The mobile chipset scene has always been rather unique. Unlike more traditional computing avenues like the PC ream, in the ARM world variety isn’t really all that abundant on a year to year basis. That’s how you end up with a sea of competing flagship handsets typically based around the exact same Qualcomm silicon. That has been the status quo for quite a few years now.

Asus ROG Phone II : Snapdragon 855+ benchmarks
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So, in a sea of sameness, how can a “gaming” phone realistically differentiate while using the exact same internals as its often cheaper competitors? Well, turns out that not all Snapdragon 855+ chipsets are made equal with optional features, extras and tiers up on offer. Plus things like CPU governors, performance curves and most importantly – cooling and postponing thermal-throttling play a huge role in real world results. We recently published a deep dive on the matter of gaming smartphones in general, which you can check out here for more in-depth details.

And when it comes to squeezing the best performance possible out of an ARM chipset, Asus and Republic of Gamers really go above and beyond the competition. The original ROG Phone actually leveraged cherry-picked or so called “speed binned” Snapdragon 845 chips, which it then ran at a maximum frequency of 2.96GHz (on the powerful core cluster), instead of the 2.8GHz if the vanilla Qualcomm chip. That is essentially a factory overclocked processor and a rather novel idea in the smartphone realm at the time.

Well, this year, Qualcomm took this idea one step further by doing the speed-binning and overclock itself, resulting in the Snapdragon 855+. Naturally, that’s the chip Asus went for the no-compromise ROG Phone II Ultimate Edition. The best possible 20-layer variant of the chip, to be even more specific. Look forward for more on that subtle detail in the full review. This is the first 855+ unit to come by the office, so we were eager to test out just how much better it performs compared to its vanilla sibling.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    11345
  • Black Shark 2
    11192
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    11181
  • Sony Xperia 1
    10985
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    10943
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    10933
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    10923
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    10883
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    10800
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    10721
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    10403
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    10387
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    10014
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    9649
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    9406
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    9230

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    4541
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    4522
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    3547
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    3527
  • Black Shark 2
    3515
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    3510
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    3505
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    3503
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    3499
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    3492
  • Sony Xperia 1
    3447
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    3402
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    3323
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    3270
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    2556
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    2514

As is tradition, we start off with a pure CPU test and GeekBench. In terms of competitors for the ROG Phone II we picked out a selection including the regular Snapdragon 855, Samsung’s Exynos 9820 and 9825 and Huawei’s Kirin 980. Like most gaming phones, the ROG Phone II also has a performance mode, in this case called X Mode. What it does is actually a bit more complex than simply bumping up CPU clocks. Rather it tries its best to smooth out performance dips and combat the inevitable thermal-throttling. But with or without it, the difference in raw compute scores is slim. In real world terms, however, having X mode on, as well as the external active fan attached do make a tangible difference in sustained performance on the ROG Phone II.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    485495
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    483239
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    384713

Then there is the matter of the phone’s impressive 120Hz OLED panel. Adding it to the mix is actually pretty important when it comes to any sort of benchmark with an on-screen rendering component. All the ones we typically run don’t actually impose an FPS cap. Since the overclocked Adreno 640 GPU inside the Snapdragon 855+ is powerful enough to push past the 60fps mark on certain test and the display has the refresh rate to accommodate the extra frames, while at 120Hz the ROG Phone II actually scores a lot higher. The graphics component in AnTuTu 8, as seen here at 120Hz with and without X Mode and then 60Hz illustrate this perfectly. The same is true about Basemark OS 2.0 – another compound synthetic benchmark.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    5693
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    5346
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    5239
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    5166
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    5016
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    4979
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    4842
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    4841
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    4797
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    4702
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    4675
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    4614
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    4568
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    4272
  • Sony Xperia 1
    4211
  • Black Shark 2
    3450

