It seems like the ROG Phone 3 just arrived, but Asus isn't resting on its laurels. With rumors starting to pick up, it sounds like a new version of the gaming phone is in the works. And it may not be too far off from arriving in stores.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 — yes, that's 5 and not 4 — may look similar to its predecessors, though with some notable differences on the outside of the phone. More importantly, we're hoping to see a device that improves upon the ROG Phone 3. While the current model's a solid gaming phone, there are some areas we'd like to see a new ROG Phone address.
The Android phone competition can be fierce, with heavy-hitters like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra already starting 2021 off strong. The next ROG Phone will face an uphill battle, as it tries to convince mobile gamers that they need a handset that specifically focuses on gaming. Here's what we've heard about how Asus and the ROG Phone will take on that challenge.
ROG Phone 5 news (Updated February 22)
- An early review of the ROG Phone 5 has leaked, confirming some specs like the processor, headphone jack and audio features.
- Asus ROG Phone 5 benchmarks have leaked, and they show the phone outperforming the Galaxy S21.
ROG Phone 5 name: What happened to the ROG Phone 4?
If Asus were to stick to number phone names, you'd expect the follow-up to the ROG Phone 3 would be the ROG Phone 4. But that's not the case.
In some cultures, particularly in Asia, the number 4 is unlucky. For that reason, it was rumored that Asus might end up calling its next gaming phone the ROG Phone 5 instead. Such a move wouldn't be unprecedented. OnePlus did the same thing in 2017 when it was time to release a follow-up to the OnePlus 3T. Instead of the OnePlus 4, the phone maker went straight to the OnePlus 5.
We’ve received confirmation now straight from Asus. The company took to Weibo to announce that its next gaming phone would indeed be called the ROG Phone 5.
ROG Phone 5 release date
In addition to a name, we also have a launch date. Asus has an event page set up for the ROG Phone 5, and the countdown points to a launch event coming on March 10.
Set your alarm early if you want to watch from the U.S. The ROG Phone 5 event on March 5 is scheduled for 6 a.m. EST.
You're not imagining things if you think this phone is arriving earlier than previous Asus gaming devices. The ROG Phone 3 was unveiled last July, though it didn't debut in the U.S. until early October. It's unclear if the ROG Phone 5 will follow a similar rollout pattern, with a March launch before the device makes its way to countries like the U.S.
ROG Phone 5 price
It's unclear how much the ROG Phone 5 will cost, so we’ll have to once again look at the phone’s predecessor for an idea. The ROG Phone 3 came in at a starting price of $999 for the 12GB variant in the US. While thousand-dollar phones aren’t as uncommon as they used to be, it’s still a hefty price.
We’re guessing that Asus will stay at the $999 mark for the base model ROG Phone 5, but we’ll need to wait for official confirmation from Asus to know for sure.
ROG Phone 5 design
Official details about the design are pretty sparse right now, but we expect the ROG Phone 5 will sport a heavy “gamer” aesthetic. Previous models featured RGB lighting and sharp accents that have set them apart as gaming phones.
However, if a poster leak on Weibo from earlier this year is to be believed, Asus might be aiming for a bezel-less display for the ROG Phone 5. Vague renders don’t tell the whole story and we’re inclined to believe the “bezel-less” design is exaggerated in that poster.
More leaks have appeared recently. A hands-on video for the ROG Phone 4 leaked — the source video is no longer available on Weibo — and it showcases a secondary display on the back of the phone, as well as briefly showing the main screen.
While by no means bezel-less, that screen does appear larger than its predecessor with slimmer top and bottom bezels. If this is the final design of the next ROG Phone, it looks very similar to the ROG Phone 3 that preceded it.
We can now be pretty sure that this will indeed be the look of the ROG Phone 5. DxOMark published an early review of the phone's audio capabilities, and the image of the handset looks identical to the one featured above — right down to that secondary display on the back.
