The Asus ROG Phone series has arguably led the gaming phone space for the last few years, offering the priciest flagship gaming phones around, while rivals have often competed at lower price points.
We’ve had three ROG Phones so far, and we’re expecting the fourth soon – though it may surprise you to learn that it won’t be called the ROG Phone 4, but the ROG Phone 5.
Here’s what we know so far.
Why is it called the ROG Phone 5 and not the ROG Phone 4?
While the last ROG Phone was the third model, the next entry will be called the ROG Phone 5, initially confirmed by Asus by way of a Weibo social post, celebrating a partnership with Tencent.
While skipping a number may seem odd at first, in Chinese, Taiwanese and also Japanese culture, 4 is considered an unlucky number – partially due to the fact that the word for ‘four’ sounds like the word for ‘death’.
It’s thought to be this reason that OnePlus skipped the number when releasing a follow-up to the OnePlus 3T and might have had something to do with Sony’s Xperia Z4 releasing as the Xperia Z3+ in some markets.
When will the Asus ROG Phone 5 be released?
Following its Weibo announcement post, confirming the name, Asus went on to launch a dedicated ROG Phone 5 microsite, which at the time of writing features a countdown clock set to culminate in the phone’s 10 March unveiling; scheduled to take place at 11am GMT (or 6am in New York and 7pm in Taipei).
For reference, the Asus ROG Phone 3 was announced in July 2020 and was officially released in the USA in September.
While this initial launch window might solely be for Taiwan and China, some tipsters have suggested that an Indian launch could also fall in March 2020.
It’s worth noting for UK readers that the ROG Phone 3 never actually launched in the region – though previous ROG Phones did – so we’re not sure whether or not to expect the ROG Phone 5 to arrive in Britain.
If you don’t want to wait to find out, you can check out our chart of the best gaming phones to find an alternative.
How much will the Asus ROG Phone 5 cost?
One thing’s for certain, it won’t be cheap. The ROG Phone 3 had an RRP of €999 (which is around £900) in Europe and $1000 in the USA for the base model that came with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, while the 16GB version cost €1099 (approx. £1000) or $1100.
Whether Asus feels the need to take on these devices with a lower price is unknown at the moment, so we’d say you’d be best off bracing yourself for another £1000/£1000/€1000 hit on the wallet, then if it’s cheaper you’ll feel like you’ve saved money.
What specs can we expect on the next ROG Phone?
Information about the next ROG device is slowly growing, and we now have a very good idea of what the phone will look like, along with a decent understanding of its internals.
Asus has teased the upcoming smartphone via Weibo (in Chinese) and promises an upgraded experience, depicting a near bezel-less outline of a smartphone – only the bottom of the display has a slight chin. While some suggest it’s only teasing the outline of the phone itself, the added display detail suggests we could see an almost bezel-less ROG Phone 5.
Separately, WHYLAB on Weibo, served up a convincing spyshot of the back of what’s thought to be the next ROG Phone.
This shot also highlights that that phone’s triple rear camera arrangement features a 64Mp quad Bayer sensor (which implies 4-to-1 pixel binning) and shows off a new red hardware button in the bottom right corner, that’s assumed to activate the phone’s dedicated gaming mode and may also serve additional functionality during gameplay.
We got a more official look at the phone from both sides thanks to its appearance on the Chinese TENAA certification system. Note that there are two different versions shown here: the main phone on the left and a Tencent version on the right, which includes different rear detailing and an LED matrix.
The LED matrix is cool, but it’s the standard edition of the phone that gets the really exciting stuff. What first came to light in a leaked hands-on video (also shared via WHYLAB on Weibo) is that the element in the middle of the phone’s back is actually a full-colour display that looks as though it’s designed to display game and device notifications; at least that’s the functionality demonstrated in the seven-second clip (shown below).
The clip also highlights a more balanced set of bezels around the display.
As for what’s inside the phone, eagle-eyed internet detectives spotted a new device bearing the model number ASUS_I005DA on Geekbench, which was added on 8 December.
The ROG Phone 3 had the model number ASUS_I003DA, so it looks likely that this is the successor. The ‘motherboard’ is reported in the test to have the name ‘Lahaina’, which we now know to be the codename for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor.
Elsewhere in the test, we see 8GB of RAM installed on the device, though a subsequent Geekbench listing with the same model number boasts 16GB RAM – more in line with our expectations. Another listing for a I003DB model – believed to be the version with the display on its rear – goes up to a whopping 18GB RAM, making it the first smartphone to do so.
As picked up by SparrowNews, China’s 3Cs certification body also has a listing for what’s thought to be the next ROG Phone (under certificate number 2021011606363356), which references 5G, battery capacity, and charging speeds; cited as clocking in at 6000mAh and up to 65W, if this entry is correct.
Some of those specs are backed up by the phone’s TENAA listing. It specifically mentions 5G support, dual-SIM, and a 5960mAh battery – actually made up of two 3000mAh cells, a common approach to help hit fast charging speeds.
The TENAA listing also confirms a 6.78in screen, along with overall dimensions of 172.834 x 77.252 x 10.29mm, and that the phone will run Android 11.
Those dimensions make the phone slightly larger all over than the ROG Phone 3, which makes sense given the display is a decent jump up from the previous 6.59in panel. We don’t yet know what resolution it will offer, but expect it to once again offer at least 144Hz refresh rate.
One final curiosity is that the phone may really excel when it comes to audio. The new phone has scored 79 in the relatively recent DxOMark Audio benchmark, dethroning the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra (on 76) for the top spot.
Thanks to its four microphones, headphone jack, and two front-facing speakers, the ROG Phone 5 scored highly for both recording and playback. DxOMark note that the phone achieved category-leading sub-scores for dynamics, spatial, and artifact distortion, though noted its weaknesses are slightly lacklustre bass and lower max volume than some rivals.
Check back regularly to this article, as we’ll be updating it when more news appears. In the meantime, check out our roundup of the best Android games of all time to keep you busy.
Or if you prefer a larger screen, our best gaming laptop guide has plenty of excellent options.
In the meantime, we discussed the ROG Phone 5 in an episode of our regular podcast Fast Charge, so check that out too: