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Asus ROG Phone 5: The Good, The Bad, And The X-Factor
Asus is a brand known for its high-performance devices. It could be the RTX 3090 GPU, the ROG Strix Laptop, or even the ROG Phone. The ROG Phone has been one of the staple releases from the company for the last few years. Now, the company has come up with the ROG Phone 5, the most powerful Android smartphone, period.
This time around, the company has skipped the ROG Phone 4 and has directly launched the ROG Phone 5 as the successor to the ROG Phone 3. The design DNA of the ROG Phone 5 has been borrowed from the previous ROG smartphones with a blend of new elements to make the phone look new and unique.
I got to test out the ROG Phone 5 for a few days, and here is the first impression of this powerful Android gaming smartphone.
The ROG Phone 5 is a device that offers a lot of features that one might not find on any mainstream smartphone. When compared to the ROG Phone 3, the ROG Phone 5 comes with an improved design, and it also brings back some of the features that are loved by the crowd.
Return Of The Headphone Jack
The jack is back on the ROG Phone 5. When Asus removed the headphone jack on the ROG Phone 3, the company stated that it had to make space for 5G antennas, hence they had to pull the plug on the good-old 3.5mm headphone jack. With the ROG Phone 5, the brand has resurrected the same, as the Snapdragon 888 SoC comes with an integrated 5G modem.
For a budget or a mid-range smartphone user, this might not feel like a huge feature. However, for flagship smartphone enthusiasts, this is a great move from the company. A wired 3.5mm headphone not only offers lower latency while gaming but also much cheaper (starting price), and one can finally use a headphone while charging the smartphone to either watch movies, or listen to music, or even play a game.
Best Sounding Speakers On Any Smartphone
Previously when I reviewed the original ROG Phone, it definitely has the loudest speaker on any smartphone. However, at the peak volume level, the sound would get distorted and it would hamper the whole experience. The ROG Phone 5 is not only the loudest speaker on a smartphone that I have tested (when compared to the phones like the OnePlus 8 and the iPhone 12 Pro), even at the highest volume level, the sound remains clear and distortion-free.
In my limited usage, I really liked a lot of things on the ROG Phone 5, and here are some features that best represent the phone being a one-of-a-kind smartphone, and also enhances the user experience in some cases.
144Hz Refresh Rate Display
Just like the ROG Phone 3, the ROG Phone 5 also has a 144Hz FHD+ AMOLED display. This time around, it is protected by the Corning Gorilla Victus, which makes it more impact resistant. The display offers crisp and vivid colors with a high dynamic range and there is also an option to tone down the refresh rate to either 120Hz or 60Hz to save battery life.
Stock Android UI With Gaming Centric Features
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is a gaming phone, and it comes with a tonne of software optimizations to deliver better gaming performance. Unlike most non-Google Android smartphones, the ROG Phone 5 ships with a clean Android UI with no third-party apps, no ads, nothing. Not just that, the phone ships with the latest Android 11 OS, and will receive an Android 12 OS update in the future.
By default, it offers two themes, a gaming-centric theme, and a stock Android theme. Depending on one's taste, one can choose between the two, and each of these themes offers a completely different UI, and it also felt like I was using two phones when I changed the theme for the first time.
This might qualify as nitpicking, but the Asus ROG Phone 5 is a massive smartphone that weighs more than 200 grams and is not a phone that can be used in a single hand. If you have been using small phones, this might feel massive in hand, as it has a huge display along with thick bezels on the top and bottom portion of the smartphone.
Though it is a flagship smartphone, the ROG Phone 5 misses out on features like water resistance and wireless charging, although the device supports 65W fast charging. Lastly, there is no microSD card slot for additional storage expansion.
Should You Buy The ROG Phone 5?
If you are looking for the best Android smartphone in terms of performance, then the ROG Phone 5 is a great alternative. However, if you are looking for a premium smartphone with a sleek design, wireless charging, IP rating with the most versatile camera setup, the ROG Phone 5 might not be the device to consider.
This is a device that is tailormade for gaming and does it without any hiccups, and one can only enhance the gaming experience on the ROG Phone 5 by getting first-party accessories from the company. Just like a high-performance gaming laptop, the ROG Phone 5 is for the niche market, and for those who are ready to compromise with the size and weight to get the best hardware and best gaming experience.