Asus launched the ROG Phone 5 in multiple variants in India. There is a vanilla Asus ROG Phone 5 available in two variants; then, the Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro and Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate are available in a single variant each. The company broke all bounds offering users the ‘Ultimate’ variant of the series with 18GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. I used the vanilla Asus ROG Phone 5 for a brief period and here’s what I feel about the device.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: Design
Starting with the design, the ROG Phone 5 gives a more ‘gamery’ feel than any of its predecessors. The design isn’t tweaked a lot by the company. However, the subtle changes make it better and more modern when compared with the Asus ROG Phone 3. The Asus ROG Phone 5 has a glass body at the rear with a carbon fibre-esque print with the RGB logo on top. The camera module at the rear is identical to what we saw in the Asus ROG Phone 3 and the overall feel of the device is quite solid.
Further, the RGB logo at the rear can be customised to alert you whenever a notification comes in. Asus ROG Phone 5 doesn’t attempt to look beautiful or feel light at all. The company went bold with the device and packed it with modern aesthetics and didn’t cut out on including anything important inside the device making it 238 grams heavy.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: Display
The display of the Asus ROG Phone 5 is certainly where the company stepped up its game. The device has a 6.78-inch FHD+ E4 AMOLED display with support for 144Hz refresh rate. There were no issues with the response rate of the screen given the support for 300Hz touch-sampling rate which helped me move the player on the screen faster. One thing where I think Asus could have worked better was the brightness support of the device.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 comes with maximum brightness support of 800nits which compared to the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 1300nits is very less. For the protection of the display, the screen comes covered with the Gorilla Glass Victus and for the rear, there is the Gorilla Glass v3.
One thing that I appreciate about the display of the device is its intelligent switching feature between 144Hz, 120Hz and 60Hz refresh rates to elongate the battery life. As per the demand of the content on the screen, the device intelligently switches between different refresh rates. There is also support for the Always-on-Display (AOD) function which does consume a bit of an extra battery but allows you to check notifications and time on the go.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: Software, Battery and Performance
The Asus ROG Phone 5 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC coupled with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Thus the device is more than capable of handling multiple heavy mobile applications all at the same time.
I played Call of Duty Mobile to test out the power of the device. What I found was the device is super fast and doesn’t heat during long gaming sessions because of its excellent cooling system. The animations and the transitions are super smooth as well. There is no problem in maxing out the graphics settings on the games since the refresh rate is unaffected.
One of the coolest features of the device is the Air Triggers. Most of the other devices such as the OnePlus 9 Pro and more can give you a great gaming experience as well, but they don’t come with the Air Triggers. It makes the overall experience of playing the game easier and helps you aim precisely.
The ‘Game Genie’ function of the device is excellent since it disposes a plethora of options at the feet of the user. I could record the gameplay in high quality and stop all the notifications from hindering me with gaming with the ‘Game Genie’ function.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 packs a 6,000mAh battery which can charge at a rapid speed with the 65W charger that comes inside the box. There is a USB Type-C port present on the device to facilitate fast charging.
The smartphone runs on Android 11 out of the box. It has multiple stock Android features, however, for some reason, the experience of the UI didn’t excite me enough. On the OS front, I think Asus can still do a lot more when it comes to providing a clean and smooth experience to the user. More importantly, the OS didn’t feel like home to me. While this is more of a subjective thing, I think Asus has a big room for improvements in the OS.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: Camera
Asus ROG Phone 5 isn’t a device that users would purchase to get high-end camera specifications and features. I think that is what Asus was thinking as well since the company literally deployed the same camera system as in the Asus ROG Phone 3 on the ROG Phone 5. There is a triple-camera setup at the rear where the primary sensor is a 64MP Sony IMX686 lens coupled with a 13MP wide-angle sensor and a 5MP macro sensor. At the front, there is a 24MP sensor for selfies and video calling.
All the photos that came out of the camera of the device were toned down in colour. This might be for delivering more natural colours to the users. However, compared to other flagships, the camera of the Asus ROG Phone 5 delivered pale photos mostly. If you are looking for a device with an excellent camera, Asus ROG Phone 5 might not be the best bet for you.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: Verdict
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is an excellent device if your needs are gaming-specific. There are a few clever features incorporated by Asus to enhance the device’s gaming capabilities, however, it might not be worth your while for some reasons.
If you are looking for a device that’s not only powerful but also great in design with a sleek body and light in weight, you should consider other devices. The ROG Phone 5 is built to be powerful, not look good. Further, it is not the best in the camera department, you should not have great expectations from the device’s camera.
Considering its price of Rs 49,999 for the base 8GB+128GB variant, you can also get the OnePlus 9 at the same price. So I expect, only hardcore gaming fans will be looking at the ROG Phone 5 as an alternative to traditional flagships.