Asus ROG Phone 5 Package

The last article showed the unboxing of the Asus ROG Phone 5. This time, a performance test is in order for this Sakura Index review. Here, we’ll find out if this phone is a worthy successor to 2020’s Asus ROG Phone 3.

The Basics

Asus ROG Phone 5 Front and Back

The ROG Phone 5 is a simplistic, yet sleek looking device. It’s slightly longer at 6.78 in., compared to last year’s model at 6.59in. The processor is upgraded as well, with a new Octa-Core 2.84 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888 5G.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Antutu Benchmark score

Source: https://www.antutu.com/en/ranking/rank1.htm

Its Antutu Benchmark score is one of the highest yet, at 731376, making it a worthy contender in the smartphone market. As for the the battery, it also retains the same 6,000 mAh capacity but is now split between two 3,000 mAh batteries at the top and bottom inside sections of the phone.

As for the screen, it now boasts a 1 ms Samsung AMOLED display and also has glove touch support. This is a handy feature to have, especially in this pandemic when we need to keep our phones in zip bags and wear gloves to reduce the risk of infection outside.

The Specs

Processor: 2.84 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888 5G Mobile Platform with 5 nm, 64-bit Octa-Core
GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 660
UI: Android™ 11 with new ROG UI
Screen Size: 6.78in. (2448 x 1080), 144 Hz

Memory:

– 18 GB RAM/512 GB storage (ROG 5 Ultimate)
– 16 GB RAM/512 GB storage (ROG 5 Pro)
– 16 GB RAM/256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage (ROG Phone 5 Classic)

SIM Tray: Dual SIM
SD Card Slot: None
Battery: 6,000 mAh (two 3,000 mAh internal batteries)

Rear Cameras: 64 MP (Main camera Sony® IMX686) + 13 MP (125° ultrawide-angle lens) + 5 MP (Macro)
Front Selfie Camera: 24 MP

Ports:

– Side and bottom USB-C
– AeroActive Cooler 5 port (left side)
– 3.5mm headphone jack

Audio:

– Dirac Technologies Symmetrical dual front-facing speakers
– 7-magnet stereo speaker with Cirrus Logic amplifier

Wireless Connections:

– Integrated Wi-Fi 6E
– Bluetooth® 5.2
– WiFi Direct
– NFC

Charger Output: 65W (1 hour and 15 minutes charging time from 0 to 100%)

First Impressions

Asus ROG Phone 5 Side and Bottom

There are a lot of new things to take in on this phone. For one thing, the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack was a welcome sight because it allows for wired headphones to be used once again.

Asus ROG Phone 5 AeroActive Cooler Fan

The AeroActive Cooler has a rad new design.

The new AeroActive Cooler 5 fan attachment has been redesigned. Instead of a sliding extender, it simply clips to the phone via specific connector pins that attach to the left side. The fan also extra side buttons that can be mapped to your game’s controls. These give you more keybind options, especially for shooter or RPG mobile games.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Speedtest

The Wi-Fi connection is also the fastest yet. Assuming you use a 5G, 10-megabyte per second (100 megabit p/s) Fibr connection, huge files like game APK installers ranging from 2 to 6 GB can be downloaded in less than 15 minutes.

Asus ROG Phone 5 with Strix G Laptop

Charging time is also the shortest yet, with the phone going from empty to 100% within just 1 hour and 15 minutes. It still uses the same USB-C cable as the last model, which is great for Asus ROG laptop users because they can simply plug the phone into the laptop’s USB-C port as shown above.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Navigation Menu

It’s also nice to note that the phone’s interface still retains the ability to switch the positions of the “back” and “previous apps” buttons. Samsung phone users transitioning to the ROG 5 will find this a nifty feature since there’s no need to unlearn their muscle memory on navigation button placements.

One thing that was noticeably missing was the rear thermal exhaust port for the phone, unlike the ROG Phone 3. In its place is a re-engineered internal GameCool 5 Heat Dissipating System in the middle section of the phone.

This change is the one most concerning. After all, the past models had a visible exhaust to vent out the heat. How this affects game performance will be tested below.

Games Tested

Instead of the usual mobile eSports games, titles that are known for making phones overheat will be used here. As per Sakura Index’s custom, anime-based gacha games (with the exception of Call of Duty Mobile) will be featured. All games were tested with the phone running on X-Mode, cooling fan attached, and on default graphics unless otherwise stated.

Genshin Impact

The biggest mobile game release from developer miHoYo is a worthy opponent for the ROG Phone 5.

Genshin Impact was quite a handful that we just had to try the game in different settings: First on default graphics at the 30FPS setting, next on max graphics also at 30, another with low graphics at 60FPS, and then all graphics and framerate maxed.

During all three runs, the phone never lagged, though there was a noticeable buildup of warmth. Running the game at default had a 47C temp by the end of the run, with the framerate moving between 29 to 30FPS.

It’s also possible to play this game at 40-60FPS consistently if the graphics are toned down to the lowest setting, making the gameplay smoother and leaving the in-game graphics load at “balanced”.

But to really see the boundaries of this phone’s hardware, Genshin also set to maximum graphics and 60FPS. During this run, the phone could still run the game at 40 to 50FPS with graphics that could almost be mistaken for its PC version. However, internal temps gradually went to 51C even with the cooling fan attached.

In conclusion, the phone could handle max graphics settings with the in-game load meter set to “Overclock”, but it may not be advisable due to the heat buildup.

