Don’t want to read the full review?Head directly to the Conclusions section to learn what I liked the most and what I liked the least about the ASUS ROG Phone 5s.Read morePixel 4 crops up on Geekbench running ‘Android R’
The power of many smartphones means that many users use them to play, ahead of computers and consoles in many cases. So much so that, in recent years, some manufacturers have specialized in launching smartphones for video game lovers.
In mid-August last year, ASUS introduced its newASUS ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro smartphones , which went on sale in Spain in November.Read moreSamsung pledges to fix camera bugs in the S20 Ultra found by reviews
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s has a 6.8″ FullHD+ AMOLED screen at 144 Hz, Snapdragon 888+ processor, 8/12/16 GB of RAM, 128/256/512 GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (64MP, f/ 1.9) + ultra wide angle (13MP, f/2.4) + macro (5MP, f/2.0), front camera (24MP, f/2.5) and 6,000 mAh battery with 65W fast charge.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is on sale for€999 (12/512GB) or€1,099 (16/512GB) on the official website , although you can also find it on Amazon at lower prices. It’s a pretty high price, but in return you get the most powerful hardware of the moment.Read moreWhere's our Galaxy S20 Ultra review?
After several weeks of use, here I bring you my in-depth analysis of this smartphone.
Sections of the analysis
The first thing that strikes you when you hold the ASUS ROG Phone 5s in your hand is that it’squite a blunt smartphone , although its rounded corners and curved back cover try to disguise its dimensions.
The front is dominated by ahuge 6.8″ screen with rounded corners.
ASUS hasn’t tried to keep the top and bottom bezels to a minimum, rather these are quite a bit thicker than what we find on other brands’ flagships.
The presence of bezels makes sense on a gaming-oriented smartphone as itallows you to rest your hands comfortably without interfering with the screen when holding the phone horizontally.
In addition, the presence of a notch or hole in the screen for the front camera could interfere with the interface of games — something inexcusable in a device geared towards gaming.
ASUS has opted for a 20.4:9 screen ratio which, together with the frames that flank the screen, makes it a fairly long smartphone.
Of course,the screen is completely flat, as it should be on a device where good interaction with the screen prevails over any aesthetic aspect.
On the front, we findtwo slots for the speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom. The upper frame also has a notification LED, which is something that we no longer see in almost any smartphone.
At9.90mm thick and weighing 238 grams , the ASUS ROG Phone 5s is ablunt smartphone , inappropriate for those who prefer compact and lightweight devices. In fact, its weight means that if you hold it with one hand for a long time, you end up noticing the weight.
|Measurements (mm.)||Weight (gr.)||Screen||Screen to body ratio (*)|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||165 × 76 × 8,9||227||6,8″||90%|
|Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra||164 × 75 × 8,4||234||6,8″||91%|
|Xiaomi Mi 11||164 × 75 × 8,1||196||6,8″||91%|
|Huawei Mate 40 Pro||163 × 76 × 9,1||212||6,8″||94%|
|⏩ ASUS ROG Phone 5s||173 × 77 × 9,9||238||6,8″||82%|
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||161 × 78 × 7,7||240||6,7″||87%|
|Samsung Galaxy S21+||162 × 76 × 7,8||200||6,7″||88%|
|OPPO Find X3 Pro||164 × 74 × 8,3||193||6,7″||90%|
|OnePlus 9T||163 x 74 x 8,7||197||6,7″||90%|
|OnePlus 9||160 x 74 × 8,7||192||6,6″||88%|
|Huawei P40 Pro+||159 × 73 × 9,0||226||6,6″||92%|
|Huawei P40 Pro||158 × 73 × 9,0||209||6,6″||92%|
|I live X60 Pro||159 × 73 × 7,6||179||6,6″||90%|
|Sony Xperia 1III||165 × 71 × 8.2||186||6,5″||84%|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 FE||156 × 75 × 7,9||177||6,4″||85%|
|Samsung Galaxy S21||152 × 71 × 7,9||169||6,2″||87%|
|iPhone 13 Pro||147 × 72 × 7,7||204||6,1″||86%|
|iPhone 13||147 × 72 × 7,7||174||6,1″||86%|
|Sony Xperia 5III||157 × 68 × 8,2||168||6,1″||85%|
|Huawei P40||149 × 71 × 8,5||175||6,1″||86%|
|Pixel 5||145 × 70 × 8,0||151||6,0″||86%|
|iPhone 13 mini||132 × 64 × 7,7||141||5,4″||85%|
(*) Screen-to-body ratio data obtained from GSMArena
The back has a very striking design, in line with what we see in PC devices forgamers.
