The ASUS just launched their third version of their spec-crazed gaming phone: the ASUS ROG Phone 3.
And since ASUS sent one over to borrow, as is the usual, let’s do a complete walkthrough on it and go through all of the specs, features, run some tests on it, etc. so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there is a lot to go through, so let’s start with the hardware.
The new version has sort of followed suit with the last version in that from the ROG phone 1 to 2 the design was similar but got a bit more refined and less aggressive and here it seems they’ve further refined it just a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks like a gamer phone but it’s just slightly less than before and I personally think that’s a good thing.
But, what really matters if we’re honest though, is that we still have our RGB logo on the back.
You can control this with various different lighting effects from strobing to color cycling, deciding when it is on, etc. inside the included Armory Crate app on the phone which we’ll talk about in more detail later on.
For the display, we have a 19.5:9 aspect ratio 6.59″ AMOLED HDR10+ panel that has a crazy 144hz screen refresh rate paired with a 270hz touch sampling rate meaning that the image on the display can refresh at up to 144 times per second and it can register touch input from your finger up to 270 times a second. Bottom line is that scrolling, animations, and games that support it at least, will look and feel smoother than usual.
You can also adjust the screen refresh rate in the settings to either 60, 90, 120, or 144 locked on all the time (with lower refresh rates utilizing less battery power than higher ones) or you can leave it on Auto and let the phone adjust them according to what is currently on the screen (which is what I would recommend personally).
That screen is reported to have a 650 nit brightness with me getting around that when testing it even which means outdoor visibility is better than on most phones which is nice.
Above the screen, we have a 24MP f2.0 aperture front facing camera that isn’t, surprisingly for nowadays I suppose, any sort of notch or punchhole, instead we have our “old-fashioned” camera in the bezel above the screen. The device also has four microphones with noise cancellation so here’s what that camera looks like and those microphones sound like.
We also, thanks to the bezels, have dual front-firing stereo speakers above and below the screen using Dirac HD sound and dual smart amps and they sound like this.
Moving around the phone, we have nothing at the top.
On the right, we have our volume rocker and power button as well as two ROG words etched at either end. These are actually where the AirTriggers are. If you aren’t familiar with the ROG Phone’s of the past, these are touch sensitive areas that you can use as buttons while in games. Essentially, you can create virtual buttons on the screen and place them over whatever on screen controls you want to operate and when tapping one of these areas the phone will simulate a tap on that button.
On the ROG Phone 3, they have updated these to be able to be split into two buttons each (so you have four in total now to use) as well as adding swiping left or right on them to either simulate two separate button taps or actually simulate swiping on the screen, as well.
And, you can also shake the phone to activate another touch point on the screen. The whole system is actually quite clever, I think.
On the left, we have our dual USB-C port which is where a lot of the optional accessories attach to, but can also be used to charge the device (handy for playing landscape games while still wanting to be plugged in without it getting in the way of your hand) and transfer data of course as usual.
Speaking of charging, we also have an included 30W that supposedly gets the insanely large 6000mah battery inside here from 0-75% or so in about 45 mins or so. Let’s see how that goes though really quickly.
And for those curious, here’s how long the phone takes to deplete it’s battery using an albeit very unscientific test of playing a 1080P YouTube video on 50% brightness with the refresh rate still on auto. Subscribe to the channel and ding the bell to be notified when my real-world test on the phone goes live where I’ll do camera comparisons as well as a battery test in the form of a day of typical use.
Also on this left side, we have our dual SIM card slot that supports sub-6 5G networks, as well. This means no Verizon here in the US as they use mmWave for their network (see my What is 5G video for more info on the difference).
And at the bottom we have another USB-C port, but we no longer have a headphone jack, instead, you’ll have to attach the new ActiveCooler (a connectable fan to help cool the device) that has a USB-C port to allow you to continue to charge the device but also a headphone jack, as well.
The device can also be squeezed at in a short or long level and that you can each to perform a different action that you can customize in the settings. By default, the long squeeze triggers X Mode which is ASUS’ gaming mode basically that further bins the CPU and GPU as well as a few other performance tweaks.
Speaking of performance, under the hood, we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus which is basically an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865 with about a 10% boost in performance apparently.
That is paired with either 12GB or 16GBs of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512GBs of UFS 3.1 storage.
For security, we have the choice of face unlock or using the in-display fingerprint sensor, both of which are snappy enough.
For connectivity, we have Bluetooth 5.1, the aforementioned sub-6 5G, and we have Wifi 6 (which you can learn more about here) it also has a little 6 icon that comes up whenever you are connected via WiFi 6 which is just a nice touch.
Moving around the back, we have three cameras.
We have a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor with 0.8-micron sized pixels and an aperture of f1.6. By default, these pixels are binned or combined in 2×2 squares. This gives us lower resolution but much better low light performance and dynamic range in general. So you’ll get a 16MP image with 1.6-micron sized pixels when done.
Next, we have a 13MP 125-degree FOV ultrawide camera with an aperture of 2.4.
And finally, we have a 5MP macro camera with an f2.0 aperture for taking photos super close up. I have to say, I’ve seen other manufacturers do this without using a separate camera for it so anytime I see a specific macro camera on a phone I have to wonder if the manufacturer just really wanted to have a third camera just to say it’s a triple camera system and a macro camera is just a cheap one to throw in there. I don’t know.
For video, we can shoot at 8K at 30fps, and slow-mo up to 4K at 120fps.
For software, we’re running Android 10 with ROG UI on top, but something I like that ASUS did here is they let you switch this UI for ZenUI which is much closer to the vanilla Android experience.
Thankfully, ASUS doesn’t install any bloatware on the device (at least this unlocked version) and the only real pre-installed software is their own Armory Crate app that I mentioned earlier
This app lets you adjust the lighting effects of the logo on the back as I said, but becomes a hub for any games you install, as well as allows you to customize the performance settings in so many ways.
You can adjust the aforementioned X mode settings in tiers but if you were so inclined, you can actually go into the deeper settings here and adjust all sorts of frankly nerdy parameters. Maybe you want to raise the minimum clock speed of only the 3 smaller CPU cores or just the one largest core, there’s a lot.
You can also create macros for specific games, adjust the touch sensitivity, network priority settings, and a ton of other things in here that I feel some gamers might appreciate.
Something I appreciated in here is a section that shows you what games support what refresh rates–it’s almost certainly an advertisement that those games have to pay to be included, but being able to sort by refresh rate is still nice, and something I think Google Play should actually steal, no?
The Armory Crate app is also accompanied by the Game Genie feature that isn’t a separate app but is a UI overlay that you can pull in by swiping from off the left side of the screen in a game to get access to some of the things I mentioned in Armory Crate plus some other little things like screen recording options, add a crosshair for shooting games that don’t have one, etc.
The new ROG Phone III will be available globally in a 12GB/512GB model for 999 euros and a 16/512GB model for 1099 with different regions having various other SKUs depending on the region.
There you go, I’ll leave a link below to the best price I can find on the phone where you can also get more information on it, but let me know what you guys think in the comments below. If you liked this though, please thumbs up it and subscribe and hit the bell to be notified when I do new videos.
As always, thanks for watching.