ASUS ROG Phone 3 review: the king of mobile gaming

ASUS ROG Phone 3 is a fresh smartphone in the Republic of Gamers lineup. The device has been updated to the latest mobile gaming standards. The Taiwanese company has done everything to make the gaming device a worthy option not only for entertainment but also for everyday scenarios. Was it successful? Let’s figure it out now. 

ASUS ROG Phone 3

Uncompromising performance

ASUS phone is among the first to receive the latest flagship Snapdragon 865+ chipset. Paired with the processor is the Adreno 650 graphics accelerator. Our sample is equipped with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The smartphone also has a vapor chamber and graphite film, which provides better heat dissipation to the metal frame around the screen.

Such an impressive iron is expected to break records in synthetic tests.

But before proceeding with the benchmarks, let’s clarify in what conditions they will be carried out. The gadget can operate at three performance levels. The maximum power is available only with the bundled cooler attached, and it was in this mode that the tests were carried out. The air flows are directed into a special hole on the back of the case and provide forced blowing of the hot filling. The “turntable” is powered by two additional USB Type-C connectors located on the left side of the device. By the way, there is no minijack in the smartphone, but there is one on the cooler case. So it’s easy to plug in your favorite headphones, while the fan noise won’t be heard.

ASUS ROG Phone 3

The ROG Phone 3 was throttled using the CPU Throttling Test utility. First, we ran a 30-minute test in an average performance mode, available without additional cooling (the processor operates at 2.84 GHz). The maximum values ​​were 236 GIPS, and the minimum – 209. In half an hour the phone warmed up to 41 degrees, the performance drop was about 12 percent. Then we plugged in the complete cooler and activated the third mode, in which the chipset frequencies rose to 3.1 GHz. Peak performance reached 268 GIPS, and the lowest at 221 GIPS. Throttling turned out to be insignificant (18%), the case temperature rose to 39 degrees.

The cooling “turntable” did its job well. 

Without disconnecting the cooler, we started gaming tests. Each game was launched with the best graphics settings. The device worked in the third performance mode. The screenshots below show the actual fps and temperature after a half-hour session in each release.

1 /7
Injustice 2 is almost the only game where the number of frames per second is not limited to 120 fps

Gaming chips

The screen on the ROG Phone 3 is devoid of cutouts. The following sweep options are supported: 60, 90, 120, 144 Hz. The difference between them is really noticeable. The display is made using AMOLED technology, the polling rate of the sensor layer is 270 times per second. The latency for touches is only 25ms, and for swipes, it is 18ms, which is one of the best results among smartphones. The human eye does not pick up PWM at minimum brightness. The settings provide spot calibration of the color mode. Two loud and clear speakers were placed above and below the screen. It is a pleasure to listen to music, watch movies or play. For example, in PUBG, stereo effects are very useful: it is so clearly audible from which side the enemy is approaching. 

Enhances gaming pleasure and pleasant vibration motor.

ASUS ROG Phone 3

Two ultrasonic sensors called AirTrigger, located on the right side of the device, are worthy of special attention. When the smartphone is in landscape orientation, the index fingers rest directly on them. This gaming experience is reminiscent of console gamepads. Areas react not only to touches but also to swipes. It remains only to correctly configure them in order to easily “drag the rollers” in various shooters.

The ASUS gadget runs on Android 10 with a proprietary ROG UI shell. It differs from a pure operating system with a non-standard color palette, drawn icons, additional options, and Armory Crate firmware. Let’s dwell on it in more detail.

1 /10
This is how the main screen looks, where all installed games are displayed

Full set of features

It’s too early to talk about the development of 5G networks in our country, but ROG Phone 3 already supports them, which is a good start for the future. But the presence of the Wi-Fi 6 module is already useful now: the standard is developing rapidly, has many advantages over its predecessors, and routers with it are becoming more and more affordable. The novelty was also equipped with an NFC chip, there will be no problems with contactless payment.

The smartphone is also capable of picking up GPS satellites, Glonass, Galileo and BeiDou, so you definitely won’t get lost with it. 

ASUS ROG Phone 3

Music lovers will appreciate the support for the Bluetooth aptX codec and the advanced equalizer with various presets. A smart fingerprint scanner is located under the screen, guaranteeing the inaccessibility of a mobile phone in the wrong hands.

