“Officer, we have a situation here”,
“911, we are here to assist you”,
“Our neighbors are screaming for help, they are being held as hostages, and someone is armed from what we hear”,
“Copy that, Sir. We want you to calm down, and close your doors. Help is arriving in 5 minutes”,
“Hey you, go close the doors!”,
Tip-toeing to the door, the person went to close it, while the flooring made squeaky noises, only to see…
“You guys are playing games? We have called the cops on, we thought you were in danger”

The story continues… but the point is, this is what gamers are. When a true gamer plays, they get involved in the scene so much that they truly enter a new virtual world, cutting off with the surrounding. We have witnessed an immense rise in smartphone gaming, thanks to the mobile versions of PUBG (BGMI), CODM, Fortnite, games like Genshin Impact, and many more notable titles. With the increasing demand for powerful smartphones, here we have the 5th iteration of the ASUS ROG Phone, the ROG Phone 5S!

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S back view

Carrying The Legacy of ROG Design

The ASUS ROG 5S speaks for itself regarding initial impressions, just like its predecessors. Even a short glance at it attracts your eyes that this device is different from the masses. The ROG branding on the glass back with a dot-matrix design underneath gives the feel of a gaming environment.

The ROG logo on the back has RGB backlighting, which can be toggled using the X Mode. The lights can be customized in colorful presets, and it really looks cool. The red-colored SIM card tray adds to the aesthetics and looks like a push-start button. But you would still need a SIM ejector tool to remove it.

Apart from the looks, the ROG 5S is 4 grams lighter than its predecessor, at 238 grams. In addition, the split battery design ensures symmetric balance on both sides of the phone when you hold it horizontally. This really aids in games that require gyroscopic movements, as the device does not have one-sided weight because of the battery. This might not sound like a big deal on paper, but once you are used to this balance, it becomes hard to shift to a device with battery weights to one of the sides. The difference is noticeable!

Game Of Ports

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S headphone jack

The ROG 5S retains all the ports from the ROG Phone series, including the headphone jack and the extra USB-C port to the side, along with the AeroActive cooler connector. In addition, the Air triggers occupy the same edge positions in a manner to provide you optimal grip while you hold the phone. Unfortunately, the ROG 5S does not ship with the AeroActive Cooler in the box, as it’s bundled only with the ROG 5S Pro variant.

The side port comes in handy for plugging in your device while playing games, as it does not hamper your grip. However, if you don’t like that open port or you are someone who does not prefer charging while playing games, you need not worry. The device comes with a detachable rubber cover that you can place over the port to avoid dust and pocket lint entering in.

Displaying Potential With The Screen

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S camera app

The ROG 5S gets a similar 6.78-inch AMOLED panel from Samsung, with a 144Hz refresh rate. The touch sampling rate has improved here from the ROG 5, which gets a buff from 300Hz to 360Hz. But in reality, the touch sampling rate did not make as big a difference. As a result, the display and touch experience is the same as the ROG 5, which was already good and aced by its own standards.

The AMOLED panel produces rich colors and sharp texts. However, outdoor visibility sometimes is not adequate as the glass is a little reflective. As a result, you need to shield your device with your palms to read texts in bright sunlight. It’s not bad, but the reflections reduce the visibility by a small margin. However, this panel works like a charm with its color reproduction indoors.

Gamers, Assemble!

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S gaming

The ROG 5S comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ chipset, a slight upgrade from the regular Snapdragon 888 on the ROG 5. Not much has changed here, though, as the GPU remains the same. The CPU gets a speed boost to 3GHz compared to 2.84GHz on the Snapdragon 888. Numbers, numbers, numbers, we don’t want to make this a game of numbers, so let’s play real games now!

We tested the device with BGMI, CODM, and a few other games, and the gaming performance was heartwarming and hand-warming at the same time.

ROG 5S BGMI Review

The ROG 5S supports a maximum of 90fps on Smooth settings and 60fps on HDR settings. At both 60fps and 90fps options, the device did not take a dip in performance and frames at any point. Dot 60 and Dot 90. And we are talking about playing the latest Spiderman Mode in Ace Rated Lobbies. However, the device starts to feel warm after 30 minutes of gaming due to the glass back.

