/ASUS ROG Phone 3 Review: Herculean Gaming Smartphone

ASUS ROG Phone 3 Review: Herculean Gaming Smartphone

asus rog phone 3

Since the advent of gaming smartphones in India, one company that truly stood out to be the real provider of gaming smartphones is ASUS. The company with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) series stunned everyone with its capability to deliver outstanding performance. The ROG series is a truly dedicated gaming phone series and we have reviewed both ROG 1 and ROG 2 when they were launched and now we will be reviewing its third edition launched recently which is ASUS ROG 3. The new ROG 3 is the successor of the ROG 2 and here in this review, we will be providing you a detailed insight on the ROG 3. So let’s begin.

Design

asus rog phone 3

ROG 3 almost looks similar to its predecessor and the reason for that is the strategic planning of the company to make the new phone compatible with the accessories which were introduced with ROG 2. The look is surely bold and the phone has its signature design which makes the phone look very distinctive and gives the feel of gaming phone completely. The new ROG 3 does not possess so many cuts and lines on the rear side. The ROG Phone 3 also has the familiar aerodynamic feel of the brand, complete with carved lines and diamond-cut bevel. Many of the accents and little features are now gone, however, including the orange in the front speakers and the grill on the rear. The new style is, in a way, slicker, more sophisticated not like its predecessors who held more rogue look. We can say that the ROG 2 had more gamers aesthetic which the new ROG-3 seems to miss. The rear side has the glossy finish which attracts the smudges but we would have liked the more matte finish. At the front side, we can see quite thick bezels both at the top and bottom side of the screen and the bezels serves the purpose for which they are kept there which includes allowing a resting place for your hand to comfortably play games ignoring the unwanted touches. Space on top of the display also means no selfie camera cut-out, notch, punch hole, or anything else disturbing the screen. The selfie camera position itself was considered further to not be easily covered by a thumb for gaming and streaming. Also, there was enough space left for an RGB notification LED. The display also features the fingerprint sensor which is very quick in its response. To further soothe the gaming experience ASUS ROG 3 has four microphones in all, near to the top left corner of the device. The remaining three are mounted next to the camera display on the bottom bezel, on the right side edge, behind the power button, and on the back of it. Asus names this device a “Quad-Mic Noise-Cancelling Array,” which means only one application for it. In fact, besides noise-canceling, it also means that if you carry the ROG Phone 3 or any devices you have on it, there will still be at least one non-covered and working microphone that the phone can find and pick for you automatically. On the right side of the phone lies the power button and the volume rockers which are positioned very nicely as they will not get in your way while playing games. The edges of the right side of the phone feature the Air trigger controls which add extra advantage while playing the games. The new ASUS ROG 3 possesses the new Air Trigger 3 controls. In AirTrigger 3, the system has also gained motion-sensing abilities for the entire phone itself. That means that it now provides a total of five inputs that can be freely mapped on on-screen controls in-game. In addition to the tap and slide available on the ROG Phone II, the ROG Phone 3 can also recognize swipes on both lefts and right at each point. Long-pressing will also now be described as a separate operation. It is a remarkable amount of fine recognition involved in identifying such movements. More amazing still is the fact that you can also place your fingertips on the sensors without detecting them at all with the right sensitivity change on the sensors. So then you will have to apply some pressure to mark them much like a regular click. At the rear side lies the horizontally placed triple camera sensor followed by the LED flash and mic as well.  The rear side also sports the ROG logo and there is plenty of lighting and color-shifting patterns to pick from and change. The design may also be synchronized with other ROG Phones.  The glass on the rear side is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 whereas the front screen has the protection of Corning Gorilla Glass 6. At the bottom of the phone lies the USB Type-C port which is located off-center. On the left side lies another USB Type-C port which is mainly for connecting the air cooler also at the left side lies a dual card SIM card tray. The top side of the phone lies just a mic nothing else.

