Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: A gaming King or old wine in a new bottle?

Asus launched their third generation of ROG Smartphone i.e. Asus ROG Phone 3, a few months back in India and we are here with the review of the same. Yes we know it’s too late for a review still here we are. This review is based on our usage of the phone for a week as a full-time primary device. This is a review unit (returnable) provided by Asus i.e. the 8GB RAM variant with 128GB internal storage which is priced at Rs. 49,999 in India. Just keep in mind that this is a Gaming Phone and every feature/hardware that the phone uses, is chosen based on Gaming aspect priority. Obviously, it’s an upgrade over the second Gen Asus ROG Phone 2 [ Read REVIEW ].

Asus Rog3 Phone E
Asus ROG Phone 3

ASUS ROG Phone 3 Specs

  • Display: 6.59-inch OLED Full HD+ (2340×1080 pixels), 144Hz refresh rate, 270Hz touch sampling rate, 25ms touch latency 650nits HBM brightness & 1000nits peak brightness, 113% DCI-P3, Delta E <1%, Corning Gorilla Glass 6, HDR, Optical In-display fingerprint scanner
  • Processor: 3.1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform with 7nm, 64-bit Octa-core Processor
  • Operating System: Android 10 with ROG UI
  • GPU: Adreno 650
  • Memory: 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1, no SD-card reader
  • Selfie Camera: 24MP, 0.9µm, Quad Bayer Technology, F2.0, 27mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera
  • Main Camera: 64MP SONY IMX686 sensor, 0.8 µm pixel size – Quad Bayer technology with 16MP, 1.6 µm large effective pixel size, F1.8, 1/1.7” sensor, 2×1 OCL PDAF, LED flash + 13MP, 125˚ ultra-wide, F2.4, Real-time distortion correction, 11mm equivalent focal length in 35mm film camera  + 5MP Macro, F2.0
  • Battery: 6,000mAh, 30W hyper charger in the box
  • Weight: 240gm
  • Speakers: Dual front-facing speakers with GameFX & Dirac HD Sound, 7-magnet stereo speaker with dual NXP TFA9874 smart amplifier for louder, deeper, and less distorted sound effect
  • Ports: USB Type-C side-port, USB-C main port
  • Connectivity: 5G SA/NSA, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 5GHz, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 GPS/GLONASS/BDS/Galileo/QZSS
  • Sensors: Accelerator, E-Compass, Proximity, Hall sensor*2, Ambient light sensor, in-display fingerprint sensor, Gyro, Ultrasonic sensors for AirTrigger 3 and grip press
  • Misc: NO 3.5mm headphone jack

Asus ROG Phone 3 Design and Build Quality

In terms of design, it truly looks almost similar to the 2nd generation ROG Phone with slight modification in design, yet different from a normal flagship smartphone but glittery back with the exposed air vent at the back with that ROG logo that also lights up. Thanks to a monster battery of 6,000mAh and 6.6-inch display it feels large & heavy in hand. In terms of specifics, there is no change in battery capacity & weight. It still weighs the same 240gms and is 9.85mm thick, still making it one of the heaviest phones around. The rear panel is still slippery making it harder to handle during normal usage. Obviously while playing games, you usually handle it in portrait orientation and you feel good holding it. In short, our gripes with last year’s flagships, continue this year too.

It includes an additional USB Type-C port, along with a custom port on the left side for using it with accessories. This supports USB 3.1 (Gen2) along with video output up to 4K and Quick Charge 4.0. The phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack which was still there in the 2nd gen. The 6.59-inch AMOLED Full-HD+ display comes with a 144Hz refresh rate which is an upgrade over the 2nd gen. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection.  To be honest, your human eye won’t feel that much of the difference with 144Hz if you have used the 120Hz display.

Again, the phone comes with bezels just like last year. There is a dual Nano-SIM tray on left but you cant use a MicroSD card for expansion. Some Gaming specific features include 3rd Gen of Asus’s AirTrigger system that lets you rest your fingers on the buttons without pressing them. It also includes a dual vibration system that vibrates as per your Gameplay on the phone and gives you some incredible feel of gaming. Other features include dual front-facing stereo speakers, Google ARCore support, Aura RGB lighting, 3D vapor chamber, etc.

Asus ROG Phone 3 performance, Software, and battery life

Thanks to some incredible hardware that powers the ASUS ROG Phone 2, such as Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM & UFS 3.1 storage, the phone performs excellently well in every department. You can easily call it a beast when it comes to performance. The 144HZ display along with the flagship hardware, dual vibration system, and great sound quality makes it perfect for a gaming phone.

If you love to play games on smartphones, the Asus ROG Phone 3 will delight you. I am just an average gamer, yet loved to play Asphalt 9 and few other high-end games on the phone. Even under the highest graphics settings, everything runs flawlessly. Keep in mind that our review device was updated till December OTA updates from Asus fixing some of the initial issues that some other Reviewers encountered. But yes, we did encounter some heating after prolong gaming on the phone.

The phone runs on ROG UI / Stock Android 10 that users can select while booting the device for the first time. To be honest, there is no Stock Android UI, but it’s just a theme-based implementation that gives the look of Stock Android. But behind the scenes, it is the same ROG UI or Zen UI. There are no issues with software performance, yet we at AndroidPure are always biased towards Stock Android. It includes additional features such as Motion & touch Gestures, Twin Apps support, One hand mode, etc.

If you look at the Antutu Scores of Asus ROG Phone 3, it reaches around 6,20,000 which is like numero uno for a smartphone and it reflects in the performance. Some additional features for gaming on phone included the X Mode and Game Genie.

Asus ROG Phone 3 Battery

Battery performance is impressive and it easily lasted for two days even after heavy usage (including 15-20 minutes of gaming/day). Our only issue with the battery of the Asus ROG Phone 3 is, too long charging time even with the 30W charger with quick charge support, for a 6,000mAh battery. Every time it took around two hours to fully charge from 0 to 100%.

Asus ROG Phone 3 cameras

We didn’t test the cameras as extensively as we do for other flagships as this one is a gaming smartphone and also, the rear camera sensors on the phone. The Camera app comes with loads of options including Pro Mode and Night mode. IT includes a Pro mode even for the Videos which is a first for a smartphone probably. The selfie shots were good in normal lighting conditions. The rear cameras did shot some great pictures but they were more like hit or miss. The macro shots came out as very bad in spite of having a dedicated macro mode camera/option in the app. The normal mode/sensor produced much better macro shots than the dedicated macro sensor.  Check out some of the camera samples that give a good glimpse of what they are capable of.

Asus ROG Phone 3 Camera Samples

Conclusion

If you are reading this review, you may feel like you are reading the Asus ROG 2 Phone Review. We expected a bit more from the 3rd generation even though Asus ROG 3 Phone offers great features and performance as a Gaming smartphone with a 144HZ display along with the flagship hardware, dual vibration system & great sound quality. You should consider buying it if you are a gaming enthusiast and can afford the pricing, but you can find some other competitors in this price range if you are not a gamer.


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Avinash Kumar
Founder- Editor at Androidpure : A Mechanical Design Engineer by profession, but passionate about Computers, Smartphones, Gadgets, software and anything that helps to learn something new or different. Love to do things which i don't know and dive into unknown territories.

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