Game on! The Asus ROG Phone 5 goes official!
If you find regular smartphones boring, this RGB-lit, aggressive-looking, beast of a phone will put a smile on your face. Asus is releasing three models this year - the vanilla ROG Phone 5, a Pro version, and a limited edition Ultimate model. Let’s take a closer look.
The RGB logo is here but there’s another surprise on the back
The ROG branding (Republic of Gamers) goes with certain aesthetics. Sharp and futuristic design elements meet RGB lighting and in the ROG Phone 5, there’s an updated RGB logo on the back that now supports two colors with a gradient effect and 8 lighting schemes. That’s cool and all but the Pro and Ultimate models take this a step further.
Instead of the illuminated ROG Logo, these two models feature a rear matrix PMOLED display called ROG Vision. It can display customizable graphics for incoming calls, loading a game, charging, entering X mode, and more. The standard ROG Phone 5 is available in either Storm white or Phantom black with a glossy clean dot matrix design.
The ROG Phone 5 design improvements go well beyond the visual part. The bezels are 25% smaller compared to the previous model and the front-facing speakers are bigger and now symmetrical.
One of the most responsive touch screens on a phone
All three ROG Phone 5 models feature a custom-made 6.78-inch E4 AMOLED panel from Samsung with FHD+ resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. Users can choose between 144Hz, 120Hz, 60Hz, or Auto refresh rate modes but the news here is the world’s lowest touch latency in a phone. The 300Hz touch sampling rate along with other hardware optimizations allows the ROG Phone 5 to achieve a touch latency of only 24.3ms and a slide latency of 18ms.
The new display is also 23% brighter than its predecessor, outputting 800 nits on a bright and sunny day. The color accuracy is also great, the panel has an HDR 10+ certification and an average Delta-E below 1. Finally, there’s an under-display fingerprint scanner that uses machine learning to improve its accuracy.
Raw power tuned for gaming
The ROG Phone 5 comes equipped with the latest Snapdragon chipset - the 888 with an overclocked Adreno 660 GPU that delivers 35% better performance compared to the last generation of ROG Phone. Thermal throttling is often an issue during high-intensity tasks, so Asus has improved the heat dissipation in its latest GameCool 5 design. The placement of the internal components has been re-engineered to maximize cooling, and the vapor chamber has been reshaped.
We all know that RAM is important for gamers and the ROG Phone 5 has an insane amount of it. The Ultimate model features 18GB of RAM - more than many modern PC gaming rigs out there. The Pro and Ultimate models also feature 512GB of internal storage, while the vanilla ROG Phone 5 offers a range of RAM and storage options - starting from 8GB/128GB and going up to 16GB/256GB.
All three models are equipped with WiFi 6E support; delivering a much more stable connection even in crowded networks.
Modern smartphones are already powerful enough to deal with gaming, so there has to be something different in the so-called “gaming” phones, right? It all boils down to controls and optimization - both software and hardware. The ROG Phone 5 features a redesigned AirTrigger system and Ultrasonic buttons on the chassis.
The core ROG Phone 5 can map up to 14 specific touchpoints on the screen simultaneously, while the Ultrasonic touch zones can also be used in various ways - as two long buttons, or 4 smaller ones. The Ultimate edition comes with two additional capacitive touch zones on the back, and you get two physical buttons on the AeroCool 5 accessory.
There’s a dedicated gaming mode, of course, called X-Mode, and the Game Genie software is back in its full glory with a dedicated Esports feature, that quiets down notifications and maxes out hardware performance. When you activate X Mode, a cool visual change will happen - all icons will get a red ring around them and live ROG wallpapers will starts to transform and glow. The RGB logo on the back of the phone will start to glow indicating that it's gaming time!
Cameras and Audio
If you’re a gamer, you probably don’t care much about mobile photography. The ROG Phone 5 however makes sure to offer an ample camera system just in case. There are three cameras on the back. The main shooter sports a 64MP sensor and can do lossless 2x magnification, there’s a secondary 13MP 125-degree Ultra-wide angle camera with real-time distortion correction, and finally a 5 MP Macro lens.
The audio features on the ROG Phone 5 are quite impressive. For starters, the two front-facing speakers use dedicated mono amps and a 7-magnet design that should deliver a powerful and clear sound. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and support for Hi-Res audio thanks to a Pro DAC chip and a dedicated headphone amplifier. There's an AudioWizard app that offers an easy-to-use 10-band equalizer, with different audio presets made by Dirac, including Dynamic, Music, Cinema and Game. Game mode will enhance in-game sound effects like footsteps and gunshots.
Two batteries make this phone an endurance champion
The overall better cooling of the ROG Phone 5 helps with charging temperatures as well - up to 7C cooler in 30W charging mode and up to 3C in 65W mode (compared to the ROG Phone 3). The larger capacity also results in fewer charge-discharge cycles which should help with battery longevity.
With the bundled AeroActive Cooler 5 you can get up to a 10°C drop in CPU temperature and a 15°C drop in surface temperature without any external power needed. Thanks to the new thermal design all the main PCB components are placed in the center of the phone and that’s where the cooler is placed. You can also control the fan speed – there's an on/off switch in the Game Genie app for the fan with 4 different speed settings plus an auto mode.
There’s an RGB logo on the cooler itself and also two physical buttons and a kickstand. It’s also worth mentioning that using the AeroActive 5 allows the ROG Phone 5 to enter X-Mode+, further overdriving the hardware. Talk about overclocking a phone.
The ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad is optional but if you ask any serious gamer, a physical gaming controller is a necessity. There’s nothing optional to it. This gamepad sports a modular design and can elevate your gaming experience to a whole new level. It’s compatible with the AeroActive Cooler, so you can turn everything to 11 and transform your phone into a full-fledged gaming machine.
Price and release date
The Asus ROG Phone is launching in Europe priced as follows:
- ROG Phone 5 starting from €799
- ROG Phone 5 Pro starting from €1199
- ROG Phone 5 Ultimate €1299
The Asus ROG Phone 5 series will be available starting from Q2 2021 in North America. Stay tuned for more information on pricing and release dates.