GB+ RAM to launch upcoming hits with max graphics settings.

However, there are specific games that won’t improve regardless of the smartphone you buy. One of these categories is web-based games that are so convenient to play on a desktop. They are usually undemanding in terms of specs but may cause a lot of hassle when launched on the mobile.

You need to go through several redirects, wait until the game will adjust to your screen and finally load. The load time usually depends not on your device, but on the speed of your internet connection, and even more, on the quality of the game adaptation for mobile browsers.

Luckily for gamers, some of these games are available as apps. But not all of them. Great examples of games that are usually unavailable are online casino slots. There are thousands of slots on the market, but only some such as Novomatic’s Book of Ra are available to play for free as an app.

Another category covers simple lightweight games like 2048, Sand Balls, or Solitaire. Even the well-known hit Candy Crush Saga can be run on phones with just 512MB RAM. Actually, it will launch on the age-old iPhone 3GS, the mobile device that was around back when Android was not in charge of the mobile market yet.

Thus, if you play games just casually, you don’t need a gaming phone at all. But if you’re a fan of heavy and demanding titles that eat up 4GB RAM and play them on a daily basis, gaming phones of 2019 are exactly what you need. That’s for sure.

So which one to pick today: Asus ROG Phone 2, One Plus 7 Pro, or Xiaomi Black Shark 2? Let’s figure this out.

Specs Comparison Table

Asus ROG Phone 2One Plus 7 Pro Xiaomi Black Shark 2
Dimensions and weight171 x 77.6 x 9.5 mm, 240 grams162.60 x 75.90 x 8.80 mm, 206 grams163.61 x 75.01 x 8.77mm, 205 grams
ProcessorSnapdragon 855 Plus, octa-core 2.96 GHzSnapdragon 855, octa-core 2.8 GHzSnapdragon 855, octa-core 2.8 GHz
RAM8 GB or 12 GB6 GB or 12 GB6 GB or 12 GB
Display 6.59 inches, 1080 x 2340p (Full HD), 391 ppi, AMOLED6.67 inches, 1440 x 3120 pixels, 516 ppi, Fluid AMOLED6.39 inches, 1080 x 2340p (Full HD), 403 ppi, AMOLED
Storage128 GB, 512 GB128 GB, 256 GB128 GB, 256 GB
BatteryLi-Polymer 6000 mAhLi-ion 4000 mAhLi-ion 4000 mAh
Camera Dual 48 + 13 MP f/1.8 and f/2.4 rear camera. 24 MP f/2.2 front cameraTriple 48 MP + 8 MP + 16 MP f/1.6, f/2.4, and f/2.2 rear camera. 16 MP f/2.0 front cameraDual 48MP + 12 MP f/1.75 and f 2.2 rear camera. 20 MP f/2.2 front camera
OSAndroid 9 Pie, ROG UIAndroid 9 Pie, OxygenOS 9.5.11Android 9 Pie, Joy UI
Additional Retains 3.5 mm audio jack, vapor-chamber cooling system, 90Hz display, side-mounted portUltra quick charging, 90Hz display, pop-up selfie camera, UFS 3.0 read/write speedLiquid cooling technology, ludicrous performance booster, gaming light, gamer studio application, vibration sense

Performance

As for specs, One Plus and Black Shark are comparable: both feature 6 GB RAM and Snapdragon 855 processor. Asus has a bit more powerful hardware with 8 GB and Snapdragon 855 Plus under the hood. All smartphones are available in 12 GB RAM versions as well.

There are some well-known performance benchmarks to give you a better idea of Asus ROG Phone 2 vs. Xiaomi Black Shark 2 vs. One Plus 7 Pro performance.

Points scored

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 (onscreen)

Geekbench 4 (single-core)

So as we can see, Asus ROG Phone 2 was labeled the best gaming phone for a reason, as it beats its two opponents hands down. One Plus 7 Pro and Black Shark 2 go side-by-side.

Display

A vibrant and bright display with good contrast is a must when it comes to a gaming phone. And all the three nominees take a good shot at this.

Asus ROG Phone 2, One Plus 7 Pro, and Xiaomi Black Shark 2 all feature AMOLED capacitive touchscreen featuring 16M colors.

The difference — One Plus has a first-of-a-kind fluid AMOLED display, which can boast of a higher resolution and density — 1440 x 3120 pixels and 516 PPI against 1080 x 2340 pixels (both) and 409 PPI (Xiaomi) & 391 PPI (Asus). One Plus has a higher screen-to-body ratio as well.

Despite this, One Plus features some drawbacks in worse screen protection and lower touch sampling rate, mainly due to being a multipurpose phone. Xiaomi and Asus ROG both demonstrate a 240 Hz sampling rate, which is the highest on the market. Moreover, both have a 120 Hz screen refresh rate.

