There’s a burgeoning market for phones made specifically for gaming on the go, with multiple manufacturers creating high-end, high-performance devices for discerning mobile gamers. While ASUS and Razer have certainly made a name for themselves in this space, Black Shark, a gaming brand out of China, has created their fair share of hype as well.
While the Black Shark 2 Pro isn’t necessarily a new phone (announced first in June earlier this year) it’s only now that it’s managed to land in territories outside China. How does the Black Shark 2 Pro stack up with another gaming phone that’s sure to hit the Philippines later this year?
ASUS ROG Phone 2 Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor
- Adreno 640 GPU
- 6.59-inch 120Hz/1ms AMOLED panel with 240Hz touch sampling rate, full HD+ resolution, 108% DCI-P3, Corning Gorilla Glass 6, 10-bit HDR (2340 x 1080)
- 8GB/12GB of LPDDR4x RAM
- 128GB/512GB of UFS3.0 storage
- 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with an f/1.79 aperture lens, 13-megapixel wide-angle secondary camera
- 24-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, under-display fingerprint sensor
- 6000mAh battery
- Two USB Type C ports
- Fast charging up to 30W using supplied charger and regular USB Type-C cable
- Android 9 Pie
- AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ octa-core processor
- Qualcomm Adreno 640 graphics unit
- 8GB/12GB RAM
- 6.39-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, 34.7ms input latency, motion interpolation, Magic Press, with support for HDR and DCI-P3
- 128GB/256GB of expandable UFS 3.0 storage
- 48-megapixel f/1.75 Sony IMX 586 primary rear camera and 12-megapixel f/2.2 telephoto rear camera with dual LED flash, PDAF, Dark Light enhancement, Portrait mode
- 20-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with beauty mode, 4K recording
- Dual SIM
- 4G LTE, LTE-A
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
- In-display Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, Liquid Cool 3.0, front-facing stereo speakers
- 4000mAh battery with 27W fast charging
- Android 9.0 Pie
Simply the best internals you can ever possibly get
Gaming phones are all about speed and performance, and both the ROG Phone 2 and Black Shark 2 Pro deliver with Qualcomm’s newest chipset, the Snapdragon 855. Both phones use top tier components for RAM and storage as well, as both have variants that are equipped with 12GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and up to 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage.
The ROG Phone 2 has a slight advantage of offering a 512GB variant, and if you’re really spendy, you can opt for the ROG Phone II Ultimate edition that has 1TB of storage.
Both phones also feature a version of a cooling chamber to keep thermal throttling at bay: the ROG Phone II has a 3D vapor chamber, while the Black Shark 2 Pro has a “multilayer liquid cooling system”.
While the Black Shark 2 Pro ticks most of the boxes you’d expect from a gaming phone, one thing it doesn’t have is a high refresh rate display. Its 6.39-inch full HD panel still pumps out a refresh rate of 60Hz compared to the 120Hz on the 6.59-inch panel of the ROG Phone II.
So what gives? Well, company reps explained that they wanted to emphasize color accuracy over fast refresh rates, going as far as partnering with Pixelworks, a company that provides video and pixel processing semiconductors and software. That means that the Black Shark 2 Pro has a very accurate display at the expense of a higher refresh rate.
As for other features, both phones come with an under-display fingerprint scanner, notch-free displays, and support for both HDR and DCI-P3. For the audio side, both the Black Shark 2 Pro and ROG Phone 2 come with front-facing stereo speakers. However, the ROG Phone 2 retains the good ‘ol headphone jack.
While both phones are geared towards hardcore mobile gaming with the best internals on the market, they don’t scrimp on the camera department either. Both phones come with a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 main rear camera and differ with their secondary cameras: the Black Shark 2 Pro goes for a 12-megapixel telephoto camera, while the ROG Phone 2 goes for a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera.
While both phones have impressive camera specs on paper, we have to do our usual tests to see which phone produces better photos and videos. As for versatility, we think that most gamers will appreciate the ROG Phone 2’s ultra-wide-angle camera more than the Black Shark 2 Pro’s telephoto camera.
While the Black Shark 2 Pro’s 4000mAh battery is decent by 2019 standards, most mobile gamers will appreciate the ROG Phone 2’s humongous 6000mAh cell. The 2000mAh difference can mean a lot for those who want to game without rushing to the nearest outlet.
That’s not the only advantage of the ROG Phone 2: aside from a slightly faster 30w charging solution, it comes with two USB-C ports—the other being dedicated to the ROG Phone 2’s plethora of accessories.
Just like the first ROG Phone, the ROG Phone 2’s headline feature is its vast lineup of accessories, ranging from the Aeroactive cooler to a Nintendo Switch joycon-esque ROG Kunai gamepad. These accessories can further convert the ROG Phone 2 into a true mobile rig made for competitive gamers.
The Black Shark 2 Pro, on the other hand, also comes with its own set of accessories that include a two-piece controller that can be used for both one-player or two-player games a la Switch and a cooling case.
The biggest difference between the two gaming phones come with pricing, with the 12GB/512GB variant of the ROG Phone 2 priced at around Php 45k while the 12GB/256GB variant of the Black Shark 2 Pro is more affordable at around Php 37k. Do note that these are based on their China and Malaysia pricing respectively and that local pricing may be different.
While there’s a notable difference in price for the top-end variants of both phones, one should consider that the ROG Phone 2 is more expensive due to its 120Hz display—save for the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2, displays with high refresh rates are very rare and expensive to produce.
Don’t forget to check out our quick reviews for both phones: