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Asus ROG Phone 5s Review: Gaming is delicious at the cost of extra heat

Apart from gaming, the Asus ROG Phone 5S is also a good choice for watching movies, listening to music with two impressive quality speakers, but you shouldn’t expect much from the imaging capabilities of the product. It is a gaming phone with good performance and terrific gameplay with the ability to run PUBG smoothly at 90fps. However, because it owns a fairly hot Snapdragon 888+ chip, Asus hasn’t been able to address the problem of overheating when playing heavy games consistently. So let’s look at the Asus ROG Phone 5S review in detail below.

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

Design

Asus ROG Phone 5S still wears a bold gaming outfit with the signature ROG logo illuminated by LED lights on the back. However, in this version, you will not be able to customize the size of the logo like in the Pro version, but you can only customize the color of the LEDs. The LED system on the back panel is housed under glass, so it looks very bright even when holding it.

Apart from the aggressive gaming back panel, even the SIM tray of the ROG Phone 5S is pretty distinctive with its attractive red color making it a highlight on the chassis. The side of the Asus smartphone is equipped with two more ultrasonic touch keys for faster operation while playing games.

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

Notably, Asus equips an additional USB-C port on the side of the device so while playing games, if you power on this port, the device will limit battery usage and use direct power, helping the handset get less hot. Of course, the Asus cell phone still has a USB-C port located on the bottom edge.

There is also a connector foot for connecting accessories to the radiator fan on the side of the device. These connector pins are both the power supply for the fan as well as the data connection for adjusting fan speed, and the two buttons are designed on the right fan. The fan’s two buttons are two mechanical triggers, the pressing feeling is much greater than the touch button on the chassis. This accessory sells separately.

Another important point in terms of design is that the device still uses the traditional design without any “notch” on the screen. The well-balanced upper and lower bezels aren’t too thin for a comfortable gaming grip. But the minus point is that the device is quite heavy, up to 238g without a case or any accessories, therefore, playing the game for a long time by holding the mobile will also be very tiring. Laying on the bed at night and holding the phone to watch a movie is also quite a tiring task.

Display

A 6.78-inch Full HD+ full-screen AMOLED display with 144Hz refresh rate, 1 billion colors, and 800 nits brightness brings beautiful image quality, every movement is extremely smooth. With this display, you can play games, watch videos, or even enjoy high-quality movies to the fullest. However, at a price of over $1000, the brightness of the device is not really that good when it is placed next to other flagship models that have 1000 nits screens.

Audio

What impresses us with the Asus ROG Phone 5S is its very loud and clear dual speaker system. It can be said to be one of the best loudspeaker phones ever. Of course, the speaker system still can’t replace a headset for playing survival games like PUBG, but in the absence of a headset, you still feel the direction of the sound quite accurately.

Camera

We still know that this is a gaming phone and don’t put too much hope on the ability to take pictures from it, and the same seems to be proved here as the quality of the ASUS ROG Phone 5S camera actually disappointed us a bit. From sharpness, contrast, the depth of the image is not in line with the price range. Taking the haze off a bit is a great night shot, which can meet your photography needs in many different lighting conditions.

Here are some pictures were taken with the camera of Asus ROG Phone 5S:

Asus ROG Phone 5S specifications

  • Display: 6.78-inch (2448 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 144Hz OLED 10-bit HDR 20.4:9 aspect ratio display, 300Hz touch sampling rate, 111% DCI-P3, sRGB : 150.89%, Delta E average <1%; Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1, 10-bit HDR, 5 nits to 800nits @ APL100 + HBM or 1200nits @ APL1, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection
  • CPU: up to 3GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 888+ 5nm Mobile Platform
  • GPU: Adreno 660 GPU
  • Memory/Storage: 16GB LPDDR5 RAM with 256GB (UFS 3.1) storage / 18GB LPDDR5 RAM with 512GB (UFS 3.1) storage
  • OS: Android 11 with ROG UI
  • SIM: Dual SIM (nano + nano)
  • Rear Camera: 64MP rear camera with Sony IMX686 sensor, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, 13MP 125˚ ultra-wide camera with f/2.4 aperture, 5MP macro sensor with f/2.0 aperture, 8k video at 30 fps, 4k at 60fps, slow-motion 4K at 120 fps, 1080p at 240fps
  • Front Camera: 24MP front-facing camera with 0.9µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture
  • Audio: 3.5mm audio jack, ESS Sabre ES9280AC Pro with HyperStream II QUAD DAC architecture, Dual 7-magnet Linear 12x16mm front-facing speakers with GameFX & Dirac HD Sound, Powered by dual Cirrus Logic CS35L45 Mono AMP, Quad microphones with OZO Noise Reduction Technology
  • Features: In-display fingerprint sensor, Ultrasonic sensors for AirTrigger 5, and grip press detection
  • Conectivity: 5G SA/NSA, Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo(E1+E5a), QZSS(L1+L5), NavIC(L5), USB Type-C, NFC
  • Battery: 6000mAh (typical) / 5800mAh (minimum) battery with 65W HyperCharge fast charging, supports up to 30W QC4.0 / PD3.0 / Direct Charge adapter
  • Dimensions: 172.8×77.2×10.29mm
  • Weight: 238g

Performance

All high-end games on Android like PUBG or Genshin Impact can be easily balanced with high graphics settings. However, the ASUS ROG Phone 5S still has one painful drawback, which is the high temperature, you need to buy an actual cooling fan to partially fix the problem. To know more specifically about the performance and gaming capabilities of this device, please keep reading the Asus ROG Phone 5S review below.

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

Our Asus ROG Phone 5S review unit comes with 256GB of storage and we tested it in an environment with a temperature of about 26 degrees Celsius.

