To fully soak in the experience of the ROG Phone 5, we spent a month with it. Within this month, we used the accessories to really gauge the potential offered by the ROG Phone 5.
We did a few videos regarding the ROG Phone 5 already – firstly the entire unboxing experience alongside all 3 different accessories that are announced alongside the ROG Phone 5 but sold separately, a gaming video with only the ROG Phone 5 alone, and also a review of the new ROG Phone 5’s AeroActive Cooler 5. I should also highlight again that the new AeroActive Cooler 5 is only compatible with the ROG Phone 5 and not the older ROG Phones.
So, after using the ROG Phone 5 for so long, what do I think?
Let’s start off with the design. It’s sleek – and also slippery. I mean, it’s no different from any other previous generations of the ROG Phone. It’s glass on both the front and back of the phone, it’s heavy, and also slippery.
Our unit of the ROG Phone 5 is using the standard ROG Phone so we don’t get the fancy strip of display at the back of the phone – but we get the ROG logo displayed in this dot matrix fashion, and we can also customize the logo to whatever color we want.
And I should also mention that the ROG Phone 5 is a proper upgrade over the ROG Phone 2 – and much better than the ROG Phone 3 – because it retained the headphone jack. And for a gaming phone, that is an important port.
But, there are a few more things that ROG could have improved for the ROG Phone 5, but didn’t. For example – IP-rating. I mean, the proprietary port for the AeroActive Cooler is now replaced by pogo pins – which means it should be easier to be IP-rated but it’s not.
The reason why I’m talking about IP-rating on the ROG Phone 5 is because of the Snapdragon 888 chipset. Yes, like what we showed in the gaming video of the ROG Phone 5 – the ROG Phone 5 gets extremely hot. So, in my mind, if the ROG Phone 5 is IP-rated, we can just dunk it in water and use the Kunai Gamepad to play.
But how hot does the ROG Phone 5 get? Well, really hot – but only on certain games. I played Genshin Impact at the highest possible graphical settings at 60fps and the built-in tool reported CPU temperature of up to 60°C. Yes, that’s right – 60°C.
But let’s not forget about the one feature that the ROG Phone 5 has – bypass charging. By plugging it into the charger, we can enable “bypass charging” which literally bypasses the battery and gets power directly from the charger like a desktop.
In theory, this will help lower the temperature of the ROG Phone 5 since it doesn’t stress the battery while gaming. And in practice, it does lower the temperature… but only by a little. 2°C, to be exact.
While it is an improvement, the phone is still way too hot to be touched while playing Genshin Impact at the highest graphical settings – which is why I just leave the Kunai Gamepad bumper case on all the time, even though when I’m not using the Kunai Gamepad.
But, Genshin Impact is not the only game I’ve been playing. I played COD Mobile a lot – and the ROG Phone 5 didn’t have any issues in performance or heat while running the game at the highest graphical settings. And this circles back to what we’ve been saying earlier – it gets really hot but only for certain games.
But how does the ROG Phone 5 feel while gaming? Well, there are a few additional “triggers” available. We now have more motion controls, but the AirTriggers are the same as the ROG Phone 3.
The biggest improvement in the gaming experience lies in the accessories built for the ROG Phone 5. The new AeroActive Cooler 5 – like what we said in the review – has two more buttons to be used at the back of the phone – which is amazing.
And with that said – the ROG Phone 5’s gaming experience is not that much more special compared to its competitors in the market. To truly utilize ROG Phone 5’s power, we need its accessories.
If you want to stream mobile games via OBS, then the ROG Phone 5 will be perfect for you since it can output video via HDMI with a dongle.
Oof, okay, we just talked a lot of things about gaming on the ROG Phone 5. What about other parts of the phone? Let’s go through them really quickly.
It’s using a 6.78-inch AMOLED screen – beautiful, bright, vivid – all the good stuff. And it can go up to 144Hz – which is a tiny upgrade over the 120Hz on the ROG Phone 3.
The cameras on the ROG Phone 5 – it’s actually very good! I’m impressed that ASUS didn’t forget about its cameras while making a gaming-focused smartphone.
And also – real quick mention of the battery and charger. It comes with the same 6,000mAh like the ROG Phone 3, and it lasts for about 13 hours at 144Hz with the RGB light turned on.
It also comes with a 65W charger in the box – and charges the ROG Phone 5 from 15% to 100% battery in less than an hour.
Oh – we should also mention that the ROG Phone 5 uses USB PD 3.0 standards, and we can use the bypass charging feature with our Ugreen 65W GaN charger too. Nice.
So, for the starting price of RM2,999 – the ROG Phone 5 has the exact same price as the ROG Phone 3 Strix Edition. Lots of technological improvements overall, but the gaming experience via the phone only is still, nothing out of the ordinary.
That is why I absolutely recommend you to buy the AeroActive Cooler 5 for those two buttons at the back. But, it’s a separate purchase and not included in the box – at the price of RM149.
That bumps the price to RM3,148 – and that’s still a fairly good price for the gaming experience it offers.
As for the other accessories, it depends on you. Do you need a dedicated gamepad for your phone? To be honest, I’d say just get the ROG Clip or equivalent and mount your phone on an Xbox controller. That’s much better.