[First Impressions] ASUS ROG Phone 5: Solid Powerhouse For Gamers

ASUS ROG Phone 5

ASUS ROG Phones are a benchmark in the gaming world that a lot of devices try to catch up with. ASUS has made a brilliant series of devices in the ROG line. This year, they are back with the ASUS ROG Phone 5 as the next update in the series. Given the kind of power and performances that these devices deliver, I was very excited to get my hands on it. I spent time with the phone and here are my first impressions

Lets look at the specifications first

  ROG Phone 5

Ultimate (Limited)

ROG Phone 5 Pro ROG Phone 5
Colors Storm White (matte) Phantom Black (Glossy) Phantom Black / Storm White (both Glossy)
Processor 2.84 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888 5G Mobile Platform with 5nm, 64-bit Octa-core Processor
GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 660
OS & UI Android™ 11 with ROG UI
Display 6.78” 20.4:9 2448×1080 (395ppi) 144Hz/1ms AMOLED HDR10+ certified;

300Hz touch sampling rate, 24.3ms touch latency;

Brightness: 5 nits to 800nits @ APL100 + HBM or 1200nits @ APL1,
111% DCI-P3, sRGB : 150.89%, Delta E average <1%;

Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1

Front 2.5D Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus™
SGS Eye Care 6.5% & SGS Seamless Pro (120Hz)
AS coating for reducing friction when hand sweating

Display chip Pixelworks i6 processor






SD storage no SD-card reader; NTFS support for external HDD
Sensor Accelerator, E-Compass, Proximity, Ambient light sensor, in-display fingerprint sensor, Gyro, Ultrasonic sensors for AirTrigger 5 and grip press detection
Extra sensor Touch Sensor on back cover *2 N/A
Main Rear Camera 64MP SONY IMX686 sensor, 0.8 µm pixel size – Quad Bayer technology with 16MP, 1.6 µm large effective pixel size, F1.8, 1/1.7” sensor, 2×1 OCL PDAF, LED flash
Second Rear Camera 13MP, 125˚   ultra-wide, F2.4, Real-time distortion correction, 11mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera
Third Rear Camera 5MP Macro, F2.0
Front Camera 24MP, 0.9µm, Quad Bayer Technology, F2.45, Lens diameter only 2.7mm

26.5mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera

Back Cover ROG Vision – monochrome PMOLED display ROG Vision – Color PMOLED display ROG (RGB light) logo
Video Recording 8K (7680 by 4320) @ 30 fps (main rear camera)

4K (3840 by 2160) @ 30/60 fps (main rear camera), @ 30 fps (second rear camera)

1080p @ 30/60 fps; 720p @ 30 fps

3-axis electronic image stabilization for rear cameras

Time Lapse (4K)

Slow Motion video (4K @ 120 fps; 1080p @ 240/120 fps; 720p @ 480 fps)

Take still photo while recording video

Speaker Dual 7-magnet Linear 12x16mm front-facing speakers with GameFX & Dirac HD Sound

Powered by dual Cirrus Logic CS35L45 Mono AMP

Audio Output Audiophile-grade ESS Sabre ES9280AC Pro with HyperStream® II QUAD DAC™ ® architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator with built-in Class G SABRE Headphone amplifier (up to 2Vrms)

GameFX audio system for improved in-game audio experience

New AudioWizard with EQ adjustments + Music/ Game/ Movie profiles tuned by Dirac

Microphone Quad microphones with OZO Noise Reduction Technology
Wireless Technology IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2×2 MIMO,  3 Antenna

WiFi-Direct support

UL 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.2

Bluetooth Profile: HFP + A2DP + AVRCP + HID + PAN + OPP
Additional Bluetooth audio codec: LDAC + aptX + aptX HD + aptX Adaptive

Navigation GNSS GPS(L1/L5), Glonass(L1), Galileo(E1/E5a), BeiDou(B1/B2a), QZSS(L1/L5), NavIC(L5)
SIM Cards Dual SIM dual standby


Data rate*

ROG Phone 5 Ultimate &

Support EN-DC(5DL+FR1)

FR1: DL up to 4.0Gbps / UL 542Mbps (after April FOTA)

LTE 7CA DL Cat20 Up to 2.0Gbps UL Cat13 Up to 150Mbps
DC-HSPA+: DL 42Mbps / UL 5.76Mbps

2×2 MIMO and CA with 4×4 MIMO support

Data rate*

ROG Phone 5 (8 & 12GB)

Support EN-DC(5DL+FR1)

FR1: DL up to 4.0Gbps / UL 542Mbps (after April FOTA)

LTE 7CA DL Cat20 Up to 1.4Gbps UL Cat13 Up to 150Mbps
DC-HSPA+: DL 42Mbps / UL 5.76Mbps

