ROG Phone 3 Review: And we’ve got here the latest of what has been my favorite gaming smartphone over the past couple of years.
This is, of course, the ROG Phone 3.
We’re going to get this unboxed, but we’ll also do a bit of comparison versus the ROG Phone 2, to see what’s different.
Let’s get straight to it.
Now, looking at this box, it’s kind of in this prism shape and looks at that.
You know it’s a gaming device, right?
It’s not the easiest box to open.
I’ll tell you that.
There we go.
Now, this just kind of slides out, and we’ve got the phone in here.
Now inside the box as well as the phone, we’ve got some ROG stickers.
We’ve got this plastic case.
We’ve got some rubber coverings for the ports.
There’s a braided USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable, as well as a fast charger.
This is a 30-watt fast charger.
I think that’s about the same as what we had last year.
We’ve got the Aero Active 3 Cooler, which is the accessory that we can put on to the ROG Phone 3.
And we’ve also got a USB Type-C to the 3.5-millimeter converter.
And that is because the ROG Phone 3 does not have a 3.5-millimeter jack this year.
There is, however, a 3.5-millimeter jack on the Aero Active 3 Cooler, which we’ll get to in a second.
And of course, you get that converter too.
So we’ll get this out of the plastic.
Here it is.
So, you can see here that it’s got that iconic ROG phone design, and looks very similar to the ROG Phone 2, which I have here.
And you can see that as well as the design is similar, the size is almost exactly the same.
The ROG Phone 3 is just slightly thicker.
And that is partly because it’s got more of a camera bump because of the new cameras.
But I do quite like the cleaner look of the ROG Phone 3.
There aren’t as many lines as we’ve got on the ROG Phone 2.
And the aerodynamic cooling section has also been updated with this more minimal design.
There’s of course the RGB ROG logo, which you can customize.
And it looks really, really cool.
Now, taking a look at the front.
We once again, have a very similar design to what we had last year.
And this is around about a 6.6 inch AMOLED display.
However, there are lots of improvements.
Firstly, it is a 144-hertz display compared to the 120 hertz of the ROG Phone 2.
You’ve also got improved touch sampling rates.
So, we’ve got 270 hertz versus 240 hertz on the ROG Phone 2.
And Asus has also said that we’ve got as little as 18 milliseconds of touch latency.
Which is the lowest on any smartphone in the world right now.
Both have a Full HD+ resolution, but the ROG Phone 3 does have support for HDR 10+.
Whereas the ROG Phone 2 has support for HDR 10.
And we’ve also got a slightly brighter display on the ROG Phone 3, up to 650 nits outdoors, versus 600 nits on the ROG Phone 2.
Now, I’ve absolutely loved the display on the ROG Phone 2.
So smooth, one of the first with 120 hertz.
Now, the ROG Phone 3 is one of the first with 144 hertz.
How much of a difference does it make from 120 hertz to 144 hertz?
Definitely a difference, but not as noticeable as when you go from say 60 to 90 hertz, or from 90 to 100 hertz.
The higher the refresh rate, the less noticeable it is, in my opinion.
But nevertheless, with that high refresh rate, the higher touch sampling rates, as well as that minimal latency, do make this one of them, if not the best gaming smartphone display out there.
And we do have the top and bottom bezels.
Which gives you the front-firing stereo speakers.
Now, these speakers are slightly larger compared to what we had last year.
And on the ROG Phone 3, we have seven magnets for more power and less distortion, as well as game effects in partnership with a Swedish company, Dirac.
Now let’s take a look around the device.
So upfront there is that front-facing camera.
This is 24 megapixels.
It’s got a slightly wider aperture compared to what we had last year.
On the right-hand side, the buttons are in the same place.
So we’ve got the volume rocker as well as the power button.
And then we’ve got the air triggers.
These are version three of the air triggers.
And this year, we’ve got twice as many gestures compared to last year.
Now supporting both sliding and swiping.
And you can also divide each button into two partitions for tapping.
So air triggers are actually really useful because you can map these two different areas on different games.
And you know, they’re going to give you an additional advantage.
At the bottom, is where we’ve got that surprise.
And there is no 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.
So you’ve just got the USB Type-C input, but on the left-hand side, as well as the SIM card tray, you do have two USB Type-C
ports in the middle.
And this is something that I absolutely love about ROG phones.
Just the consideration of having these on the left-hand side means that not only can you attach different accessories, but you can also plug in the smartphone, use it in landscape mode, and the wire is not going to be coming in your way as it would do on other smartphones.
