The ROG Phone from ASUS is the quintessential gaming phone. It has the most powerful chipset in an Android phone, shoulder buttons, an uninterrupted display, an active cooling attachment, and RGB lighting. The ROG logo that lights up on the back hasn’t changed in the 3 generations of ROG Phones that ASUS has released, but it looks like the Taiwanese brand will shake things up with the next phone in the series: the ROG Phone 5. (We don’t know exactly what it’ll be called, but there’s a chance ASUS will refrain from marketing it as the ROG Phone 4 given the popularity of the tetraphobia superstition in East Asian countries.)
Earlier this month, ASUS published a teaser on its Weibo page that hinted at the next ROG Phone’s upcoming launch. Given the ROG Phone 3 launched in July of 2020, the launch of the ROG Phone 5 seems to be happening a bit earlier than expected. A lot of devices are being released earlier than usual this year, though, so this isn’t too surprising. Shortly after ASUS teased the ROG Phone 5, a photo and later a brief hands-on video of the alleged device were posted to Weibo. The leaked image and video gave us a first look at the phone’s tiny secondary display on the back. This small display appears to support showing alerts for games and notifications for incoming calls.
Now, a listing published on the Chinese certification site TENAA shows us the ROG Phone 5 in greater detail. On the back, we can see the number “05” (which suggests this is indeed the ROG Phone “5”), “REPUBLIC OF GAMERS”, “EST. 2006” (the year the brand was founded), and “TENCENT GAMES.” ASUS has typically offered a custom version of its ROG smartphones in China in collaboration with Tencent Games, so we’re likely looking at the Tencent version of the device here. The Tencent model typically compromises on a few internal hardware components in order to cut down on costs, but the overall design should be similar to the international model.
We can also see on the back that the area on the bottom-left is a dot matrix used for the phone’s Aura Lighting feature. The image of the rear submitted to TENAA shows the ROG logo lit up, but the lighting can likely be customized in the phone’s software. The dot matrix design on the back of the ROG Phone 5 reminds me of the Lightning Armor case that ASUS offers for the ROG Phone 3.
Other than the aforementioned changes to the rear design, we don’t see a lot of other design changes. The cameras look the same, the dual front-facing speakers are still there, the selfie camera on the right is still there, the display still seems to have no notch or hole-punch, and the ports still seem to be in the same location. The SIM card tray cover has a neat red color, but we’re not sure if that’s a Tencent-exclusive design change.
Not much else is known about the ROG Phone 5. According to the rest of the certification listing (H/T @_the_tech_guy), the device will have a 6.78-inch OLED display, a dual-cell battery design (2x 3000mAh batteries), run Android 11, and measure 172.834 x 77.252 x 10.29 mm in dimensions. A previous certification listing revealed the device will support 65W fast wired charging. We expect it’ll have Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888, ample amounts of RAM and storage, and other flagship-tier hardware.
The ROG Phone 3 was our favorite gaming phone of 2020. With competition from new entrants to the field like Lenovo and soon Redmi, the ROG Phone 5 will need to debut with exclusive gaming features that’ll justify its likely high price tag.
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