The camera module is located horizontally and has a shape with angular lines. However, what is most surprising about the back is theAura lighting , made up of a set of LEDs that light up, if you want, with customizable colors when you activate X mode, receive a call, play music, play a title, receive a notification, etc.
It is possible to choose the lighting pattern (breathing, color cycle, strobe, etc.), the hours during which it should not light up, as well as create or join a group via WiFi to synchronize the lighting with other phones.
The possibility of customizing the Aura lighting depending on the situation can be useful if you tend to leave your phone upside down, although, in my opinion, it is not a highly recommended practice because you can end up scratching the screen.
Therefore, in the end it ends up being a way ofshowing off your smartphone to those who see you play, since you yourself don’t see the lights while you play.
ASUS ROG Phone 5s
Next, we are going to review the four sides of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s to see what elements we find.
On theright side we find the power button, the button to control the volume and, at the ends, two ultrasonic AirTrigger touch buttons (“triggers”) that can be used in games as auxiliary buttons.
Each AirTrigger supports different clicks on the left and right half, in case you want to assign more than one function to a click. It is also possible to slide your finger on the AirTrigger, as well as tap and slide for more control.
On theleft side we find a USB Type-C connector, the nano SIM card slot and Pogo Pin connectors for accessories such as the AeroActive Cooler 5 for improved active cooling.
It’s unusual to find a USB-C connector on this side, but it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense on a gaming smartphone, as it’s usually held horizontally.
Theupper part of the phone is free of any element.
Thebottom of the phone has a USB Type-C connector and a headphone jack.
The ASUS Phone ROG 5s is only available inPhantom Black , which combines black with red accents. In other markets, it is also available inStorm White .
The glossy finish on the back makes fingerprints stand out on its surface, and they are especially visible in areas where the color is uniform.
Unfortunately,it’s not waterproof , so you’ll need to be careful not to accidentally get it wet.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s has a large6.8″ AMOLED E4 screen with Full HD+ resolution (2448 × 1080 pixels).
The screen resolution might seem a bit meager for a phone with such a large screen, but the pixel density turns out to be 395 ppi, well above the 300 ppi threshold we usually think of as the lower limit for individual pixels to be indistinguishable. .
The display is protected byGorilla Glass Victus , Corning’s strongest glass yet.
The sub-pixel matrix is of the PenTile type , as is usual in OLED panels. This means that the sub-pixels are arranged in a diamond shape with more green sub-pixels than red or blue. Therefore, the effective resolution of the panel is lower than Full HD+ when the screen displays blue or red colors.
The LCD screens that other phones have have RGB matrices, where the sub-pixels are placed one after the other, in red-green-blue (RGB) rows, so the announced resolution applies equally to the sub-pixels of each colour.
A standout feature of the screen isits high refresh rate of up to 144 Hz. By default, the screen is set to automatic mode, but it is possible to manually select a rate of 120 or 60 Hz.
In auto mode, the refresh rate dynamically adjusts based on the content being displayed, saving battery life when viewing static or low-motion content. This is an important advantage over other smartphones that apply a fixed refresh rate, regardless of the content displayed.
The 144 Hz rate is the highest I have ever tested on a smartphone.This high refresh rate makes everything move more smoothly, from scrolling when scrolling quickly through a web page to those games that are not limited in FPS.
As of today, there are few games that can take advantage of a 144 Hz rate — such asReal Racing 3, Dead Trigger 2, Alto’s Adventure, Deus Ex Go, Hill Climb Racing 2, Minecraft orShadowgun Legends — but the list is expected to go on. increase.
This high refresh rate is accompanied by a360 Hz touch sampling rate for the screen.With this, the phone detects our keystrokes more quickly and, therefore, responds faster to our commands.
In addition to having a high refresh rate, the screen of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s offers a wide range of colors since, according to the company, it covers 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut.
color spaces. Source: AVSForum
If you’re not familiar with color spaces, all gamut smartphones cover the standard Android color space:Rec. 709/ sRGB.
The most advanced try to comply with theDCI-P3 space used in the film industry, and a few aim towards the even widerRec. 2020 color space , which covers 76 percent of the visible spectrum.
No current panel is capable of displaying the full Rec. 2020 color space, but many panels do cover the DCI-P3 space.
On the other hand,HDR technology increases the dynamic range of color tones displayed on the screen. The panel of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s is compatible with HDR, so we can enjoy this content on some streaming services.
To analyze the quality of the screen, we have carried out several tests with the CalMAN Ultimate professional software and an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter .
Your phone offersfour color reproduction modes:Default, Natural, Cinema, andStandard.In any of these modes, white balance can be adjusted, and a custom mode that allows saturation to be adjusted is also available.
With thedefault mode , the screen covers practically 100% of the sRGB and DCI-P3 spaces. The color temperature turns out to be 7,359ºK, a value that is well above the optimum temperature of 6,500ºK, so it has a bluish tint.
This bluish tint is possibly something that ASUS has done on purpose. Users often prefer a bluish screen over an orange one, since the latter is associated with something old. In any case, the phone offers some options to adjust the color temperature of the screen.
In this mode, the color fidelity is simply good with the average error being 4.2 dE (below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 is considered unacceptable) and the maximum error is 8.6 dE.
Screen results in default color mode
If we switch tonatural mode, 100% of the sRGB and wider DCI-P3 spaces are also covered. The color temperature turns out to be 7,400ºK which, again, indicates a certain bluish cast.
With this color mode, the color fidelity is quite good since, by definition, this mode shows natural colors and therefore close to reality. In this case, the mean error is 3.1 dE and the maximum is 8.9 dE.
Screen results in natural color mode
InCinema color mode, 96% of the sRGB color space is covered. The color temperature turns out to be 6,379 ºK, so we have a more accurate shade of white.
With this color mode, color fidelity improves to a mean error of 1.3 dE and a maximum error of 3.3 dE, which is excellent.
Screen results in cinema color mode
Finally, in theStandard color mode, 96% of the sRGB color space is covered. The color temperature turns out to be 6,342 ºK, so we have a correct shade of white.
With this color mode, the color fidelity achieves an excellent value of mean error of 1.3 dE and maximum error of 3.2 dE.
Screen results in standard color mode
The maximum brightness of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s is around 440 nits with the maximum brightness in manual mode, but it increases to716 nits if we set the automatic mode and we are under a bright environment such as sunlight.
These tests have been carried out, as usual, with the screen completely blank (known as APL 100%).
In this comparative graph we reflect the maximum brightness value with the screen at 100% white, since it is the usual way to measure and compare the brightness of a screen.
The maximum brightness value with the screen illuminated at 100% is high , although it is far from what flagships reach that exceed 900 nits. In any case, with this brightness value, you will be able to see the screen in any situation, even on the street in sunlight.
The black color is very deep , to the point that the colorimeter has been unable to measure any level of brightness. This means that the blacks are really black and the contrast is theoretically infinite. One advantage of such a deep black color is that when watching a movie, the black bands around the image appear completely black. Also, black pixels don’t drain battery power, so Android’s dark mode makes a lot of sense on OLED screens.
OLED screens have a peculiar behavior when viewed from an angle. On the one hand, the light emitters are closer to the surface, and this makes the contrast and brightness vary less when moving from the center, but, on the other hand, the Pentile matrix causes the colors to be distorted.
In the case of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s,the viewing angles are wide and the colors are hardly altered when looking at the screen from an angle.In addition, being the flat screen, we do not have the problem of color changes on the edges of the screen that we find in smartphones with curved screens on the sides.
Pantalla Always On Display
ASUS offersAlways On Display functionality that allows you to check the time, date, battery level and notification icons even when the phone is in sleep mode. It is possible to select and customize the style of the clock with quite colorful designs.
It is possible to program the start and end time of this mode, as well as choose to show it all the time.
It has a feature calledNight Light that reduces eye fatigue by limiting the amount of blue light emitted by the screen. It is possible to control the amount of blue light that is filtered and program the automatic switch-on at certain times or to coincide with sunset.
It also offersDirect Current Dimming (also known in the industry asDC Dimming ), although it’s only available for a 60 Hz refresh rate.
This functionality adjusts the brightness of the screen by changing the power to the screen circuit. When enabled, screen flickering at low brightness levels (which gives some people a headache) is reduced, but colors can be altered in return, so this is always an optional feature.
Finally, it is worth noting that with areal proximity sensor, instead of the virtual sensor of some smartphones, it does not work well because its proximity detection is based on detecting the contact of the face on the screen.
For a gaming smartphone, it’s no surprise that ASUS chose the most powerful hardware available at launch.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s arrives with theSnapdragon 888+ processor , which was announced in June 2021 and is Qualcomm’s most powerful — only behind the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is not yet available in any smartphone sold in our country.
This is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ (Plus) is a high-end SoC for smartphones manufactured on a 5nm process at Samsung.