Really, really cool.
It does come with a cover, which I usually take off and lose.
Now, here you can attach the Aero Active 3 Cooler, which we have here.
Now, this is not only going to cool your device.
You have another RGB logo because the current logo is going to be covered.
And then you’ve got a USB Type-C port here at the bottom.
So you can still have this plugged in, as well as of course, a 3.5-millimeter jack.
So yes, we don’t have a 3.5-millimeter jack on the device itself, but it is nice that we do have it on the Aero Active Cooler.
And the new thing about the Aero Active Cooler this time is that we’ve also got a kickstand.
So, if you’re watching some content and you just want somewhere to kind of place this is for your gaming, and you don’t want to be carrying the device, then this is definitely quite cool.
Now, let’s talk about performance.
ROG phone’s known for having the latest and best specs out there.
And this is also the case on the ROG Phone 3.
I believe it is the first smartphone to have the Qualcomm snapdragon 865+ chipset.
The ROG Phone 2 has the 865+.
It was also one of the first to have that chipset.
Now there is also the ROG Phone 3 Strix Edition.
This is going to be priced a little bit lower, and that will have the snapdragon 865 standards.
And you can get up to 512 gigabytes of UFS3.1 storage up from 3.0 last year, as well as up to 16 gigabytes of LPDDR5 RAM compared to up to 12 gigabytes of LPDDR4X RAM that we had last year.
We’ve also of course got support for 5G this year, and we’ve got the GameCool 3 heat dissipating system.
This has a six times larger heat sink compared to last year with a redesigned 3D vapor chamber and in larger graphite.
Now I still use the ROG Phone, and it has no problems in terms of performance, really does keep up with all of the newer games as well.
The ROG Phone 3 just takes that further, and it’s going to last you that much longer.
It also has newer software.
So we’ve got Android 10 with the ROG UI.
My ROG Phone 2 still has Android 9.
I’ve not got the Android updates as yet.
We’ve got X mode with armory crate.
So, this gives you a wider variety of performance parameters from CPU and GPU performance to touch sensitivity settings and display refresh rate.
Now let’s talk about the cameras.
So the cameras have been improved compared to last year, and there are some really interesting things here.
The primary camera is now a 64-megapixel sensor.
It is the Sony IMX686 compared to the IMX 586 with 48 megapixels last year.
We’ve got a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera.
And this year, we’ve also got an additional five-megapixel macro camera, which is going to let you focus closer to your subjects.
It’s five megapixels.
So, it’s not the best macro camera out there, but it’s nice to have.
What’s very exciting for me, however, is the fact that couples with the Qualcomm snapdragon 865+ chipset.
That means you can get 8K at 30 frames per second here.
That is something that you really can’t do on many other devices, as far as I’m aware.
This is probably one of the only ones that have that capability.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Series does have 8K, but that is at a maximum of 24 frames a second.
But in addition to that, you’ve got 4K at up to 120 frames per second.
And I believe that makes this one of the only smartphones that can film at that frame rate at that resolution.
Which is very, very impressive.
Now for the battery.
We once again have 6,000,000,000 bowers, which is one of the largest batteries on any smartphone right now.
And my experience with the ROG Phone 2 was very, very good.
One of the best in terms of battery life on any smartphone last year and with the ROG Phone 3 as well, that battery life, amazing.
Obviously the more you game, and the more heavy you game with the high refresh rates, that’s going to take up more battery.
However, Asus has put in a few features here to get you the most out of your battery life.
There are some battery care features.
So you’ve got a custom charging limit, and that will allow you to say, lower your limit to around 90% or 80%.
There’s also a slow charging option, which will limit charging to around 10 watts, which will be better for the battery wear, we’ll keep the temperature down by around 34%.
And, there’s also scheduled charging with added sleep wall options such as end time by the alarm.
Now, finally, let’s talk about the price.
So, the pricing information I have right now is that for this flagship version, which has 512 gigabytes of storage, 16 gigabytes of RAM with the 865+, you’re going to be looking at around 1,100 euros.
If you do want to go for the 12-gigabyte version, then that’s going to at around 1,000 euros.
And if you do want to go for the Strix Edition with the 865 8 gigabytes of RAM with 256 gigabytes of storage, then that’s going to be around 800 euros.
Now, once I’ve got more pricing information available for UK, US, et cetera, I’ll be sure to drop that down in the description below.
What do you guys think of the ROG Phone 3?
Is this the gaming phone of the year?
For me, it is leaning towards that way.
Definitely let me know in the comments below, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.