ROG Phone 5 launches for up to 1,299 euros [Hands-on]

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The ROG Phone 5 is official! This Wednesday (10), during an international event, ASUS announced its newest big and feature-rich smartphones aimed at high-level mobile gaming.

And yes, I spoke in the plural because now the ROG Phone 5 has the Pro and Ultimate versions, which not only arrived with more powerful internal specifications, but also with different looks, special features, accessories and gifts.

And better than following the news from afar, is being able to have it in hand to give the first impressions. And that’s exactly what I did for a week, but first of all: ASUS gave no explanation as to why the line jumped straight from ROG Phone 3 to ROG Phone 5.

The most popular theory is that in Taiwan, where the headquarters of the brand is located, the main language is one of the variants of Chinese. And in Chinese the pronunciation of the number four is similar to that of the word death, so that is a number considered unlucky.

That reason would have already made other oriental brands avoid number four, so if that is the case, ASUS is not the first to do so. Without further ado, let’s talk about the impressions of the ROG Phone 5, starting with the hardware:

Hardware

The processor in the three models is the latest in Qualcomm’s top line, the Snapdragon 888 accompanied by the Adreno 660 GPU.

Yes, the main core of the CPU has a maximum clock speed lower than that of the 865 Plus, but direct comparisons between these two chips have already shown that this does not prevent the youngest from overcoming the performance of last year’s model.

Probably thanks to the five nm manufacturing process, the system sees the ways it handles memories better and the most powerful GPU.

Remembering that I am only talking about the performance of the processors themselves, and not the set that is on the ROG Phone 5 specifically. Especially because, to talk about it, I would need more testing time to be able to do a review properly.

In fact, if you are looking forward to a review of us by this beauty, it is better to take a deep breath and calm down. As we depend on ASUS to lend the device, we need to respect the embargo dates established by them.

But going back to the hardware, we can notice some differences between the three models, but all with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.

The most basic ROG Phone 5 comes with three options:

8GB of RAM and 128 of storage
12GB of RAM and 256 of storage
16 GB of RAM 256 storage
The Pro model repeats the 16GB of RAM, but increases the internal space to 512GB. Ultimate maintains this storage, but it is the first smartphone on the market with 18 GB of LPDDR5 RAM.

The model that ASUS sent us is the best basic ROG Phone 5, with 16GB of RAM. And even though I can’t do a more detailed analysis of the performance, I can say that my first impression was very positive.

It was possible to run everything at the maximum without any sign of suffering, even in the most extreme situations that make the device get very hot. Incidentally, ASUS remade its cooling system to be able to place the processor right in the middle, working on the placement of batteries, steam cameras and other components to dissipate that heat as quickly as possible and lessen the effect of this on the system.

Differentials

And since I mentioned cooling, memories are not the only difference between the models. The Pro and Ultimate models include the new Aero Active Cooler 5 in the box. This new fan is only compatible with the ROG Phone 5 family, just as the previous model is not compatible with the new phones.

According to ASUS, the new fan reduces the temperature of the CPU by up to 10 ° C and the surface temperature by up to 15 ° C. This helps the cell phone to maintain the highest performance and with less oscillation of framerates while leaving the more comfortable device to hold.

Another cool novelty of the accessory is that it adds two rear buttons that you can configure for different functions in games. As much as the basic model of the ROG Phone 5 does not come with this in the box, ASUS sent it separately to us.

It is very easy to fit and I liked that it keeps access to the USB-C port on the side of the device and even adds a headphone jack right there, also serving as a support to leave the phone standing. This is really cool for watching videos or playing games if you have a Bluetooth controller or other family accessory

Design

Another difference between the three models is the design. In common, they have the symmetrical speakers that are on the edge of the two ends of the device, and that ASUS worked to pass a more three-dimensional, powerful and detailed audio experience. I really liked what I heard here. On the top edge there is also the front camera for those who want to take selfies.

At the bottom is one of the USB-C inputs and the headphone connector, which is not only back after skipping the ROG Phone 3, but also has a dedicated DAC to deliver more quality sounds.