Display

ASUS ROG 3 holds a 6.59-inch display with a refresh rate of 144Hz which is till now the highest refresh rate ever seen in any smartphone in India. The ROG Phone 3 is using a real 10-bit display of 1.07 billion colors. This is HDR10 + certified and, as you might guess, even includes Widevine L1 and it can take advantage of all the high-definition, high-dynamic content on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The 144Hz refresh rate is surely set to consume more power but Asus has worked in this department very well as well without compromising the performance of the games. The 144Hz panel runs very smooth and there are four refresh rate options of 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz, plus an interesting Auto option. The colors reproduced on screen are very bright, vivid, and punchy and with almost 1 Billion colors the contents hardly seem to miss any color details. The ROG Phone 3 can go up to 464 nits at 100% on its brightness slider and it will push beyond that to 719nits in max auto mode. The visibility of the screen is so good that you can view the screen under bright sunlight. The space on the screen is immense and you can enjoy any game very comfortably with all the viewing angles within your sight. The various refresh rate options available has its own advantage as each option has a different level of power consumption. The screen resolution is of 1080×2340 pixels and has 391 PPI density similar to that of ASUS ROG 2.

Sound

Any gaming experience is incomplete without the proper sound effects. The ROG Phone 3 has a pair of gigantic stereo speakers facing the top, each powered by its NXP TFA9874 amplifier. Every speaker now has a 7-magnet feature which is an update from 5 magnets seen previously. It is the hardware basis for a tightly balanced and effective stereo system. The speakers gave the sound output in the exact direction from were any footsteps where approaching which was very helpful while playing PUBG and other combat games. While playing Asphalt the sound of the cars was also quite impressive and added to the thrill. The speaker fires quite loud so you can enjoy any movie as well.

UI

The new ASUS ROG Phone 3 runs on its ROG UI on top of Android 10. The UI is giving the internal looks a robotic feel with aggressive curves, every possible hue of color, lots of graphics that are electronic, geometrical, and humanoid. All of them come complete with animations of massive-looking motion, flickering effects, fires, reactors. The UI offers various interesting modes to enhance the gaming experience. One of the interesting modes is X Mode enabling it completely transforms where the animation on the default wallpapers gets initiated, symbols start shifting, glowing borders start shining around icons. If set up accordingly, the RGB logo on the backfires up, as well as any compatible Aura Sync logo on attached ROG accessories. It also has PowerMaster mode, which offers a centralized place for managing app consumption, scanning for issues, as well as toggling battery savings options, and managing auto start. There are also other features like Game Genie,  Air Triggers, and many more.

Performance

The ROG Phone 3 is powered by the most updated and recent processor which is Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+.  The processor is undoubtedly the best and most powerful processor till now and the phone is making full use of it while delivering smooth performance. The configuration of the octa-cores is the same as that of SDM865 but, the update is that the main core is now clocked at 3.1GHz rather than 2.96GHz. The other CPU cores in the Snapdragon 865+, including the other three lower-clocked, but still “big” Kryo 585 ones, clocked at 2.42 GHz and the four “little” Kryo 585 units, clocked at 1.8 GHz are essentially unchanged from the regular Snapdragon 865. The GPU has also been updated from the original 587MHz to 645MHz.  Perhaps more significant is the fact that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 + chipset is introduced within the ROG Phone 3 in a very special, “unlocked” fashion. Asus helps its consumers to directly control speed limits at low speeds. You can’t reach over the upper-speed limits and overclock, tell the CPU above the 3.1GHz mark, so you can dial-back output on a per-app basis, thus reducing temperatures, avoiding throttling and extending battery life. On a mobile processor, these are even more significant and are the cornerstone of the Asus X Mode performance tuning platform.  Beyond the Snapdragon 865+ chip, the ROG Phone 3 uses extremely fast UFS 3.1 storage. The phone is pure gaming beast as there is no stopping the phone from delivering outstanding performance and the one bothering issue while gaming is heating which also has been dealt quite effectively in the ASUS ROG 3 thanks to its inbuilt thermal cooling system. There is literally no such application that can slow the speed of the new ASUS ROG3 no matter what task you throw at it. Graphics of the games were in their topmost qualities and the 144Hz refresh rate adds more thrill to the gaming experience. The new ASUS ROG 3 is a mini powerhouse in itself. The RAM available on the phone is of 8 GB which syncs with the processor very well and delivering amazing usage experience of the phone. The ROM on the other hand is 128GB which is more than sufficient to store any applications or files.