That main display was expected to be a 6.6-inch AMOLED panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. The ROG Phone 3 had a 1080p screen, so we think that the ROG Phone 5 will at least match that. However, new certification listings have the ROG Phone 5 tipped to use a 6.78-inch AMOLED panel.
ROG Phone 5 cameras
A leaked image of the ROG Phone 5 shows a “64MP” stamp next to the camera module. The ROG Phone 3 also came with a 64MP camera, though we’d hope that Asus would upgrade the ROG Phone 4’s camera in some regard. We can expect triple lenses on the back of the phone based on the image in that DxOMark review.
Previous ROG Phones have not come close to the best camera phones. While they’re not designed to take on the likes of Google, Samsung, and Huawei, we’d hope that the ROG Phone 5 will do a better job at taking photos than previous gaming handsets from Asus.
ROG Phone 5 processor and performance
Likely a top-tier gaming phone, we expect that the ROG Phone 5 will come packed to the gills with high-end specs. That would mean the Snapdragon 888, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and plenty of fast storage. Indeed, DxOMark confirmed that the ROG Phone 5 features the Snapdragon 888, a 5G-capable chipset that promises fast gaming performance.
Leaked Geekbench and HTML benchmarks from a little while ago also pointed to a Snapdragon 888-powered Asus device with 8GB of RAM.
Additional leaked benchmarks suggest the ROG Phone 5 will be a top-performing Android device. Those benchmarks, appearing on Geekbench, show an unreleased Asus phone posting scores of 1,131 on the single core portion of the general performance test, and 3,729 in the multicore section. For reference, the Snapdragon 888-powered Galaxy S21 Ultra posted single and multicore scores of 1,123 and 3,440, respectively, in our testing.
ROG Phone 5 battery
The ROG Phone 3 packed a massive 6,000 mAh battery, so we expect the ROG Phone 5 to do the same. A phone of this caliber needs to have long battery life to be worthwhile as a gaming device, so it would make sense for Asus to use as big of a battery as possible.
A 3C certification listing showed that the device ASUS_I005DA, which we believe to be the ROG Phone 5, had 65W fast charging. Considering that we think the phone will come with a 6,000 mAh battery, having super fast charging to top things off would make a lot of sense, as the battery would take a long time to fill up otherwise.
Another certification listing from Chinese regulator MIIT has revealed the ROG Phone 5 will use two 3,000 mAh batteries instead of a single large battery like the ROG Phone 3 did. This configuration should allow for faster charging speeds because the two batteries can fill up simultaneously from the same power input. This is how the 65W charging system works on the OnePlus 8T, filling up its 4,500 mAh battery to 93 percent full in just 30 minutes.
ROG Phone 5: What we want to see
It's likely that we'll hear even about the ROG Phone 5 soon, now that we have a date for the ROG Phone 5's unveiling. Asus likes to generate hype around its device releases, so we expect that things won't be different this time around as we get closer to March 10.
We do hope to see some changes from previous ROG Phone models, though.
More competitive pricing: While phones have steadily gotten more expensive in recent years, we’d like to see Asus be more value-conscious with the ROG Phone 5. Sure, it’ll go all out and pack the phone with high-end specs and features, but past ROG Phones have been poor values in comparison to their competitors, like the Galaxy S and Note phones and OnePlus’ devices.
Better camera performance: Though by no means bad, we’d like to see Asus continue to improve the camera performance on the ROG Phone 5 to be up to par with its high-end ZenFone devices. The ROG Phone 3 put out photos that were pretty good in dynamic range and color reproduction, but there was room for improvement. We’re hoping that the ROG Phone 5 also doubles as a capable photography device.
Better cooling: In our review of the ROG Phone 3, we noticed that the phone got really hot when superclocked. Holding a hot phone for a long mobile gaming session isn’t comfortable, so we’re hoping to see Asus improve the cooling solution like other gaming phones have.