We used familiar tools such as Geekbench 5, AnTuTu (V8.3.4), 3DMark to measure the Asus ROG Phone 5S’s performance score. Owning an awesome configuration, the Asus ROG Phone 5S scored impressive scores across all benchmark tools.

However, looking at the Geekbench scores alone, the Snapdragon 888+ still proved to be far behind the Apple A15 Bionic, which achieved around 4600 multi-core points and 1700 single-core points. In the graphics test with 3DMark Wild Life Extreme, the A15 outperforms the 4-GPU version (iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13) with about 2500 and the 5-GPU version by about 2900 points.

‘Compared to smartphones running the Snapdragon 888, the version 888+ feels about 5-10% stronger, not much of an improvement. Since this is a gaming phone, we will say something about the hardware and software features that are optimized by Asus specifically for gaming purposes.

In terms of hardware, Asus has designed two ultrasonic sensor buttons located on the top edge that can be customized to suit each game. In particular, you can customize the touch position on the screen for each button, which helps you to operate very fast, especially in shooting games. In addition to the two buttons, Asus also allows you to customize two more positions on the screen through right and left tilting operations. When attaching an actual cooling fan, you have two more mechanical triggers on the back of the device, these two triggers feel a lot better than the sensor buttons on the side of the handset.

Overall when you attach enough toys, so you have 6 customizable conditions, which are comfortable enough for almost any game, which helps you to get a variety of moves at once, and helps you to shoot fast in the shooter title. We experienced this while playing PUBG and reset several buttons dedicated to shooting, reloading, and refilling health, picking up items.

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

All this customization is made accessible through Game Genie by swiping in from the left edge during gameplay. Apart from customizing support keys, Game Genie also offers many other great features such as system performance monitoring, FPS monitoring, custom screen refresh rate, and multiple settings to turn off notifications, screenshots, screen recording, etc.

For heat dissipation, Asus has designed two batteries located at the top and bottom of the device. The middle is where the Snapdragon 888+ CPU is located, right where the fan is mounted for more efficient heat dissipation. Inside, Asus has also designed a vapor chamber cooling system with a larger copper foil cross-section.

For the gaming test, we tried Genshin Impact and PUBG, both are loved by many young people and also come with beautiful graphics. The screen scanning frequency we set to 120Hz.

PUBG

Thanks to its extremely powerful configuration, the ASUS ROG Phone 5S can set a frame rate of 90fps, but the graphics range is just smooth. If you want to play games with more attractive images, you’ll have to accept stopping at 60fps. Although it is a shooting game, we believe many of you will trade FPS for graphics.

And here’s the FPS chart when playing PUBG with the Asus ROG Phone 5S for 30 minutes with a heatsink attached:

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

In general, with the 90fps setting, the device still delivers a steady frame, sometimes dropping to around 83 – 85fps. With regards to temperature, even with the fan on, you can still feel that the handset has overheated, with the CPU temperature being around 53 – 55 degrees. If the fan is not connected, the temperature between the body and the chassis may make you a little uncomfortable if you play continuously for about 1 hour.

Genshin Impact

It is an open-world role-playing game with stunning graphics and of course extremely hardware-hungry. By default, when opening the game, the graphics will be set to Average and the FPS limit to 40, but we intentionally increased the FPS limit to 60 and also optimized some graphics settings, because if we turn on the maximum setting, the game may not run smoothly even though the configuration of the Asus ROG Phone 5S has reached the top.

Asus ROG Phone 5s Review

The results show that the fps is quite stable, but the GPU often has to run to 85-90%, the temperature after 30 minutes of playing has increased from about 40 degrees to 58 degrees even though the heatsink is attached, a remarkable heat level for those of you who play the game for hours. The advice is that you should set the graphics settings a bit low to keep the machine cooler when playing continuously for many hours.

If you plug power directly into the auxiliary power port on the side of the machine to be less dependent on the battery, the device will cool slightly. But overall, the ASUS ROG Phone 5S is still a pretty hot phone.

Battery

It only consumes 6% battery per hour if you watch YouTube, surf the web, or do light work. It is evident as the Asus ROG Phone 5S is equipped with a battery of up to 6000 mAh. But attaching a cooling fan while playing the game with high graphics settings will consume 25 – 30% of the battery every hour depending on the graphics settings of the game.

It means that if you play the game continuously, you can only play for less than 3 hours, but as mentioned above, you can plug in the charger while playing the game without affecting the battery, which can even help the device cool down. Maybe it’s not a big deal.

Asus ROG Phone 5S review

In return, the charging speed of the Asus ROG Phone 5S is much faster with a 65W charger. With just 30 minutes of charging, you have 76% battery and about 30 more minutes to fully charge.

Final line

Overall, the Asus ROG Phone 5S is a decent phone for gaming with strong performance, tons of software and hardware features to support gaming. Gaming design, gaming configuration, many features, software optimized for gaming, but the device still isn’t really great when its temperature is high enough even though it installed a cooling fan (sold separately), which is not included in the box.

But blaming Asus here also seems absurd when both the Snapdragon 888 and 888+ have had so many complaints about temperature since launch. The best solution is probably that you should lower the graphics settings a bit to keep the machine cool while playing the game continuously for a long time.

Apart from this, it is also a good option for watching movies, listening to music, surfing the web daily. However, the camera and weight will be factors you should consider.

Price and availability

The unlocked version of the Asus ROG Phone 5S with 16GB RAM + 512GB Storage costs $1,099 on Amazon.com, Newegg.com, and Amazon.co.uk online stores.

About Ankeet Solanki

He started this blog as a hobby to show his affection for gadgets, but over the time this hobby became professional. And now he is working as a full-time blogger, but in free time he loves watching movies and games. PayPal donation for TechToyReviews will be appreciated.

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