It integrates a “Prime Core” based on an ARM Cortex-X1 architecture with a frequency of up to 3 GHz. Another three performance cores Cortex-A78 with a frequency of up to 2.42 GHz. In addition, four efficiency cores based on on the ARM Cortex-A55 architecture running at 1.8 GHz.
In addition, it integrates a WiFi 6e modem, a Hexagon 780 DSP (up to 26 AI performance TOPS), and a Spectra 580 ISP. The integrated memory controller supports faster LPDDR5 memory up to 3,200 MHz. The 5G includes the Snapdragon X60 modem.
Compared to the old Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 888+ offers a slightly higher clocked main core (+160 MHz) and a 23% faster Hexagon 790 DSP.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s arrives with12, 16 or 18 GB of LPDDR5 type RAM , which is the fastest you can find today.
Until recently, today’s most powerful mobile devices used LPDDR4X RAM with a data rate of 4,266 Mb/s. The new speed of6,400 Mb/s allows the LPDDR5 memory to transfer 51 GB of data, that is, approximately 14 Full HD video files (3.7 GB each) in one minute.
LPDDR5 memory has been designed to reduce its voltage according to the operating speed of the processor to maximize power savings. The low consumption characteristics allow the LPDDR5 RAM to offerreductions in energy consumption of up to 30 percent , which has an impact on autonomy although memory is not exactly the element that consumes the most.
It comes with no less than 512GB ofUFS 3.1storage , which is also the fastest we can find today on a smartphone.
The side USB-C port isUSB 3.2 Gen2 and is OTG compatible, so you can plug in a USB-C dongle and access it like external storage. It also supportsDisplayPort over USB-C, in case you want to connect it to a display or TV.
The lower USB-C port isUSB 2.0 and much less versatile in terms of connectivity.
ASUS has included a cooling system calledGameCool 5 that improves thermal performance by placing the CPU in the center of the device and dividing the battery into two parts located on both sides of the processor.
This increases thermal efficiency and ensures that the heat generated by the CPU is transferred to the entire surface of the chassis at once. ASUS has also reshaped the vapor chamber and features extensive graphite sheets that help spread heat evenly across the device to prevent heat buildup in the center.
In addition, ASUS markets theAeroActive Cooler 5 external fan that actively cools the hot spots on the rear cover of ROG Phone 5s, reducing the surface temperature around the CPU by up to 15ºC. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to test this accessory.
I’ve put the phone through a fewperformance tests to see how it stacks up against other high-end phones, and I’m including the results for each test below.
ASUS offers a high-performanceX -mode that provides increased speed and which we will talk about later. For these tests, I have not activated this mode.
In theAnTuTu v9 benchmark , it has achieved a result of836,109 points , a very high score that surpasses the best flagships.
In theGeekbench 5 benchmark focused on processor performance, it has achieved1,081/3,364 points in the mono/multi-core tests, which are again high results, although they are on a par with other smartphones with Snapdragon 888.
In the PCMark 3.0 general performance test that measures performance when performing everyday tasks, it has obtained a score of11,651 points , a high value but not as high as other smartphones.
In the storage section, the phone obtains very high results in theAndroBench reading and writing speed tests since, as we have mentioned, it has UFS 3.1 storage.
In theCPU Throttling test that measures the drop in CPU performance after 15 minutes of sustained load, the phone has obtained a good result, but it can be improved, since the performance has dropped by 18% in said period. I expected a better result considering that we are dealing with a gaming smartphone.
Next, we are going to see the results in various graphic tests to check the expected performance in games.
In theGFXBench test with traditional APIs, the phone has achieved high results, although not the best.
InGFXBench tests based on modern low-level, high-efficiency APIs (Metal/OpenGL and Vulkan), it achieves high results.
In the new3DMark Wild Life Unlimited test , the phone has achieved a result in the high range.
ASUS offers anX Mode that boosts device performance and automatically activates when running games. This mode improves hardware efficiency and kills background apps to free up memory.
To check the graphics performance on a day-to-day basis, I have tested several demanding 3D games —Real Racing 3,Asphalt 9 andCall of Duty Mobile . In all of them, Mode X was activated by default and I have left it activated.
Using GameBench software , I have been able to measure various performance parameters on these games in actual play.
Do you know GameBench Pro?GameBench Pro is the industry’s leading tool for measuring game performance on Android and iOS smartphones. If you want to know more, you can visit their website .
