Asus launched the ROG Phone 5, 5 Pro, and 5 Ultimate back in March this year and already has updates for us in the form of the ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro. To come up with the new models, Asus has applied a thin spread of upgrades (hence the 's' suffix, rather than a new version number). To find out what has changed, please read on.
The first major change that applies to both models is the upgrade from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 to the 888 Plus, which was launched at the end of June. At that time, Qualcomm mentioned that partner Asus was lining up a refreshed ROG Phone with its latest and greatest SoC, so these new gaming phones aren't that surprising to see.
If you look back at our SD888 Plus launch article, you can find a full description of this flagship consumer mobile SoC, but in brief it is basically the same as its processor but with a 3.0GHz prime core (Cortex-X1), a modest improvement over the 2.84GHz in the original SoC. Qualcomm also trumpeted the 6th gen Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine which boosted on-device AI processing from 26 TOPS to 32 TOPS. However, the GPU, and Adreno 660, which is an important component for gamers to consider, remained unchanged.
Other than the processor upgrade, the ROG Phone 5 Pro seems to have done better, as it benefits from extra RAM/Storage in the 's' model. Specifically, it now comes with 18GB of RAM (LPDDR5) and 512GB of storage (UFS 3.1), which were exclusive to the Ultimate version in the previous lineup (maybe that's what there is no new Ultimate?). The 5s Pro also features the most interesting rear display, which is a PMOLED colour screen (for some reason, the Ultimate was mono).
If you don't need so much RAM/storage you might be best served by the regular ROG Phone 5s which comes in 8/128GB, 12/256GB and 16/256GB configurations.
Screens remain largely the same as last time – both revamped gaming phones feature a 144Hz / 1ms Samsung E4 AMOLED display – but they have both also been boosted to a 360Hz native touch-sampling rate (up from 300Hz) for even better responsiveness.
Accessory-wise, the Pro comes with the most generous bundle which includes the AeroActive Cooler 5, 65W charger, and case. The ROG Phone 5s (non-Pro) doesn't get a cooler for free (extra US$69).
Asus has yet to name a release date or confirm pricing for the ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro. Asus UK prices for the current ROG Phone 5 range from £820 to £920, for the regular model, depending on RAM/storage.