We have enough smartphones, you can say. In fact, there are quite a few devices that are currently on store shelves. Recently, there have been more than usual smartphones that are dedicated to gamers. One of the latest proposals of this type is Asus ROG Phone 5. How does it work in practice? Does it live up to players’ expectations? Find out by reading the review below.
Contents of the box and specification
In the case of the latest device from Asus, we are dealing with a package preserved in black, which has one interesting solution. When configuring the phone, we can use the full potential of the box. After opening the “spread” of the packaging, it can be scanned with the camera and an animated version of the comic appears, which gives a kind of introduction to the operation of the device itself. The whole thing looks really interesting and is something completely different than what the manufacturers of mobile equipment have taught us so far. Interactive comics vary depending on the specific ROG Phone 5 model and version. What’s inside the box? First of all, in addition to the phone itself, there is also a charger with a detachable USB type C cable, as well as a simple plastic case. The set may not be particularly extensive, but it is enough for standard operation. It is worth noting that all elements of the set are made of good quality materials. In addition, the USB type C cable is braided, which should also affect the good life of the accessory.
In the case of specifications, in fact, you can’t fault anything. The heart of the device is the latest Qualcomm chip, i.e. Snapdragon 888 with 8GB, 12GB or 16GB of RAM. Depending on the version, we also have up to 256 GB of ROM. The specification is complemented by a 6000 mAh battery with fast charging technology, as well as a large 6.78-inch display with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. In addition, there is a main camera of 64 Mpx, 13 Mpx wide-angle and 5 Mpx macro. The full specification of the device can be found in the table below.
Build quality and design
In general, when it comes to equipment dedicated to players, manufacturers have been moving towards a large amount of RGB lighting and black and red for years. The whole is usually quite massive and crude, which may not always please. In the case of the latest ROG Phone 5, some of these things are correct. First of all, the phone is not the smallest design. It has a large screen and a large battery, which makes the weight of the device noticeable. The entire phone in terms of design has not gone completely into the gaming world. Rather, it is quite an aesthetic combination of solutions known from standard smartphones with gaming elements. We have a black housing, with sharp cutouts by the cameras, red inserts by the physical buttons, as well as an LED screen on the back of the device. As for the quality of workmanship – we have aluminum edges, but as for the back of the device, I have some doubts about their quality. It is true that the back does not bend even with greater pressure, but when touched, it does not make the best impression. You can just feel the plastic that shouldn’t be on this shelf.
From the front we get a quite large 6.78-inch display. Importantly, we do not have any notch or other cutout. Instead, there was a wider bezel on the top and bottom of the display. Above it is a small camera lens, as well as a notification LED. On the right edge we find a longer volume rocker, and a little lower the power button, as well as one of the microphones. Their jump is noticeable and pleasant. It works well with everyday use of the phone. It is worth mentioning that we also have air triggers, which are actually touch points on the edge that act as physical triggers, they are located on the extreme parts of the edge. A solution useful in games, although not all of them work as they should. Vis a vis we find a USB type C output with a magnetic port for connecting external modules. A little lower, in turn, we have the tray for the SIM card. On the bottom edge we have a second USB Type-C output, as well as a 3.5 mm mini jack headphone output. In turn, the upper edge of the device is only the second of the microphones. The back of the device is an average-sized island for three cameras, and a slightly lower LED illuminating diode, as well as an additional screen in the form of information.
We have at our disposal a large 6.78-inch screen that works with a maximum resolution of 1080×2400 pixels, which gives a density of 388 pixels per inch. The screen is made in AMOLED technology. What gives a real advantage over other displays is the refresh rate of 144 Hz. In addition, it is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus glass. For the other layers, we have oleophobic as standard, which makes it easier to clean the screen. As for the quality of the displayed image, I have no comments. The colors are well reproduced. There is also no problem with the depth of black. The whole thing looks really good in this regard. Due to the fact that we are dealing with the lack of a notch or other cutout, the frames around the screen are quite large. In the case of this type of phones, such a solution is better than a notch. In the case of the screen itself, in the settings we have quite a large number of different functions and settings, we can change the refresh of the display, change the color scheme and a number of other settings. In technical terms, I can’t fault the quality of the display itself. Asus has also implemented a second display, which in fact works on the principle of an extended LED. The ROG logo is displayed in a different color and can be customized almost as much as you like. An interesting gadget, which, incidentally, is not something necessary in the case of a smartphone.
