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ROG Phone 5s Review: The Ultimate Smartphone For Gamers Is A Flagship Phone You’ll Want To Buy

Asus ROG Phone 5s is priced at Rs 49,999 onwards in India. (Image: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

Asus ROG Phone 5s is priced at Rs 49,999 onwards in India. (Image: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

The Asus ROG Phone 5s is one of the most interesting launches in early 2022. The gaming smartphone proves itself to be a very good flagship phone for a larger audience as well.

Gaming smartphones are generally a niche product and mostly deemed impractical for the everyday user. Asus’ ROG Phone is one of the most popular gaming smartphones. While the “Republic of Gamers” tag is enough to make the smartphone popular among the gaming community, Asus has, over the years, made improvements that have established the ROG Phone one of the most sought-after smartphones overall, not just a gaming device. The company’s latest ROG Phone 5s aims to take that forward to the next level, but will it?

The Asus ROG Phone 5s, along with the ROG Phone 5s Pro were launched in India last month. The vanilla ROG Phone 5s has been launched at a price of Rs 49,999 for the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant and Rs 57,999 for the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage variant. There is an ROG Phone 5s Pro, which is priced at Rs 79,999 for the sole 18GB RAM + 512GB internal storage. Now, these prices may seem too high for many, but trust me (and read this review to find out) when I say this, you will get quite A LOT for this price. Now we got the vanilla Asus ROG Phone 5s base variant (8GB RAM + 128GB storage) for our review and in this article, I will tell you what I liked about the phone, what I didn’t, and if you should spend your money on the Asus ROG Phone 5s.

DESIGN

I think design is one of the (many) topics that needs to be talked about the most here. The design on the Asus ROG Phone 5s is nothing short of radical, yet subtle in its own way. The smartphone will, most definitely, catch people’s attention almost always. It is a little big in size, but if you like big phones, nothing will be as noticeable as this (except ROG Phone 5s Pro and maybe the folding phones in the market).

The Asus ROG Phone 5s has a very noticeable back panel. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The Asus ROG Phone 5s has a very noticeable back panel. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

The smartphone has a display with no notch or hole punch. There is a slight chin (or rather forehead) on the top to house the front camera and other sensors, and a proportionate chin on the bottom to keep the aesthetics in check. The display is flat and doesn’t curve on any of the sides, since gaming on a curved screen can get annoying.

The screen is flat-edged and has no notch or hole punch design. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The screen is flat-edged and has no notch or hole punch design. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

While there is nothing special on the front, it is the side rails and back panel where things get interesting. The back panel of the Asus ROG Phone 5s has a glossy finish with a “Republic of Gamers, established 2006” badge along with a “5” that represents the ROG Phone 5 series. There is an RGB ‘ROG’ logo on the back panel that lights up and can be customised – users can pick the colour, light changing pattern, and more. The back panel also has these accents and panels in the design that give the smartphone a more aggressive appearance.

The ROG logo on the back panel lights up and can be customised for colour, brightness, and changing patterns. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The ROG logo on the back panel lights up and can be customised for colour, brightness, and changing patterns. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

There are other design bits on the smartphone that do not leave any doubt towards the smartphone’s gaming-centric looks. These include a red-coloured sim eject tray. There are air triggers on the smartphone’s frame on the right side that can be mapped for sensitivity and type (button or slider) from the Armory Crate app. The Asus ROG Phone 5s also comes with two USB Type-C ports – one on the bottom, a little towards the right and another on the left side of the phone, in order to allow gaming while charging the device. The Asus ROG Phone 5s also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and there are a bunch of antenna lines that make it very clear that the smartphone will have no issues with connectivity. The level of detail and aggressive designing can hardly get any better.

The Asus ROG Phone 5s comes with a second USB type-C port on one side of the smartphone, and Air Triggers or Shoulder Buttons on the other side of the frame. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The Asus ROG Phone 5s comes with a second USB type-C port on one side of the smartphone, and Air Triggers or Shoulder Buttons on the other side of the frame. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

DISPLAY

Coming to the display, it is immersive to say the least. The 144Hz refresh rate, paired with a 360Hz touch response rate just feels slick. Now, you will feel the high refresh rate in content that supports up to 144Hz even if you are coming from a 120Hz display. The Asus ROG Phone 5s display is super bright and playing games or using the smartphone in bright sunny outdoors is not an issue. The touch response rate clearly helps while gaming and users can adjust the refresh rate according to their usage. The smartphone has an automatic mode, and options to select between 60Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz. The smartphone also has a feature that forces apps to run on a higher refresh rate.