Decent camera

Typically, gaming phone manufacturers do not pay much attention to high-quality photo stock. But ASUS engineers approached the issue differently. The ROG Phone 3 camera block consists of three modules. The main lens is a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor with f / 1.8 aperture. It is complemented by a wide 125-degree viewing angle and a 5 megapixel macro sensor. Below are examples of snapshots for the device.

1 /10
During the day, natural and detailed shots are obtained.

When recording 4K video at 60 fps, there is practically no shaking – well-adjusted stabilization helps out. Only the sound quality is a little upsetting, which turns out to be dull, and there is extraneous noise in the background.

The device shoots slow-motion videos in 4K (at 120 frames per second), Full HD (240 fps) or HD (480 fps). Looking at water or fire in slow-mo is a pleasure.

The trump card of the gadget is the shooting of 8K clips. A 16-second video is over 200MB. In this mode, the smartphone heats up quickly and disables stabilization, but focusing remains instant.

RGB is never too much

The design of ASUS ROG Phone 3 is a familiar sandwich of glass and a metal frame. The back panel has a logo with built-in RGB lighting. It is configured in the Armory Crate app. The device feels solid and expensive in the hand. The novelty weighs 240 grams, and the thickness of the case is close to 1 centimeter. It is difficult to operate with one hand with such dimensions. By the way, there is an abbreviation GLHF on the tray for sim cards! (Good Luck, Have Fun!). 

It turned out to be a pleasant easter egg for esports lovers.

ASUS ROG Phone 3

At the presentation, along with a smartphone, they showed a protective case Lighting Armor Case 3 with a luminous logo and a built-in NFC tag. Thanks to the latter, the device instantly recognizes that it was packed in this case, and will offer to switch to a specialized topic. There is no battery in the case, it glows with the help of another LED located on the ROG Phone 3 body next to the camera block. The light from it is evenly distributed inside the enclosure, causing the many dots to shine, forming the company’s brand name. The accessory is undoubtedly useful. It is immediately clear that the user is an adult and an accomplished person who does not care about stereotypes. Will it be possible to buy the case separately in the Russian Federation? The question is still open.

Impressive battery

If you choose a 60 Hz screen sweep in the options, a 6000 mAh battery will last for a day and a half of active use. By increasing the refresh rate of the display, we get a proportional decrease in autonomy. Watching Full HD video at medium brightness in airplane mode lasts more than seventeen hours, and a continuous session in Asphalt 9 lasts about eight. This amount of battery is replenished in an hour and a half thanks to the fast charging technology and the included 30W power adapter.

Specifications

DISPLAY
6,59 “, AMOLED, 2340х1080, 144 Hz
CHIPSET
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
GPU Adreno 650
RAM
& DRIVE
16/512 GB 
BATTERY
6000 mAh
CAMERAS
main – 64 Mp (f / 1.8, 1.6 μm) + 13 Mp (f / 2.4, viewing angle 125 °) + 5 Mp (f / 2.0, macro), front – 24 Mp (f / 2.0)
FEATURES
144Hz display, UFS 3.1 memory, liquid cooling, 30W fast charge, 8K video recording, Armory Crate, AeroActive Cooler 3, AirTrigger 3, RGB

Test results

ANTUTU
629 281
GEEKBENCH 4
4524 single-core
13 367 multi-core 
GEEKBENCH 5
987 single-core
3384 multi-core 
3DMARK SLING SHOT EXTREME
6406 OpenGL ES 3.1
5945 Vulkan
AUTONOMY
up to 17 hours of video playback
up to 8 hours of playing in Asphalt 9 (60 Hz)
ASUS ROG Phone 3

Outcome

ASUS ROG Phone 3 is a balanced phone. It has all the attributes of an ideal everyday model: there is a high-quality screen, smart hardware, a flagship camera, good autonomy, and an NFC module. Of course, the main feature of the novelty is the gaming component. And it is at its best: the power of the gadget is enough to launch any mobile hits at maximum speed. It remains only to wait for the developers to release on their phones not only simple arcades but also decent full-size releases. The hardware capabilities of smartphones already allow this. 

By the way, the prices have already been announced. For the basic version (12 RAM / 512 drives) they will ask for 79 thousand rubles, another 4 GB of RAM will cost 10 000 from above. The younger Strix (on a regular 865 snap with 12GB of RAM and 265GB of storage) will not officially come to Russia (at least not yet).  

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