ASUS ROG Phone 3 review the best smartphone for gaming in 2020

ASUS ROG Phone 3 review the best smartphone for gaming in 2020
ASUS ROG Phone 3 review the best smartphone for gaming in 2020

ASUS ROG Phone 3 review the best smartphone for gaming in 2020


1: Specifications

2: Appearance and equipment

3: Software

4: Cameras

5: Performance and benchmarks

6: Tencent Edition: Comparison with the Chinese Version

7: Conclusion

The world of gaming equipment for PCs has existed for a long time and functions according to well-known rules: top-end hardware works under extreme loads, and an active cooling system half a kingdom in size does not give it smoke. But what about a gaming smartphone? ASUS ROG Phone 3 is the latest in a line of true gaming devices from the Taiwanese PC industry veteran, and now we’ll see what it can do!

The world of gaming equipment for PCs has existed for a long time and functions according to well-known rules: top-end hardware works under extreme loads, and an active cooling system half a kingdom in size does not give it smoke. But what about a gaming smartphone? ASUS ROG Phone 3 is the latest in a line of true gaming devices from the Taiwanese PC industry veteran, and now we’ll see what it can do!

Appearance and equipment

An unusual box contains an equally interesting set: a smartphone, a charger, a USB-C – USB-C cable, an AeroActive Cooler 3 (yes, a damn cooler!), A leaky plastic case, a USB-C adapter – 3.5- mm audio jack, spare plugs for side jack, SIM-pin, stickers and documentation. The set is gorgeous, but the cover resembles an armored bra: it seems to be, but the effectiveness is questionable. The camera is not protected at all.

The cooler has its own USB-C connector (the cable does not interfere with the hands when playing on recharge), a 3.5 mm audio jack (even the smartphone itself does not have it), a holder for a side cap (which is easy to lose), as well as a footrest to it was possible to conveniently place the phone for watching a video.


ASUS ROG Phone 3 is a large device weighing 240 g. Usually such “heavyweights” cause me discomfort when using (see Huawei P40 Pro + ), but I did not feel any problems with this smartphone. Perhaps it’s all about the attitude: you can’t expect anything else from a powerful gaming device.

The body of the device consists of an aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 6 protective glass on the front side and Gorilla Glass 3 on the back. The interfaces are located as follows: on the right side there is a volume swing, a power button and AirTriggers along the edges; on the left – a dual USB-C port (required for connecting accessories and not only); on the top – a microphone; at the bottom – microphone and USB-C.

On the back cover of the device you can find a photo block for 3 cameras, a flash, a diode for illuminating a special case, a radiator (!), An air vent and a logo with a backlight option. Apparently, ASUS decided that there were already enough elements and settled on a simple black color with a small amount of decorative elements.


6.59 “display does not have a cutout for the camera. Instead, it has symmetrical margins at the top and bottom. At first glance, the solution seems a bit archaic, but it has its advantages. Firstly, the camera fits into the upper ledge and does not interfere with games (and a movie!).

Secondly, in the indents there are vigorous stereo speakers that do not overlap with your hands when playing. And thirdly, playing in horizontal mode is convenient! The presence of indents makes the controls on the edges much more accessible.

The AMOLED screen has a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels, an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9, support for the HDR10 + color range and a brightness of 650 cd / m². In the settings, you can play with color shades, customize the AOD display and other usefulness.

Such as, for example, the refresh rate. It is allowed to choose auto or manual mode: 60, 90, 120 and even 144 Hz. 144 Hz is not weak, right? But this is not the limit: a little magic and now the device is ready to amaze with its work at 160 Hz! The sensor layer is very responsive and operates at 270 Hz. The situation with shim will be illustrated by the pictures below (or even better – see the video review).

Software review

ASUS ROG Phone 3 runs on Android 10 in the proprietary ASUS shell. A characteristic feature here is the focus on games, which manifests itself both visually (in the form of gaming themes) and functionally. The visual part looks … Not for everybody! Dynamic wallpapers change their appearance when switching operating modes (about which a little below), and application shortcuts fit into circles with a decorative background. Fortunately, you can always choose the classic appearance of the system and return to your gray everyday life without epic animations and gaming icons.

