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Asus ROG Phone 5 Review – Call it the Lamborghini of Smartphones

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
17th Apr 2021
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Asus ROG Phone 5
Review Summary

Asus ROG Phone 5 does make for a great gaming phone but it is just a minor upgrade from ROG Phone 3. Having taller, thicker, and wider dimensions mean it has lost compatibility with some of the ROG accessories which is a bo. Of course, the impeccable stereo speaker setup, dual-battery design, and some other features are worth trying out, I still feel you need to be a professional game to get the best out of the device. For the rest of us, buying a cheaper alternative can save a lot of bucks. Also, the camera quality is average so don’t expect to snag a photo of the year.

PROS
  • Massive 6000 mAh battery
  • 6.78-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate
  • 64MP triple-rear camera setup
  • Huge 16GB RAM + 256GB internal storage
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • 65W fast charging
  • Quick charge 5.0
CONS
  • No dust and water resistance
  • No wireless charging
  • Bulky smartphone
  • Buy this only if you love gaming
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
6000 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v11
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.78 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 6000 mAh
  • Android v11
Introduction - The Ultimate Gaming Phone is Here

There are some of the best smartphones out there with impeccable specifications released this year and yet, Asus ROG Phone 5 takes the position in the forefront just days after its launch. Asus ROG Phone 5 is a blend of top-notched specifications tested positive for offering the best gaming experience and packs in a dot-matrix-styled RGB ROG logo on the back and more.

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Asus ROG Phone 5 does have an insane battery life with a flamboyant display, design, and performance like no other. And no, you aren’t missing out on ROG Phone 4 as it was skipped. But how’s the phone when you are actually using it? Well, I had the Asus ROG Phone 5 12GB+256GB variant for more than a week for testing purposes and turns out these were the “best days of my life” (chuckles). Here’s a detailed review on Asus ROG Phone 5 to read along.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

With respect to the pricing, Asus ROG Phone 5 is available in three variants with, of course, its own set of storage configurations. Talking about the Indian variant, the 128GB+8GB variant of the ROG Phone 5 is available at Rs 49,999/- while the higher 256GB+12GB variant fetches a price tag of Rs 57,999/- on Flipkart.

Avail a tonne of offers such as up to Rs 16,500/- off on exchange of an eligible smartphone, No Cost EMI starting at Rs 8,334/- and Rs 9,667/- or their respective variants. The device goes on sale on Flipkart on April 15 at 12 noon. You can choose between White and Black colourways but don’t misunderstand them for ordinary colours.

Box Contents

Before getting to the Rog Phone 5, let’s see what all you get in the box of this beast:

  • The device itself
  • 65W HyperCharge Adapter
  • USB Type-C Charging Cable
  • Funky Phone Case

Pair your ROG Phone 5 with a set of accessories available exclusively to give you a splendid gaming phone experience.

Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about why we call the Asus ROG Phone 5 the Lamborghini of smartphones, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. 

  • Display: 17.22 cm (6.78 inch) 144Hz HDR10+ sAMOLED Display, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, Adreno 660 GPU
  • Storage: 8GB/128GB, 12GB/256GB
  • Software: Android 11
  • Rear cameras: 64MP + 13MP + 5MP
  • Selfie camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6000 mAh, 65W ROG HyperCharge 
  • Weight: 242g
  • Dimensions: 172.80 x 77.20 x 10.29 mm 

Now, let’s move ahead and see what makes the Asus ROG Phone 5 one of the finest gaming phones of the year. 

Design and Build - Great For Gaming

Every year, Asus ups its game designing a less aggressive and aesthetic gaming smartphone, and luckily, Asus ROG Phone 5 didn’t fail to impress the masses with its new design. Asus has gone rid of metal showing the internals and whatnot with a rather pleasant looking dot matrix-styled background that shows the RGB logo that you can customize as per your will. The Pro and Ultimate variants of the phone have received a PMOLED display instead.

Also Read: Asus Rog Phone 3 Review 

Talking about the standard variant, I measured the dimensions to find out what changed and with that, it is certain that the phone is slightly thicker than ROG Phone 3, slightly taller and wider as well. Now, this won’t affect most users but those who use ROG accessories will have to find compatible versions of some of the accessories for ROG Phone 5 such as Twin Dock II. The phone is slightly heavier than many flagship phones but that doesn’t mean it is any worse since it is a powerful beast unmatched by other non-gaming flagship devices.

ROG Phone 5 gets a redesigned layout with a centrally placed CPU PCB with graphite sheet and vapour chamber that actively dissipates heat. The phone has two 3,000 mAh batteries placed on either side of the phone (landscape) which makes it well-balanced and easy to handle. I would add that using the phone in a horizontal position might irk someone so that’s the thing.

The bezels are slimmer onboard Asus ROG Phone 5 that allows a larger display to be mounted than the ROG Phone 3. Also, the front selfie shooter is down by 27 per cent. The front is covered by a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus while the back has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for added protection against falls and scratches.

Asus ROG Phone 5 arrives in two colour variants i.e. Black with reddish accents and White with blue accents. There’s a Side port which is a Type-C 3.1 along with a bottom Type-C 2.0 port for faster charging/data transfer and usability. AirTrigger 5 and Ultrasonic buttons placed on the right side of the phone and at the back bottom on the left side (respectively) that supplement your gaming experience to the next level. Overall, ROG Phone 5 has too many gaming features, functions, and other design elements up its sleeves.

Display - Can't Get Any Better

I am not a fan of a punch-hole or notches and luckily enough, ROG Phone 5 doesn’t have it either. Instead, it uses a forehead and chin that have been trimmed down for an overall great viewing experience.

The centrepiece is a 6.76-inch OLED panel with a 144Hz refresh rate which is way beyond any other flagship smartphones. The resolution on-board is FHD+ so you get a 2448×1080 pixels resolution on a tall display that gives you a wholesome over-the-top experience of viewing the giant display. It is the ultimate gaming machine so you get the best of display tech no matter what.

By figures, the display has a 20.4:9 aspect ratio, a 111 per cent DCI-P3 gamut coverage, an HDR10+ compliancy, a 300Hz refresh rate, and a Delta-E <1 colour accuracy on-board. The display can go as low as 5 nits to as high as 800 nits at APL100 and can be raised to 1200 nits at APL1 which makes it 23 per cent brighter than its predecessor.

The 300Hz touch sampling rate does tend to provide a faster and smoother experience and it has been fully optimized from hardware to software. The device gets a 24.3ms latency (touch) and 18ms (slide) latency which is currently the lowest in the world.

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Asus ROG Phone 5 display has a 111 per cent DCI-P3 coverage which makes sure you get the punchy and vibrant colours with an average deltaE of less than 1. Overall, the display is a major improvement compared to its predecessor. The 144Hz refresh rate aids in smoother animations although you need to know that some apps like Instagram and Facebook are locked at 120Hz while YouTube is at 144Hz. No doubt you will get an edge over other gamers playing the same game thanks to the higher refresh rate.

Performance - Blazing Fast

You don’t need a PhD degree to know that Asus ROG Phone 5 rocks when it comes to its performance. The phone runs on a powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC as seen on the OnePlus 9 Pro and with Asus’ array of performance tweaking and boosting features, ROG Phone 5 is an epic gaming machine like no other.

Unlike previous iterations, this SD888 SoC is not overclocked but that doesn’t deter it from breaking off the roof in terms of performance. The chipset is integrated in an unlocked manner with internal and thermal design so efficient that the device can produce performance unimaginable and plus, users can tweak it from with the various performance profiles and settings packed in the Armoury Create feature.

The chipset has a tri-cluster chipset with 1×2.84GHz Kryo 680) plus 3×2.42GHz big cores plus 4x 1.8GHz small Kryo 680 which arrives with Adreno 660 GPU that takes the graphics processing to the next level. You can three performance profiles each with its own sets of prowess or you can manually yank up the GPU processor, battery usage, and CPU usage, and other settings. Plus, the AeroActive Cooler 5 which is an accessory with ROG Phone 5 can actually drive down the surface temperature by 10 to 15-degree Celsius which is a huge deal.

When I tested the phone on Geekbench 5, I was blown away with 1110, 1121, and 1127 points scores on single-core by ROG Phone 5 standard, X Mode, and X Mode + Fan modes. This leaves Galaxy S21 Ultra with SD888 just a bit behind while Xiaomi Mi 11, Huawei Mate 40 Pro and many others trail behind it as well.

In layman’s terms, the device along with UFS 3.1 storage makes every task, app, and processor simply happens without breaking a sweat. The processor can take up high-definition graphics-intensive games for hours without lagging or stuttering which is something gamers would be really interested to know before they go and buy ROG Phone 5.

It can handle ‘n’ number of apps on a multitasking spree, it has a vapour chamber that keeps the system cooler than without it and this also improves performance in the long run. Plus, there are tons of accessories that you can mount to get the best gaming experience of your life. Unfortunately, some of the accessories that you might have bought with ROG Phone 3 are no longer compatible with ROG Phone 5 so do check that out.

Cameras - Tried to Make it as Good

Asus ROG Phone 5 packs in a triple camera setup enclosed in a horizontally-aligned geometric shaped camera bump. It welcomes a 64MP primary sensor with 13MP ultrawide and a 5MP macro shooter. Finally, there’s a 24MP shooter.

The camera app on-board is customizable and offers a lot without clogging and cluttering the display. Talking about its practical usage, the primary sensor captures decent shots in the daytime. The portrait mode on the device allows for a background blur effect that can be tweaked using a slider. A Night Mode on the device automatically kicks in when it senses there’s not much light and captures photos in longer exposure that you can select from the settings themselves.

The Pro mode on the device allows for better control over the shots since you can toggle the WB adjustments, ISO settings, shutter speed, and a lot more of the settings available.

You can shoot still images on Asus ROG Phone 5 using the primary 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor which is competent and captures impressive shots in the daytime. Since it uses a Quad-Bayer design, it captures 16MP shots for better details and high dynamic range. Noise suppression works fine as well.

