Last year we spent some wonderful hands-on time with the ROG phone 3 and today, its successor the ROG phone 5 series has arrived. Let’s start with the rumours, many of them are true: The ROG 5 Ultimate and Pro verisons do come with a rediculous 18GB of RAM, the screen is capable of 144hz refresh rate, the battery does have a 6,000mAh capacity and it comes with a 65W charger. That’s the spec highlight reel, but the ROG phone 5 has a lot more to offer than numbers alone, it’s been evolved with user experience in mind. The Republic of Gamers design team has kept in mind their five fundamentals for the ultimate gaming smartphone:

  1. Performance without compromises
  2. Supercharged visuals
  3. Non-stop stamina
  4. It’s been built for landscape use
  5. Offering the most immersive gaming experience

Most of that is self-explanatory; you’re looking at bleeding-edge specifications, a display that is second to none and a beast of a battery all wrapped in a device that is not just for gaming, but to get you into your games. Being a bit more specific about those details the screen is a 6.78″ HDR10+ capable of 144hz refresh. Powering the ROG 5 you’ve got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G device, with 16GB (12 on the base model) of memory and UFS3.1 storage for quick loading of your apps and games. The 6,000mAh battery should see you through a really heavy day of use, but if you do get stuck the 65W charger is said to fill your battery in under an hour.

In an interesting design and engineering choice, the battery is in fact, two 3,000mAh cells placed at the top and bottom of the phone for balance with the motherboard centred. This means that there is space for the side mount USB-C port (great for charging while gaming, without cumbersome cables in your way) and associated internals to be placed where it is.

Sound is so important to gaming

Anyone who doubts the value of quality sound in gaming probably doesn’t play too many games. The ROG phone 5 has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, one being the headphone jack so you can plug in your favourite headset, the other being the 7-magnet 12×16 Super Linear Speakers that are powered by Cirrus Logic CS35L45 mono amplifiers. In a feat of audio brilliance, they’ve managed to create simulated directional audio getting users deeply immersed in the gaming even without a headset.

The accessories game is as strong as ever

To really get the full value from a device like this, you need to invest time into gaming and you need to invest in the right accessories. Compared to last year, there is just as many accessories and more will be provided with the purchase of the phone. You’ve got the AeroActive Cooler for when you’re gaming hard, to keep your phone cool and performing at its peak. The Kunai 3 Gamepad is a modular offering for players who prefer tactile touch vs touchscreen controls, or the ROG clip may be more to your liking allowing you to attach your Xbox or PS4 controller.

The professional dock allows you to connect an HDMI display, USB devices and enable the keymapping features. While it won’t have the range of games, this goes a long way to turning your phone into a console-esque device. With all of this in mind, they’ve done some engineering wizardry to keep the phone as cool as possible too.

As a little bit of cream on the pie, we’ve got one on the test bench this week meaning we’ll get the chance to really give it a workout. We’ll be testing everything we can in the software including scheduled charging, passthrough charging, Airtriggers, keymapping and customisable performance settings for gaming.