Back in 2018, Asus with the launch of Asus Rog Phone, showed the world that there could be a mainstream gaming smartphone as well. And with the second iteration of the ROG series of smartphones, the ROG Phone 2 was almost a perfect device for gaming enthusiasts as it offered the best in class specifications that were overkill and checked all the boxes for a gaming enthusiast.
The newly launched Asus ROG Phone 3 is no exception and is the fastest smartphone we have used to date. But again there are a few features that we were expecting to see and there is no doubt that the ROG 3 is a gaming beast and clearly shows that there is a mainstream market for gaming smartphones with other brands such as iQOO, Black Shark and Red Magic following the lead.
The ROG Phone 3 is a device that is built for masses and not only targeted for the gaming enthusiasts. We really liked our brief encounter with the Asus ROG Phone 3 and here’s our comprehensive review of the device, Do Give it a Read.
ASUS ROG Phone 3 Review: Design and Aesthetics
We personally complained about the design of the ROG Phone 2 and a lot many users had similar opinions, the new ROG Phone 3 has a much improved and more practical design. The rear of the device is made of glass and the vents that were left in open in the previous generation are now underneath the glass. As the aerodynamic system is now under the glass, the rear glass panel is used as a heat dissipation mechanism instead of a single vent. This has significantly improved the thermal performance of the ROG device.
The ROG logo at the rear still features the uber-cool LED lightning aura, the only change being that the logo now appears white when the LED lights are turned off.
The rear glass panel feels quite slippery to hold and is definitely a fingerprint magnet. But the aluminum frame makes up for it and makes it easier to grip the device. The overall design of the device is quite unique and offers a refreshing design compared to hundreds of similarly designed smartphones that have been flooded into the Indian smartphone market by BBK Electronics.
ROG Phone 3 is a huge device and feels bulky to hold if you don’t have large hands. One hand operations will always be challenging, but this is gone for a greater good, a large 6.59″ AMOLED 144hz display, and a 6000mAh battery. Although, there’s enormous bezel above and below the screen, and that’s fine because a punch-hole cutout or a drop notch would have totally spoiled the gaming experience. Plus it’s done to make sure you have space to hold while you are gaming comfortably and also offers dual front-facing speakers.
Talking about the placement of the buttons the right panel houses the power key and volume rocker buttons. At the bottom, you have the USB Type C charging port. On the right-hand side, we have the sim tray, and an additional USB Type C port to charge your device and a second port that has orange highlight inside it, this is used to attach the Aero case that comes with the ROG Phone 3. The secondary Type C port comes in handy as the device does not feature a 3.5 mm audio port and one of the Type C ports can be used to output audio via dongle. Another thing to note is that the bottom USB port is a USB 2.0 Type-C port while the secondary charging port at the left-hand side is a USB 3.1 charging port and supports ASUS’ 30W HyperCharge and this is the one that should be preferred for charging.
ASUS ROG Phone 3 Review: Display
The display on the ROG Phone 3 is definitely a highlight and not just because of the massive size it comes it at 6.59″, but its actually a 2340×1080 resolution for a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The Display takes the high refresh rate experience to the next level, buy offering 144hz refresh rate and this can even go up to 160hz with a little ADB commands that we did and it unleashed the full potential of the device. The ROG Phone 3 isn’t the first smartphone on the market with a 144Hz maximum refresh rate, but it’s one of the few that is able to maintain this refresh rate without a ton of micro stutters. All these extra frames per second lead to a lot of power consumption and to make up for it features a 6000mAh battery.
Apart from smooth animations and fast refresh rate, the display on the ROG Phone 3 is one of the most color-accurate ones you will find right now. You can even customize the color profile of the device by going into Settings > Display > Splendid. You can choose from the Default, Natural, Cinematic, and Splendid color modes. You can use the slider at the top to change the color temperature and the slider at the bottom to adjust the color matrix. For the gamers the touch sampling rate is 270Hz, meaning the screen reports a touchpoint 270 times per second.
For high-quality video content, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 supports L1 of Google’s Widevine DRM. That means it supports HD video playback in apps like Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, among others. Lastly, the ROG Phone 3 has an optical under-display fingerprint scanner which is great, and it’s about the same as we had it last year.
Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: Performance
Given the overkill specs and the fancy aerodynamic cooling system that ASUS has tossed in, there’s no way you’re getting the best experience on any other Android phone you can buy right now. And paired with a 144hz refresh rate display the experience on the ROG Phone 3 is the best you can get on any Android device out there in the market.
