Asus’s ROG Phone series has arguably led the gaming phone space for the last few years, offering the priciest flagship gaming phones around, while rivals have often competed at lower price points. That doesn’t look set to change with the ROG Phone 5 range.
The company’s fourth generation is comprised of three phones, with the regular version joined by a Pro and limited edition Ultimate model for the very first time. However, you may have already noticed that this is the fourth generation of phones, but is called the ROG Phone 5 series – not ROG Phone 4. Here’s everything you need to know. For a more in-depth look, take a look at our full Asus ROG Phone 5 review.
When will the Asus ROG Phone 5 go on sale?
Asus first revealed the ROG Phone 5 on 10 March, but the release is set to be staggered.
Those in Europe got their hands on the ROG Phone 5 first, with the ROG Phone 5 released in late March, and that was followed by the ROG Phone 5 Pro in late April and the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate in May 2021.
When it comes to UK availability, the ROG Phone 5 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of is available to buy right now following a 27 April release, but we’ll have to wait until the end of May for the 16GB/256GB version.
It’s not clear when (or if) the Pro and Ultimate models will come to the UK, but it makes a nice change from the ROG Phone 3, which never launched in the UK at all.
Though there was no US-related announcement at the event, the ROG Phone 5 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available to buy in the states following a 26 May release.
How much does the Asus ROG Phone 5 cost?
Asus confirmed UK and European pricing for the standard ROG Phone 5 at the announcement. The 12GB/256GB model will set you back £799/€899 and it’s available to buy directly from Asus right now, while bumping the RAM up to 16GB will cost you £899/€999. Those in the US only get access to the 16GB variant, available directly from Asus for $999 following a surprise late-May release.
The upgraded ROG Phone 5 Pro is yet to get UK or US pricing and availability, but it’ll cost you €1,199 (around £1,099/$1,427) in Europe, and it’s a similar story with the €1,299 (around £1,199/$1,546) ROG Phone 5 Ultimate too.
This makes the ROG Phone 5 significantly more expensive than many other gaming phones. Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 sells for £539/$599, while the Red Magic 5S starts at £509/$539.
Why is it called the ROG Phone 5 and not the ROG Phone 4?
While the previous ROG Phone was the third model, the three new phones are all part of the ROG Phone 5 family.
While skipping a number may seem odd at first, in Chinese, Taiwanese and also Japanese culture, 4 is considered an unlucky number – partially due to the fact that the word for ‘four’ sounds like the word for ‘death’.
It’s thought to be this reason that OnePlus skipped the number when releasing a follow-up to the OnePlus 3T and might have had something to do with Sony’s Xperia Z4 releasing as the Xperia Z3+ in some markets.
What specs and features does the ROG Phone 5 have?
For the first time, Asus has released more than one handset from a single generation of ROG phones. There are three in total – regular, Pro and Ultimate – although only the former is coming to the UK at launch.
As expected, they all come with Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset, which combines with an Adreno 660 integrated GPU for great gaming performance. They differ where RAM is concerned, though – the regular and Pro go to 16GB, while the Ultimate hits an incredible 18GB. It remains to be seen how much of a tangible effect this will have on everyday usage. Like the ROG Phone 3, there’s also 5G support.
Elsewhere, all ROG Phone 5 devices come with 6.78in 2448×1080 AMOLED display – that’s slightly larger than the ROG Phone 3. Asus has stuck with the 144Hz refresh rate from that, although it’s now been beaten by the new Red Magic 6 and 6 Pro (165Hz). It also has a 300Hz touch sampling rate and 20.4:9 aspect ratio, with Asus specifically designing the phone for landscape usage. There’s also been a 25% reduction in the size of the bezels without the need for a notch or hole-punch camera.
However, the Pro and Ultimate models also benefit from a tiny ‘ROG Vision’ display on the back of the phone. This can show custom graphics depending on what you’re doing, changing to reflect scenarios like incoming calls, charging and loading a game.
All the phones have 6000mAh of total battery capacity, although this is split across two cells. This allows Asus to position the motherboard in the centre of the device, which it says helps balance weight and improve cooling. Charging is via USB-C, with the side-mounted port ensuring you can charge and play at the same time. This is at 65W, although there’s no wireless charging.
Asus’ GameCool cooling system has also been updated, with the company claiming it’s had its biggest update since the very first ROG Phone. The key upgrade you’re likely to notice is improved heat dissipation, although moving the circuit board to the centre of the device should help your fingers stay cool.
As expected, there are plenty of official accessories compatible with the ROG Phone 5. These include a new modular gamepad, clip for attaching to a console controller and protective case with RGB logo. There’s also a professional dock, which adds connectivity options like USB and HDMI ports.
The ROG Phone 5 has dual front-facing speakers, but has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack for a flexible audio experience.
Cameras aren’t a priority on gaming phones, but the ROG Phone 5 has a triple rear setup. A main 64Mp sensor is joined by 13Mp ultrawide and 5Mp, although they’re unlikely to compete with the best camera phones around. On the front, you’ll find a 24Mp selfie camera.
One final curiosity is that the phone may really excel when it comes to audio. The new phone has scored 79 in the relatively recent DxOMark Audio benchmark, dethroning the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra (on 76) for the top spot.
Thanks to its four microphones, headphone jack, and two front-facing speakers, the ROG Phone 5 scored highly for both recording and playback. DxOMark note that the phone achieved category-leading sub-scores for dynamics, spatial, and artifact distortion, though noted its weaknesses are slightly lacklustre bass and lower max volume than some rivals.
If you’re looking for something to put the ROG Phone 5 range through its paces, check out our roundup of the best Android games of all time.
Or if you prefer a larger screen, our best gaming laptop guide has plenty of excellent options.
In the meantime, we discussed the ROG Phone 5 and ROG Phone 5 Ultimate post-review in an episode of our regular podcast Fast Charge, so check that out too: