Mobile gaming has long since stopped being the domain of the enthusiast - the new reality is that millions of people around the world game on their phones every day, with some titles like Call of Duty: Mobile offering experiences that genuinely rival console play.
That means that phones specifically designed with gaming in mind are growing in popularity all the time, and Asus has been on the scene longer than most in this area. Its ROG Phone and ROG Phone 2 have offered serious gaming specs and superb displays, all aimed at making sure that your mobile sessions are unparalleled.
- Asus ROG Phone 2 review: Get your game on
- Asus ROG Phone review: The serious flagship smartphone for PUBG gamers and more
Asus clearly sees the ROG line as a new brand with real staying power, so it's only a matter of time before it makes the ROG Phone 3, and rumours are already starting to swirl about the likely specs of the new phone. We've gathered all the information floating around out there right here, so that you can get a proper sense for what to expect.
Release date and price
- July announcement before September release?
- No pricing announced yet
Asus is remaining tight-lipped on the next ROG Phone, meaning that we don't have a firm idea of when it might be coming, but both of the last two models were revealed in the summer before going on sale a couple of months later.
If Asus sticks with that model, which we would expect it to, that means you can hope for a ROG Phone 3 announcement in July 2020, before it goes on sale in September. That said, this all comes with the caveat that it's our expectations, not anything that Asus has indicated so far.
On the price front, the previous phone's RRP of £829/$899 was a small rise from the ROG Phone, but we'd hope that Asus wouldn't raise the price again, or by much if it does. The more that price creeps up, the more likely people are to plump for a flagship from Apple, Samsung or another more mainstream manufacturer, or to go with a cheaper competitor like the Black Shark 3 or Red Magic 3.
- Could stick with all-metal body
- Possible pivot to a more subtle design?
Asus has been unashamed so far with the ROG Phone and ROG Phone 2 in leaning into a very specific design aesthetic - it's obvious from a glance that these are gaming phones, with the light-up logo on the real and sharp angles and vents on the phone's back to help cool it during use.
Again, it's most likely that Asus will stick with this sort of design for the ROG Phone 3, although it's worth considering the alternative. As mobile gaming becomes more and more of a massive market, it might be that Asus decides to pivot towards a more mainstream design in order to capture those who don't necessarily consider themselves big gamers, but want a phone that can play games really well regardless.
That could mean the end of its lights and eccentric design, if so. This would follow the pattern set by other gaming manufacturers like Razer, which pivoted away from gaudy designs to a much more subdued look a few years ago, and appears to have done well by the change.
- Raised refresh rate up to 144Hz?
Getting into the actual specifications side of things, the ROG Phone 2 set the bar high when it comes to phone screens. It had a 6.59-inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio AMOLED display that was simply stunning to use, especially given its combination of a 120Hz refresh rate with 240Hz touch responsiveness.
That meant buttery-smooth action both when gaming and using the phone normally and watching video, and we'd expect Asus to at least match that with a new model. Now that 120Hz refresh rates are coming a bit closer to the mainstream, thanks to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, Asus will likely seek to open up a gap once again.
Between the ROG Phone and ROG Phone 2 it jumped from 90Hz to 120Hz, so a further leap to 144Hz seems entirely possible at this stage, and would put the phone on a par with some seriously impressive PC monitors.
- Snapdragon 865 chipset confirmed
- Google Stadia pre-installed with free 3 months
The ROG Phone 2 was a beast, especially if you went for its top-specced version. It packed in the then-new Snapdragon 855+ processor, with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of onboard storage, amazingly.
For the new model, though, the signs are that Asus will go for the 2020 stalwart Snapdragon 865, and Qualcomm itself has named the ROG Phone 3 as using the chipset, but it's also entirely possible that it will release late enough to take advantage of any Snapdragon 865+ that Qualcomm might make. It typically does release these boosted versions, and the extra performance would be a good bonus for gaming, so we think Asus could well have its eye on that.
Its 6,000mAh battery capacity was already pretty beefy, so we'd be surprised if that could be expanded easily, and although its 30W fast-charging can't be upped at this stage (it's already Quick Charge 4.0), if Quick Charge 5.0 should come out this year that's another possible improvement.
Finally, the use of the Snapdragon 865 will mean that Asus can bring 5G connectivity to the ROG Phone 3, which will be a big boost for players out on the move. That could help with the Google Stadia team-up it announced back in February, which will see Google's streaming platform pre-installed on the ROG Phone 3. In fact, the phone will apparently come with three free months of the service bundled in for people to use.
- Improved performance, software updates?
We've left the camera to last mainly because it's a simple fact that it's not the main focus of a phone like the ROG Phone 3. Nonetheless, though, there is some room for improvement over the ROG Phone 2 here.
That phone's camera system is creditable, to be clear - with a 48MP primary f/1.8 lens, and 13MP secondary ultrawide shooter to the rear, plus a 24MP selfie camera. That said, the photos it actually takes aren't quite as good as those numbers imply, and not up to the standards being set by Samsung's S20 Ultra and the iPhone 11 Pro.
That means that Asus could certainly gain some ground in this area, although whether this is in the form of new hardware or simply software upgrades and improvements will remain to be seen.
Asus ROG Phone 3 rumours: What's happened so far?
Here are all the rumours surrounding the Asus ROG Phone 3 so far.
8 March 2020: ROG Phone 3 set for Q3 2020 launch
Reports from China indicate that the ROG Phone 3 will be released in Q3 of 2020, with that apparently representing a slight delay due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
19 February 2020: ROG Phone 3 will come with Google Stadia
Asus has announced a major partnership with Google to promote its Google Stadia games streaming platform, and has confirmed that next-generation ROG Phones that it launches will come with the service pre-installed, along with three free months of play for customers.
25 February 2020: Qualcomm confirms Snapdragon 865 for the ROG Phone 3
Qualcomm published a list of the phones that it's supplying the Snapdragon 865 chipset for, including the Asus ROG Phone 3, despite the phone not having been announced by Asus yet.