The gaming market now stands at over 200 million with major contributions coming from the mobile phone category. Consequently, ‘Gaming flagships’ has emerged as a very popular segment where Asus’ ROG phones have been in a comfortable lead – at least in India.

ROG series is known for ultimate spec-heavy machines with unrestrained hardware and a singular gaming focus. There are also add-ons and accessories that hardcore gamers can invest in, just to get that edge. 

That’s precisely what the new ROG Phone 3 stands for. How much further is Asus pushing the limits with the third iteration? And how good is the ROG Phone 3 as a regular mainstream phone? We have been testing ROG Phone 3 features and will now share answers to all such questions in our full review.

Asus Rog Phone 3 Price in India and Specifications 

Product Asus ROG Phone 3
Display  (6.59-inch AMOLED 19.5:9 2340×1080 (391ppi); 144Hz AMOLED HDR10+270Hz touch sampling rate, 25ms touch latency
Chipset 3.1 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform( 7nm); Adreno 650 GPU
RAM 8GB/ 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
Storage 128GB/ 256GB UFS 3.1 
Software Android 10 based ROG UI 
Audio Dual front-facing speakers, GameFX & Dirac HD Sound
Rear camera  64MP SONY IMX686, F1.8, 1/1.7” sensor size; 13MP ultra-wide-angle, F2.4; 5MP macro, F2.0
Front camera 24MP, F2.0
Battery 6000mAh, 30W fast charging 
Dimensions and Weight 171mm x 78mm x 9.85mm; 240 grams
Others NavIC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, USB 3.1 (Type-C), In-display fingerprint sensor, 
Price in India 8GB + 128GB – Rs 49,999
12GB + 256GB – Rs 57,999

ROG Phone 3 Unboxing 

The most exciting box accessory is perhaps the new Aero case. The ROG Phone 3 box also comes with an interesting AR sticker.

Box contents include:

  • Handset
  • 30W fast charging adaptor 
  • Charging cable (Type-C to Type-C)
  • Aero Case
  • ROG Stickers 
  • Documentation and SIM ejector

ROG Phone 3 Review: Design and Build

Asus has been making the ROG Phone design more sublime every passing generation and the 3 dials back further when compared to the 2. The vent is now a bit more inconspicuous, and the copper piping is camouflaged under a silver coating. That doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near as boring or comparable to the run of the mill flagship killers. It’s still a badass phone and, as always, Asus goes out of its way to accommodate gaming comfort and aesthetics.Designed for landscape usage, the ROG phone 3 retains side-mounted USB charging port that enables gamers to comfortably charge while playing, there are sharp lines and a cool customizable RGB ROG insignia that we love to flaunt, and Air triggers are still an unmatched convenience.

ROG Phone 3 has an elaborate and improved passive cooling system designed to take heat away from the internals and dissipate it to the exterior body. Asus redesigns its vent and thermals every year based on the chipset used in order to maintain efficient heat dissipation and avoid throttling. This is also why the AeroActive cooler is the only accessory that’s not backward compatible.

These vents are also the reason why ROG Phone 3 isn’t water-resistant. For a gaming flagship, better thermals make more sense over IP rating, according to the company. And we agree.

Dimensions and weight are still about the same as ROG Phone 2 from last year. Since phones, in general, have significantly scaled in size and heft in 2020, the ROG Phone 3 doesn’t feel half as intimidating as the 2 used to. We’d say it’s as comfortable to wield as the current crop of flagships like the OnePlus 8 Pro or Galaxy Note 20.

And it’s solidly built – there is metal on the sides, Gorilla Glass 6 on the front, and Gorilla Glass 3 on the rear. Asus also bundles its Aero case that doesn’t obscure the highlights, is super light and keeps the phone secure. The power button and volume rocker are within easy reach and so positioned that do not get in the way while gaming.

Nobody seems to mind the notch anymore, but going back to an uninterrupted display still felt more….serene. Top and bottom bezels help with gaming in landscape orientation and having them also allows Asus to plant powerful front-facing stereo speakers. Immersive audio is one of the ROG traits that we appreciate the most.

Keeping up with the modern times, there is a third rear camera in the array. Asus uses an in-display fingerprint sensor which is snappy and reliable.

Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: Display and AirTriggers

The 6.59-inch AMOLED display used on the ROG Phone 3 sees several noticeable improvements. This is a 10bit HDR10+ compliant panel. The refresh rate now goes up to 144Hz and the touch latency has been brought down from 49ms to 25ms. We still don’t have variable refresh rate Display Driver ICs for phones, but Asus provides software-based ‘Auto’ mode for automatically adjusting the display. Consumers can also choose fixed 144Hz, 120Hz, 90Hz, and 60Hz refresh rates. 

Asus is using a good quality panel that’s quite responsive, but we didn’t quite like the default color calibration. This deviation from color accuracy is intentional and if you prefer more balanced colors and neutral white point, the ‘Cinematic’ and ‘Standard’ color profile should work best. It’s always tricky to get the color calibration right for different refresh rates, and Asus has done a commendable job of it. The focus is on 144Hz mode that most people are likely to use.

Features like ROG themed Always-on mode and dark theme are all there. Also, ROG Phone 3 supports HD and HDR content streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Now to Air Triggers.

For the uninitiated, AirTriggers include a pair of extremely precise ultrasonic sensors that can be used to map different actions to touches on the display. The AirTrgigger3 system on ROG Phone 3 can also sense motion.