2×2 MIMO and CA with 4×4 MIMO support

Network support

ROG 5 – Pro and Ultimate

5G (n41/77/78/79, n66, n71, n1,n2 n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n38,n40 *US not Support n40)
FDD-LTE (1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 13(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800),25(1900), 26(850),28(700), 29(700),30(2300), 32(1500), 66(1700/2100), 71(600)
TD-LTE (34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500), 48(3600), 42(3500) * US not Support b40)
(800 (19)/ 850(5/6) / 900(8) / 1700(AWS) / 1800 / 1900 / 1(2100)
EDGE/GPRS/GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2)

ROG Phone 5 (8 & 12GB)

5G n41/77/78/79,  n1, n3, n7, n8, n20 , n28, n38
FDD-LTE 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900),18,19, 20(800),26, 28(700)
TD-LTE 34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500), 48(3600), 42(3500) * US not Support b40
WCDMA HSDPA 850(5) / 900 / 1700/1800/1900 / 1(2100)
EDGE/GPRS/GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2)
Interface Side: Type C connector + Pogo  pin (5 pins):

USB3.1 gen2/DP 1.4(4K)/Fast Charging (QC3.0+QC5.0/PD3.0)/Direct Charge

Bottom: Type C connector: USB2.0/Fast Charging (QC3.0/PD3.0)/Direct Charge

3.5mm Audio Jack: Headphone

NFC Support (Card mode support in power off)
Battery Dual 3,000mAh batteries MMT Design, Total 6,000mAh (typ.)
Charger 30W (12V 2.5A) PD/ QC4.0 / Direct Charge adapter 30W (12V 2.5A) PD/ QC4.0 / Direct Charge adapter
Dimensions 172.8mm (6.09 inches), 77.2mm (2.72 inches), 10.29mm (0.36 inches)
Weight 238 grams (8.39 ounces) (TBA)
Accessories Aeroactive Cooler 5

Aero case

30W HyperCharger

Aero case

30W HyperCharger

This year ROG Phone comes in four different designs. It is slightly longer than its predecessor and has smaller bezels to provide even more screen without making the phone bigger. Looks like a lot of thought has gone into this design and finding the perfect balance between screen size and overall physical size.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

ASUS has managed to make the bezels 25% smaller without losing any of the benefits they provide:

  • The front-facing speakers are actually bigger (and symmetrical) with larger total box size.
  • Cleaner look. No notch or punch hole design and the new camera diameter is 27% smaller.
  • Room for 3.5mm Jack and 6000mAh MMT battery.
  • Minimizes the risk of unintentional touches during intensive gaming.

The standard ROG Phone 5 is available in either Storm white or Phantom black with a glossy clean dot matrix design that we recognize from popular ROG products like the ROG Zephyrus G14.  The illuminated ROG logo has been updated from last generation and is now able to display two colors which blend with a nice gradient effect. It also supports 8 different lighting schemes for a more personal look.

The ROG Phone 5 Pro stands out even more with its black space opera aesthetics, creating a distinctive and futuristic look. Instead of the illuminated ROG Logo, it has a dazzling rear matrix PMOLED display called ROG Vision. This display can show customizable graphics for scenarios like incoming calls, loading a game, charging, entering X mode and more. There will also be a limited version of ROG Phone 5 Pro called ROG Phone 5 Ultimate which comes in matte white and with a monochrome PMOLED display.

Another thing that sets Pro and Ultimate apart from the normal version is that it also has two additional AirTrigger touch sensors on the back of the phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

All models have the same comfortable rounded edges with Gorilla® Glass 3 on the back, while the screen is protected by the latest Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus™ – drop resistant up to 2 meters (GG6 is 1.6meter). Victus is also twice as scratch-resistant compared to Gorilla Glass 6 and up to four times more scratch-resistant than its competitors.

Also worth mentioning is the bundled AeroActive Cooler 5 compatible Aero case, with a textured black design for the black phones and a transparent design for the white ones; maintaining their futuristic design.

ROG Phone 5 is powered by the all new 5nm Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888 5G Mobile Platform with a 25% faster* Kryo™ 680 CPU and 35% faster* Qualcomm® Adreno™ 660 GPU (compared to SDM865). The Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™ suite now includes Variable Rate Shading (VRS) for up to 30%* performance improvement. All of which can be optimized with our X mode and multiple system profiles to adapt ROG Phone 5 to the task at hand.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

The Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF and Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6900 Connectivity Systems are now integrated, providing unprecedented performance and reliability.

To minimize any possible bottleneck ROG Phone 5 series has also been equipped with up to 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a world’s first (Ultimate Edition) and UFS3.1 SSD storage – ensuring smooth and fluid performance that can keep up with anything.

ROG Phone 5 also supports Wi-Fi 6; delivering a much more stable connection even in crowded networks. The multiple antenna setup is upgraded with HyperFusion technology which allows simultaneous connections to WiFi and the mobile network, with intelligent redirection to whichever has the best signal.

