The ROG Phone 5 seemingly shows the determination of Asus to push a gaming-centric mobile device. Asus did put in a lot of features and brought changes to the aesthetic design of the device. The ROG Phone takes the gaming phone and pushes it to its limit. It packs in the latest hardware without any compromisation in the performance. So let’s take a deeper dive into the device.
This year Asus is launching three devices, the normal ROG Phone 5, ROG Phone 5 Pro, and the ROG Phone Ultimate. Asus is technically skipping the number 4 due to superstition reasons. But the ROG Phone thrives in the gaming market. But since the company is actually launching a phone instead of a handheld console, so there are only slight changes in the actual phone design.
The ROG Phone 5 comes with a Plain RGB backlight back panel. The mid-specced ROG Phone 5 Pro comes with a Glossy black panel with an RGB backlight. The ROG logo on the back of the device is customizable.
The high-end ROG Phone 5 Ultimate comes with an OLED screen on the back. The impressive OLED panel is customizable through the ROG Vision application. Asus provides preloaded messages and graphics. The Graphics on the back can be customizable to show display messages looking at the current situation of the phone.
Asus has clearly ditched the vent like the design on the back of the ROG phones. Previously the vents were advertised to cool down the devices, increasing the airflow and the performance. But vent design didn’t work well and wasn’t pleasing for the phone’s overall aesthetic.
The ROG phones come with dual USB-C ports on the bottom and the side. The side USB-C port comes with a mounting port for the cooler. We talk about the cooler later.
|Specification||ROG Phone 5 Ultimate||ROG Phone 5 Pro||ROG Phone 5|
|Colors||Matte White||Glossy Black||Phantom Black or Storm White|
|OS||Android 11 with ROG UI||Android 11 with ROG UI||Android 11 with ROG UI|
|Storage||512 GB UFS 3.1||512 GB UFS 3.1||256 GB UFS 3.1|
|RAM||18 GB LPDDR5||16 GB LPDDR5||8, 12, or 16 GB LPDDR5|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888||Snapdragon 888||Snapdragon 888|
|Display||6.78-inch 2448 x 1080 OLED with 144Hz refresh rate||6.78-inch 2448 x 1080 OLED with 144Hz refresh rate||6.78-inch 2448 x 1080 OLED with 144Hz refresh rate|
|Rear Camera||64 megapixel with F/1.8, 13-megapixel ultra-wide with F/2.4, and 5-megapixel macro lens with F/2.0||64 megapixel with F/1.8, 13-megapixel ultra-wide with F/2.4, and 5-megapixel macro lens with F/2.0||64 megapixel with F/1.8, 13-megapixel ultra-wide with F/2.4, and 5-megapixel macro lens with F/2.0|
|Front camera||24-megapixel with F2.45||24-megapixel with F2.45||24-megapixel with F2.45|
|Battery||6,000 mAh||6,000 mAh||6,000 mAh|
The ROG Phone 5 is competing against Xiaomi’s Black Shark and upcoming RedMagic 6 Pro. Asus has kitted out the phone with the latest Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G coverage support. It is quite impressive to see a wide variety of RAM support on the new ROG Phone 5. But the Ultimate model comes with massive 18 GB of LPDDR5 memory which is overkill and unnecessary. The whole system is cooled on a vapor chamber design keeping the temperature of the phone in check.
Looking at the deep into the device, it uses a dual battery setup where the mainboard stays in the middle of the chassis. The 512 GB UFS 3.1 storage is a blessing thanks to its ultra-fast speed read and write speed. But you don’t have the option for expandable storage. So you might have to opt for cloud storage later down on the line.
Keeping the phone in check, the ROG Phone 5 ships with a massive 6.78-inch FHD+ OLED display. The display might be too big for an average bloke. But the 144Hz refresh rate and the 300Hz touch sampling rate are just amazing giving smooth and lag-free gaming sessions. Under the OLED panel, it houses an in-screen fingerprint sensor to keep your security in check. Mind that this is a gaming phone, so the phone is actually quite thick and heavy.
Asus brings back the headphone jack?
It is unusual for any company to bring back any changes that they have made for the last generation device. Asus removed the headphone jack on the older ROG Phone 3. But it seems Asus was too hasty to remove the headphone jack. The ROG Phone 5 comes with a quad DAC for hi-res audio. A person doesn’t pay for high-end phones just to play games. The impressive ESS ES9280AC Pro Quad DAC can drive higher-end headphones providing hi-res audio.
Asus GeForce Experience?!
Asus has done a lot of research on the latest Armory Crate game launcher console UI. The Armory Crate is quite similar to the GeForce Experience on the desktop. The UI helps to tweak the performance of the device, squeezing every ounce of energy. The Software has different profiles for fine-tuning the performance. Some features like inverse color and on-screen crosshair might give a competitive edge over other devices. But in the end, comes down to the game developer to deem it as a cheat.
The Game Genie has other helpful features like key mapping. It makes it easier to map certain controls to its proprietary AirTriggers. The AirTriggers are touch sensors located on the side of the device. It acts as a trigger button with no means of haptic feedback. The Console UI makes it easier to map a controller to the game that you are playing.
The ROG Phone 5 comes with AeroActive Cooler 5. The Cooler 5 uses 5 pogo pins to activate and offer two extra trigger buttons on the back. The single fan does all the weight lifting and cools down the mobile device.
An okay Camera with a better processing
The industry has shifted towards 108 MP cameras with a Quad camera setup. Asus has stuck with a triple camera setup with a 64 MP main shooter. The 64-megapixel main shooter does an impressive job taking photos. But it all comes down to the image post-processing of the Snapdragon 888 processor.
The front 24 MP camera does a good job. The images have good contrast and object edge detection. But the image sharpening is overdone on all the photos. Asus uses a heavy sharpening filter on the image with somewhat okay end results.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is an expensive mobile device not fitting for its price. It has up-to-date Hardware with an impressive Snapdragon 888 processor and 18 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. But the $1583 price tag makes it an overkill option. At this very price point, you build yourself a gaming PC and get some extra gadgets like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones.
There are other cheaper options offering the same specification. The upcoming Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro, etc. offers the same specification but for a cheap price. Even if you want to stream games via the cloud, these cheap Snapdragon 888 phones have the same performance level as the ROG Phone 5.
The ROG Phone 5 offers so many features but the price of this device doesn’t fully justify its total package value. The 18 GB RAM is overkill and most of the high-end games won’t even run over 60 FPS. Asus built an impressive phone for gaming, but there other flagship phones which outclass in gaming considering the price. The ROG Fanboys and a handful of gamers will actually buy the phone. Where the average consumer looks for the mainstream devices from Samsung, Apple, etc.