ASUS first used ROG (Republic of Gaming) on mobile phones to enter the field of mobile games less than two years ago. There is no doubt that this is a solid first attempt, but it is only a small minority. Fast forward to 2020, ROG Phone 3 is completely different. Of course, it is still the most important gaming phone, but it is also equipped with first-class hardware, 5G modem, smooth AMOLED display and really impressive audio quality, so it has a wider appeal. In other words, ROG Phone 3 does not support wireless charging, nor does it have an IP rating to indicate waterproof and dustproof levels. Most importantly, it has no price or specific release date, so we have not rated it until it is released.
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Design, display and durability
For the non-gambling crowd, the first two ROG phones look a bit gorgeous. Although ROG Phone 3 shares a similar design language, it is more subtle. The copper vents of its predecessor are gone, the sound of the camera stack is not obvious, and the softness of the geometric shapes is greatly reduced. It still has a customizable RGB logo, but you can turn it off as needed.
This ROG Phone 3 is very large, measuring 6.73 x 3.07 x 0.39 inches (HWD) and 6.25 ounces. Although it is very small, it is not as heavy as other flagship products such as OnePlus 8 Pro (7.02 ounces), and the weight is evenly distributed, making it easy to store for a long time.
The top of the phone is bare, and the bottom is the jack for the USB-C charging port. On the left, you will find a dual SIM card slot and an accessory port for the accompanying fan and other accessories; if you want to charge your phone while gaming, there is an additional USB-C port. The accessory port is covered by a plastic cover, which unfortunately does not maintain the connection with the phone in any way, so it can be easily lost.
On the right side of the phone is the residence of the power button and volume rocker and two capacitive buttons called AirTriggers (wait a minute). All buttons are easy to reach and provide a satisfying click when clicked.
The front of the phone is a 6.59-inch AMOLED display with a built-in fingerprint sensor. The top and bottom bezels are a bit thick, this is because the stereo speakers are located on the side of the screen, which creates some extra space to fix the phone in landscape mode without accidentally tapping it. The fingerprint sensor on the display works the same as you can find in most other smartphones. Although it is not bad, the effect is not ideal, and its face unlock function is not very secure if you want.
The resolution is 2,340 x 1,080 and the density is 391 pixels per inch. It supports a variable refresh rate of up to 144Hz and has passed HDR10+ certification with a touch delay of 25ms. The phone can automatically detect the best refresh rate, or it can be set to 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz or 144Hz.
In short, the screen looks great. Crisp, with precise color accuracy. The viewing angle is very good, and the brightness of the phone is high enough to be used in direct sunlight without any problems.
ASUS provides a basic situation, but there are too many ports and buttons on the phone, and its practicality is worthy of question. Although it has a Gorilla Glass 6 display, it does not have IP-rated water or dust protection. Unfortunately, the design of the phone seems to make it unable to provide these features, so you need to handle it carefully and keep it properly when not in use.
Network performance and audio
ROG Phone 3 has been unlocked and supports LTE band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/32/34/38 /39/40/41/42/48/66/71. N1 / N2 / N3 / N5 / N28 / N41 / N66 / N71 / N77 / N78 / N79 frequency bands support 5G. LTE should work for all US carriers, and you should get sub-6GHz coverage on AT&T and T-Mobile. The phone does not support the faster mmWave 5G.
The speed of Verizon’s LTE network is very stable. Our test averaged a decrease of 71.6Mbps and an increase of 48.7Mbps. We have not yet been able to test mobile phones on the 5G network, but we will update this part when we test.
Support dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1. NFC also supports mobile payments and boarding passes.
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The call quality is very good. All our test phones are very clear, and the noise cancellation effect is very good. The maximum volume of the earpiece is 86dB, which is loud enough to make calls on busy streets without any problems.
The large, front Dirac tuned stereo speakers are excellent. The peak volume is 92dB, which produces the best sound we hear from a smartphone. The bass sounds natural, defines the treble, and does not have any distortion that we are used to in smartphone audio.
The phone also has a variety of software features that allow you to customize sound profiles based on what you listen to. Moreover, if you use ROG headsets, you can use a proprietary game mode to enhance the stereo quality.
