Asus ROG Phone 5 First Impressions: The Spec Sheet King is back with a Bang! India's first Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone is finally here. Asus recently dropped the ROG Phone 5 in India. The ROG Phone 5’s price in India starts from Rs 49,999 for the base 8GB/128GB model, while the ROG Phone Pro and Ultimate costs Rs 69,999 and Rs 79,999, respectively.
March 10, 2021 / 05:51 PM IST
Asus recently dropped the ROG Phone 5 in India. The ROG Phone 5’s price in India starts from Rs 49,999 for the base 8GB/128GB model, while the ROG Phone Pro and Ultimate costs Rs 69,999 and Rs 79,999, respectively. Our focus today is on the standard ROG Phone 5. The ROG Phone 5 follows a tradition of over-the-top of its predecessors and is certainly shaping up to be a spec sheet monster. But how does a monstrous spec sheet translate to real-world usage; stick around and let’s find out together.
Before we take a first look at the ROG Phone 5, it is worth noting that Asus has launched three versions of the ROG Phone 5, including the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, ROG Phone 5 Pro, and vanilla ROG Phone 5. The ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is available in a Storm White finish, while the ROG Phone 5 Pro is offered in a Phantom Black colour option. The vanilla ROG Phone 5 is available in both colours. All three models have the same internals and are only separated by RAM and storage capacity and the lighting on the back. Additionally, Asus will only be selling limited ROG Phone 5 Ultimate models.
When it comes to design and build, not much seems to have changed from past ROG Phones. While the phone has a few modifications on the back, the front is pretty much the same as its predecessor. The ROG Phone 5 Pro gets an RGB PMOLED display, while the Ultimate model has a monochrome PMOLED display. The display shows customizable graphics for scenarios like incoming calls, loading a game, charging, entering X mode and more. Our vanilla ROG Phone had the RGB ROG logo on the back.
The build quality has also got an update, with Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and Gorilla Glass 3 on the front. The phone also features an aluminium frame, giving it a premium feel. Like previous ROG phones, the ROG 5 isn’t light and does seem to be a little on the slippery side. Thankfully, Asus has included an Aero case in the box, which maintains the futuristic aesthetic while providing an extra layer of protection.
One of the biggest highlights of the new ROG Phone is its display, which uses a custom E4 AMOLED panel from Samsung. The phone sports a 6.78-inch (2448x1080 pixels) resolution AMOLED screen with a 20.4:9 aspect ratio. The panel has a typical brightness of 800 nits and is HDR10+ certified. It also boasts a 144Hz refresh rate and a 300Hz touch sampling rate. This is definitely one of the best displays we’ve seen on a smartphone.
Asus has also stepped it up on the performance front, with the addition of the new Snapdragon 888 SoC. The chipset here is paired with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The ROG Phone 5 Pro steps it up with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, while the Ultimate model is equipped with 18GB of RAM. To help keep things cool under pressure, there’s a new ROG GameCool 5 system that employs a new and optimised thermal structure. We’ll provide an in-depth look at performance in our full review, but for now know that the ROG Phone 5 can run just about any game with all the settings maxed out, while staying cool doing so.
For optics, the ROG Phone 5 has pretty much the same triple-camera setup as its predecessor. There’s a 64 MP Sony IMX686 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture at the helm. The main camera sensor is paired with a 13 MP ultrawide lens and a 5 MP macro camera. On the front, the slim top bezel houses a 24 MP, f/2.45 primary shooter for selfies. The ROG Phone 5 can record 8K video at 30fps and 4K video at up to 60fps. Slow-motion video recording is limited to 480fps in 720p resolution or 240/120fps in 1080p and 120fps in 4K resolution. Since this was a beta unit, we couldn’t quite test out the camera, but we’ll take an in-depth look at the ROG Phone 5’s camera performance in our full review.
While battery capacity stays the same on the specs sheet, there are some big improvements internally compared to the ROG Phone 3. The ROG Phone 5 uses a 6,000 mAh MMT Dual cell battery. This is primarily because the company now includes a 65W charging adapter inside the box. We didn’t have enough time to drain out the 6,000 mAh battery, but the one on the ROG Phone 3 lasted for well over a day and a half with heavy gaming.
Not much has changed on the software side, with Asus giving you the option to go with the gaming-centric ROG UI or the cleaner Zen UI. Both are based on an almost stock version of Android 11. Asus claims that the UI has been optimized for better performance and smarter functionality to improve the user experience without deviating too far from the stock Android feel. There are some new fingerprint indicators and unlock animations for the in-display scanner. Additionally, you also get animated lock screens, live wallpapers, icons, sounds, in-call animations and a customisable always-on display.
The Game Genie and Armory Crate also make a comeback on the ROG Phone 5. The Game Genie can be used for everything from boosting performance to recording macros, quickly and conveniently in the midst of battle. The Armory Crate software, on the other hand, acts as a library for all your titles, allowing you to customise and save settings for each game individually. You can also adjust the lighting on the back, map keys, view macros, and more using the software. The ROG Phone 5 packs some powerful hardware, but we shouldn’t forget the role software plays in making enhancing the overall gaming phone experience.
There’s no doubt that the ROG Phone 5 fetches a hefty price tag, but in the little time that we were able to test out the phone, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. The improvements over the ROG Phone 3 are by no means a generational leap. Instead, Asus has opted to take that impressive gaming experience on the ROG Phone 3 and make it slightly better in every area, while maintaining the same price as its predecessor. But we still have to put the device through its paces, so stay tuned for our full ROG Phone 5 review for an in-depth look at what this spec sheet monster can do on the performance, camera, battery, and software fronts.