First of all: This is not a classic test that covers all aspects of the Asus ROG Phone 5s. I focus purely on the gaming abilities that set the phone apart from other models. In addition, I played almost exclusively Diablo Immortal.
Asus ROG Phone 5s offers some special features
The Asus ROG Phone 5s isn’t the newest smartphone on the market, but it does have some special features. For example, the 144 Hz display that makes games look even more immersive. It’s a shame I couldn’t use Diablo Immortal to its full potential as the game is locked at 60Hz. All in all I was won over by the 6.78-inch AMOLED display. It’s sharp, bright and offers a great display. But it is very susceptible to dirt. I don’t know that from my Pixel 6 Pro. For me, the display could be even bigger for gaming.
The ROG Phone 5s is equipped with the Snapdragon 888+, 16GB RAM and 512GB internal storage be available. So you have a lot of storage space for games. It’s a shame that the Asus phone still runs Android 11 today. Considering Android 13 is just around the corner, that’s a real downer. But I like the surface, because you can reach the settings that are particularly important for gaming with a swipe, making it easier to change the brightness of the display, for example.
Battery life is impressive when gaming
The battery of the ROG Phone 5s measures 2x 3,000 mAh and thus 6,000 mAh. In Diablo Immortal I have one Playtime of 4 hours at the highest settings and relatively high brightness reached. The game is pretty dark, so I had to turn the brightness all the way up in the garden. But then it fit in order to be able to gamble. No other mobile console can do more. So Asus is well on board here. If you play in the apartment with a lower brightness, you will achieve slightly longer runtimes.
If you connect the optional gamepad controller, the USB-C socket is covered and Asus has not installed a second connection on the controller. I don’t think it’s very well thought out if you have to completely remove the cell phone from the holder after four hours and plug it into a power supply. There should have been an external charging option during play.
Asus offers many accessories
Of the Gamepad controller has convinced me very much. Diablo Immortal’s touch controls are very good, but my hands always get cramped when I play for a long time. That doesn’t happen with the gamepad controller. I was able to gamble for several hours and basically had no disadvantages with it – at least almost. After about two to three hours of gaming, I noticed that some of the shoulder buttons didn’t respond as quickly as before. Attacks were sometimes not carried out. This is of course annoying when it comes to the nitty-gritty.
Furthermore, it annoyed me that the controller shuts down far too quickly. I couldn’t get it to work without using the switch with the Bluetooth connection or removing the phone from the holder. This is how the connection to the USB-C port was cut and restored. Why isn’t it enough to press a button on the controller? Maybe this is a security mechanism for the transport.
Overall, the concept with the pluggable gaming controller convinced me so much that I ordered the Razer Kishi for my cell phone (check it out at Amazon). I want to keep playing Diablo Immortal with this when the Asus ROG Phone 5s has to go back. The Asus controller can also be connected to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. So you can turn your Android device into a small game console. Smartphones other than those from Asus cannot be connected because the USB port is not in the middle.
Does a gaming smartphone like the Asus ROG Phone 5s make sense?
Until recently I would have said no, because you can also just buy a controller for your normal smartphone. The Asus ROG Phone 5s offers added value when gaming with its fast display, high performance, big battery, lots of memory and the adapted software. So if you play primarily mobile and like to use a controller, then then you can use a gaming smartphone like the Asus ROG Phone 5s. In normal everyday life, however, you have to live with disadvantages such as a weaker camera.
The Asus phone is perfect for Diablo Immortal and I quickly found myself at level 60. At over 1,000 euros (see Amazon), the cell phone also costs many times more than a Nintendo Switch (see Amazon). And you don’t need the high performance for Diablo. I think a Samsung Galaxy A53 with the Razer Kishi controller would also do. But then it’s no longer a gaming smartphone. At Asus you get the accessories specially optimized for the smartphone. This includes the gaming controller or a fan. Everything fits and works here.
A few words about Diablo Immortal
Diablo Immortal is rightly criticized for the Pay2Win issue. Those who are prone to gambling should definitely not play the game. There are simply too many temptations in the game to “improve” the gaming experience with small and then large amounts. Diablo Immortal as a game itself is great, but it’s just ruined by the microtransactions. I only got the small Battle Pass for 4.99 euros because I still had one euro credit in the Play Store. But I won’t spend more and, as a big fan of the Diablo game series, I hope that Diablo 4 won’t be a Pay2Win game.
As a curmudgeon, I’d rather play for hundreds of hours to get something anyway, and see it as an added challenge to compete against players who’ve spent hundreds of dollars in-game. But I’m also aware that this means I’ll never be able to use the full potential of the game and I won’t be able to keep up with players who have spent a lot of money in the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t bother me either, because if the difference to other players gets too big, I just stop. As in many other games – like Lost Ark before it – I don’t regret having spent several hundred euros on a game that I no longer play.