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  5. ROG Phone 5 Review: Overkill in every aspect

ROG Phone 5 Review: Overkill in every aspect

Calling ROG Phone 5 just another smartphone in the market is oversimplifying it. Let's find out who it really performs.

Devesh Arora Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Published on: April 09, 2021 16:29 IST
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ROG Phone 5 clearly shouts its a gaming smartphone.

It is no secret that mobile gaming is on the rise. Especially due to Silicon shortage, graphic cards and gaming consoles are hard to get and people are locked up at home due to Coronavirus Pandemic which doesn't seem to go away. With the rise in mobile gaming, the demand for top of the line performance monster smartphones is at an all-time high. Republic of Gamers aka ROG has unveiled their latest generation of ROG Phone to give the people what they want. 

Calling ROG Phone 5 just another smartphone in the market is oversimplifying it. With more power and customizations both in terms of hardware and software, ROG phone 5 is like no other phone on the market. Let’s find out how good of a phone it is. 

ROG Phone 5 Review: Specifications

ROG Phone 5 sports a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080x2448. It is powered by the 5mm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It is paired with 8/12GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB of onboard storage. There is a dual sim card slot, but no expandable storage. It runs on Android 11 based almost stock UI out of the box. All of this is backed by a 6,000mAh battery.

On the optics front, the ROG Phone 5 features a triple rear camera setup including a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel macro lens. Upfront, there is a 24-megapixel selfie snapper.

ROG Phone 5 Review: Design and Display

The ROG Phone 5 has a unique design. It is interesting to see what happens when the designers are told to run wild with their imagination. Although more subtle than its predecessor the ROG Phone 5 sports an interesting design with angular lines and a Dot matrix RGB ROG logo. The design seems to be inspired by their laptops and sure goes well with a gaming smartphone. Although not subtle at all, and totally tacky for many, the design of the ROG Phone 5 is the most evolved yet. Whether you like it or not is a hit or miss situation.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORAThe ROG logo at the back glows.

On the front, the ROG Phone 5 sports a 6.78-inch panel with top and bottom symmetrical bezels housing the front camera sensors and dual front-firing speakers. Unlike other flagships offering punch holes to maximise the screen-to-body ratio, the company has decided to prioritise dual front-firing speakers. This also makes the phone symmetrical and offers an obstruction-free display which is appreciated.

As for the placements, ROG Phone 5 sports a USB Type-C port on the bottom edge surrounded by a 3.5mm headphone jack and the primary microphone. The right edge houses the power buttons, volume rockers and two air triggers both at top and bottom. The left edge sports a rubber stopper which when removed unveils another USB-C port in case the bottom one is interrupting your gaming sessions. Along with that, there are pins for ROG accessories. ROG decided to remove the USB C port for accessories which means your existing ROG Phone accessories will not be compatible. The bottom of the left side has a bright red shiny part that curves into the back. On a closer look you will find out it's a sim card tray. Overall, the ergonomics of the phone are really good and it feels premium in hand.

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There is a connector for ROG accessories. 

Coming back to the display, it is a 6.78-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2440x1080 pixels. The flat display comes with an 144Hz refresh rate for a buttery smooth experience and HDR10+ looks really good whether you are playing games or watching a movie on Netflix. At only 1080p, the display may not be the best looking in the market, but with 144Hz refresh rate and no notch or punch hole, it feels great. Whether you want to watch movies or play games, the panel performs really good. 

ROG Phone 5 Review: Performance, Software and UI

ROG Phone 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. Our review unit came with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. With the phone being priced in the Rs. 50,000-60,000 range we expected no less than the provided specs.

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ROG Phone 5 sports a 144Hz high refresh rate display panel.

During the review period, the phone ran without any issue. The 144Hz refresh rate makes the smartphone feel smoother than it actually is. While playing games like Call of Duty: Mobile, the smartphone runs perfectly without any hiccup. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with 144Hz panel and air triggers makes it a delight to game on. This will power any game at max settings in the market for a couple of years easily. 

The ROG runs on Android 11 based almost stock UI out of the box. The software is optimised to take advantage of all that power to provide a smooth experience. However, the included ROG theme is a bit too tacky. It comes with a few customizations mainly gaming related which will be appreciated among the gamers. Users can also choose to switch the theme to a more stock Android-like.

ROG Phone 5 Review: Cameras

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It sports a triple camera setup at the back.

ROG Phone 5 sports a triple-camera setup at the back. The setup comprises a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel macro lens. Upfront, there is a 24-megapixel selfie snapper.

The ROG 5 takes decent photos in daylight, capturing a good range of colours. Although it’s easily outclassed by top-tier phones like the iPhone 12 series and Samsung Galaxy S20 series. The Asus ROG 5 is capable of good depth of field effects, producing decent background blur for a gaming phone. The low light performance is adequate but it struggles to focus in low light sometimes. The 5-megapixel macro sensor is able to provide usable shots, but not something you can flaunt on social media. 

The selfie camera is also good enough. The colours are close to nature and there is no beauty mode on by default, which is good. Overall, the cameras are good, but the competition at this price offers way better. However, you don’t buy a gaming phone for its camera superiority.

ROG Phone 5 Review: Battery

The ROG Phone 5 comes with a massive 6,000mAh battery. During my time with the device, medium to heavy usage got me almost a day and a half of battery life. This was with a 144hz and always-on display and ROG Logo turned on for all options. You can always set it on 60Hz and turn off the always-on display to get more battery life. 

When the battery runs out and you are in the middle of a gaming session, you can take advantage of the 65W charger included in the box and plug it into the bottom or left side, whatever your heart desires. After plugging it in, it takes a little over an hour to fully charge up the device.

ROG Phone 5 Review: Verdict

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It feels good to see a 3.5mm headphone jack on a 2021 flagship smartphone.

ROG Phone 5 feels although being touted as a gaming smartphone, is a true flagship in hand and in performance. Priced at Rs. 49,999 for 8GB RAM/128GB Storage and Rs. 57,999 for the 12GB RAM/256GB storage variant it undercuts the likes of the iPhone 12 and the S21. However, the tacky design and heavyweight with front bezels that make it look like a phone from 2018 may put off many. 

Also, the camera is not that great for the price you pay. However, when used for only one thing, the ultimate mobile gaming smartphone starts to make sense. Many prefer the tacky design of the phone and the dual front-firing speakers instead of no bezel. Also, it packs the trusty 3.5mm headphone jack which not a lot of phones sport nowadays.

If you are looking for a brand new flagship and your priority is maximum performance and you don’t mind the camera not being good enough, the ROG Phone 5 is the perfect phone for you. 

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