ASUS refreshes its ROG Phone 5 with Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon 888 Plus
While there still aren’t that many gaming phones on the market, there are a lot more options than there used to be a few years ago. If you want the best gaming experience on a smartphone, then you’ll need look no further than the ROG Phone 5 from ASUS. It’s a bit pricy, but it has pretty much everything you could ever want in a gaming phone. Besides the high price, the limited availability makes the ROG Phone 5 hard to pick up, so you had to act fast whenever it first went on sale in your country. If you’re still looking to pick up the phone and are disappointed to find that it’s out of stock, then you may be happy to hear today’s news. ASUS is launching the ROG Phone 5s series, an upgraded version of the ROG Phone 5 series.
The ROG Phone 5s series consists of the two phones: the ROG Phone 5s and the ROG Phone 5s Pro. The former is the replacement for the standard ROG Phone 5, while the latter is the replacement for the ROG Phone 5 Pro/Ultimate. Both phones in the new ROG Phone 5s series feature Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888+ chipset, a higher binned Snapdragon 888 with the “Prime” core now clocked at up to 2.995GHz rather than 2.84GHz and some additional performance optimizations to the Hexagon 780 DSP and Qualcomm AI engine. ASUS also says the touch response rate has been upgraded in the ROG Phone 5s series — from a native 300Hz to 360Hz.
Unlike the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate that we reviewed earlier this year, the ROG Phone 5s Pro isn’t a limited-edition variant. It features the color-enabled “ROG Vision” PMOLED display on the rear like the ROG Phone 5 Pro (the Ultimate had a monochrome panel on the rear to match the rest of its aesthetics), and it also features the two extra touch sensors on the rear similar to both the Pro and Ultimate models. The regular ROG Phone 5s, like the regular ROG Phone 5, doesn’t have the ROG Vision display on the rear, instead opting for ASUS’s typical ROG logo lit up by RGB LEDs. It also doesn’t have the two additional touch sensors on the back cover.
Otherwise, both of ASUS’s new gaming phones feature the same hardware and software as the trio of phones launched earlier this year. That means they both have 6.78-inch, notch and hole-punch-less AMOLED displays at Full HD+ resolution and support for up to 144Hz refresh rate; LPDDR5 RAM; UFS 3.1 storage; a 3.5mm headphone jack; ultrasonic AirTrigger buttons; under-display fingerprint scanner; triple rear cameras comprised of a 64MP main + 13MP ultra wide-angle + 5MP macro; a 24MP front-facing camera; a massive 6000mAh battery with 65W fast charging support; front-facing stereo speakers; and sub-6GHz 5G support. Both phones also run the latest version of ASUS’s skin on top of Android 11, ZenUI 8/ROG UI, with the same gaming and software features we noted in our review. This includes the Armoury Crate app, the Game Genie overlay, the AudioWizard app, and more. What’s new is that a 90Hz refresh rate mode has been added on top of the existing 60, 120, and 144Hz options, but everything else is unchanged.
ASUS tells us the ROG Phone 5s series will replace the existing ROG Phone 5 when stock depletes. The Pro will be available in Phantom Black while the regular 5s will be available in Phantom Black or a glossier Storm White finish. The company has only announced pricing and availability for the mainland China and Taiwanese regions today, but we’ll hear about their plans for a release in the U.S., Europe, and India soon, hopefully. The ROG Phone 5 currently starts at $999.99 in the U.S., though it’s out of stock on the ASUS Store at the moment. In Europe, it starts at a more affordable €799, while in India, it starts at ₹49,999. Given the very incremental upgrades, these new phones probably won’t cost much more (if at all) than the models they’re replacing.