As gamers probably know all too well, you can’t ever have the best piece of hardware for more than a few months – something better comes along sooner rather than later. So, say “hello” to the new S-series of the Asus ROG Phone 5 that comes to succeed the original line, which launched in April of this year.
The new series upgrades to the Snapdragon 888+ chipset with a 3.0 GHz prime core (Cortex-X1), up from 2.84 GHz on the original chip. The AI Engine got a 20% boost and now delivers 32 TOPS (up from 26 TOPS). The chipset is not the only upgrade on the new models, but we’ll get to that. First, let’s meet the two newcomers.
Yes, two. The Asus ROG Phone 5s and ROG Phone 5s Pro. There is no Ultimate version this time around, but the Pro was upgraded to 18 GB of RAM (LPDDR5) and 512 GB of storage (UFS 3.1), which were the main draws of the Ultimate model in the first place. The new Pro model gets to keep the color PMOLED display on the back too (the Ultimate had a monochrome display).
Asus ROG Phone 5s (in Storm White) and ROG Phone 5s Pro (in Phantom Black)
If 18/512 GB sounds like overkill, there are multiple configurations of the Asus ROG Phone 5s. They start at 8/128 GB, move through 12/256 GB and top out with the 16/256 GB configuration. Neither model has a microSD slot, but they do support NTFS-formatted external USB drives.
As before, there’s no display on the back of the vanilla model, just an RGB-backlit Republic of Gamers logo. Also, the Pro model has two touch sensors on the back (which can be used as game controls). The vanilla phone still gets the ultrasonic AirTrigger 5 shoulder buttons, however.
When we reviewed the ROG Phone 5 we noted that its touchscreen has the world’s lowest latency of any smartphone – just 24.3 ms touch latency. That is no longer true as the 5s duo brought that number down to 24.0 ms thanks to a faster touch sampling rate of 360Hz (up from 300Hz).
The display remains a 6.78” Super AMOLED panel with 1080p+resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate (1 ms response time). The panel is HDR10+ certified, covers nearly 151% of sRGB and 111% of DCI-P3. It is bright too with a typical brightness of 8000 nits at APL100 (i.e. the entire display is showing white).
The display hasn’t changed since the original ROG Phone 5 series, neither has the physical design. Highlights include a 6,000 mAh battery with 65W wired fast charging, a side connector with USB 3.1 Gen2 speeds, DisplayPort 1.4 and fast charging support too. There’s also a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the bottom, but that gets blocked when holding the phone horizontally, so you can use the headphone jack on the AeroActive Cooler 5 (which also adds two extra buttons in addition to the cooling fan).
We should note that only the Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro comes bundled with the Cooler, the vanilla 5s only comes with a 65W charger and an Aero case. The Cooler normally sells for $70.
Speaking of accessories, the 5s models are compatible with all the extras for the 5-series and support some of the accessories for the older ROG Phone 3. This includes the Kunai 3 Gamepad, but not the TwinView Dock 3.