Asus’s ROG smartphone series has made somewhat of a cult following for itself. Gamers around the globe swear by it and every year they wait with great anticipation for the upgraded version. Last year we saw ASUS ROG Phone 3, which was excellent at the price point. This time the version 5 has been launched and not the 4. So, what happened to version 4? Well, in the Chinese language if you pronounce ‘four’ it means ‘death’, hence is inauspicious. This is why you will not find that version in any Chinese/Taiwanese gadget/tech or other industry. We got to play with the smartphone for some time and is it better than the previous version? Let us find out, this ASUS ROG Phone 5 review you all need to read before buying.
ASUS ROG Phone 5 Design and Display
Asus has been designing some great looking smartphones when it comes to the ROG series. ASUS ROG Phone 5 is no different. The smartphone comes with a large 6.78-inch display upfront with a larger bezel on top, rather than on the bottom. This is done because the selfie camera and other sensors are placed here, so you end up getting a pure full-screen experience without a selfie camera notch or cut out hindering the experience.
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The screen is protected using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the best in class toughened glass for smartphones. The sides have a metal frame running across. On the right side, you will find the returning pressure-sensitive air triggers along with the power and volume rocker keys. On the left side, you get the SIM tray, a connector for accessories like the fan and a USB Type-C charging port. At the bottom, you will find the second USB Type-C charging port and the 3.5mm jack, which makes a comeback as it was omitted in the previous edition.
At the top, there is nothing besides another microphone. Talking about which, there are 5 of them on the ASUS ROG Phone 5 so that when you are gaming your voice ends up going to your teammates without any problems.
Coming to the back of the ASUS ROG Phone 5, the smartphone has become much smoother. We say this because now a single sheet of CGG (Corning Gorilla Glass) 3 comes on it. But here is the fun part about it, you do get a familiar rear camera bump, but at the bottom you get a ROG logo LED panel, which has a lot of bling value as we all know how much gamers love to show off their rigs and smartphones. This comes to life when you are gaming or are in the X-mode.
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Coming back to the display, ASUS ROG Phone 5 has a 144Hz AMOLED display that supports up to 1,200 nits of brightness and HDR 10+. FHD+ is the resolution that strides in with the smartphone. We loved every bit of it. We found the display to be bright and vivid. Gaming, as well as movies, experience on it, was top notch. Something that we have seen earlier on Samsung and Apple devices only. The display gets an A+ on our sheets as the graphics are lively, characters are crisp, and the screen does not wash out even under direct sunlight. We played a few Netflix shows on it and they all look good. ASUS ROG Phone 5 can manage dark scenes and fast-paced action scenes with extreme ease.
Performance and cameras
Now there is a lot to say about the ASUS ROG Phone 5 performance and cameras. We can write a thesis on it; however, we will try to give you as much of it in the shortest and simplest manner. But first, let us quickly get the tech specs out of the way. The smartphone comes screaming in with the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. This is the absolute best when it comes to premium performance and gaming capabilities.
The is partnered with Adreno 660 graphics. With that, you get 8, 12 or 16 GB of RAM. The one we are testing has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. The 8GB RAM version comes with 128GB storage, the 16GB RAM model also comes with 256GB storage. The storage is UFS 3.1 supported. For audio, there is stereo sound available as there are twin loudspeakers available on the ASUS ROG Phone 5. These are optimised for the best gaming sound with DTS:X so that you always end up getting chicken dinner in PUBG.
A 6,000 mAh battery (3,000 + 3,000 mAh) is installed in the smartphone that gave us almost 2 days of battery life when we used it nominally with just 30 mins of gaming. But if you do game a lot on it, then you will get less than a day of battery. Talking about which, we played a lot of games on it. Everything from COD: Mobile to Asphalt 9: Legends was played on it and we never got a chance to complain. The graphics are superb and there is no lag on it. However, the smartphone does get a bit warm when you play for more than 30 mins. Thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and multi-point antennas, we rarely got any packet drops.
The touch response of the air-triggers has also become better, and it did give us the edge in battle royale games such as PUBG: Mobile. Armoury crate app also comes installed on the ASUS ROG Phone 5. This will enable you to tune the phone for each game type. A very good tool if you play different genres of games on your smartphone. Over that, you also get Game Genie for in-game tools. This will enable you to stop alerts, calls etc when you are gaming so you end up getting no-interruption gaming. This can be brought by swiping right from the left edge of the phone when gaming. It also shows you the temperature of the smartphone.
The operating system on the ASUS ROG Phone 5 is Android 11, which comes with ASUS’s ROG skin on top. This gives the users a very clean UI experience. However, it is not totally bloatware-free. Thankfully, much of it can be uninstalled.
Coming to the cameras of the ASUS ROG Phone 5, the handset comes with 3 cameras at the back. These include a primary 64MP wide, 13MP ultrawide and 5MP sensor for macro shots. The primary camera is the best out of the three. We got some very good shots from it in the day as well as night. For close-up shots, we did turn on the LED flash, which enabled us to get better details from portrait shots at night. Ultrawide angle shots we were not in awe of, as the details did come down a lot and smudged edges were apparent. The same is the case with Macro shots. 3 out of ten shots were not very useful. So, you need to get a hang of it or take multiple shots of the subject and keep the best one.
8K video recording can be shot on the smartphone at 30 FPS. However, we did like the 4K at 60FPS to be our preferred setting for videos. The front camera is driven by a 24MP sensor and it is exceptional for taking selfies during the day. During low-light, you do get decent shots too, a night not so much. The best is to use the rear camera with LED flash for the best results.
But ASUS ROG Phone 5 is not built primarily for photographers. It is built for gaming and it excels in the department. We loved the performance of the smartphone when it came to video games.
All in all, the ASUS ROG Phone 5 is one of the best munitions you can own if you are a semi or a professional gamer. At Rs 57,999 for the 12GB variant, Asus is asking for a shiny penny, however, we do believe it is worth every penny. If you want the absolute latest with top-of-the-line features for gaming, then this smartphone is the right choice for you.
Superb gaming experience
Ultra-Wide camera could have been better
Price will not be appreciated by all.
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