Asus upgrades its ROG gaming phone with a faster CPU and a color rear display

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Asus’ bombastic ROG Phone 5 is only five months old, but it’s already getting a mid-cycle refresh. Say hello to the ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro, which look very nearly identical to the original. That’s because they are: aside from a slight bump with the latest Snapdragon 888+ chipset and a marginally improved 360hz touch sampling rate on their 144Hz AMOLED screens, they’re pretty much the same. The 5s sticks with the decorative dot matrix RGB graphics on the rear, while the 5s Pro (above) upgrades the black-and-white rear screen from the ROG 5 Ultimate to a new color OLED display.

Otherwise, the phones are pretty much the same as they were the last go-round. That means a 6.78-inch 1080p screen, with an infinitesimally-faster 24ms response rate (down from 24.3), a 6000mAh battery (separated into two chambers for better cooling and balance), and a triple rear camera setup. Those break down into a 64MP primary, 5MP macro, 13MP ultrawide, plus an impressive 24MP front-facing camera. Other goodies include an in-screen fingerprint reader, headphone jack, stereo front-facing speakers, built-in DAC, 65-watt charging (no wireless), dual USB-C ports, and built-in touch-sensitive triggers.

The RAM and storage setup is a little different this time around. Both phones get an impressive 512GB of storage, but the ROG Phone 5s comes in various flavors. You can get combinations of RAM and storage ranging from “just” 8GB/128GB, up to 18GB/512GB at the high end, available in white or black colors. (The smaller RAM and storage capacities are on the Asus website, but don’t seem to be listed at launch.) The ROG Phone 5s Pro, with its upgraded rear screen, comes only in that top-tier 18GB/512GB package. It also includes an AeroActive Cooler 5 with its physical trigger buttons in the box (a $70 separate purchase). The cooler, as well as the rest of the accessories created for the ROG Phone 5, are compatible with the new models.

rog phone 5 models

ROG Phone 5s Pro on the left, 5s on the right.

Asus Taiwan says that the 16GB/256GB version of the ROG Phone 5s will retail for 29,990 NTD ($1077 USD), the 16GB/512GB version bumps up to 33,990 NTD, and the ROg Phone 5s Pro in its sole configuration will go for 37,990 NTD (about $1365 USD) when they launch on September 30th. Pre-orders will get a free game controller — a nice touch. International sales for the ROG 5s series have not been announced.

The ROG Phone 5 is a beast of a device, pushing boundaries in both gaming phone design and pocket seams. But if the original didn’t convince you to drop more than a grand on its grandiose hardware, I doubt these small upgrades will push you past the threshold.

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