AirTriggers can now detect tap, slide, and long press. Users can adjust the sensitivity of each action and even partition each trigger into two separate sub triggers. What matters is that this system is excellent at accurately registering different types of inputs and works incredibly well, thus lending a massive gaming advantage.

You can make AirTrigger customizations using the Game Genie toolbar that slides from the left. You can also directly opt for pre-mapped profiles for popular games. Apart from gaming, Air triggers can also be used to map squeeze action to capture a screenshot, launch an app, turn on X mode, and a lot more.

ALSO READ: Vivo X50 Pro 5G Review – How good is the gimbal camera?

ROG Phone 3 Review: Gaming and Software

 

ROG Phone 3 has the best in class performance hardware – Snapdragon 865+ (the first Snapdragon 800 series chip to go beyond 3.0GHz), LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.1 storage.

However, what essentially makes ROG Phone 3 stand out are the hardware-level customization options it offers to gamers. Just quickly turn on the X mode from quick settings to fire ROG Phone 3 at full throttle. The mode efficiently squeezes every bit of performance from the CPU and GPU.

The Armoury Crate app offers different levels of customization that go really really deep. Gamers can customize aspects like display sensitivity, touch controls, combine data and wi-fi speeds, and even clock speed preferences for each core for the entire system or separately for each game.

The Game Genie toolbar, which slides in from the left, is an exceptionally handy gaming tool (and even that sounds like an understatement). Users can record videos, change the refresh rate, live stream on Youtube, decide apps they wish to open in a floating window without exiting the game, and accomplish a lot more directly from the toolbar.

There are also several accessories like Aeroactive Cooler, ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad, twin-view dock 3, Professional Dock, etc. that consumers can invest in to make the most of the raw performance power at their disposal.

All that bleeding edge performance hardware might sound like overkill while comparing to another buying option, but a gaming phone is something you get used to and something you stick to for considerable time – all the while pushing it to its extreme. Which is why any such machine needs to be future-ready and employ the very best.

Speaking of the future, Asus has partnered with Google for cloud gaming platform Stadia and ROG phone users will also get 3 months of Stadia Pro for free once the service comes to India. 

The ROG Phone 3 can obviously crush through the most demanding of tasks and games without breaking a sweat. This is the best gaming experience we have had on a phone to date!

The ROG UI is close to stock Android in terms of design but adds several handy features and customization options. This is a clean interface that most users won’t object to.

Also Read: What is NavIC?

ROG Phone 3 Review: Camera

The primary camera here is the 64MP Sony IMX686 that has been designed to output 16MP shots. Supporting sensors include a macro camera, ultra-wide-angle shooter, and of course, a 24MP selfie camera. 

The camera hasn’t yet been a forte of ROG phones and that’s perhaps not about to change with the third iteration. The camera is not bad by any yardstick – It’s just that the OnePlus 8 Pro and Vivo X50 Pro offer more advanced camera systems in the same price bracket.

In proper daylight, images have sufficient details and well-balanced colors. In tricky indoor lighting and during night time, the camera quality deteriorates steeply. We have added some resized samples below, take a look:

ROG Phone 3 Review: Battery and Audio

Just to ensure that you can enjoy all the niceties uninterrupted, Asus retains the generous 6000mAh battery for the ROG Phone 3. The bottom port is based on USB 2.0 and supports QC 3.0 and USB PD 3.0. The side-mounted port supports QC 4.0 and USB PD 3.0. The 30W charger that ships with the phone (for both variants) can fast-charge at similar speeds through both of the charging ports.

The side port also has USB pass-through power mode, which is to say that it will directly power the internals (instead of continuing charging) once the battery reaches 100 percent. In other words, gamers can keep on charging while gaming without damaging battery health. 

With so many games and display customization options available, the battery mileage will greatly vary from user to user. We could manage more than 6 hours of PUBG without draining the battery. A full charge takes around 1 hour 40 minutes. 

ROG Phone 3 pumps thunderous audio from its front-firing speakers. There’s a long list of audio credentials that Asus boasts of and these include Dirac’s HD Sound, Hi-Res Audio certification, good quality codec support (aptX adaptive, aptX HD, LDAC, AAC), and the AudioWizard customizable equalizer. 

We frequently use loudspeaker audio on our phones, especially while gaming and the ROG Phone 3 offers an unparalleled experience. 

ROG Phone 3 Review: Verdict

ROG Phone 3 is what we expected it to be. It’s the most powerful phone available in the world and shall very well remain to be for a considerable time to come. It’s quite clear that Asus has put considerable thought and effort into embellishing game-centric features that it advertises, and all of these sum up to make ROG Phone 3 a glorious gaming device.

In fact, the sheer amount of customization options and the thoughtful design alone should make it a defacto choice for people who prioritize gaming.

One area where the ROG Phone 3 falls short when compared to OnePlus 8 Pro, Vivo X50 Pro, or other tier-1 flagships is the camera.

GST hike and higher exchange rates have contributed to the price increase this year, but that was to be expected. The starting price of Rs. 49,999 certainly isn’t steep enough to deter buyers who are craving for an excellent gaming device.

Pros

  • Powerful hardware
  • Excellent Gaming experience 
  • Good quality display 
  • Excellent battery mileage

Cons

  • Average lowlight camera performance

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