Asus Unveils Gaming Smartphone ROG Phone 5 with 18GB of RAM, Snapdragon 888 Chipset

The flagship comes in three models: The ROG Phone 5, ROG Phone 5 Pro, and a limited-edition ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. (Source: ROG Phone)

Asus on Wednesday released its gaming flagship ROG 5, which is packed with new high-end features including up to 18GB of memory and Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, offering Android gamers a console-like experience. 

Through a partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent and a redesign to improve performance and ergonomics, the Republic of Gamers phone contains two battery cells with a total of 6,000 mAh capacity. The split allows the motherboard to be placed closer to the center of the phone, while at the same time allowing an improved cooling system to direct heat away from areas where the fingers may touch.

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The flagship comes in three models: the ROG Phone 5 in Phantom Black or Storm White, the ROG Phone 5 Pro in Glossy Black, and a limited-edition ROG Phone 5 Ultimate in Matte White.

As for RAM and storage, the vanilla ROG Phone 5 comes in 8GB + 128GB, 12GB + 256GB and 16GB + 256GB options, while the Pro and Ultimate models come in only 16GB + 512GB and 18GB + 512GB versions, respectively. 

Prices in China start at 3,999 yuan ($615) for the ROG Phone 5. The Pro model is sold at 7,999 yuan ($1,230) and the Ultimate version at 8400 yuan ($1,292). The lineup is gearing up for a global release in March, starting in Europe.

The ROG Phone 5 has undergone a redesign to improve performance and ergonomics for hardcore gaming fans. (Source: ROG Phone)

The phone features a custom-made 6.8-inch Samsung OLED display, with a resolution of 1080p and a refresh rate of 144Hz.

For its camera setup, the phone has retained the 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 sensor for the primary camera, carried over from the ROG Phone 3. It also has a 13-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. Its selfie camera is a 24-megapixel sensor. Despite Asus previously saying that the camera on the ROG Phone series is not a top priority, the company still managed to deliver a high-quality imaging experience.

The device supports 65W super fast charging that allows for a full charge in 55 minutes, and multiple USB-C ports to let the user charge the device in either landscape or portrait mode. It runs on Android 11. 

Like its predecessors, the ROG Phone 5 series also comes with touch-sensitive shoulder buttons dubbed AirTriggers. The ultrasonic sensors are embedded within the phone and can be mapped to emulate buttons so users do not need to tap the touch screen as often. The Pro and Ultimate models come with two additional touch sensors on the back of the phone.

For the Ultimate model, there is also an included snap-on AeroActive Cooler 5 fan featuring two extra trigger buttons and a kickstand. Asus claims that the fan can help reduce the surface temperature by up to 15°C and the CPU temperature by 10°C.

The snap-on AeroActive Cooler 5 fan has two extra trigger buttons and a kickstand. (Source: ROG Phone)

For a tailored user experience, the ROG Phone 5 comes with an app called Armory Crate allowing users to manage their gamers library and adjust settings, providing them a console-like interface.

The Taiwanese mainboard and PC manufacturer has been working with Tencent for the past three years on the marketing of ROG Phones to hardcore gaming fans in China. The strategic partnership is also helping Asus break past its 0.2% global market share, according to Bloomberg.

“Gaming performance is their top selling point and hence the target audience has to be both hardcore gamers and professional gamers,” IDC analyst Yexi Liao told Bloomberg.