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You Might Not Like It, But the ROG Phone 3 Is What Peak Android Performance Looks Like

The ROG Cellphone Three is huge, it’s heavy, and it’s bought extra vents and RGB lighting than most individuals are most likely snug seeing on a cell machine. However if you happen to’re a gamer otherwise you simply need the very best efficiency you will get from an Android cellphone, prefer it or not, Asus’ unapologetically aggressive handset is your champion.

From the second you choose it up, the most important distinction between the ROG Cellphone Three and extra conventional smartphones is simply how in your face it’s—it’s just like the Mountain Dew of telephones. Its 6.59-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED display is already fairly massive, and whenever you consider a good quantity of bezel and twin front-facing audio system, the entire handset feels even larger. In actual fact, weighing in at slightly below 8.5 ounces, the ROG Cellphone Three is heavier than just about each cellphone in the marketplace except for funky folding or swiveling handsets just like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or LG Wing.

However with that heft comes some fairly beastly elements, together with among the loudest audio system I’ve examined on any cellphone in current reminiscence, and a display that helps an industry-best 144Hz refresh fee. Now if we’re being trustworthy, I can’t actually inform the distinction between the ROG Cellphone 3’s 144Hz display and the 120Hz shows Samsung has placed on a variety of its 2020 Galaxy telephones (and there aren’t a ton of video games that assist 144Hz both), however for anybody coming from a cellphone caught at 60Hz and even 90Hz, the distinction is instantly noticeable. On a regular basis stuff like scrolling by web sites appears a lot smoother, and in video games, it helps remove among the ghosting and blurry animations you see, particularly throughout extra intense fight.

In the meantime, alongside the highest fringe of the cellphone, Asus has included two contact sensors, which are literally break up up into two Air Triggers on both aspect, offering a complete of 4 customizable shoulder buttons to be used whereas gaming. It is a characteristic I actually respect, as a result of I attempt to keep away from lugging round add-ons like a separate controller or gamepad mount. As quickly as you get these equipment, you start compromising a cellphone’s portability. However with the ROG Cellphone, all the pieces you might want to recreation has already been in-built, except you actually can’t do with out issues like bodily joysticks (which I completely get).

Regardless of all of the brutishness, it’s clear Asus continues to be taking note of players’ wants due to a design that augments the cellphone’s backside USB-C port with two extra on the aspect. These bonus ports are used for equipment just like the included GameCool 3, which provides a passthrough USB-C port, a headphone jack, a kickstand, and even a fan to assist the cellphone and your palms keep a little bit cooler. And by placing these USB-C ports on the aspect of the cellphone, it means you have got entry to these additional ports messing up your grip when holding the cellphone sideways. Fairly good for a cellphone designed to play video games the place you chop down bushes with a pickaxe. And in again, there’s Asus’s imply glowing eye brand, which I admit is a little bit a lot, however actually, I kinda want extra telephones have assist for exterior RGB lights.

However clearly one of the best factor concerning the ROG Cellphone Three is its efficiency. In each conventional efficiency benchmarks like Internet XPRT 2015 and Geekbench 5 and extra gaming-centered checks like 3DMark’s Sling Shot Excessive, Asus’ cellphone churned out aces throughout the board, and infrequently completed 5 to 10% forward of similarly-priced flagship telephones sporting the identical Snapdragon 865 chip. On high of that, Asus additionally features a whopping 512GB of base storage, which is greater than sufficient to make me overlook that the ROG Cellphone Three doesn’t have a microSD card slot.

The top result’s a cellphone that at all times, and I do imply at all times, feels snappy, even earlier than you squeeze the cellphone’s sides and allow Asus’ X-Mode, which frees up RAM and boosts processor efficiency to assist make sure you aren’t hit with any lag. X-Mode additionally works with Asus’s Armoury Crate, which lets you create customized profiles for particular video games, so you possibly can have completely different settings relying on the title. Actually, it’s extra customization than anybody actually wants, however for these instances whenever you need the flexibility to tweak issues simply the way you prefer it, it’s a pleasant combo you don’t actually get on different telephones.

And for a gaming cellphone, even the ROG Cellphone 3’s cameras are fairly good—not fairly as proficient as a Pixel four thoughts you, however respectable nonetheless. In well-lit daytime photographs, the ROG Cellphone Three produced sharp pictures with vibrant colours that solely missed barely on finer particulars and colour saturation. And in a nighttime shot of a spooky skeleton, the ROG Cellphone 3’s auto low-light mode captured a surprisingly well-exposed shot that’s truly a bit too vibrant. That stated, in very darkish conditions, Google’s Night time Sight nonetheless has a serious benefit in low-light environments.

Lastly, with its large 6,000 mAh battery, the ROG Cellphone 3’s time of 16 hours and 56 minutes is the second finest time ever on our video rundown check, solely falling in need of the unique Galaxy Z Fold’s mark of 17:18.

Illustration for article titled You Might Not Like It, But the ROG Phone 3 Is What Peak Android Performance Looks Like

Photograph: Sam Rutherford

Look, I don’t blame anybody who needs to put in writing the ROG Cellphone Three off as a stunt machine meant to draw players by dangling RGB lighting and see-through venting of their faces, as a result of that’s positively a part of its schtick. However the ROG Cellphone Three additionally backs up its aesthetic with one of the best efficiency I’ve seen on an Android cellphone this 12 months, and with helpful options like Asus’ AirTriggers and its side-mounted USB ports, the ROG Cellphone Three additionally sports activities a considerate design that basically does assist individuals get pleasure from cell gaming higher. The ROG Cellphone Three positively ain’t for everybody, and although some people would possibly simply be shopping for one to flex on their mates, there’s little question this cellphone’s bought recreation.


  • The ROG Cellphone Three could be very additional in probably the most gamer method potential.
  • It helps 5G, however solely on sub-6Ghz bands, which implies it doesn’t actually work on Verizon.
  • Technically, there are two USB-C ports on the aspect of the cellphone, however the copper-coloured one isn’t actually designed to perform by itself, so don’t plug something into it immediately.
  • I’m nonetheless unsure if that air vent is admittedly mandatory, but it surely does look cool.
  • The ROG Cellphone Three is available in an elective config with 16GB of RAM as an alternative of simply 12GB in case you actually need to flex, simply don’t count on to really feel a lot of a distinction in precise efficiency.

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Sam Rutherford