The Asus ROG Phone 3 is an unusual phone sitting in an unusual places in the market. The look, feel and stature of the phone make it feel like a much more expensive phone than it actually costs. With starting costs from about 700euro, the ROG Phone 3 sits right in that spot where the likes of the Pixel 5, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the OnePlus 8T live, and while you might not have heard of the ROG phone before now, it’s definitely a phone that should be worth your consideration.
Design & Build Quality
The Asus ROG Phone 2, I think, looks great. It’s a big phone for sure. It has a 6.59inch AMOLED screen that clocks in at a whopping 144hz refresh rate (easily the fastest refresh rate in the price point) and flanking the screen are a pair of stereo speakers, which sound great.
Looking around the rest of the phone, all your buttons are contained on the right side of the phone with the volume and the power located right at thumb level there. On the bottom you have a single USB Type C input for day to day charging. Then on the left there’s a rubber insert that protects a custom input that is used for the ROG Phone accessories, in this instance, in the box is included an advanced cooling system, AeroActive Cooler 3, that is designed to keep the phone cool during hours of gaming. The cooling system easily clips onto the phone and you can hear the fan spinning up and this also gives you a 3.5mm headphone jack and a passthrough USB Type C for easily charging the phone while gaming in landscape. It’s a really great touch that Asus have thought about so that while your playing the charging cable doesn’t get in the way.
Another great feature, that isn’t physically there, are the ‘air triggers’. They are located on the long edge of the phone and are ultra sonic sensors that can be customised to any input in the games to let you customize the buttons to suit how you play your games / used the phone
On the back of the ROG Phone 3 is the, now standard for ROG phones, RGB Logo. This lights up when gaming (and can be disabled if you like), but it also works as a notification LED in normal day to day use of the phone. I really liked this feature and miss phones with notification LED’s so it’s great to see it being included by Asus in the ROG Phone 3.
Performance & Software
The Asus ROG Phone 3 is powered by Qualcoms most powerful processor, the Snapdragon 865+ 5G and is paired with either 8gb or 12gb of RAM and storage that goes all the way up to 512gb with expandable storage. These specs, paired with the 144hz refresh rate with a 270hz touch sample rate and less than 25ms touch latency really make the phone feel fast.
Android 10 is built in out of the box and Asus, thankfully, updates their phones regularly. On top of the standard Android 10 is Asus’s ROG UI and this might not be to everyones taste (but as this is Android, you can customise it a lot,) It really is a gaming-styled launcher, with aggressive lines, geometric and out there visuals. Now while this level of customisation isn’t for everyone, it did give alot of control over the various aspects of the phone and I appreciate that.
During my time with the ROG Phone 3, I didn’t notice any real lags or delays either while using the phone day to day or gaming on it in the various games I was testing with the phone.
The ROG Phone 3’s battery is massive at a whopping 6000mAh! In the box was a 30w fast charger. Now, obviously, it’s not going to charge as quick as other phones out there, but that’s mainly down to the batteries capacity. It’s between 50-100% larger than batteries in other phones around the same price point, but it’s no slouch either, getting to about 80% in about 50 mins!
If you want to get the most from the battery, you can easily turn down the refresh rate (or even let the phone do it, by turning on ‘Auto’ mode in the display settings). For example, if you’re mainly watching video content from Netflix or Youtube, then there is no reason to have the display locked at 144hz as the content your watching will be a max of 60fps (on youtube) and much lower on Netflix.
Most people won’t have an issue getting through at least 1 day (and possibly a 2nd day) of heavy use with the ROG Phone 3.
Let’s be honest here, you’re not buying this phone because of its camera, but that’s not to say it’s bad, because it’s not. It’s perfectly fine. It takes decent shots using it’s main camera which is powered the Sony IMX686 64mp sensor. As is trendy at the moment (and more useful if you ask me than a telephoto lens) is a 125 degree, 13mp, ultra wide lens. Neither camera has any form of OIS, which is a bummer, but it’s not a massive loss and both cameras take usable shots in decent like, but take a bit of work to get a good shot in more challenging lighting condition.
Both camera do a fine job, but there are definitely better cameras for this price point
The Asus ROG Phone 3 surprised me. I initially thought it was going to cost much more than it actually is, especially given the core specs and the fact it’s on trend with it’s 5G connectivity. With it’s impressive screen, stereo speakers, stellar battery life and dedicated gaming features, if you’re into gaming on your mobile (or using Microsoft’s Project xCloud), you could really do a lot worse than ROG Phone 3.
The Asus ROG Phone 3 is available now from various retailers starting at 700euro. (17th Nov 2020 – DID currently have the 256gb Strix edition for 779euro )