ROG TwinView Dock II Review – Finally Refined Twins
The ROG TwinView Dock II adds another display to the ROG Phone 2. It also works with the Kunai controllers seamlessly, providing a very unique ecosystem.
+ Much lighter compared to the previous gen
+ Better weight balance and center of gravity
+ 120Hz/1ms on secondary display finally
+ 5000 mAH battery in such a slim enclosure
+ Embedded turbo fan so you don't need to use AeroActive Cooler II
+ Fits the ROG Phone without removing the case
+ Supports Kunai controller and Kunai Bumper Case
+ Special slot to insert the side-port rubber seal
+ RGB syncs with the ROG Phone 2
+ Comes with a carrying case (but could be wider to fit together with Kunai Bumper Case)
- no option to turn off the secondary display
- still lacks integrated content that supports dual display mode
- Game Genie doesn't run on secondary display
- You cannot run key mapping on the secondary display
- Audio gets mixed up when you are running two apps together
When the ROG Phone was launched last year, the next limelight after the device got all eyes on its TwinView Dock, that is supposed to extend the ROG Phone into dual displays. In my own opinion, it was more of a disaster than a complement. It was one of the reviews that had negatives outweighing the positives, putting a huge challenge ahead for it to ever impress me again. This time, its back as ROG TwinView Dock II.
Let’s take a tour down the memory lane. Let me highlight some of the points that I brought forward for the previous TwinView Dock. The display would downclock to 60Hz when the phone was docked, losing the ROG Phone’s strong point. It had an SD Card slot that I didn’t see any purpose for when the ROG Phone itself didn’t have it and already had a blazing fast storage. It wasn’t possible to clam the TwinView Dock when you had a glass tempered glass on the phone. Finally, a little request to have a hard case bundled for easy carrying. Let’s see if the ROG TwinView Dock II gets some treatment this time around.
If you’re here wondering if the ROG TwinView Dock II will work with the older ROG Phone 1, then I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t support it. You would need the older TwinView Dock for that.
Unboxing the ROG TwinView Dock II
We got the ROG Phone 2 Super Pack with all the accessories in it. To showcase everything, we have created a simple “deluggaging” (instead of unboxing) video for you guys. Jump to minute 5:45 for the ROG TwinView Dock II part.
The first thing that you can immediately appreciate here is the fact that ASUS answered our prayers and bundled a hard case just like we wanted! It goes with their branding, and it protects the TwinView Dock II from damages when you are carrying it in a bag. It’s a portable accessory after all. You get the TwinView Dock 2 nicely packed in the hard case along with a Quickstart Guide. That’s really all you need.
The ROG TwinView Dock II is a clamshell design that can be folded open and gives you a second display for your ROG Phone 2. The outer shell has a matte plastic finishing with half of it gracing diagonal lines. The ROG logo neatly sits on one side and much like most of the ROG Phone 2 transparent elements, this too has RGB lighting underneath it.
At the hinge of the ROG TwinView Dock II, you will be introduced with a Republic of Gamers logo engraved right above the lock and activation toggle. Under this toggle, you will find the USB Type-C port to charge it up when the battery depletes. Yes, it has a 5,000mAH battery under this, 1,000mAH lesser than the previous generation, but considering how slim this has become, I’ll accept the trade. You can also notice that the ROG TwinView Dock II no longer have trigger buttons like that one previous model had. Honestly, I don’t miss them anyway.
The bottom of the ROG TwinView Dock II shows four rubber feet that provides grip to your fingers when you hold it in your palms, while the long rubber strip near the hinge provides grip for when you lay the ROG TwinView Dock II on a flat surface. To the right, you can see the similar turbo fan that you can find in the AeroActive Cooler II that channels the cool air from the bottom of the ROG TwinView Dock II to the mounted ROG Phone 2.
Opening up the ROG TwinView Dock II introduces a display which is now mounted to the top instead unlike the previous TwinView Dock where the secondary display was at the bottom. The display looks similar to the ROG Phone 2 including the speaker grille slits, but there are no speakers present here this time around. Near these grilles, you will see two rubber seals along with a longer one near the hinge that prevent the secondary display from coming into contact with the ROG Phone 2 display, preventing unwanted damages.