Games get a stable rate around60 FPS in Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty, and120 FPS in Real Racing 3 with hardly anyframe drops.These are very high marks, as expected given the hardware that the phone incorporates.
|Play||FPS (median)||FPS stability||FPS Min.-Max.||%CPU / %GPU|
|Asphalt 9||60||100%||53-61||8% / 48%|
|Real Racing 3||120||100%||117-120||7% / 58%|
|Call of Duty||60||100%||55-60||8% / 50%|
(*) Game quality settings:
Asphalt 9: Graphics quality set to “default”Real Racing 3: Graphics quality by defaultCall of Duty Mobile: Graphics quality “very high” and frames per second set to “high” by default
In addition to the occasional graphics performance, it is important to know if the phone is capable of sustaining this performance over time or if it is reduced by the increase in processor temperature. The3DMark Wild Life Stress Test precisely measures the variation in graphics performance after 20 minutes of running the test.
The phone has obtained a quite improvable result of 57%, which means that the graphics performance worsens after a long period of use. Again, I was expecting better thermal performance from a dedicatedgaming phone , though it’s clear that the Snapdragon 888+ gets quite hot.
As expected,the ASUS ROG Phone 5s has achieved excellent performance in benchmark tests and in games , as it has hardware that is above most Android smartphones on the market.
On a day-to-day basis, the phone does not disappoint. I haven’t experienced any signs oflag when moving around the interface, interacting with apps, or switching between tasks. The apps that I use regularly such asWhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Netflix orGoogle Maps move with great fluidity.
I’ve also had no problems with multitasking, as expected given that I’ve tried the version with 16 GB of RAM.
High-end smartphones tend to get quite warm under high load situations, such as when playing demanding 3D titles. In the case of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s,I have measured temperatures on the surface of the phone of around only 36ºC in the rear central area, which is not annoying at all.
In terms of connectivity, the OPPO ROG Phone 5s supportsWiFi 6 (802.11ax) , the protocol for WiFi networks that not only increases speed but is specially designed to connect a large number of devices at the same time without compromising performance. You obviously need a compatible router to take advantage of this technology.
In addition, it also supportsWiFi 6E, the evolution of WiFi 6 that adds the 6 GHz frequency band for greater performance. Today, there are hardly any routers compatible with this frequency band, and those that exist are quite expensive, but it is to be expected that they will drop in price over time.
Another noteworthy aspect is that this phone is capable of connecting toWiFi networks in both bands at the same time, 2.4 and 5 GHz , thus improving the performance and stability of the connection.
As for cellular connectivity, it is compatible with5Gnetworksand is compatible withDual SIM . Support 5G + 4G or 4G + 4G. Now it doesn’t seem to be compatible with eSIM.
In the tests that I have carried out,the network speed for both the Wi-Fi network and the cellular network have been satisfactory . The ASUS ROG Phone 5s has reached by WiFi the maximum capacity of my fiber of 300 Mbps down and 300 Mbps up.
In the 5G cellular connectivity test, I have measured speeds of around 40 Mbps down and 16 Mbps, which is not particularly high, but these values are greatly influenced by coverage.
ASUS ROG Phone 5s supportsBluetooth 5.2, NFC , and various positioning systems (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou). It supports L1+L5 dual band GPS.
In the “absences” section, it should be noted thatit does not incorporate an FM radio , which some users will find as a limitation, nor aninfrared emitter.
ASUS has incorporated afingerprint reader under the screen that allows you to unlock the phone comfortably by resting your finger on an area of the screen.
To unlock the phone,simply place your finger on the area of the screen where the reader is located.One aspect I like about the phone is that the fingerprint area of the screen is marked on the Always On Display, so it’s easier to get it right than on other smartphones.
ASUS has placed the fingerprint reading area in a place that is comfortable to reach, in the natural position of the finger when resting it on the screen.
In the tests that I have carried out, the fingerprint reader has not always worked well at first, requiring several attempts on some occasions to unlock the phone. When the recognition is correct, the unlock speed is good.
ASUS has also included afacial recognition system that uses a 2D image, so it’s not as secure as the 3D recognition on the iPhone or certain Android smartphones.
In any case, in my tests I have not been able to fool the system with a photograph of my face even in the fastest recognition mode that reduces security. You can choose not to show notifications on the lock screen until your face is recognized.
Samsung allows fingerprint and face recognition to be active at the same time , so we can use the one that suits us best at any time.
The ASUS ROH Phone 5s battery hasa capacity of 6,000 mAh , more than enough capacity for this screen size, although we must bear in mind that games are large energy consumers.
In thePCMark autonomy test , the phone has given a result of9 hours and 51 minutes with the refresh rate set to 144 Hz, while if we adjust it to 60 Hz we get10 hours and 50 minutes.