The new GameCool 5 cooling system on ROG Phone 5 employs a new and optimized thermal structure. The most heat-generating components have been placed in the center with two batteries, one located on each side of the main PCB, to ensure that the main hot spots are kept away from your fingers while gaming. This new arrangement also means that the heat generated by the centered CPU can be evenly transferred to all edges and corners of the chassis simultaneously for higher thermal efficiency. The reshaped vapor chamber and extensive graphite sheets also help to spread the heat evenly across the device to reduce heat building up in the middle of the phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

Looking for a new display, the ASUS team were searching for an alternative that could be just as fast as our previous model while providing even better image quality in more scenarios. They choose an E4 AMOLED panel from Samsung which they custom-made for the ROG Phone 5 with a slightly longer aspect ratio.

Brightness – The new display is not only 23% brighter (800 nits @ APL100 + HBM), providing better visibility in sunlight but it can also go as low as 5 nits while keeping distortions to a minimum.

Color accuracy – This HDR 10+ certified display is not only fast but also color accurate. Each phone is factory calibrated across different color gamut in a single process which provides an average Delta-E of <1 accuracy and a wide 111% DCI-P3 gamut coverage while maintaining a high color accuracy across refresh rates and at lower brightness levels.

Refresh rate – The market-leading 144hz refresh rate ensures the most fluid and blur-free experience available. Performance load and battery consumption increases the higher you go. Because of this it is possible to choose between 144Hz, 120Hz, 60Hz or Auto refresh rate, where ‘Auto’ aims to provide a balance between smoothness and battery life.

Touch latency – The touch response rate and latency are very important to gamers. These values define the time from a touch input to an actual action. The incredible industry-leading 300Hz touch-sampling rate (times per second the screen reports a touch position) is not the only factor that affects the result. We also have an “end to end” optimization of the phones hardware (touch data pipeline) together with system optimizations in the Android Framework to achieve a touch latency of only 24.3ms and a slide latency of 18ms; currently the world’s lowest latency.

Eye comfort – Eye comfort has not been forgotten, with DC Dimming 2.0 support, SGS Eye Care 6.5% and SGS Seamless Pro (120Hz) certifications.

In-display fingerprint reader – A feature not directly tied to the screen’s performance but still part of the screen is the in-display fingerprint reader that uses machine learning to improve its performance over time.

This year ASUS have made some major changes to the battery that gives huge advantages compared to last generation. Changes that made it possible to keep our 6000mAh capacity while increasing charging from 30W to 65W without sacrificing battery lifespan. Not only does it now charge to 4200mAh (70%) in only 30 min and 100% in 52min (vs 90min for ROG Phone 3) but it is also up to 7°C cooler during charging compared to the ROG Phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

Main camera: 64MP SONY IMX686 flagship sensor offering 16MP main mode using a Quad Bayer color filter or a native 64MP mode. This camera also allows lossless 2x magnification. A clever use of the 64MP capability which results in a genuine lossless 2x magnification during daylight. In low light conditions, it will switch to a 2x digital zoom based on the 16MP mode to capture enough light.

Secondary camera: 13MP 125-degree Ultra-wide angle camera with real-time distortion correction.

Third camera: 5 MP Macro

Camera features in ROG 5

  • Edit camera modes – Customize which modes that should be easily accessed and in what order. Disabled camera modes will show in “MORE”
  • Flashlight countdown indicator – LED will flash to indicate countdown timer. Only available with rear camera.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (Pro) – In pro mode you can set up to ±2-stops of exposure bracketing. The camera will then capture successive shots with different shutter speeds and aperture values to provide a photo with greater dynamic range. Great for photos with a lot of backlight (e.g. windows).
  • Custom presets (Pro) – You can quickly switch between three custom presets in Pro mode
  • Discrete tutorial – The first time you try a new camera mode there will be discrete tool tips telling you about all the features
  • Pro video mode – The camera now offers a video mode that gives you the same control as pro mode for photos
  • Directional Audio Recording – (Pro video mode) You can choose to use the front mic or back mic when recording
  • Free Zoom – (Pro video mode) This feature lets you select which part you want to zoom into without the need to move the camera. This will result in much smoother and professional looking zooming.
  • HDR Video – (Normal video mode) In some scenarios, video quality can improve with more information in light and dark areas.
  • HyperSteady Video – This mode utilizes the wide view camera to enable super steady video capture.
  • Wind Filter – Reduces wind noise when recording videos
  • Mic Focus – The microphone will focus on the subject you zoom-in on, making the sound from the subject more prominent
  • Separate Auto Exposure and Auto Focus – Set the exposure to something other than the subject you focus on
  • Seamless transitions – There is now a seamless transition between the cameras
  • Slow Motion 4K – Slow Motion now support from 480fps in HD to 120fps in 4K
  • 8K video – Capture 8K video in 30fps
  • More Time Lapse settings – Time lapse now lets you set not only speed but also duration and automatic zoom in / zoom out
  • Dynamic Night Mode – (Night & Normal photo mode) It is now possible to choose between night mode off, a shorter capture and a longer one. The duration of the capture time depends on the amount of detected light and movement. If the camera detects that you are using a tripod, the capture time of these options will increase even more.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

As far as first impressions go, this is a brilliant gaming powerhouse. More in the full review.

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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