Next to the long rubber seal, an amber schemed volume rocker and the power button are present. This is essential because the power button and the volume rocker on the ROG Phone 2 will be hidden once you mount the device. Oh, and I do love this position more than the one on the previous TwinView Dock. This one is a lot more accessible.
Things get even more interesting at the mounting area. The lower area houses a proprietary connector that marries the ROG Phone 2 and the ROG TwinView Dock II. Next to this connector, is a status indicator that lights up when charging. Across this, near the hinge, is the fastener with sliding mechanism.
On the base, there are four rubber standoffs that keep the ROG Phone 2 elevated instead of rubbing against the plastic. But that’s not the only reason it’s elevated. At the bottom left area, you can see a vent that channels the air from the turbo fan at the bottom to the phone area. With the phone elevated, this cool air can be evenly spread to maximize the cooling area rather than just spotting at one area.
Finally, behind the mounting port, there is a reflective strip that houses an RGB line under it. Honestly, looking at this piece, I was hoping there was an OLED underneath with customization options for example providing the device stats like temperature, FPS, fan speed, clock, notifications, or perhaps even a personalized scrolling text? Maybe for the next version, but for now, RGB strip it is. Underneath this strip, is a 3.5mm audio jack to plug in your favourite earphones.
My god, the ROG TwinView Dock II feels totally different from its predecessor! It feels a lot lighter and feels more functional. It also has a much balanced weight distribution and center of gravity as the secondary display now sits at the top while the phone sits at the lower part which totally makes more sense!
ROG TwinView Dock II Specifications
|Display||6.59″ 120Hz/1ms AMOLED|
|Interfaces||– USB Type-C|
– 3.5mm audio combo jack
|Dimensions||173.2 x 111.6 x 29.2 mm|
|Input Rating||9V 3A (27W)|
I suppose the first part of using the ROG TwinView Dock II is to mount ROG Phone 2 itself. It is fairly simple and there are some awesome parts to it. You do not need to remove the Aero casing or the Kunai Bumper case to use the ROG TwinView Dock II
The first thing you need to do is to remove the rubber seal from the charging port. The good thing is, the ROG TwinView Dock II has a place to put the rubber seal. It’s located right near the hinge as shown below.
This hinge has springs underneath that allows you to push the ROG Phone 2 inwards before mounting the connecting port at the bottom. That is how you mount the ROG Phone 2 on the ROG TwinView Dock II. The extra room allows enough space to push further when you are using the Aero case of even the Kunai Bumper case.
Once you have secured it, the ROG TwinView Dock II display will not immediately turn on. That’s because, you need to lock it from the back first. To do this, just slide the toggle button near the USB Type-C port. This will activate the secondary display.
The display that you are now seeing, supports 120Hz/1ms just like the one on your ROG Phone 2. Which means, unlike the previous generation TwinView Dock that would clock the refresh rate down to 60Hz, with the ROG TwinView Dock II, you can continue using the 120Hz on it as well. This makes it perfect!
Let’s get real and dive into the usage. Let me first break the surprise for you, at the time of writing, the only game that still supports the dual screen mode is the Asphalt 9. While the ROG Armoury reports that Shadowgun Legends does support TwinView, it wasn’t working at the time of writing, leaving only Asphalt 9 that shows you the racing map as you are racing. So we’re gonna just skip the dual screen test part.
I think the best way to enjoy the ROG TwinView Dock II is by pairing it with the Kunai controllers. The Kunai controllers are smart enough to determine which display is running a game. If you are running only a game on either display while the other one is on standby, Kunai controllers will work with that game regardless of which display it is running on. If you want to switch the Kunai controllers to control your homescreen on the other display, you just need to tap any area of that screen and Kunai controllers will shift its focus to that display instead. That’s really interesting. Let’s put a little more pressure on it.