The functionality is much more interesting and is contained in two systems: Armory Crate and Game Genie. The first is a natural branch of the overclockers site: by adding a game or any other application here, you can configure an insane bunch of parameters. Here you have 3 screen sensitivity settings, and the refresh rate of the display, and network settings, and temperature limits, and what else is missing.

The most understandable and useful are the modes of operation, in fact – presets of device performance settings. You can choose from the default modes, X1, X2 and X3. The latter is so wild that it can only be activated when the fan is connected. We will understand below how the device behaves in different modes, and now you can take a look at how it looks in the screenshots or in dynamics…. There is also a game showcase with a visual designation of games that support certain features of ROG Phone 3 (the lists there are incomplete).


Understanding the gaming orientation of the device, it is easy to assume that cameras were thrown into it according to the residual principle. But it was not there! The main lens is Sony IMX686 with a resolution of 64 Mp (-> 16 Mp) and f / 1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus and electronic stabilization. I’ll start, as usual, with a clear demonstration of the detail difference between the maximum 64 megapixels and the standard 16 megapixels.

Normal and night modes

There is a separate camera for macro photography: 5 megapixel resolution, f / 2.0 aperture. In terms of photo quality, it is not far from the 2-megapixel gags, but better than the depth sensor. Adequate colors and bokeh are present, but the local focal length will not allow very fine details to be captured.

The front camera unit is represented by one sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels (-> 6 megapixels), f / 2.0 aperture and fixed focus. The quality is definitely suitable for video communication and social networks, and then it’s worth looking at specific needs. Detailing and color range are not the strongest aspects of the front camera.

The ROG Phone 3’s main camera is capable of shooting video in 8K @ 30fps and 4K @ 60fps, while the wide-angle camera is content with 1080p @ 30fps, and the selfie camera is 1080p @ 60fps. You can seamlessly switch between cameras only in 1080p @ 30fps mode. There are such features as: “wind suppression”, “directional microphone” and super stabilization. The latter is essentially a 1080p crop from the main or wide-angle camera (the results, albeit smooth, but too low quality).

Performance and benchmarks

The performance in ROG Phone 3 is answered by the eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, the Adreno 650 graphics chip, 12/16 GB of RAM (LPDDR5) and 512 GB of ROM (UFS 3.1). The sophisticated reader has already understood – this is fierce minced meat! For the less sophisticated: this is a very productive set that includes a top-end chipset and modern high-speed types of memory (nothing faster exists on smartphones today).

If you believe the craftsmen from the Internet and official materials, in creating this smartphone, engineers relied heavily on their PC experience, which led to many interesting solutions for the industry. Responsible for cooling is an integrated system that includes an impressive radiator, copper pipes, thermal grease and a hole for heat extraction. Words so familiar to an avid PC boyar.

The transition to X mode is accompanied by animation

In addition, the included trailed cooler is also designed to cool the device. It connects via a dedicated dual USB-C port on the side of the device and can be used with a case. By the way, the connection of a smartphone to a TV or a monitor with a cord occurs precisely through the side interface, and not the standard one.

ROG Phone 3 says NO to throttling

In games, this behavior of the device can only be enjoyed. The usual COD for our tests flies like crazy: stable 60 frames per second, fast response, stereo speakers and a large display – a divine setup for entering the diamond league!

The conclusion here is the following: in normal mode, the smartphone shows not very weak, but most importantly – stable performance. In X1 and X2 modes, the device behaves almost identically and produces a higher (compared to normal mode) average fps. However, after 10 minutes of testing, ROG Phone 3 drops ~ 20% of its power, after which the fps are almost the same as in normal mode.

But in X3 mode, the difference is really noticeable! Power consumption grows almost 2 times (compared to normal mode), but fps rises by 45%, from 59 to 86 frames per second. Cooler – cool!


Despite the presence on the market of serious flagships on the same chipset, ASUS ROG Phone 3 can be safely called the best choice for mobile gaming. Modern powerful hardware, high stability, acceptable photo capabilities, a large responsive display with a high hertz and a fast touch, comfortable (for two-handed play) ergonomics, AirTrigger, strong stereo sound and, my God, a hinged cooler with a kickstand! In addition, do not forget about the software tailored for games with Game Genie and Armory Crate.


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