Before moving on to more GPU tests, it is worth noting that unlike GeekBench, Basemark appears to favour the ROG Phone II a lot better even at 60Hz. Plus, the variances in performance at 60Hz, 120Hz and with X Mode are more clearly defined.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II
    78
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    78
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    78
  • Sony Xperia 1
    71
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    71
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    71
  • Black Shark 2
    71
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    71
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    70
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    69
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    68
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    68
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    67
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    60
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    60
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    56
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    54

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    69
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    68
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    62
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    60
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    57
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    57
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    57
  • Black Shark 2
    57
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    56
  • Sony Xperia 1
    55
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    54
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    54
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    50
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    50
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    37
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    33

Like we already mentioned, the overclocked Adreno 640 GPU inside the ROG Phone II, working at 700Mh pushes out enough frames to break the 60fps mark in some benchmark runs, like GFX Manhattan 3.1. Hence, while its off-screen scores are representative and comparable to the rest of the devices on the chart, the same isn’t exactly true about the on-screen run. For this one the ROG Phone had its display at 120Hz, which is how the top 69fps result transpired.

Aztek Vulkan Normal (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II
    47
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    47
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    47
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    42
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    42
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    41
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    40
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    40
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    40
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    36
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    35

Aztek Vulkan Normal (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II
    40
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    40
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    40
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    36
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    36
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    34
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    32
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    32
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    15

Ramping up the GPU load with something like the new Aztek test brings the on-screen results back to comparable terms, since 60fps remains an unreachable bar even for the beefed-up 700MHz Adreno 640. That being said, the extra performance it churns out over its vanilla Adreno sibling is not insignificant.

Aztek OpenGL ES 3.1 Normal (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    49
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    47
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    47
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    47
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    46
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    43
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    42
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    42
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    41
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    38
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    37

Aztek OpenGL ES 3.1 Normal (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    41
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    40
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    40
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    38
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    36
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    36
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    34
  • ASUS ROG Phone X mode (Fan on)
    34
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    26
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    21

3DMark SSE runs also put the benefits of the 120Hz refresh rate and plentiful GPU power into tangible numbers.

3DMark SSE 3.1 Unlimited

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    6860
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    6814
  • Black Shark 2
    6330
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (Zen Power Boost)
    6282
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    6263
  • ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 (new ROM)
    6258
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    6093
  • Asus ROG Phone II (60Hz)
    5855
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    5816
  • Sony Xperia 1
    5792
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    5287
  • Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
    5023
  • ASUS ROG Phone
    4875
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
    4632
  • Huawei P30 Pro (perf. mode)
    4315
  • Huawei P30 Pro
    3522

And with the increasing number of smartphone displays pushing past the 60Hz mark, we are happy to see a noticeable ramp-up in game engines and apps that can also render at over 60fps. There is still some searching involved to unearth high-refresh rate titles, but the effort is well worth it.

Another thing we can’t fail to mention and test while on the topic of performance on the ROG Phone II is the active cooling fan attachment that comes in the box. Just like on the original ROG Phone, it complements the specifically crafted internal heat pipe design of the phone, culminating in a small exposed radiator area. In not only ties in well into the gaming aesthetic, but also provides a convenient outlet for heat. Kind of a necessity, since unlike the nubia Red Magic 3 Asus decided to keep the fan external.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode + Fan)
    2830
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    2763
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    2743
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    2396
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    2300

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+
    822
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode + Fan)
    771
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    744
  • Asus ROG Phone II (X Mode)
    739
  • Asus ROG Phone II
    736

As for real-life benefits from using the fan attachment, these can best be summarized as an effort into sustained performance and comfort over prolonged gaming sessions. That is to say that you won’t really get any benchmark-breaking peek performance just from having the fan on the ROG Phone II. Rather a small, nifty bump up in numbers. But you will definitely be able to sustain a higher and smoother average frame rate in games for longer, as thermal-throttling inevitably sets in. Plus, your hands will be a lot more comfortable and less sweaty while holding the phone and its metal frame, which gets particularly toasty in certain areas.

We’ll definitely have more in-depth info on sustained performance and thermals for the ROG Phone II in the upcoming full review. So stick around for that.