The beast

Asus has launched a new ROG 5 gaming phone. Is it still worth buying this device? Read to find out

ROG 5 gaming phone

The first question most of you will have is—where is ROG 4? Well, like most Asian companies, ASUS is pretty superstitious and the number four is considered unlucky. So instead, ASUS has delivered the ROG 5 and it’s not just one gaming phone, there are three versions. We tested the base version, which starts with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.


The ASUS ROG 5 starts at Rs 49,999 for the base version

As is tradition with the ROG phone, this one comes with cutting edge specs. Starting with a Snapdragon 888 processor, Adreno 660 GPU, 6.78-inch 144Hz Super AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass Victus scratch protection, 6000 mAh battery, AirTriggers, dual USB-C charging ports and front-facing stereo speakers. The rear camera unit consists of a 64 Megapixel main unit combined with a 13MP Ultrawide and a 5MP Macro, while the front camera is a 24MP behemoth. For fans of the ROG 2, they have bought back the headphone port as well. At the back, there is a new RGB logo that you can set as per your preferences. In the box, Asus has included the Aero cover that protects this phone without covering key components.

The new processor is pretty powerful, every game I threw at it was played at the highest settings. I tried pushing it to its limits but to get the best performance ROG 5 requires the AeroActive Cooler 5 system. This accessory is not included in the box and has to be bought as an add-on. This performance also came at a cost, the phone got very hot when it was being pushed hard and at times it was a little uncomfortable to use. If you are planning to buy the ROG 5, I would say spring for the cooling system, it is needed.

An ROG 5 with the AeroActive Cooler 5

For daily use, this phone is a beast and it performed all tasks without any lags or heating issues. Asus’s main OS is simplistic and a joy to use. All the gaming magic happens with Armory Crate.  I found it easy to link games to Armory Crate and then set custom Air trigger actions, screen refresh rates and performance boost levels for each individual game. Armoury Crate is also not in your face all the time, it only appears when required and quickly disappears when it is done. I also felt the 300hz touch sampling rate made a decent impact on my overall gaming performance especially in games like Free Fire.

Asus has also worked a lot on the look of the phone. The new phone, except for the glowing RGB logo at the back, is pretty simple. I think it’s a nice balance between the in-your-face gaming look and an everyday phone. The hand-feel of the phone both with and without the cover is really good. The phone however, is huge and heavy, weighing in at just under 250 grams. It is not a phone meant to be used in one hand. The front-facing stereo speakers have also seen a huge improvement the sound is loud, clear and very immersive. Loud enough to disturb a room full of people if you are playing a game or watching a movie. The ROG 5 is also an excellent phone for entertainment, the screen real estate along with the speakers are a great combination.

The camera is probably the only place Asus has skimped a bit. Not saying that it is a bad camera, but other phones in this price range are offering better ones. The camera took good pictures with very good colour reproduction in well-lit scenarios, but it struggled with low lighting often producing grain in the images and video. The macro mode was not very good and got even worse when the subject was not lit well.  I love the camera software on the phone, it has a pro video mode that lets you push the limits of what’s possible with the camera. I wish they had included a slightly better camera.

The phone comes with a 30W charger in the box but it supports up to 65W charging, which is insane. I would have loved a 65W charger to go with the phone. But, I am just glad they included a 30W charger, with the current trend of flagships skipping chargers. Back is the USB-c port at the side which lets you charge the phone in landscape mode and attach all sorts of accessories. 

While we tested the base variant, there are also others variants, they all have the same processor just different amount of RAM and a different gimmick to go with the variant. My pick would still be the base variant probably the one with 12GB of RAM. The ASUS ROG 5 starts at R49,999 for the base version and for that price they have managed to pack in a lot of tech. I think the Asus ROG 5 is still one of the best phones out there. The toned-down gamer-centric design will make this phone appealing, even to non-gamers. If you are looking for a phone which offers cutting edge performance with all the bells and whistles at the best possible price, you will want to go in for this. Just note that the camera is not the best in its price range and the phone itself is very bulky. 

Camera Samples:

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