The ROG Phone 3 is the first smartphone in India with the recently announced Snapdragon 865+ chipset which is a successor to the Snapdragon 865. Both the 865 and the 865 Plus are fabricated on TSMC’s N7P process, featuring both the 865 and the 865 Plus are fabricated on TSMC’s N7P process, feature 1 ARM Cortex-A77 “Prime” CPU core, 3 ARM Cortex-A77 “Performance” CPU cores, and 4 ARM Cortex-A55 “Efficiency” CPU cores, and have the Adreno 650 GPU. The Snapdragon 865 Plus has an overclocked Prime core (@3.1GHz versus 2.84GHz) and GPU (10% faster graphics rendering).
ASUS has paired the Snapdragon 865 Plus with 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage on the standard ROG Phone 3. On paper, this makes the new ROG smartphone one of the fastest Android smartphones on the market. Apart from the chipset, the new ROG gets the UFS3.1 with LPDDR5.
The overall performance on the device is ultra-smooth and there is no doubt that Asus has pulled in a perfect that device that would be so hard to beat in performance for the years to come.
Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: Gaming Performance
We have seen smartphones in the past from Oneplus and other brands launching smartphones with 12GB RAM and even 16GB RAM. But great hardware needs to be paired with great software to get the best results. A gaming device needs some additional software features that make the gaming experience even more fun and can also extract the maximum performance from the device. ASUS has been a pioneer of gaming features on Android, and the ROG Phone 3 is loaded with them.
Asus has implemented the X-Mode, a special gaming mode using which users can set a variety of performance parameters, from CPU/GPU performance to touch sensitivity settings and display refresh rate. The X-mode can be enabled by adding a game to the Armoury Crate app, tapping the Quick setting tile, or long-squeezing on the ultrasonic shoulder button.
Another unique, yet the most useful addon is the ultrasonic sensors or air triggers around the aluminum frame that can detect presses and swipes. In games, you can map these AirTrigger gestures to taps, swipes, slides, and continuous presses onscreen. For example, we had set the left-hand trigger to the Fire button on the PUBG Mobile and the right-hand side air trigger to reload button. This comes in handy during intense battles where there is no time to reload or attack the opponent. These AirTrigger buttons and gestures grant you a massive competitive advantage in any mobile game where users predominantly use touch controls for inputs.
We also tried 144hz gaming on this device with the Real Racing 3 and Dead Trigger 2, and the overall gaming experience at 144hz was so satisfying. As of now, these are the two games that support 144hz gameplay and more games shall be added to the list. Also, another thing to note that, we had already unlocked the 160hz refresh rate for the ROG Phone 3, and surprisingly these two games also started to run at 160hz instead of 144hz.
Asus ROG Phone 3: Cameras
ROG series of smartphones have focussed too much on the gaming aspect in the part and the camera hardware and software optimization for the camera was always the weak point of the device. With ROG Phone 3, the camera has finally improved and is surprisingly great.
ASUS has upgraded the camera config from the ROG Phone 2 in several ways. First, they added a higher-resolution primary camera, the 64MP Sony IMX686, with an f/1.8 wide aperture and 1.6μm pixel size. The 64MP main camera supports 4-in-1 pixel binning using a Quad Bayer color filter to produce high-quality 16MP photos in good lighting conditions. There’s a 13-megapixel ultra-wide secondary sensor with real-time distortion correction feature. Lastly, there’s a 5-megapixel macro sensor for the macro photography lovers out there. At the front, there’s a 24-megapixel sensor.
The quality of the pictures captured from the POG Phone 3 were great and I wasn’t expecting any such results from the device that is typically meant for gamers that rarely photography enthusiasts.
For all the shots that we captured in daylight the colors were accurate, the dynamic range was excellent, and the White balance seemed consistent between the main and ultra-wide-angle cameras. The macro camera allowed me to take some pretty cool close-up shots of nature.
Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: Verdict
We have been using the Asus ROG Phone 3 for a couple of weeks now and I can clearly say that this is the best device for gamers and hands down the fastest device available on the planet. With the Snapdragon 865+ chipset, a 144Hz refresh rate display, 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 6000mAh battery, and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage, the device is totally overkilled and you simply can’t ask for more as these specs are totally overkilled and you won’t feel outdated at least for a year (Until the new ROG phone arrives).
Should you buy the ROG Phone 3? If you are someone who spends a lot of time during this lockdown, playing games all the time, especially the battle royale games then this device is totally for you. With a massive 6.59″ display the gaming experience is great and also if you are into live streaming your gameplay onto youtube you can directly stream games to your Youtube channel at 1080p resolution without any issues. The Asus ROG Phone 3 was especially for gamers and the side-mounted secondary Type-C port and a plethora of accessories that are backward compatible is a great addon to up your gaming experience.
- 144Hz Refresh Rate Display is quite impressive
- Fast touch response
- Four-function shoulder buttons
- Stock Android interface
- Dual Charging Ports
- Gamings-specific additions
- Direct 1080p Live Streaming to Youtube Functionality
- Quite Bulky for general users
- Heats a bit while gaming continuously for sometime