The ROG 5S has no signs of thermal throttling; it surely provides a stable frame rate, even with a warm back. But after an hour of gaming, the warmth may bother some users. We used the provided plastic case and applied it to the back to tackle this. The case did shield some heat from directly reaching our palms. As the case has multiple cutouts, it does not interfere with heat dissipation as such. Like any other Snapdragon 888+ device, the ROG 5S generates some heat, and the chipset fabrication is to blame here.

Since the ROG 5S does not come with the AeroActive Cooler, we could not test the device with the cooling fan. But if you decide the get the ROG 5S Pro, or buy the AeroActive Cooler separately, that will surely cut off a couple of degrees from the ROG 5S as well.

ROG 5S CODM Review

When we moved to CODM, the performance remained splendid. The frame rate was constantly around the 90fps mark, and the device ran cooler as compared to playing BGMI in an extended run. Shifting games did not really bother the ROG 5S. The experience remained butter smooth.

ROG 5S Gyroscope and AirTriggers Review

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S side view

The gyroscope is a key part of the mechanism of shooting games like BGMI and CODM; hence we went all out with the gyroscope test. As a result, the ROG 5S responds to your gyroscopic movements without delay, and we faced no issues in recoil control. In addition, the AirTriggers work really well, and the ROG 5S lets you save different AirTrigger layouts for different games.

TLDR;

– The ROG 5S handles all games with ease at constant 90fps gameplay (60fps on HDR settings)
– The Snapdragon 888+ can get slightly warm at times due to its own nature.
– The ROG 5S is the most stable performing device with Snapdragon 888+ and does mot thermal throttle as the gaming session progresses.
– The device takes less than 5 minutes to cool down to normal once the game is closed.

Software With Gaming DNA?

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S hands on

The ASUS ROG 5S runs on ROG UI based on Android 11. It is very similar to ASUS Zen UI with the added touch of ROG features such as Armory Crate, Game Genie, X Mode, and more. The software is neat and has no bloatware applications, except Facebook, that can be easily uninstalled. The UI is optimized well, and the device does not stutter in day-to-day operations like messaging, social media scrolling, RAM management, etc. The only issue we faced was with the fingerprint scanner. At times, the device does not recognize your fingerprint. In such situations, you need to press the power button and lock the screen and try again with your fingerprint.

The ROG 5S behaves like a leashed beast when you keep the gaming part aside, ready to go wild at your call. ASUS also said they are working on the Android 12 update, but there’s no ETA yet.

Hello Pro Gamer, Can I Have a Picture With You Please?

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S camera setup

The triple rear camera setup on the ROG 5S consists of a 64MP primary camera with an f/1.8 lens, a 13MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.4 lens, and a 5MP macro shooter with an f/2.0 lens. If that setup sounds familiar, that’s because these are the same cameras from the ASUS ROG 5.

The primary 64MP camera captures good images during daylight and preserves ample details in it. The colors, however, look a little pale and slightly washed out. On the other hand, the shutter speed is quick, and we did not encounter blur images due to shutter lag. Moreover, the dynamic range of this sensor is pretty wide on the spectrum, and it brings a good balance between the highlights and the shadows.

The 13MP ultrawide lens produces colors that are more true to life as compared to the primary lens. The field of view is wide enough to get those extra areas inside the frame. Images with the ultrawide lens did not have any major fish-eye effect. The details are lesser than the primary lens, but you won’t realize it until you start zooming in.

The 5MP macro shooter does a fine job with your macros. You can get as creative as you like with your close-up shots. However, it would have been better if ASUS could easily switch to the macro lens. The macro lens options can be found by scrolling to the More menu.

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Selfies with the 24MP front camera return with good results. There are ample amount of details in your pictures, with a good dynamic range. In addition, the selfie camera has a field of vision enough to capture your entire gaming group in a single frame.

The ROG 5S cameras handle low lighting conditions by keeping the shutter open slightly longer. So don’t worry if you have shaky hands, and the device captures enough light with the primary lens for usable images. However, the ultrawide and macro lenses struggle in low light conditions as the images do not contain enough details.

