Asus is going big with its latest gaming phones. The ROG Phone 5 lineup will start shipping this month across the globe, costing 799 euros (around $950) for the base configuration with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage. Every configuration has a 6.78-inch FHD+ OLED screen with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 300Hz touch sampling rate. Also, the headphone jack has made a comeback after being absent from the ROG Phone 3, this time with a quad DAC in tow for hi-res audio. (In case you’re wondering where the ROG Phone 4 went, Asus skipped over the number four, like OnePlus did, due to its similarities with the word “death” in some Asian languages.)
The most notable changes from the last generation are exclusive to some even more expensive configurations, the ROG Phone 5 Pro and Ultimate (which I published a review of) that release in April for 1,199 euros (approximately $1,420) and in May for 1,299 euros (about $1,583), respectively. Both of these models have double the storage and more RAM (starting at 16GB in the Pro and going all the way up to 18GB in the Ultimate); come in limited edition colors; and have two additional ultrasonic touch sensors than the standard model, located near where your ring fingers might rest while holding the phone in landscape mode. You’ll also get a case and a clip-on AeroActive Cooler 5 fan attachment with purchase with either the Pro or Ultimate phone (which adds two more buttons attached to the fan.)
The new Asus gaming phones aren’t huge departures from their predecessors, though the hardware and software are more refined. I reviewed the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, and while it delivers on its promises to be a spec and feature juggernaut in some clever ways, paying $1,580 for it seems steep. Even the $950 base configuration isn’t what I’d consider affordable.
The Ultimate and Pro include “ROG Vision,” a feature that pushes premade or custom text or graphics to its rear-facing OLED screen. It’s a spin on Asus’ “Anime Matrix” effect used in the Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop, allowing you to personalize your phone if you want. The standard ROG Phone 5 simply has a backlit ROG logo, which some might find to be just enough pizazz.