On the left side is the tray, which gives a charming detail. It has space for two carrier chips, but none of them are suitable for memory cards. Still on this side of the phone, there is the second USB-C port so you can recharge the device while playing horizontally without being bothered.

And next to it is the magnetic connector for the fan. These doors come with a removable rubber cover, helping to keep this area a little more protected when not in use.
On the right is the power button, the volume lever and at both ends the ultrasonic sensors that you can configure for specific parts of the screen in each game and that really give a competitive advantage to those who use it correctly.

But it is in the rear where the three models have the most visible differences. For me, the basic ROG Phone 5 is the most discreet device of all that ASUS has made to date in this gamer line. It still has the colored LED logo, and now you can even set up gradient effects, but even with that and the other design elements the device is much more subtle than its predecessors. I particularly liked it that way.

The ROG Phone 5 Pro already pulls towards more traditional gamer aesthetics, with more marked lines. He also exchanges the LED logo for an OLED screen on the back, which even comes with several pre-installed animations that can be customized.

The Ultimate model maintains this style, but bets on the white color with black details, and the OLED screen seems to work in black and white on it. As I said, these two models come with the Aero Active Cooler 5 in the box. In addition, Ultimate adds a special kit for fans that comes with a cap, stickers, masks, cards and a lot of treats.

It is worth remembering that none of them are IP certified for water resistance, but all also come with a case in the box.

Screen

Moving now to the screen, the three models come with the same AMOLED 6.78 ”Full HD + display. This guarantees the colors, detailing and brightness of the images for a visual experience that leaves nothing to be desired.

But for gamers the most important thing is the 144Hz refresh rate and the 300Hz touch sampling rate. This ensures that your movements are as fluid and fast as possible, which improves your reaction time in compatible games, and it also makes the device register commands with a minimum latency of 24.3ms.

That is, if you use a device like this and an opponent on a cell phone without touching the screen at the same time to shoot each other, you win because the smartphone gamer will register the command beforehand.

Android 11

The new ROG Phone comes with Android 11 on ASUS ‘own interface, and you can choose from several available themes to make the final experience more pro-gamer or with an aesthetic very close to that of the simplest Android of Google devices.

One way or another, it still has the specific features for games in the game Genie and also has Armory Crate, which lets you customize various details of the cell phone’s operation. It has features to control the lights, force the CPU and GPU performance to remain as high as possible and even improve the performance of the WiFi.

Drums

And powering all this has the 6,000 mAh battery, which is divided into two equal parts. Here, instead of betting on wireless charging, ASUS chose to focus on fast charging. Therefore, all models in the ROG Phone 5 line come with a 65W charger, which ASUS promises to be able to fill this large battery of the device in less than an hour.

Accessories

ASUS sent us the new Kunai 3 Gamepad. As much as the previous version of this accessory has partial support for the new family cell phones, this one keeps the main attractions and comes with support for a new Bluetooth mode and with a new specific bumper.

So you can place the phone supported with the leg of the cooler and use the control in the wireless format, which has a very nice grip, or else undock the halves and use only the left side individually.

You can also change the key to the USB position, fit the controllers on both sides of the bumper that comes with the controls and use the phone as a switch. It has a lot of buttons and you can customize one by one individually. This first contact with these accessories pleased me a lot.

Prices and release dates

For now, we know that the basic models of the family will be launched abroad now in March and the prices vary from 799 to 1299 euros, as indicated below:

RoG Phone 5

8/128 GB: 799 euros
12/256 GB: 899 euros
16/256 GB: 999 euros
RoG Phone 5 Pro

16/512 GB: 1,199 euros (includes AeroActive Cooler 5)

RoG Phone 5 Ultimate

18/512 GB: 1,299 euros (includes AeroActive Cooler 5 and Ultimate fan gift collection)
The Pro version is scheduled for April and for the time being, ASUS has not confirmed or denied the arrival of any of these models to Brazil.

But the history of previous releases and the embargo for reviews without defined dates indicate that we should receive at least one version of the ROG Phone 5 in a few months, probably in the second half of the year. We also have no idea of prices, but it is better not to expect anything cheap.