ASUS ROG Phone 5 First Impressions: Yet Another Android Gaming Champion

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ASUS ROG Phone 5 is here and it is possibly going to end up being the best gaming phone in India once again. However, I had it for exactly a day and here are my first impressions of the phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 5: Design

Now, to start with, ASUS is clearly making no efforts to make lighter ROG phones. The new ROG Phone 5 continues to be a hulking behemoth of a phone. But yes, I’ve made my peace with it considering it adds some stability while holding and playing in landscape mode. As for the design, I am super happy that ASUS has streamlined the design now to look more aesthetically pleasing now. The gamer-y elements don’t look tacky anymore. At least to my eyes.

Because, I am in love with the Dot Matrix Logo on the rear, inspired by ASUS’ very own Zephyrus G14 laptop. ASUS calls this ROG Vision Display. You can tune the colours and LED pulsating pattern from within the Armoury Crate app. Apart from that, I like how ASUS has sprinkled the red accent colour in multiple places. For example, on the SIM tray and the power button.

The ROG Phone series continues to be tuned for landscape gaming. Therefore, you have a couple of ports on the side – a secondary USB Type-C and a 5 Pogo pin port for the Aero ActiveCooler5. Apart from this you ASUS has reintroduced the headphone jack in the ROG Phone 5, which is present at the bottom alongside the USB Type-C port. And of course, there are dual stereo speakers and a notification LED as well.

ASUS ROG Phone 5: Display

As for the display on the front, ASUS has made some big changes here. Quite literally. The custom Samsung-made panel is now 6.78-inches tall with smaller bezels on the top and the bottom. It offers the same awesome 144Hz refresh rate as well with a 1ms response time. You also get a touch sampling rate of 300Hz and a very low latency of 24.3ms. Plus, there’s HDR10+ support, 1200nits of max brightness levels, and a Delta E of less than 1%. And for the display protection, ASUS uses the latest Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. Only the second phone after the Note 20 Ultra that I’ve seen with this glass.

Also a part of the display is the supremely fast in-display fingerprint sensor and the excellent haptic feedback engine. The haptic feedback on the ROG Phone 5 is possibly one of the best out there.

ASUS ROG Phone 5: Hardware and Gaming Features

The ROG Phone 5 obviously comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. Our review unit had 16 gigs of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. By the way, there is a special Ultimate variant with 18GB of RAM as well. Interestingly, ASUS has broken the 6000mAh battery inside the phone into two separate pieces and rammed the CPU into the centre for better heat dissipation. This 6000mAh battery supports up to 65W fast charging speeds but you get only a 30W charger in the box.

Let’s talk about the Air Triggers and the physical controls that you can set up on the ROG Phone 5. You can set a total of 16 specific physical off screen touch points on the phone: 10 motion controls, four with dual partition air triggers, and two more with the Aero ActiveCooler5. Yup, it’s nuts. As for the Cooler, it can reduce the heat on the phone’s body by up to -10 degree.

Apart from the upgraded X Mode, which has now been upgraded to call X Mode+, you also get a Dynamic mode that picks priorities of performance or power efficiency on the fly. It is all pretty damn useful.

ASUS ROG Phone 5: Performance

So, how does it really perform? Well, unfortunately we couldn’t run any benchmarks on the phone. But, I did play a few sessions of Call of Duty Mobile, which didn’t run at max graphics settings either, unfortunately. Because obviously, the game isn’t optimised yet for the beta software running on the phone. Which is Android 11, by the way.

Having said that, it was super fun to play COD, with triggers on. Pluss Asphalt 9 ran extremely smoothly at 120fps. Can’t wait to play more on this beast.

But, being the audiophile that I am, I was super excited by the dual speakers and the dedicated ESS Sabre 9820 DAC inside the phone. This is the same DAC that you get inside Type-C to 3.5mm Hi Res DACs. It can theoretically drive headphones upto 600 ohms of impedance. Well, I tried it with my Beyerdamic T1 3rd Generation headphones and they sounded fantastic.

ASUS ROG Phone 5: Camera

ASUS had clearly instructed us not to share any samples. So, all we can do is talk about the camera setup, which for a gaming phone is not very important. You get a 64MP Sony IMX 686 sensor, a 13MP ultrawide and a 5MP macro. On the front, there’s a 24MP selfie camera. Also, the phone can shoot 8K videos at 30fps and 4K videos at 120fps, for what it is worth.

Closing Thoughts on the ASUS ROG Phone 5

It goes without saying that the ROG Phone 5 is looking poised to become the best gaming phone once again. However, we need to test it out in-depth to find out how it fares in daily usage and gaming. So, stay tuned.

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