On a day-to-day basis,autonomy is very good and you will have no problem getting to the end of the day, although if you spend many hours playing games throughout the day (as expected given the phone in question), you may have to recharge the phone at some point or force a lower refresh rate.
ASUS ROG Phone 5s offersfour power consumption modes:
You can set your smartphone to switch to Ultra Durable mode when the battery drops below a threshold (default 3%) or at certain times of the day.
ASUS offersmechanisms to take care of battery health:
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s offersfast charging at 65W and luckily the charger that comes in the box offers this charging power.
Both USB-C ports support QuickCharge and PowerDelivery 3.0, but only the side port supports QuickCharge 5.0.
In my tests, the entire charging process has taken a total of52 minutes with the included 65-watt charger. The charging process is much faster at first, reaching 50% charge in just 16 minutes, as can be seen in the graph.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5sdoes not have wireless charging , something that I personally miss as I have become accustomed to the comfort of leaving the phone on the desk or in the car without having to connect any cables to charge.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s arrives withAndroid 11 and, on top of that, the company includes its ownROG UI software layer . The phone is expected to receive Android 12 during the first quarter of this year 2022.
ROG UI is a customization layer that greatly modifies the standard Android look to make it more eye-catching, as you would expect from a gaming smartphone.
ROG UI offerssome desktop customization options , such as the ability to hide the app drawer, resize the grid, show the notification dot on app icons, lock the home screen, show custom app suggestions, etc.
As additional features above Android, we find some interesting ones such as:
ASUS has included an app calledROG Armory Crate, which is the entry point to all the gaming features of the ASUS ROG Phone 5s. From this app, you can access several tabs:
During a match, theGaming Genius can be summoned by swiping from the left edge to access useful tools during a match:
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s hastwo speakers , both located on the front of the phone, so the sound is heard symmetrically. According to ASUS, the speakers feature 7 Cirrus Logic amplifier magnets for a louder, deeper, and less distorted sound effect.
As far as a smartphone is concerned,the speakers sound quite good, with powerful volume and clear sounds.
Distortion at high volumes is minimal and the separation of the speakers allows you to appreciate the stereo sound when used horizontally.
If you are someone who prefers to play with headphones, you will be happy to know that ithas a 3.5 mm headphone jack located on the bottom.
Considering that most people who play games do so with headphones, this is a very interesting addition.
ASUS offers anAudio Wizard that allows you to adjust the sound using an equalizer. By default, it comes with four preconfigured scenarios:Dynamic, Music, Cinema andGame.
ASUS has chosen not to incorporate its own music player but has resorted toYT Music , the Google player.
It is a quite competent player if it were not for the fact that it reminds you every few minutes that you would do very well to hire YouTube Premium (how annoying!)
Moving on to image playback, the ASUSGallery app is used to view and play the photos and videos stored on the phone. It is a very simple application that only has three tabs: Photos, Albums and Discover.
The Photos tab displays all photos in chronological order. By clicking on each photo, we can mark it as a favorite or edit it with very basic tools.
On the other hand, the Albums tab shows the photos organized by albums:Camera, Favorites, Videos, Screenshots, People, Scenes andLocation.Lastly, theDiscover tab displays collections of photos organized into “Memories of the Day.”
Theplayback of videos stored on the phone is good thanks to its screen that, as we have mentioned, offers vivid colors and a good level of brightness.
Of course, we will have no problem watching streaming videos from YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime TV, Disney + or other sources of streaming content.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is Widevine L1 certified , so you can enjoy HD content from Netflix and other services that use this protection system.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s comes witha triple rear camera made up of:
In view of these features, it seems clear that ASUS has not put a special focus on the rear camera as its features are not particularly impressive.
The main camera offers a great resolution of 64MP, although by default the photos are taken in a resolution of 16MP using 4-1 pixel-binning. If you wish, you can take photos at the full 64MPresolution in the Camera Resolution section of Settings.
The lens has an aperture of f/1.8, not too wide, and lacks optical stabilization, so you can’t expect great results from photos taken in low light.
Here we can see some pictures taken in good light conditions. The captured images present a good result, both in sharpness and in color reproduction.
Pictures taken with the main camera in bright light
Now, on occasion,I have found a somewhat limited dynamic range (the ability to show highlights and shadows in the same photo), with very bright areas appearing almost uniformly white, as in the faces in the following photos , which have lost color and texture.
When the light is low, the quality worsens as the lack of optical stabilization takes its toll. As a result, shots taken at night with the main camera are quite noisy and cannot compete with what we get from other high-end smartphones.
Here are some photos taken in low light conditions.
