NEW DELHI: The gaming industry has a hit a new high in the new normal. Many who picked up gaming as a pastime during the lockdown now play avidly. Asus couldn’t have picked a better time to launch their new gaming smartphone, the ROG Phone 3. Priced at ₹49,999, the new phone succeeds the ROG Phone 2 from last year.
In terms of design, the ROG Phone 3 retains the big and burly form factor of its predecessor. It has a glass back finish and the ROG logo with RGB (red green blue) LED lighting. While it looks premium, the size and weight (240g) is going to be an issue for many. It feels slippery and unwieldy in comparison to its key rival— the OnePlus 8 Pro (199g).
The ROG Phone 3 also comes in a single black colour option, which limits the choice for buyers as compared to OnePlus 8 Pro or Xiaomi Mi 10 which are available in multiple eye catching colours.
Unlike most new phones which offer more edge-to-edge screens with no bezels at all, the ROG Phone 3 has wide bezels. The good news is that they include two stereo speakers with loud and crisp audio output. Their front facing position produces a more immersive audio experience while playing games and video playback.
The 6.59-inch AMOLED display on the ROG Phone 3 offers ample legroom for gaming and video playback. It is a 2,340×1,080p display which is more than adequate. However, some of its rivals like OnePlus 8 Pro are offering a bigger 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with higher resolution of 3168 x 1440p. On paper, this gives the OnePlus 8 Pro’s screen an upper hand. But we don’t think lower resolution or slightly smaller screen is going to be a deal breaker as the ROG Phone 3’s screen still looks vivid and on par with rivals. The screen supports HDR (high dynamic range) which means you get to see wider range of colours in games and movies on Netflix. The screen also has a higher than usual 144Hz refresh rate for smooth and jitter-free gaming experience. Though most mobile games still don’t support such high refresh rates, the list of games isn’t that miniscule either.
We were also quite impressed with the touch experience and found the touchscreen a lot more responsive due to the higher touch refresh rate of 270Hz, which makes on-screen controls respond with slightest of touches. So while playing game like PES 2020, every time we wanted to drag the virtual joystick the response was almost instant, reducing margin of errors in tight multiplayer games.
What makes the ROG Phone 3 really stand out from rivals is the gaming performance and the powerful innards that enabling it. Powering the ROG Phone 3 is Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which offers higher over clock speed of 3.1GHz as compared to the OnePlus 8 Pro’s Snapdragon 865 which overclocks at 2.8GHz. This makes it faster. Just to be sure, benchmark results also put it ahead of the likes of OnePlus 8 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The ROG Phone 3 phone has a dedicated game centre just like in gaming laptops. Here users can adjust fan speed or switch on the performance mode to improve hardware efficiency by reallocating resources from background apps to optimise the gaming experience.
The gaming experience is top notch. Most of the graphic intensive games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 not only loaded quickly but also ran with an amazing swiftness that you won’t get in many high end phones.
To the other likeable attribute of the ROG Phone 3 is the large 6,000mAh battery, which easily lasted over a whole day on modest gaming and 2 to 3 hours of non-stop gaming. It is quite impressive, considering the fact that none of the rivals can match it. The OnePlus 8 Pro, for instance, has a 4,510mAh battery.
Like most new premium phones the ROG Phone 3 also supports 5G, however, the services are yet to roll out in India.
The ROG Phone 3 runs Android 10 with a custom UI, which though looks like stock Android on top, has several hidden customisation options. For someone used to plain Android UIs this will feel very familiar to use, while those coming from custom UIs will still be able to change app icons and play with cool themes.
Most users buy high end phones for their camera. The ROG Phone 3 has a triple camera setup on back which includes a 64M primary camera, 13MP ultra wide camera and a 5MP macro camera. Photos from the primary camera look well lit, colours stand out well and even in landscape shots detail reproduction good. Indoor and low-lit photos look average. Overall, the ROG Phone 3’s cameras are more than adequate for daily Instagram posts, but they are nowhere in the same league as the iPhone 11 Pro or even the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The Asus ROG Phone 3 is aimed at serious gamers who want the best possible gaming experience available in smartphones. For someone playing multiplayer games, these little upgrades can make a lot of difference. However, the chunky form factor is a major limitation and that is likely to turn casual gamers away to more compact OnePlus 8 Pro (starts at ₹54,999) or some of the other high end phones like the Xiaomi Mi 10 (starts at ₹49,999).