If you run a game on one display and an application (Discord for example) on the other, Kunai controllers will automatically work with the display that is running the game instead. Again, you can shift the focus by tapping any area of the other display and Kunai controllers will let you navigate around it. Nifty. Let’s make it harder now.
If you are running two games separately on each of the displays, Kunai will only work with the bottom display (your ROG Phone 2) and it is not possible to shift the Kunai controllers focus to the top display. If you are asking, why am I running two games at the same time, then I guess you’re not a gamer enough to get the ROG Phone 2. 😛 A perfect scenario would be, playing a game on the bottom display while farming (or playing an autoplay game) on the top one. Oh, you would be surprised, the ROG Phone 2 can run two games together perfectly fine.
All that is fine. Except, there is one major problem.
Game Genie will only work on the phone’s display. It will not appear on the secondary display. This means, you can’t run macros, or live stats, or use AirTriggers, or record the gameplay, or set gamepad keymapping on the second display. This means, if the game doesn’t have native support for the Kunai controllers, you cannot play it on the secondary display.
Assuming you run a natively supported game (eg: Shadowgun Legends) on the secondary display and another non-native game (eg: Call of Duty Mobile) on the primary display, there is another issue. The audio gets all mixed up. Both games will be drawing their audio together, making it all jumbled up. There is no way to turn off the audio of one display or another. If you turn the volume down, both games will be affected. Your only option for now is to alter the audio settings in the game itself.
Another thing that ticks me off a bit is that I cannot turn off the other display when I am gaming on one. See, the ROG TwinView Dock II has a built in 5000mAH battery that you can set to either smartly consume together with the ROG Phone 2 battery, or you can set it into power bank mode that would charge your ROG Phone 2 as you use it. This will come at the cost of your secondary display always running. You can’t even alter the brightness of the secondary display. If you turn down the brightness, both displays get affected.
Another issue that bugs me a bit is that when you have two apps concurrently running, when you hit the multi-task button on the secondary display, your primary display’s app will be put in the background too, bringing you to the homescreen. Sure, you can switch to the game again and continue where you left as it doesn’t really “kill” the game, but it gets annoying at one point. Hitting the multi-task button on the primary display, doesn’t affect the secondary display though so I am assuming this is a bug that can be fixed with a firmware update soon.
Look, I am being very tough with the ROG TwinView Dock II here. I really have high hopes that this piece of accessory can be a huge game changer and I really want to bring the best out of it. All these issues that I am putting are actually pushing the limits of the TwinView Dock II. In all honesty, I don’t see the ROG TwinView Dock II as a multi-applications accessories, but rather a multi-display extension. But the games support is still lacking, so I had to push it beyond its job scope to see what else can it do. After all, the ROG TwinView Dock II is not cheap, more over if you bundle it with the Kunai controllers.
On a personal level, I really love what ASUS has done here. The ROG TwinView Dock II feels perfect in palms. The size is just right. The weight is excellent. The adaptation to other accessories is impressive. For serious gamers, having another display is a wonder. For streamers, I’m sorry, there is no front facing camera on the TwinView Dock II other than the one on the primary screen that will be shooting your nostrils if you activate it.
The integration with the Armoury Crate is perfect. The fan and RGB lighting effects adapt right from what you have defined in it. That part is all good.
One final thing that ASUS could have done was to make the carrying pouch slightly larger. I’m not asking to put the Kunai attached, but at least to have the ROG Phone 2 mounted with the Kunai bumper case attached. It needed like 2cm of extra width to fit it.
For the price of RM899? I’m actually glad it’s about RM100 cheaper than the older TwinView Dock and does a much better job.
The ROG TwinView Dock II has really improved a lot from the past version. Most of my unchecked items in the previous generation have been resolved. However, it does need a little more polishing especially on the software and integration side. If ASUS is clear that the purpose of the TwinView Dock is mainly for dual display games, then it needs to get more developers on board quickly to make it relevant. Then again, Rome was not built in one day.
I personally urge developers to give this a shot. I would love to play Mobile Legends while having a larger map and shop on the secondary display. I would love to play FPS games while showing my inventory on the other display. I’m very sure, there are a lot of gamers out there that would agree to this too.