The display on the Asus ROG Phone 5s has a 144Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch response rate. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The display on the Asus ROG Phone 5s has a 144Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch response rate. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

Of course, the Samsung display with a 2448 x 1080 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate is made for gaming. However, even during normal usage, the Asus ROG Phone 5s feels super smooth and slick. It may not be the best in terms of the quality of panel used, but it is a rather vivid display. Even watching movies or YouTube videos on the Asus ROG Phone 5s was very nice, especially with the smartphone’s loudspeakers.

ALSO READ: Asus ROG Phone 5s With 18GB RAM Launched In India: Check Out The Most Powerful Gaming Smartphone In Photos

PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY

Performance is where the Asus ROG Phone 5s may feel like an overkill. This, after reviewing the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, let alone the ROG Phone 5s Pro. This smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and an Adreno 660 GPU. Users can speed up the processor and GPU, and optimise the RAM when they are playing games. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 on the Asus ROG Phone 5s can be clocked at up to 3GHz frequency, which makes the fans run faster in order for smoother performance. Since this is made for running high graphics games, there is no doubt that loading speeds and smoothness is super fast.

Asus ROG Phone 5s is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ chipset. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
Asus ROG Phone 5s is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ chipset. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

There is an Armory Crate app that helps with all the customisations on the Asus ROG Phone, including the RGB logo that was mentioned above. In the Armory Crate, Asus ROG Phone users can select modes that the ROG Phone 5s runs in, according to user’s requirement. There is an ultra durable mode which saves battery. Here, the processor runs at a slower speed, the UI uses less RAM, and several features like HyperFusion (extra strong Wi-Fi) and more switch off. There is a fourth Advanced Mode that is suitable for all kinds of users including gamers. Users can also edit these and set things like CPU/GPU and RAM performance, thermal limit, and more. The smartphone is full of customisations.

During gaming, users can speed up the processor and optimise RAM with the click of a button, and can see live stats like phone temperature, GPU/CPU usage, frame rate, and more. All of this customisation is done through the Armory Crate on the Asus ROG Phone 5s.

The Armory Crate app offers all the customisations and vitals for your gaming smartphone.
The Armory Crate app offers all the customisations and vitals for your gaming smartphone.

Battery on the Asus ROG Phone 5s is also quite advanced. It is a 6,000mAh unit split in two parts. The battery on the Asus ROG Phone 5s supports up to 65W fast charging. There are two USB type-C ports, which can both be used simultaneously to charge the smartphone as well. Despite the plethora of features on the smartphone, the battery backup is decent and we were able to squeeze out about a day despite two three hours of gaming every day.

The Asus ROG Phone 5s has a 6,000mAh battery with support for up to 65W fast charging. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
The Asus ROG Phone 5s has a 6,000mAh battery with support for up to 65W fast charging. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

In terms of battery also, the Asus ROG Phone 5s offers a lot of features and customisations. Users can limit battery usage for apps that are not used frequently. Further, users can set the charging limit on their Asus ROG Phone 5s to between 80%, 90%, and 100%. There is also a feature that allows them to see how they are treating their battery in terms of charging in a usage chart.

ALSO READ: Asus ROG Phone 5s Gaming Phone Launched In India: Specs And How Much It Will Cost

The most interesting battery feature, however, is the bypass mode. What this does is that if you are plugged in to the charger, you can turn on bypass mode and the smartphone will be powered by the electricity, saving you battery and preventing heat up at the same time.

CAMERA
The camera on the Asus ROG Phone 5s is a triple rear camera setup that includes a primary 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 shooter, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, and a 5-megapixel macro shooter. The camera was better than what I expected from a gaming phone, but it is still not the best. The images indoors are rather dull in colour and the wide angle shots lack quality as well.

There is a triple rear camera on the Asus ROG Phone 5s headlined by a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)
There is a triple rear camera on the Asus ROG Phone 5s headlined by a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686. (Image Credit: News18/ Darab Mansoor Ali)

The macro lens is also not as accurate and doesn’t focus as close as I’d like it to. The front camera on the Asus ROG Phone 5s is also not the best and images are mostly over exposed from the 24-megapixel shooter.

VERDICT
The Asus ROG Phone 5s is a gaming smartphone, and a very good one at that. The amount of customisations this smartphone has on offer just takes a while to wrap your head around, but all in favour of the smartphone’s raw performance. It looks super cool and performs as well as a phone can. For gamers, features like Air Triggers and motion control are a blessing, and the super loud speakers and super slick display make it quite a pleasant smartphone to do your daily tasks as well. The variant we tested costs Rs 49,999 in India and for that price, the ROG Phone 5s is a great phone not just for gamers, but any buyer looking to try something different from their smartphone.

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first published:March 08, 2022, 11:33 IST