Pictures taken with the main camera in low light
Luckily, the ASUS ROG Phone 5s offers aNight mode that is activated automatically when necessary, although it can be deactivated by clicking on the icon that appears on the screen.
This mode produces brighter images with less noise, but has the drawback that it takes longer to take the shot — about 4 seconds. Below, we can see some examples of photographs taken in normal mode and night mode.
Pictures taken with normal mode and Night mode
The 13MP sensor offers good image quality during the day, but the images lose a lot of detail when the picture is taken at night. Fortunately, the ultra-wide camera also supports Night mode, which helps improve quality.
Below, we can see some examples of photos taken with the ultra wide angle lens.
The Macro camera allows us to get closer to the objects we want to photograph, but its 5MP resolution falls short of capturing all the details.
Here are some examples of photos taken with the macro lens.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s offers aPortrait mode, although it does not have a depth sensor or a telephoto camera, which is the most suitable for taking close-ups without getting too close to the subject and the wide-angle lens distorting the face.
In general, the cut of the silhouette is quite successful, as can be seen in these examples, although certain areas such as the hair always resist.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is capable of recording video in 8K resolution (7680×4320) at 30fps, UHD/4K (3840×2160) at 30/60fps, Full HD/1080p (1920×1080) at 30/60fps and HD /720p (1280×720) at 30fps. It features 3-axis electronic image stabilization for rear cameras.
Next, we can see some examples of videos recorded for the day in resolution [email protected] and [email protected]
And here we can see some videos recorded at night:
In all cases, the image quality is quite good, with a good dynamic range and a good level of stabilization.
Thefront camera is 24MP (0.9μm pixel size) with f/2.5 aperture.
As can be seen in the example images, the quality of the selfies in good light conditions is good, although the HDR effect in the background of the image looks somewhat artificial.
Selfies taken with the front camera
This camera also allows you to take portraits, but HDR is not applied, so the images tend to show the background overexposed. In addition, the beauty mode is applied by default, which causes the textures of the face to be lost.
Selfies taken in Portrait mode
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s has four microphones that ensure good voice quality. In the tests that we have carried out, the quality of the voice is correct and I have been able to hold conversations perfectly in moderately noisy environments without difficulties.
The Phone app allows you torecord calls directly from the app itself, as well as configure SIP accounts.
Price and competitors
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is on sale for€999 (12/512GB) or€1,099 (16/512GB) on the official website , although you can also find it on Amazon at lower prices.
Any high-end smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra or OPPO Find X3 Pro is a potential competitor for the ASUS ROG Phone 5s.
If we focus on smartphones designed for games,there are some interesting alternatives at more affordable prices.
TheREDMAGIC 6S Pro ( €599 ) has a 6.8″ 165 Hz AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 888+ processor, 12/16/18GB of RAM, 128/256/512GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (64MP, f/ 1.9) + ultra wide angle (8MP, f/2.0) + macro (2MP), front camera (8MP, f/2.0) and 5,050 mAh battery with 120W fast charge
TheLenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 ( €599 ) has a 6.9″ 144 Hz AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 888 processor, 12/16GB of RAM, 128/256GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (64MP, f/1.9) + ultra wide angle (16MP, f/2.2), pop-up front camera (44MP, f/2.0) and 5,500 mAh battery with 90W fast charge
TheBlack Shark 4 ( €499 ) has a 6.7″ 144 Hz AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 870 processor, 6/8/12 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (48MP, f/1.8 ) + ultra wide angle (8MP, f/2.2) + macro (5MP, f/2.2), front camera (20MP, f/2.0) and 4,500 mAh battery with 120W fast charge.
Many people spend more time playing games with their smartphone than with other devices such as consoles or computers. Although any high-end smartphone is a good candidate for gaming, some manufacturers launch specific models for the mostgaming enthusiasts .
One of these smartphones is theAsuS ROG Phone 5s, which stands out in the aspects most valued bygamers: ergonomics, screen, performance, battery and sound — although it is weak in others that are less important for this group, as we have seen.
Starting with its design, the ASUS ROG Phone 5s has abulky body with a thickness of 9.9 mm and a weight of 238 grams.
Its large 6.8″ screen is surrounded by wide frames above and below that, although they do not help achieve a high screen-to-body ratio, are useful to support the hands when using the smartphone horizontally.
The back is the most striking part of the phone, not only because of its design with red details but also because ofthe logo with customizable RGB light.
Through the settings, it is possible to configure the LED lights to light up in different color patterns when a notification arrives, music is playing, a call comes in, we are playing, etc. It is also possible to set the bottom logo to light up or “breathe” when the screen is on.