ROG 3 Phone is the first smartphone we have tested. The smartphone has been tested with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset and the overclocked Adreno 650 GPU. UFS3.1 storage space is 512GB, of which 491GB is available. Our test unit has 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, although there is also a 12GB model.
Your phone will hardly puncture all tasks you perform. With dozens of applications opening Chrome windows at the same time, we have never experienced a delay of several hours. Although this is largely due to the excellent hardware, there is a lot to say about software optimization.
In terms of benchmarking, ROG Phone 3 is the fastest Android phone we have tested. It has a Geekbench 5 single-core score of 997 and a multi-core score of 3,475, which is slightly higher than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (911/3,240).
The phone has a huge battery of 6,000 mAh. In the power consumption test, we set the video to 60Hz for streaming video transmission through Wi-Fi at full brightness. The phone lasted 12 hours and 34 minutes, which was again better than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (12 hours and 4 minutes). Of course, you can expect faster battery consumption when playing games and using higher refresh rates.
When you find that the phone’s juice runs out, it supports QuickCharge 4.0 and comes with a 30W charger. In just 30 minutes, we can charge the exhausted battery to 58%. In other words, the mobile phone does not support wireless charging, which is a disappointing omission.
ROG Phone 3 was built for gaming, so we tested it with Asphalt 8 and PUBG: Mobile for several hours. We created a custom profile for the game in X mode, the app allows you to create individual game profiles, customize speed settings and view overall performance.
We also mapped the buttons on the screen and set up the aforementioned AirTriggers, which is a huge improvement over similar triggers we have seen on other gaming phones (including ROG models). Although the previous iteration of AirTrigger was basically an ultrasonic shoulder button that responded to the shoulder, the sensors updated here have more features-they can be divided into multiple buttons that can respond to swipe gestures, even when pressed It can also be used as a continuous trigger button by pointing your finger at them.
Like previous ROG phones, ROG Phone 3 is bundled with an AeroActive cooler, which is mainly used to charge the phone during gaming.
The back of the phone is where the three camera sensors are located. The main sensor comes in at a speed of 64MP with an aperture of f/1.8 and supports four-pixel binning for ultra-clear 16MP photos. There is also a 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens with f/2.4 aperture and a 5MP macro lens with f/2.0 aperture. The front camera has a clock of 24MP and an aperture of f/2.0.
The main lens and wide-angle lens performed well in daylight tests. Our test photos have excellent depth of field and color accuracy. There is some loss in detail, but it is only noticeable when checking the full-size image. On the other hand, a macro lens can take flat photos with mushy details.
In low light, the main lens performs well. Some test images look flat, but there is no obvious noise, and the colors are still accurate. In almost all of our photos, the wide-angle lens has obvious noise and lens flare.
The front camera performs well in good light. Almost all of our selfies have clear foreground details and excellent color accuracy. In portrait mode, the bokeh is natural, but in a few monochrome photos, we noticed a little blur on the edges.
In the dim light, the selfie camera stuttered. The test lens was flat and muddy, and active noise reduction eliminated some unnatural blur in the foreground.
ROG Phone 3 runs Android 10. When setting up for the first time, the system will provide you with the option to use ROG UI or ZenUI. Both are excellent appearances, both are similar versions of Android’s inventory, and have other optimizations. If you choose a gamer-centric ROG UI, you will get OptiFlex, an AI system that can manage memory and recommend applications based on your usage profile.
Except for Facebook, Google Stadia, Instagram and Netflix, there are not too many bloated software on mobile phones. However, here is Armory Crate, which can help you organize games and create profiles for each game. There is also Game Genie, which allows you to adjust notification and performance settings, and even transfer game sessions via YouTube Live.
ASUS has not confirmed whether the ROG Phone 3 will receive an update to Android 11 when it is launched, but we think this is a fairly safe choice.
ROG 3 Phone looks like a top mobile phone for gamers, with its powerful hardware plus powerful audio, smooth buttery display, really useful AirTrigger buttons and thoughtful software. Depending on how much ASUS decides to charge when it goes public in September, it may eventually become a reliable phone for non-gamers. We will update this story with more tests and information, so be sure to check.