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Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: A beast for mobile gamers

Is the Asus ROG Phone 3 made just for gaming or can it be the next daily driver you have been looking for? Let’s find out in this review.

Devesh Arora Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Published on: August 21, 2020 19:12 IST
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ROG Phone 3 attracts the gamers out there with the RGB lighting, powerful specs and more.

ROG or Republic Of Gamers is generally known for their gaming-oriented computer peripherals like graphic cards and their gaming laptops. Lately, the company has been dabbling in the smartphone industry launching the ROG Phone and then subsequently ROG Phone 2. Their latest iteration is the ROG Phone 3.

Like its predecessors, the ROG Phone 3 is aimed at one and only one thing. Providing the most powerful gaming experience you can have on a smartphone. It comes packed with top of the line smartphone hardware, overclocked CPU and much more to offer the best raw performance people have come to expect from ROG.

But is it just for gaming or can it be the next daily driver you have been looking for? Let’s find out in this review.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Specifications

ROG Phone 3 sports a 6.59-inch FullHD+ AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor paired with 8/12/16 GB of RAM and 128/256/512 GB of onboard storage. It runs on Android 10 based almost stock UI out of the box. All of this is backed by a 6,000mAh battery.

On the optics front, the ROG features a triple rear camera setup including a 64MP primary camera, a 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5MP macro sensor. Upfront, there is a 24MP selfie snapper.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Design and Display

The ROG Phone 3 feels more refined when compared to its predecessor. It is still distinctively a ROG phone but now has a better weight distribution and offers a better look and feel overall.

On the front, the ROG Phone 3 sports a 6.59-inch panel with small side bezels and noticeable big top and bottom bezels to offer a notch/punch hole free display experience without any fancy pop-up or rotating motors. However, I feel this was done on purpose. They could have easily gone with a notch or a punch-hole display, but this gives them space to put in dual front-firing speakers along with users to comfortably hold the phone while gaming without causing those accidental touches.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORAROG Phone 3 is one of the few phones featuring a relatively huge bezel on top and bottom.

As for the placements, ROG Phone 3 sports a USB Type-C port on the bottom edge surrounded by the primary microphone. The right edge houses the power button and volume rockers and the 2 air triggers. The accented power buttons and the air triggers spelling out ROG are a nice touch. The left edge contains the dual sim card slot without any expandable storage, while the top edge has a secondary microphone.

The back panel sports the triple camera setup along with the configurable glowing ROG logo and the ‘Republic of Gamers’ branding just below it. The signature RGB ROG logo is something I have always liked since the first ROG Phone was launched. Sure it attracts a lot of attention, so you can shut it down whenever you want to. The chromatic lines are toned down and the side vent with attention attracting piece has been replaced with a small one and a transparent piece of glass with the cooling mechanism being showcased. Overall the phone looks distinguishably ROG and feels premium in hand. The only thing you might not like is that the phone is a bit on the heavy side. With a massive 6,000 mAh battery and custom cooling to keep the smartphone from heating up, this was expected. 

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

The ROG logo has an RGB light that can be controlled through the phone's user interface.

Coming back to the display, it is a 6.59-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2340x1080 pixels. It supports up to 144Hz refresh rate which is amazing. The icing on the cake here is that you can select 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz or the 144Hz refresh rate according to your needs. The difference isn't noticeable enough between the 120Hz and 144Hz unless and until you are playing a game that can go up to 144Hz. Overall, it's a pretty good panel, it's not the best in terms of picture quality, but the high refresh rate makes up for it.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Performance, Software and UI

ROG Phone 3 is powered by the  Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor paired with 8GB of RAM on our review unit. With the phone being priced so much, we expected no less than the provided specs. During the review period, the phone ran without any issue. The 144Hz refresh rate of the display makes the smartphone feel pretty smooth. This combined with the top of the line specs, the phone performed as expected for the price range.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

The 144Hz high refresh rate display offers an ultra-smooth experience. 

The ROG runs on Android 10 based almost stock UI out of the box. The software is optimised to take advantage of all that power to provide a smooth experience. However, the included ROG theme is a bit too tacky. It comes with a few customizations mainly gaming related which will be appreciated among the gamers. Users can also choose to switch the theme to a more stock Android-like.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Cameras

ROG Phone 3 sports a triple-camera setup at the back. The setup comprises of a 64MP primary camera, a 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5MP macro sensor. Upfront, there is a 24MP selfie snapper. 

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

There is a 64MP triple camera setup at the back.

The camera app is straightforward and offers a good amount of features. It's easy to navigate through and comes with a dedicated pro photo, pro video, slo-mo and macro modes.

During our tests, the ROG Phone 3 managed to click some impressive shots. When given enough light, it seems to capture pretty good pictures. When in more than needed light, or low light situations, the phone struggles to capture details and gets a little grainy. The colours are a bit bright which looks good but not natural. The ultrawide lens offers a wider field of view but is not the best in terms of picture quality. The 5-megapixel macro sensor is able to provide usable shots, but not something you can flaunt on social media. 

The story is the same with the front sensor, the colours are a bit brighter than natural, there is no beauty mode on by default which is good. Overall, the cameras are good, but the competition at this price offers way better.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Battery

The ROG comes with a massive 6,000mAh battery. During my time with the device, 144Hz on, medium usage with small gaming sessions got me almost two days of usage. If toned down to even 90Hz, the phone lasted me two full days on my heavy usage which is great.

The smartphone also supports 30W fast charging with the included wall adapter. The 30W charging doesn't seem too much, but due to the exponential slowing of charging speeds because of how Lithium-Ion batteries work, the phone is able to provide a great amount of usage time relatively fast.

ROG Phone 3 Review: Verdict

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

The gaming-oriented design is what makes this phone stand out.

ROG Phone 3 starts at Rs 49,999 for the 8/128GB model and the 12/256GB model comes in at Rs 57,999. At that price, it touches the flagship price range, which means the expectations are going to be high. The Snapdragon 865+ processor, paired with up to 12GB of RAM and great cooling can offer impressive benchmark scores and great raw performance. The phone also looks and feels premium. However, the camera performance is subpar and the games look might not attract everyone. Also, the lack of a headphone jack on a gaming smartphone is a disappointment, for those craving 0 latency audio while gaming. 

Considering it's a gaming phone, the cameras are something we can ignore, but no headphone jack is a big disappointment. Overall, if you game a lot, and don’t really care about the cameras, the ROG Phone 3 would be a good phone for you.

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