Typically, when it comes to Android smartphones, not much has happened in the context of batteries in this technology recently. However, Asus, to be honest, positively surprised me in this respect and implemented some interesting solutions that are hard to find in other competing smartphones. But let’s start with dry information. First of all, we have a cell with a capacity of 6000 mAh, actually 2×3000 mAh. Thanks to this technology, we have faster charging, even 65 W (the appropriate charger is included in the set). The phone itself on a single charge when we do not play, and we use the phone “normally” is enough for about a day and a half. However, when we start to use the phone intensively, about 6-8 hours is enough. However, the charging process itself with maximum power takes less than an hour. A very good result, but in the long run it can destroy this link. Therefore, the manufacturer has implemented the ability to schedule slow and even charging, so that the process is slower all the time, but it is more beneficial for the battery itself. Secondly, we have the option of enabling the option where the phone is charged, e.g. to 80 or 90 percent, which is also definitely safer for the cell. Of the interesting solutions, the manufacturer has used a technology that allows us to use the charger without the cell itself. A particularly useful option when playing, when we do not want to destroy our battery in the phone, and we have access to an electrical outlet. Then the energy is drawn directly from the socket, and the phone itself is not charged. The whole thing heats up less, and the battery is also not used. In general, when it comes to heating up during charging, it is practically non-existent here. The phone is simply cold to the touch even when using the fast charging technology to the maximum. It is a pity that the manufacturer did not implement the inductive or reverse charging technology, but with the number of other interesting solutions, this element can be omitted.
When it comes to cameras, we have at our disposal a triple main one, i.e. 64 Mpx, 13 Mpx wide-angle and 5 Mpx macro, as well as 24 Mpx from the front for selfies. In the case of gaming phones, cameras are definitely not the smartphone’s strongest point, and this is also the case with ROG Phone 5. The main eyelet, i.e. 64 Mpx Sony IMX686 optics, takes really decent photos if we talk about good lighting. Then the pictures look good. The situation is different in the case of night photos, when the quality of light decreases. Then we have to reckon with a lot of noise, as well as the average color of the photos. As for the other two eyes, the quality of photos taken with the participation of a wide-angle lens or a marko lens noticeably decreases, in my opinion it is a more interesting addition than an element that we can use on a daily basis. Especially Marko are quite average, as in a phone for PLN 1,000, and not for several times as much. As for recordings, I don’t have any interesting solutions here either. We have the ability to record even in 8K (although the manufacturer does not provide a frame rate here) as well as 4K in 60 frames and 30 frames. There is image stabilization, but I immediately say not in all recording qualities. It works ok, but not too crazy. I will say that when it comes to the camera, I did not expect fireworks. We get solid components from which you can take pretty good pictures. In my opinion, we should not require more from a gaming phone in this respect. Fans of mobile photography should look for another solution.
The phone works under the control of the latest version of the system signed with a green robot marked with the number 11 with minor modifications. As for the security package, at the time of testing the device, the update appeared to the February version of this year. Which is a good result, but on the other hand, the April or May updates are a bit lacking. In fact, we have one highly developed application, which is actually the entire command center of the phone’s gaming capabilities and it reveals the full capabilities of the phone.
In terms of multimedia, we get a very solid set. First of all, a large display with high refresh rate support, Full HD+ and HDR resolution all make watching movies and multimedia really enjoyable. We also have a stereo speaker, so the sound quality is really decent. Fans of wired headphones should also be pleased, thanks to the 3.5 mm mini jack headphone output. As a matter of fact, we do not have any major oversights on the part of Asus when it comes to the multimedia set. Anyway, each of the above elements also improves the experience of the game itself.
Performance and gaming
ROG Phone 5 is definitely one of the most powerful smartphones we have available on the mobile technology market. First of all, we get Snapdragon 888 with support from 8 GB to even 16 GB of RAM. This is by far the strongest combination you can currently buy. Benchmark results are also a definite top. However, the biggest job is done by the additional software that enhances various gaming possibilities. First of all, we have a pre-installed application thanks to which we can change many different options. We have several predefined settings that allow us to adjust the power of the device to our current requirements. The differences in the operation of individual solutions are actually visible and it is worth testing different versions. An additional solution that appears in the case of games is a panel that can be pulled out from the left edge. There, in turn, we have a whole lot of different options related to, for example, refreshing the screen, recording video or charging the device. Thanks to them, we can properly adapt the phone to our requirements with just a few taps.
ROG Phone 5 contains all the most important wireless communication modules, we have at our disposal, of course, the 5G module, NFC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. During the tests, there were no problems with the operation of these modules. They worked flawlessly and when it comes to the quality of calls, I also did not notice any problems. Both me and the interlocutor could be heard very well during the entire conversation.
Asus ROG Phone 5 is a very successful phone that was designed with gamers in mind from the very beginning. We have top performance, a lot of different additional solutions, both physical, such as an additional fan for cooling the phone, but also in programming. In fact, the biggest shortcomings include the lack of support for inductive charging, lack of water resistance and maybe a bit too high a price, but on the other hand, that’s what the largest equipment manufacturers want for their flagship smartphones.