Cameras

Asus ROG Phone 3
Ultra Wide

 

Asus ROG Phone 8X ZOOM
8X ZOOM

 

asus rog phone 3
Portrait Mode

 

Asus ROG Phone 3
Selfie Mode

ASUS ROG Phone 3 is mainly a gaming phone but it does not mean that the company has forgotten about the importance of the powerful camera. The phone delivers outstanding images with perfect details in every segment be it clarity, colors, focus, etc. ASUS ROG 3 has a triple camera sensor where the main sensor is 64MP, Quad-Bayer Sony IMX686 sensor. It’s a 1/1.7″ unit, with 0.8 µm individual pixels and 2×1 OCL PDAF, sitting behind an f/1.8 lens. The second sensor is a 13MP ultra-wide sensor. It has a 125-degree field of view and a rather dim f/2.4 lens. The third sensor is a 5MP with an aperture of f/2.0.  The selfie camera is a 24 MP OmniVision OV24B1Q sensor, with an individual pixel size of 0.9 µm, behind am f/2.0 lens. The rear sensors capture very good detailed images in daylight with proper color balance and exposure. The ultra-wide images were very good as well and managed to capture quite fine details. Portrait shots come out looking clean with nice subject detection and separation. The background blur also looks neat and convincing. For capturing images at night and  I suggest to use Night mode as it manages to capture very fine images with very less level of noise and graining effects. The selfies captured were very good as well and possessed the touch of the real portrayal of the face with no unwanted adjustments. The detail is fine, and so are sharpness and colors. It is amazing how the ROG Phone 3 treats bright lights in the same frame, in tandem with dark shadows. On the selfie camera, you can do portrait mode shots, too. The subject isolation on this one is not quite as good as on the main camera, without any external sensor for identification of depths.

Battery

ASUS ROG Phone 3 is powered by 6,000mAh battery power. To enjoy the gaming experience in which the new ASUS ROG 3 is offering such battery power is a must. While gaming you can use the phone for 9 hours non-stop and it will still hold some power in it. We were not able to continuously test the battery limit by playing 9 hours straight but still managed to check the longevity and found out that the battery easily lasted a whole day after 3-4 hours of gaming and watching movies. ASUS ROG 3 has a Custom Charging limit which means that you can set the charging speed and the time when the phone will be fully charged. This function is quite impressive as it prevents unwanted discharging and overheating of the phone. You can also use one of the new “Sleep well” options, such as End time by alarm, Do not Disturb, Airplane mode, and turning off the charging LED indicator. It’s an extra layer of charging smarts. The phone has 30W fast charging which rapidly charges the battery and allows you to enjoy more time playing games in no time.

Conclusion

ASUS ROG Phone 3 is a complete gaming package you would require. It boasts on high-end specifications such as QS 865+, a phenomenal 144Hz display, and a mammoth battery. The design element is premium at the back, the audio output is loud and worth noticing and air triggers are precise and responsive. The cameras of the phone good and do not fake. The huge size and weight of ROG 3 could be a problem for few but, that’s because it houses a 6,000mAh battery. There are bezels too which could have been done away this time. Like its predecessors, IP rating could not be possible on ROG 3 either because of the vent for heat dissipation.

ASUS has thought much about the pricing of the ROG Phone 3 and due to 18 percent GST and fluctuating USD rates, it has managed to price it at Rs 49,999 for 8GB/128GB version. ROG Phone 2 did well last year only because it was priced around Rs 37K but, the Taiwanese maker expects Indians to shell out half a lakh of rupees in the pandemic. The uncertain PUBG ban may also affect the prospective buyers of ROG Phone 3. Meanwhile, ASUS ROG Phone 3 will also have to compete with OnePlus 8 Pro.

**Images Resized For Web**

Haider is an avid writer on technology who loves to try new innovations. He holds a degree in English Journalism from the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. Besides that, he likes to travel and explore new places.

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