Storage

Even in today’s age of cloud services, storage matters, especially when you’re choosing an Android gaming phone. Many people still use phones with only 32 GB onboard, and it’s a pure struggle. No games, only photos, and essentials.

Fortunately, Asus ROG Phone 2, One Plus 7 Pro, and Xiaomi Black Shark 2 come in at least 128 GB and have 256 or 512 GB versions (in the case of Asus).

Does it give Asus ROG Phone 2 an advantage? Barely. The heaviest games for mobile like XCOM: Enemy Within (3.5 GB), ROME: Total War (3.9GB), or Assassin’s Creed: Identity (2.6 GB) are rather exceptions than a rule. Most blockbusters are not as heavyweight and rarely exceed 2 GB, so you’ll be able to fill your smartphone with 100+ games if you have 256 GB at your disposal.

Battery

Xiaomi Black Shark 2 and One Plus 7 Pro are armed with identical Li-ion 4000 mAh battery. Asus ROG has a Li-polymer 6000 mAh battery, and many consumers will definitely be lured in by more mAh.

And they will be right this time, as a difference between Li-pol and Li-ion batteries exists, yet doesn’t affect the performance of each. So Asus ROG should last 1.5x longer than it’s less powerful counterparts.

Unique Features

Both Asus ROG 2 and Xiaomi Black Shark 2 are tailor-made for gaming. They, therefore, feature such elements as cooling systems, strong vibration, side-mounted ports, and performance control through special apps named Armoury Crate and Game Dock respectively.

One Plus 7 Pro also has what is called Fnatic Mode, through which you can boost the performance of its hardware. However, it doesn’t give you control over all details like Asus and Xiaomi gaming phones. Controller pairing is possible in all three cases, though.

Design

Asus ROG Phone 2 and Xiaomi Black Shark 2 are all-out gaming phones of 2019 that were clearly inspired by their gaming PC predecessors. Both look aggressive, bulky, have lights at the back plus red (ROG) or green (Black Shark) accents. Such a “hot rod” design distinguishes them from regular smartphones and highlights the owner’s interest.

Not all of the users like this. For some of them, this is too much, as they prefer sleeker and more discreet design. Those will obviously look closer at One Plus 7 Pro, which is a bezel-less and minimalistic piece of beauty. Check it yourself:

Asus ROG Phone 2One Plus 7 ProXiaomi Black Shark 2

OS

All run on Android Pie 9, although One Plus 7 Pro is among the first devices which received an Android 10 update.

Also, One Plus has its own customization called OxygenOS. It’s deemed to feel closer to stock Android rather than be an iOS-like UI based on Android, which is Xiaomi MIUI is known for.

However, Black Shark 2 has nothing in common with MIUI. Its Joy UI IS technically based on MIUI, yet looks too distant in practice. Asus ROG features its own ROG UI as well, which is more of a stock-like Android than Asus Zen.

Price

And now, we‘re slowly approaching the juiciest part: how many bucks you should be ready to give out for these tech miracles.

So, Asus ROG comes at min. of $899, One Plus starts from $649, and Xiaomi is the most affordable one at only $419 on its label. And for sure, all of them are more reasonably priced than an upcoming Samsung Galaxy Fold, which is claimed to be perfect for some games yet requires you to have an exorbitant $1,980 to make a purchase.

Maybe better to settle for ASUS ROG Zephyrus with NVIDIA GTX 1080 on board then? It will be cheaper.

Summary: PROS & CONS

Rewinding all the above again, we can say that Asus ROG Phone 2 is worth the title of the best gaming phone of 2019. But comparing Asus ROG Phone 2, One Plus 7 Pro, and Xiaomi Black Shark 2, all have relative edges and drawbacks to be mentioned.

Asus ROG Phone 2One Plus 7 ProXiaomi Black Shark 2
PROSPowerful performance;

Loud and quality stereo speakers;

Capacious battery;

Amazing screen with a sky-high refresh rate;

Armory Crate app for more control over gaming performance.

Bezel-less display;

Fast in-display fingerprint reader;

Quick Android updates;

Bright and vivid display.

Competitive pricing;

Amazing screen with a sky-high refresh rate;

Game Doc app for more control over gaming performance;

Supports always-on display;

CONSQuite heavy;

No wireless charging;

Mediocre camera specs;

The design may not appeal to everyone.

No water and dirt resistance;

No 3.5mm jack or at least adapter;

The wide-angle camera is not as great as claimed to be.

Quite heavy;

No 3.5mm jack;

The design may not appeal to everyone;

May heat up;

No wireless charging.

Verdict

ROG 2 is the #1 phone for the most demanding gamers. Black Shark 2 is the perfect fit for those who are not ready to pay a lot yet want powerful specs. And a one-size-fits-all One Plus 7 Pro is for everybody who just needs a good smartphone without compromising anything.

/ 5.

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