Gundam Battle Gunpla Warfare

Another game notorious for overheating phones was Bandai-Namco’s GBGW. Even though the game only had half CPU and GPU usage, the temperature noticeably shot up to 51C during a single mission. It was at this point, the next game was played immediately just to see how the phone would perform during such high temps.

Honkai Impact 3

Genshin Impact’s predecessor arguably had far more ways to test out the ROG Phone 5’s hardware. The game’s own version of “Spiral Abyss”, Q-Singularis, was far more challenging and fast-paced. There were even co-op mode and open world modes to try here.

Immediately after GBGW, Honkai Impact’s Q-Singularis mode was opened. As it turned out, jumping from one intense game to another is ill-advised because after 20 minutes of playing, Honkai Impact caused the phone feel a bit hot despite having no slowdown in terms of gameplay performance.

On the bright side, the phone only took less than 3 minutes to cool off, allowing the co-op and the “A Post Honkai Odyssey” open world modes to be tested afterwards.

Co-op mode was no problem, with only the highest recorded temp at 45C. The APHO mode however, had a slow increase from 46 to 51C during its run while doing 59-60FPS, while GPU usage even shot up to 90%. The only catch though, was that the warmth buildup was barely felt because the phone had time to rest.

Arknights

This tower defense game is another one of the popular gacha games today. Running this on the ROG Phone 5 exerted only minimal usage as the GPU and CPU barely went over half. Temps remained firmly below 38C as well.

Nier Reincarnation

This Yoko Taro-directed game certainly generated a bit of buzz when its demo came out. While the game plays out like a standard turn-based Final Fantasy game, it wasn’t as stressful for the phone as I thought it would. Temps were stable at 37C and the graphics usage was at only 62%.

Girls Frontline

This mobile strategy RPG was another light-usage game for the phone. Despite it running at near-constant 60FPS, the GPU usage was only 57% at its peak and the temps were stable at 42C.

Punishing: Grey Raven

This Chinese hack-and-slash game was quite another surprise. Given how fast-paced the game was in its playthroughs, it was be expected that it would place the same amount of stress as Honkai Impact 3.

Despite that, the game never shot up beyond 40C and its graphics usage never went beyond 70%.

Call of Duty Mobile

Just for the sake of putting the screen’s response time through its paces, CoD Mobile was also tested. As usual, the game performed quite well with the ROG Phone 5. The framerates were a constant 59-60 during matches and the temps were stable at 45C and below.

The Camera

Asus ROG Phone 5 Night Test Shot - Gundam

Test shot of the Bandai HG 1/144 00 Qan-T Gundam at night.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Night Test Shot - Figma

Test shot of the GSC Figma – Jeanne d’Arc (Summer Ver.) at night.

The 64MP Sony rear-facing camera for this model is an improvement over the previous one. The colors were far more balanced even in night conditions with artificial light as seen with the test shots of the GSC Figma of Jeanne d’Arc and the HG 1/144 scale 00 Qan-T Gundam. This was compared to the ROG Phone 3 where its camera would amplify available light to make the colors seem brighter.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Day Test Shot - Figma

Test shot of the GSC Figma – Jeanne d’Arc (Summer Ver.) at daytime.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Day Test Shot - Gundam

Test shot of the Bandai HG 1/144 00 Qan-T Gundam at daytime.

Daytime shooting in natural light conditions is where this phone shines the best. Images were crystal clear and the colors were pretty decent too.

The ROG Cetra Core II

ASUS ROG Cetra II Core

The first thing any user would notice with the ROG Cetra Core II wired headphones would be the superb bass boost. This model really shines the best when listening to the likes of Johnny M in the Mix, Shingo Nakamura and other electronic music artists.

Asus ROG Phone 5 with Cetra Core II Headset

Yup, it can run Fate/Grand Order too.

Sound quality when gaming is also impressive, this was to be expected with the usual mobile titles, but especially in shooter games. Imagine you’re busy engaging enemies but at the same time, you can hear incoming footsteps even over gunfire, allowing you to quickly check if it’s an enemy sneaking up on you or otherwise. This was one of the notable experiences observed while using this headset.

One caveat noticed was that the silicone in-ear clips and earbuds tend to bleed color when wet. It might be advisable to thoroughly wash these before putting them in your ears, just so there won’t be any color staining your skin later on.

Final Impressions

The Good

– 3.5mm headphone jack returns
– Camera has a noticeable improvement over the last model
– Superior performance even under high temperatures

The Caveats

– Heat vent is replaced with an internal heat sink
– Noticeable warmth buildup when playing with max graphics

The Verdict

Overall, the Asus ROG Phone 5 delivers solid gaming performance even under trying conditions. It’s also great to know that this model brought back the 3.5mm headphone jack.

One caveat is that because the heat vent was removed, the phone did have a noticeable buildup of warmth especially when playing at max graphics. It’s still a solid model regardless, and would make a worthy upgrade for those looking for a new gaming smartphone in 2021.

The Asus ROG Phone 5’s Classic, Pro and Ultimate variants are priced as follows in the Philippines:

ROG Phone 5 Classic (8GB RAM/128GB storage)PHP 39,995
ROG Phone 5 Classic (16GB RAM/256GB storage)PHP 49,995
ROG Phone 5 Pro (16GB RAM/512GB storage)PHP 54,995
ROG Phone 5 Ultimate (18GB RAM/512GB storage) PHP 59,995

If you liked Sakura Index’s performance review of the Asus ROG Phone 5, check out the list of prices and where to get it in the Philippines here!

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