The 13MP ultrawide snapper can get images that are decent, wide-angled, and perfect in any way depending upon the lighting conditions. There’s an HDR Auto Mode on the UW sensor as well. The macro sensor as you may have guessed it works decently as well capturing tiny objects at a close distance although ensuring there’s sufficient light.

The phone has some automatic detection in place such as the night mode kicks in when the system detects a lack of light. The shots are well-to-use and the sensor doesn’t shy away from bumping up exposure when capturing darker areas. It even kicks on a 25-seconds or 32-seconds long exposure when it detects a tripod.

Finally, the front camera is bliss on ROG Phone 5 talking quality shots at 6MP using the Quad-Bayer technology. There’s no autofocus here so beware. Shots are pretty detailed, sharpness and colors are on point in many lighting conditions. There’s a beauty mode that improvises and smoothens skin textures as it would on any other smartphone.

 

Battery - Most Influential Aspect

Certainly a major improvement over the last year’s ROG Phone 3, the ROG Phone 5 packs in a dual 3,000 mAh battery i.e. a total capacity of 6,000 mAh. It is supplied with a 65W HYperCharge fast charging tech which is advertised to juice up the battery to its capacity in just 52 minutes.

I tested the battery which is perhaps one of the most influential aspects of a gaming phone. The ROG Phone 5 will last around two days at max on light usage while even if you are using the phone with heavy activities on it, it will easily squeeze a day without any doubt. Plus, ROG Phone 5 has multiple battery profiles such as Mode X, Ultra Durable mode that allows users to tweak the battery’s backup based on the tasks they are doing and elongate battery life.

Asus ROG Phone 5 is equipped with MMT Battery Technology that charges two halves of the battery from the middle out that reduces the temperature and impedance to a great extent that aids in a sustained long period of battery charging and gives out much less heat that can damage batteries on a long run. When tested, I found out that it usually takes around an hour (1.05h to be precise) to juice up the battery to its capacity which isn’t bad since we are considering charging a 6,000 mAh battery. Above all, the device has two charging ports (Type C 3.1 and 2.0) for faster charging and more.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

Don’t take Asus ROG Phone 5 with just a set of ordinary stereo speakers setup. Asus had done a great job in upgrading both the hardware and the underlying software for the speaker setup and I would bet on it that you will love it.

ROG Phone 5 uses a front-facing stereo speaker setup with a 7-magnet design. These speakers are now symmetrical on a hardware level producing louder sound. In fact, it scored a -24.0 LUFS on the loudness scale which falls just short of ROG Phone II’ -19.5 LUFS which has been considered as a benchmark. The device can reach phenomenal frequency response and in fact so much so that you could hear screeching high levels on incoming calls if you want if you disregard any sound distortion.

ROG Phone 5 has an AudioWizard which is a central hub for all settings related to sound quality. It has four pre-made modes and a 10-band equalizer that you can tweak to get the best sound experience. I loved how the haptic audio on the device produces vibrations similar to gunshots and more when playing a game like COD: Mobile. But there’s more. Sus has partnered with Dirac to get an upper hand in background enhancement systems.

The MIMO used in the stereo speaker setup deals with both the speakers as a unified system rather than in isolation. At the end of the day, the sound quality of the Asus ROG Phone 5 is of top-notched quality. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack with Hi-Res Audio certification for those who would love to connect their headphones with zero latency.

You will be blown away knowing just how many connectivity features and functions ROG Phone 5 has including a 3.5mm headphone jack and NFC. There’s support to Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth v5.2 with LE, A2DP, aptX Adaptive, and aptX HD. The phone does arrive with a handsome number of navigation systems support.

Talking about the under-the-display fingerprint scanner, it isn’t the best of the best. In fact, it is not that responsive compared to some of the flagship devices out there but it does its job so it’s not a problem. But it is reliable. Plus, you also have the usual PIN and Pattern lock to assist you.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Massive 6000 mAh battery
  • 6.78-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate
  • 64MP triple-rear camera setup
  • Huge 16GB RAM + 256GB internal storage
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • 65W fast charging
  • Quick charge 5.0

Cons

  • No dust and water resistance
  • No wireless charging
  • Bulky smartphone
  • Buy this only if you love gaming
Verdict
Talking about Asus ROG Phone 5 alternatives, there are many in the market since it is a very niche market. But you can try your hands on the powerful Nubia Red Magic 6 and 6 Pro or go for Xiaomi Black Shark 3S, Vivo iQOO 7 Legend, Vivo X60 Pro+ among others. The Lenovo Legion 2 Pro will soon join the wagon as one of its competitors. I had an Asus ROG Phone 5 for a week and here’s a conclusion that I was able to draw after using it. The phone does make for a great gaming phone but it is just a minor upgrade from ROG Phone 3. Having taller, thicker, and wider dimensions mean it has lost compatibility with some of the ROG accessories which is a bo. Of course, the impeccable stereo speaker setup, dual-battery design, and some other features are worth trying out, I still feel you need to be a professional game to get the best out of the device. For the rest of us, buying a cheaper alternative can save a lot of bucks. Also, the camera quality is average so don’t expect to snag a photo of the year. I would still suggest looking for other options before finalizing and buying ROG Phone 5.


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