In many areas, it’s better than the best iPhones and Android devices from Samsung and multiple Chinese companies
In electric mobility, Tesla is at the pinnacle of performance. Similarly, in the world of gaming phones, Asus ROG is something all other phones may strive to be—in terms of design, performance, speed, functionality, and so on. Short for Republic of Gamers, ROG Phone 1 was launched in India in late 2018, ROG Phone 2 in late 2019, ROG Phone 3 last year, and now ROG Phone 5 is here (there is no ROG Phone 4 as the company says the ‘5’ is so evolved over ‘3’ that it’s like two generations ahead). As the name implies, ROG Phone 5 is made for gaming, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good daily-use device.
Where it stands out
Design: It looks an out-and-out gaming phone, with ultrasonic air triggers and motion-control triggers that provide a ‘console-like’ gaming experience on a smartphone. It has the Samsung-built AMOLED display and the screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus (claimed to be the toughest Gorilla Glass made).
The phone is big (6.09 x 2.72 x 0.36 inches), and at 238 gm not really light either. The advantage is it’s got a bigger screen for immersive gaming and multimedia experience, and the disadvantage is that it’s not very easy to use with one hand.
Battery life: Possibly no other phone in the world (with more or less similar specifications) will last you two days on a full charge. Its battery is rated at 6,000mAh (it has two 3,000mAh batteries). There are USB Type-C charging ports on the bottom and side of the phone (for ergonomic charging in vertical and horizontal mode).
Gaming: It’s powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform (with 5G and Snapdragon Elite Gaming features). Gaming heats up any device, and for cooling it down ROG Phone 5 has got something called the GameCool 5 cooling system. Things such as a graphite cooling pad, vapour chamber, split battery, a design that dissipates heat effectively, and external cooling thanks to the AeroActive Cooler 5 (optional accessory) ensure both low CPU and low surface temperatures. Then there are ultrasonic air triggers and motion-control triggers, and a whole lot of gaming paraphernalia built-in.
Audio-visual: The sound quality is truly surround sound, and visuals are life-like. Asus had removed the headphone jack in ROG Phone 3 (in which USB Type-C port doubled as audio port), but it has reintroduced the 3.5 mm headphone jack in ROG Phone 5.
Where it’s average
Camera: The rear camera system includes three cameras: the Sony IMX686 64 MP image sensor, the 13 MP ultra-wide camera, and the 5 MP macro camera. It’s got the night mode and all modern phone camera features. The front camera is 24 MP. You can record videos in 8K (30fps), 4K HDR recording in 30fps and 60fps, and use the Pro Video mode. The rear camera system is slightly protruded, which feels a bit odd.
While camera specifications are great, modern smartphone cameras have started producing unreal images, i.e., the images on the screen appear ‘filtered’. For example, I was shooting a new car using ROG Phone 5, and the blue body colour of the car appeared different on the phone screen as compared to what I could see in front of me!
What it doesn’t have
There are a couple of things missing out:
- There is no IP water resistance rating (so it’s better to keep it away from water, even mild rainfall);
- No wireless charging (probably as it will interfere with the backlit logo).
Prices starting at Rs 49,999 (8GB RAM, 128GB storage), ROG Phone 5 is a good device both for gaming and for ‘normal’ telephonic things such as calling, photography, surfing the internet, etc. Its specifications are top-of-the-line, its numbers are top-of-the-line, and the best thing is that Asus has been able to squeeze in everything into a body that looks sexy and is rugged.
In many areas, it’s better than the best iPhones and Android devices from Samsung and multiple Chinese brands. But you must keep in mind that because it’s a relatively large-sized phone, one-hand usage is a little difficult. There is also a variant priced Rs 57,999 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage), and both variants come in two colour options: Phantom Black and Storm White.
Display: 6.78-inch AMOLED display
Processor: 2.84GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 660
OS: Android 11 with ROG UI
Memory & storage: 8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage
Camera: 64MP plus 16MP (main), 13MP 125-degree ultra-wide (second rear), 5MP Macro (third rear), 24MP front camera
Battery: Dual 3,000mAh
Estimated street price: Rs 49,999