The ROG Phone 5 is unapologetically niche even among gaming phones, but I’m not complaining
ASUS has been making serious efforts to shape the smartphone gaming niche. Since launching its first ROG Phone in 2018, ASUS has added meaningful changes to the series. The focus of the ROG Phone lineup is to deliver a powerful experience for passionate gamers. Realistically, a smartphone cannot replace your gaming rig, but it can offer thrilling performance when playing games made for smartphones. The newly launched ASUS ROG Phone 5 delivers well on that expectation. Still, its insane specs and feature set may be more than what most enthusiasts want to see on a gaming smartphone.
The standard ROG Phone 5 irons out some of the shortcomings of the ROG Phone 3. Features like the super responsive display complemented by the Ultrasonic AirTriggers, dual USB Type-C ports, a premium headphone jack with a built-in high-quality DAC make the new ROG Phone one of the best choices for gamers. In addition, the ROG Phone 5 is a performance beast with the Snapdragon 888 and up to an absurd 18GB RAM on the Ultimate edition. It’s thanks to these features and the excellent first-party accessories that we can confidently say the ROG Phone 5 has everything you could ever want in a gaming smartphone.
In addition, the standard ROG Phone 5 also comes with an RGB-lit dot-matrix display in the shape of the Republic of Gamers (ROG) logo. The feature is further upgraded into a PMOLED display that can display custom messages on the Pro and the Ultimate variants. If that isn’t enough, you can raise the bar with accessories such as the AeroActive cooler, which is claimed to bring the phone’s surface temperature down by up to 15°C, the Kunai gamepad, or the professional dock to connect full-sized USB Type-A devices or an external display using HDMI. The 6000mAh battery and 65W fast charging are just cherries on top.
Of course, all of these features that are meant to cater to power users and gamers result in more heft, making the ROG Phone 5 weigh almost 240 grams. While this form factor might dissuade users looking for a minimally intrusive phone, poor long-term software support from ASUS might further discourage certain users. This aspect further limits the phone to power users. This is why we treat it as a dedicated gaming device for those who have enough cash to buy a spare phone or replace a portable gaming device like the Nintendo Switch.
Nonetheless, the ROG Phone 5 is not only the best we have seen in the gaming smartphone category, it also offers extra features that no other phone offers.
Do you think the ROG Phone 5 is overkill? Is there such a thing as too much overkill? Where does ASUS go from here for its next phone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.