Asus ROG Phone 5 leaves iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 playing catch-up – here's how

Here's how the Asus ROG Phone 5 has schooled the Apple iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 in terms of audio

Asus ROG Phone 5 Samsung Galaxy S21 Apple iPhone 12
(Image credit: Asus)

Both the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Apple iPhone 12 are firmly established in T3's best phones buying guide, with the two handsets delivering flagship-grade phone experiences on both iOS and Android. However, they've both just been taken to school by the Asus ROG Phone 5, one of the best gaming phones on the market.

The schooling has come courtesy of the Asus ROG Phone 5's new state-of-the-art audio system, which has led the handset to be dubbed "the best-sounding smartphone in the world" as a result. In terms of audio fidelity, the iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 just can't compete – and here's why.

The Asus ROG Phone 5's audio system is the result of a collaboration between the Taiwanese phone maker and Swedish audio master Dirac, the latter of which having ported hyper-advanced audio technology designed for high-end automotive audio systems to the ROG Phone 5.

That technology? Dirac’s patented MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) mixed-phase speaker co-optimization technology, an industry-first innovation that treats the smartphone’s dual speakers as a single, multi-speaker system in which the individual speakers work together to create the desired acoustical response.

The result of this is that, unlike flagship phones like the Apple iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21, the ROG Phone 5's speakers work together to co-optimize the impulse response of the entire system, rather than rely on individual optimization of multiple speakers.

The overall result of this process is that clarity, imaging and bass is improved, while the soundscape boasts richer details and a more balanced tonality.

In addition to the mixed-phase speaker co-optimization technology, Dirac has also imbued the Asus ROG Phone 5 with its MIMO crosstalk cancellation technology. This tech specialises in overcoming the challenges inherent in placing two smartphone speakers very close to each other (which is inevitable considering how small phones are).

The crosstalk cancellation technology, though, ensures a clean separation between left and right channels, creating a more natural spatial soundscape and accurate sound localization. For users who love to game and watch movies and TV shows on their phone, this is literally music to the ears.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Samsung Galaxy S21 Apple iPhone 12

(Image credit: Asus)

Speaking on the collaboration, Bryan Chang, General Manager of Asus' smartphone business unit said that:

"ASUS and Dirac continue to push the boundaries of smartphone audio. With Dirac’s leading audio technologies integrated into the ROG Phone 5, consumers will experience games, music, and movies like never before."

Here at T3 we think Dirac's audio technologies on show in the ROG Phone 5 sound genuinely game-changing, and we will be looking to go ears-on with the new gaming flagship mobile as soon as possible. The audio on flagships today like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Apple iPhone 12 Pro are better than ever, but compared to the ideal, audiophile experience, they're not even close. As such, if the ROG Phone 5 can move the needle forward in terms of smartphone audio then we welcome that.

Be sure to check back in to again soon for our Asus ROG Phone 5 official verdict.

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.