Your Roommate May Hate You For These Speakers

Yes, because the stereo speakers on the ROG 5S can get really loud. If you decide to play games on speaker, the game sounds will surely echo around the room with its limits. However, in games like BGMI and CODM, the sound of footsteps from approaching enemies is differentiable, and you get an idea of where to look out for.

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S case

The headphone jack output on the ROG 5S was amazing. We tested our Audio Technica M20x headphones and Mi Dual Driver earphones with the device, and it was able to drive both of them with ease. In fact, we had to keep the volume levels at 80% because of the DAC on this phone. However, there was no sound distortion on speakers or even headphones, even at full volumes.

How Many Ounces of Juice Does the ROG 5S Hold?

With its split battery design, the ROG 5S comes with a 6000mAh battery that supports up to 65W HyperCharging. But ASUS only provides a 30W charger in the box. You get a nice braided USB-C to USB-c cable with the charger. So you don’t have to worry about breaking your cable while you play games with the charger plugged in. The ROG 5S has a screen on time of around 7 hours, with 4 hours of gaming and 3 hours of regular usage like streaming videos and social media. So on a 100% charge, you can expect a gaming session of up to 5 hours on the phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S 30W charger

Both the ports on the ROG 5S support fast charging. With the provided 30W charger, the device takes around 30 minutes for 0-50%, and a full charge takes around 75 minutes. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to test the 65W charging as we didn’t have access to a compatible charger.

The battery life on the ROG 5S is insane, as you get a full gaming session of close to 5 hours on a full charge. That’s impressive!

Should You Buy The ASUS ROG 5S?

The ASUS ROG 5S is an amazing device for gaming with its ability to deliver consistent performance with the Snapdragon 888+. It can get slightly warm at times, but not even a single time did the ROG 5S show signs of thermal throttling in our testing. With the even weight distribution for a balanced in-hand feel, gaming-specific features like dual charging ports, and the option to have an external AeroActive Cooler, the ROG 5S makes for a good buy at a starting price of Rs. 49,999 for the base 8GB+128GB variant.

ASUS ROG Phone 5S Review: A Hungry Gamer's Kitchen - ROG 5S with case

But if you are an existing ROG 5 user, then there’s not much of an upgrade from the last iteration. If you are planning to buy your first gaming phone or upgrade from an older device, then let’s look at your choices.

You have the Realme GT at Rs. 37,999 that offers a similar 90fps gameplay. Then comes the OnePlus 9RT at Rs. 42,999 with support for similar gaming settings. The difference, however, is the consistency. In a gaming session that extends over an hour, the ROG 5S continues to deliver frame rates from where it started, whereas its competitors face engine stalls after some time.

On the other side of the spectrum, you also have the iPhone 12, which sells around Rs. 55,000 for the base 64GB model. Yes, we agree that the iPhone 12 has the potential to deliver smooth 60fps gameplay, but it drags in the OS priority of Android vs. iOS. Also, you won’t get 90fps support on the iPhone 12. Now that’s something even the Android counterparts of ROG 5S offer on the table.

The ASUS ROG Phone 5S is indeed a true gaming phone that can run longer marathons. The device is a good match for you if gaming is your topmost priority. The styling on the ROG 5S may also attract some users who may not game much. For them, the ASUS ROG 5S has everything in its package to serve you as a regular phone, even when you are not gaming.

Buy Asus ROG Phone 5S

Pros
  • Consistent gaming performance for long hours
  • Powerful Speakers
  • Dual charging ports for better grip while gaming
  • Long-lasting battery
Cons
  • Only 30W charger in the box
  • Fingerprint scanner sometimes does not work well.
  • AeroActive Cooler not included with ROG 5S
  • Phone gets relatively warm while gaming.
  • Cameras could have been better.
Review Overview
Build & Design
Performance
Software
Display
Pricing
SUMMARY

The ASUS ROG Phone 5S is an ideal choice for users looking for long uninterrupted gaming sessions. Apart from gaming, the ROG Phone 5S is a good pick with its design perspective and ability to blend in as a regular device with ease.

4.3
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