The body of the phone hasleft and right ultrasonic tactile buttons (“triggers”) at the top that can be configured for different actions in each game, including tapping or swiping.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is not waterproof, so be careful not to accidentally get it wet.
On the front, we find a6.8″ AMOLED E4 panel with FullHD+ resolution that offers a wide color gamut, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 space. The screen has a fairly high brightness value (716 nits according to my measurements) and good color fidelity in some color modes.
The most differentiating aspect of its screen is itsrefresh rate of up to 144 Hz , which makes animations and compatible games move very smoothly. The panel is capable of adapting the refresh rate to the content of the screen, in such a way that battery is saved since there is content that does not need such a high rate.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s offersAlways On Display functionality , which displays the date/time and battery level, as well as icons for pending notifications.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s arrives with very powerful hardware as it has aSnapdragon 888+ processor accompanied by 12/16/18GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512 UFS 3.1 storage , which cannot be expanded via micro-SD card (who do you need more than 512GB in any case?).
Benchmark tests show that the phone isan extremely powerful smartphone , as expected from a device intended for gaming. I have tested titles likeReal Racing 3 that run smoothly at 120 FPS.
The phone offersseveral performance modes , withMode X being the one that offers the best performance for gaming, but also the one that produces the most power consumption. On a day-to-day basis,Dynamic mode offers more balanced performance, and if you’re running low on battery,Ultra Durable mode offers maximum power conservation
Where he has not obtained results as good as he would have hoped is in sustained performance, since this drops after long sessions. In any case, ASUS markets theAeroActive Cooler 5 external fan that actively cools the hot spots on the back cover Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to test this accessory.
In terms of connectivity, it is well served as it offersWiFi 6 / 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 and 5G cellular connection . As a differential aspect, it is capable of simultaneously connecting to a WiFi network in both bands: 2.4 and 5 GHz.
Dual SIM is possible, but eSIM is not supported. The phone supports VoLTE, but does not support WiFi calls.
Under the screen we find a fingerprint reader that, on some occasions, has resisted unlocking the phone at first. We can also use 2D face unlock, or a combination of both.
The 6,000 mAh battery gives the ASUS ROG Phone 5s agood autonomy at both 60 and 144 Hz.
The phone offersfast charging at 65W via cable using the included charger (the charging process takes about 52 minutes according to my tests), but unfortunately, it does not have wireless charging.
It hastwo stereo speakers that sound powerful and offer good sound quality, both when enjoying games and watching movies. If you prefer to use headphones, you will be happy to know that itincorporates a 3.5 mm jack.
In the software section, it runsAndroid 11 and, above,ROG UI . This customization layer offers some improvements over standard Android, such as the ability to lock apps, hide apps, create app twins, operate the phone with gestures, activate a one-handed mode, etc.
ASUS has included an app calledROG Armory Crate, which is the entry point to all gaming functionality. It allows you to create profiles for each game where you can configure various parameters (touch response, screen, performance, network, AirTriggers, key mapping and macros) and adjust device options.
During a match, theGaming Genius can be summoned by swiping from the left edge to access focus tools during a match, run macros, record gameplay, etc.
In the photographic section, it has atriple rear camera made up of a 64MP f/1.8 wide-angle camera without optical stabilization, a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 5MP f/2.0 macro camera.
Thewide-angle camera offers good image quality in bright lighting conditions, although it sometimes exhibits a rather limited dynamic range, with easily burned areas.
The absence of optical stabilization causes the quality to degrade considerably at nightfall. Luckily, ASUS has included a Night mode that improves the quality when the light is low in exchange for waiting about 4 seconds for the photo to be taken.
Theultra-wide-angle camera is suitable for taking shots in the daytime but poorly usable in low-light conditions — again, Night mode helps improve image quality. As for theMacro camera, it does its job well but its 5MP resolution is limited.
The 24MP front camera allows for good selfies in bright conditions, but it applies an HDR effect that looks quite artificial. In Portrait mode, no HDR is applied, so the background looks totally blown out if you take a selfie on the street.
The ASUS ROG Phone 5s is on sale for€999 (12/512GB) or€1,099 (16/512GB) on the official website , although you can also find it on Amazon at lower prices.
Is it worth getting the ASUS ROG Phone 5s?If the main use you give to the smartphone is to play, this phone will not disappoint you since it has the necessary components to make your games epic. Now, you must be aware of its bulky size and its limitations in sections such as photography or the absence of wireless charging.
Note: ASUS ROG Phone 5s has been kindly provided by Nubia for this review.