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 is my review of the device
Lets look at the specifications first
|ROG Phone 5
|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,
Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1
Front 2.5D Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus™
|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
UL 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.2
Bluetooth Profile: HFP + A2DP + AVRCP + HID + PAN + OPP
|Navigation||GNSS GPS(L1/L5), Glonass(L1), Galileo(E1/E5a), BeiDou(B1/B2a), QZSS(L1/L5), NavIC(L5)|
|SIM Cards||Dual SIM dual standby
Dual Nano SIM (DSDV LTE+LTE)
ROG Phone 5 Ultimate &
FR1: DL up to 4.0Gbps / UL 542Mbps (after April FOTA)
LTE 7CA DL Cat20 Up to 2.0Gbps UL Cat13 Up to 150Mbps
2×2 MIMO and CA with 4×4 MIMO support
ROG Phone 5 (8 & 12GB)
FR1: DL up to 4.0Gbps / UL 542Mbps (after April FOTA)
LTE 7CA DL Cat20 Up to 1.4Gbps UL Cat13 Up to 150Mbps
2×2 MIMO and CA with 4×4 MIMO 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
As you can see ASUS has spared absolutely no effort in making this phone simply the best spec-ed phone right now in terms of power, speed and performance. The display and graphics are absolutely top notch too. This phone quite literally leaves nothing to the imagine. This has all that you want in a phone literally doubled. A complete performance monster in this package.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s talk about cameras and imaging now
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.
Battery saving features
- Hibernate apps – Limits background activity of apps which can save up to 67% of power in standby.
- Auto-start manager – Deny apps to auto-start after they have been force stopped.
- Super Clean Mode – (Found in Mobile Manager) Decide which apps that should be force stopped when swiping up in recent apps overview or pressing the “clear all” button. Can be used in combination with Auto-start manager.
- Detect battery-draining apps – The system will automatically detect apps that consume power even though they are not being used. You can allow the system to automatically close these applications.
- Battery-draining report – Suspected battery-draining apps will be listed in a report with detailed information.
- Switch by battery level – Switch to Ultra durable mode at desired battery level between 5-20%.
- Switch by schedule – Save power during sleep/work by going into Ultra durable mode
- Always-On-Display “by time” – Even though this function can only be found in the display settings, it is indeed a battery saving feature for those who use AOD and don’t charge their phone overnight.
Actual Usage and Gaming Performance
During my review, I found the phone to be living up to it’s full potential during gaming and multi-tasking. There was hardly any stutter or slowing even when I threw the heaviest apps at the phone running in parallel and kept switching them. The phone just took whatever I gave it and ran like it was nothing.
Gaming performance was over the roof. This is arguably the best gaming phone that I have ever used. There wasn’t even a single stutter or lag while running even the worlds heaviest games. Frame drops never happened in any instance. The heat management was remarkable and I hardly ever felt any thermal issue even during long gaming sessions.
On a single charge with above average use, I was able to get more than a days power and that was very comfortable. The fact that the phone is designed for horizontal use and even for ease of use when you are simultaneously charging and playing games is a brilliant thing for power user.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5 is the best and the most powerful gaming phone that money can buy now and in my entire usage time, I was not able to find even a single issue with the phone. Full marks to ASUS on this monster of a device that is the Undisputed King of Gaming Phones in my books.