Over the years, there hasn’t been significant differences between regular flagship smartphones and gaming smartphones.
This year is different.
The Asus ROG phone 5 brings things to the table no other smartphone offers at the moment. You can trade laptop for the phone if you want to play games on the go. Find out everything it has to offer in the review below.
Design and Build
There are two models, the base model ROG phone and the ultimate edition. Remember the previous ROG phone designs that looked like it had vents on the back for cooling, but didn’t actually do that? They scraped that design and its now an aesthetic design that’s really cool.
The regular ROG phone 5 has a glossy glass back finish with some red accents. The logo lights up and can be customized in the software settings. The RGB on these phones are well engineered and is something you’ll definitely appreciate if you’re into RBG.
The ultimate edition has a matte pearlescent finish that looks so good. It has a white and blue back that has a monochrome OLED screen. You can customize the screen to display battery life, incoming call, messages, and even your own artwork. The image rotates depending the position of the phone. It’s definitely a well thought out feature and I appreciate it.
Both phones have bright colored sim trays. A bright red color on the regular edition and a bright blue color on the ultimate edition.
Both phones are running the Snapdragon 888 chips and 18GBs of RAM that offers super-fast speeds when gaming. You’ll get better frame rates at lower heat temperatures thanks to the thermal engineering.
What Asus does is they stack the PCB on each other, it also uses a vapor chamber and graphite materials to get excess heat out of the system. The PCB is located in the middle of the phone allows heat to dissipate more evenly.
There are air triggers located on the edge of the phones that are used as shoulder buttons when gaming. Although they have no travel and can’t be compared to a physical controller, they are very responsive.
They have key mapping, cross hairs (in case you don’t have them), and inverted color modes that help you spot enemies easier in the dark. These features might seem a little bit unfair to use while gaming, but it’s up to you. There’s a USB C port on the side of the phone for you to charge your phone when playing games with the cable getting in the way.
The external fan or active cooler has been redesigned for this year. It connects to the phone with a pogo pin which is better than the previous model that used a USB C connection. The active cooler also comes with a few buttons, RGB lighting and a kickstand. It’s not a necessary accessory in my opinion because it only cools the phone 4 degrees less than using the phone without it. If you’re a hardcore gamer, it can come in handy, if not, then it’s something you can live without.
The active cooler comes with the ultimate edition, but is an add-on on the basic model.
The speakers are awesome. They’re louder than the previous model. They sound better and clearer and the stereo separation has no rivalry in the smartphone market. The sound system is excellent for gaming and media consumption too.
They brought back the headphone jack which is a good thing. Gaming phones should definitely come with headphone jacks because they give you the flexibility to enjoy the best sound without having to break the bank.
Screen and Display
The screen has big bezels on the top and bottom. This is understandable because you’ll need some space to rest your fingers while gaming.
It’s a 1080p and 144Hz screen that’s very fast and fluid. The downside to its screen is its brightness. It’s good when playing indoors but not good enough when playing outdoors. It’s not a deal breaker but it’s certainly something that could’ve been done better.
Both phones come with a 6000mAH battery. It’s a split battery design, which means you have two 3000mAH batteries inside. This was done for better thermal capabilities. Splitting the batteries allow the handle heat better. Both batteries can be charged simultaneously and you get a full charge in 55 minutes.
Asus allows you to set how much you want to charge the phone. You can set it to stop charging when it gets to 80% or 90%. This was done to prolong the battery health of the phone. The battery life of your phone reduces every time it gets fully charged, so charging it to 80% or 90% increases the phone’s longevity.
One thing to note is the battery drains faster when using the camera.
The camera is good enough. Shoots clear pictures, has a good dynamic range and shoots good low light photos.
It doesn’t have expandable storage which would’ve been good to have on a gaming phone. The other issues is water resistance. It has water resistance but it’s not as good as you would expect on a phone at the price range.
In their defense, it’s a gaming phone, so water resistance isn’t a top priority.
If you’re a gamer who loves to game on the go, then this is the perfect smartphone for you. No other smartphone on the market offers a better gaming performance than the ROG phone 5. You can sell broken iPhone if you need extra cash for the ROG phone.