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Asus ROG Phone 5 review: Time to get air trigger-happy

In living colour The Asus ROG Phone 5 special arrangement   | Photo Credit: Asus

When I first heard about the Republic Of Gamers (ROG) range of smartphones, I rolled my eyes at Asus’ attempt to be ultra-niche. Years later, Asus has me eating my words as thousands of mobile gamers participate in international tournaments for PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite and Freefire, and win lakhs. Over the years, the ROG range of smartphones has remained a centrepiece for these gamers’ repertoire.

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So this year, like clockwork, Asus launched a new upgrade of its ROG smartphone after last year’s ROG Phone 3; the Chinese-made tech brand skipped ‘4’ due to superstition.

What’s on board?

A phone with that many more hardware upgrades would feel heavier, but the ROG 5 is marginally lighter than its predecessor. It is a pretty smartphone, with the trademark cyberpunk designs along the back and the signature Aura RGB lighting on the back in the form of the ROG logo.

With a low glare and reflection, the 6.78-inch sAMOLED display is stunning and durable, the latter courtesy Gorilla Glass Victus. Asus has taken into account that mobile gamers often move smartphones like a controller so they have ensured a game would look from any angle. There is a 144Hz refresh rate, which matches the one millisecond response rate and 23.4 millisecond touch latency, so whatever you are playing, the experience is real-time.

The Asus ROG Phone 5 in Phantom Black

The Asus ROG Phone 5 in Phantom Black   | Photo Credit: Asus

Such responsiveness requires the latest in processors and ROG 5 comes with Snapdragon 888 and has a high-density 6,000mAh power cell comprising two 3,000mAh components. This did not make any difference to me as I still managed to get about 10 hours of solid use from both devices. And DC Dimming, an in-demand feature for many entertainment-oriented AMOLED devices, controls the brightness by varying the power supplied to the circuit; to get the optimal battery use and display simultaneously depending on where you are.

The GameFX audio system and the Audiophile-grade ESS Sabre ES9280AC Pro speaker system with HyperStream complements the vivid display. Thanks to these, the audio no matter how much you up the volume is not shrill or distorted.

The ROG 5 comes with dual USB-C; there are two charging slots, one at the base of the phone and another along the side, ideal for gaming sessions. This innovation is ergonomic as most gamers complain of the weight of the cable at the end of a phone held horizontally, which creates an awkward tilt. The ROG 5’s added side slot is helpful while also cleverly encouraging marathon gaming sessions even as you charge using the 65-Watt hypercharge system.

Read More | Asus ROG Phone 3 review: Upsetting benchmarks for gaming phones

The ROG 3 did not have too many heating issues, unlike the ROG 5, particularly around the centre of the phone where your fingertips would likely rest. This was not too uncomfortable but it is a bit of a let-down given Asus ROG’s emphasis on the centre printed circuit-board design and copper 3D vapour chamber that claims to internally cool the phone and dissipate as much heat as possible during intense use. Those keen on keeping the ROG 5 as their primary smartphone and mobile gaming device can opt for Asus’ AeroActive Cooler 5, an external cooling attachment.

Native enhancements

The Game Genie app, Asus ROG’s in-device game enhancement hub, allows users to check tactics while also offering simple macro support to help automate in-game actions such as looting or grinding so you can focus on the battle and main missions. This was especially helpful in Call of Duty Mobile and Diablo Immortal.

The display of the Asus ROG Phone 5

The display of the Asus ROG Phone 5   | Photo Credit: Asus

Users can also access the settings for the AirTriggers 5 (the shoulder buttons on the sides of the device) with Dual Partition Functionality that offer up an immersive console-like gaming experience. Be sure to make the most of Game Genie to really get that bang for your buck.

The Asus ROG Phone 5 boasts a 64-megapixel camera that claims to be a videographer’s dream but, frankly, there are better smartphones out there for filming. This is not too much of a disappointment as this has been the leeway for other smarter builds within the phone to take much of the processor and battery’s brunt.

Ultimately, the Asus ROG Phone 5, a robust device with smart features and thoughtful design, is a welcome and ready competitor in the flagship race of 2021. Starting at ₹49,990, it packs a punch like no other gaming smartphone and can even be a great replacement for your regular smartphone too.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 12:53:56 AM |

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