(Pocket-lint) - The third-gen Asus gaming phone is here: say hello to the Asus ROG Phone 3. Following the launch event on 22 July, here's everything to expect from the "Game Changer" gaming phone.
- AirTrigger 3 pressure-sensitive touch sensors
- Under screen fingerprint scanner
- Dimensions: 171 x 78 x 9.9mm
- Google Stadia (3 months free)
- RGB light-up rear logo
- Weight: 240g
Asus' ROG brand is synonymous with gaming, so its design choices are often extravagant. That's a trait that continues with the ROG Phone 3: its got a RGB light-up rear logo and a design that's altogether similar to its predecessor, the ROG Phone 2.
In the box the ROG Phone 3 includes a case with various openings to aid with cooling, plus a clip-on cooling fan to help out when things really step up a notch.
It's no small device, though, measuring just shy of 10mm thick at its largest, and weighing 240g. That's similar to Lenovo's first gaming phone offering: the Legion Phone Duel.
A big part of the Asus ROG Phone 3 is how it can be controlled for optimal gaming. That's where its AirTrigger system comes into play - a pressure-sensitive setup, delivering shoulder buttons that can be setup as you like and best suits your preferred games of choice.
- 6.59-inch AMOLED panel
- 2340 x 1080 resolution
- 144Hz refresh rate
- 270ms response
The ROG Phone 3 goes straight for the jugular when it comes to its display. The large 6.59-inch AMOLED panel offers a 144Hz refresh rate, which is the top-end of what's available at present - just as you'll find in the Lenovo phone, or other gaming devices such as the Red Magic 5G - and a claimed 1ms response rate (although the real figure to note is the 270ms for touch response).
In terms of resolution, Asus has stuck with a Full HD+ panel - rather than going higher-end with a 2K or 4K panel. We think that's a sensible choice as it will benefit battery life, plus few mobile games can run at ultra-high resolutions anyway.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, 16GB RAM
- Lower spec variants also available
- 6000mAh battery capacity
- 30W fast-charge
- 5G (sub-6GHz)
The Asus ROG Phone 3 can't claim to be the first device to arrive with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus platform, because Lenovo launched its gaming phone with the same core hardware mere hours before. Oh well, it can certainly claim to offer plenty of power though.
There's a massive 16GB RAM available, too, not that we really think you'll be needing that much for any current Android game. Maybe in the future, though, which is part of the point of future-proofing.
What's great is that there are actually three variants of the ROG Phone 3: the entry-level Strix Edition, with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage; followed by the base level ROG Phone 3, with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage; and the top-end ROG Phone 3, with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. Whichever you pick, that ranges from more than ample to almost ridiculous.
Another big part of the puzzle is the battery capacity. Here it's a huge 6,000mAh cell, which is one of the largest available in any phone to date. Asus has launched devices with such capacity before, so can draw from that experience. It should ensure all-day use without any problems.
There's also 30W fast-charging, so top-ups should be quick. Not the quickest ever, mind, as there are now 120W systems on the horizon - and Lenovo confirmed its 90W system for its dual battery (5,000mAh total) in the Legion Phone Duel. The USB-C port is side-mounted, which is great as you can continue to game while recharging.
- ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad - clip-on or standalone
- ROG Clip - for Xbox or Stadia controller
- TwinView Dock 3 - for dual screen
- ROG Strix XG16 portable monitor
- ROG Falchion gaming keyboard
That USB port position is also a clue with Asus' vision of what the ROG Phone 3 can be about. In a sense it's a mini PC. The Taiwanese company also launched a separate 15.6-inch monitor - the ROG Strix XG16 - with a built-in kickstand, integrated 7,800mAh battery, so you can pair the phone and use additional accessories to game on a bigger scale (or another device, as it has a Micro HDMI port for accepting any relevant input).
There's even the ROG Falchion keyboard - at 65 per cent scale - and a miniature mouse if you want to create a mini gaming desktop PC. A quirky idea indeed.
There are lots of controller options too. The main is the ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad: separate left/right clip-on controllers that bring physical buttons and joysticks to both sides of the phone; but connect them together in a controller configuration and you can lay the ROG Phone 3 down or put it on a stand to play instead.
There's also the ROG Clip, which is designed to clip the phone above an Xbox or Stadia controller so you can play that way. The TwinView Dock 3, meanwhile, brings a second screen experience (also 144Hz) if a double panel would enhance your gaming setup (most games aren't going to benefit, but some specialist titles will).
It's all about the accessories, with more here than any other brand in the space cares to offer.
- Triple rear system: 64-megapixel f/1.8 main, 13MP wide-angle, 5MP macro
- 24MP front-facing selfie camera
While the ROG Phone 3 was originally said to have a dual rear camera system, it's actually a triple: there's the main - an IMX686 sensor, meaning it's larger scale than usual for better quality, offering 64-megapixels - alongside a 13MP wide-angle and 5MP macro for close-ups. We don't think having a macro is going to be an earth-shattering additional, but it brings some variety.
On the front Asus has shunned any mechanical pop-up camera for an integrated 24-megapixel selfie camera. That means you'll suffer a little more bezel than you might find elsewhere, such as the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel and its pop-up side-mounted camera.
Release date and price
- 8GB+128GB 'Strix Edition': €799
- 12GB+256GB base edition: €999
- 16GB+512GB top-end version: €1,099
- Release date TBC
There's a whole lot of goodness on offer from the ROG Phone 3. And its pricing is actually very well pitched. We like that there are three options available - if you must have it all then you'll pay an extra three hundred compared to the entry-level Strix Edition with its lower RAM and lesser storage configuration.
No word on other currencies just yet, or when the ROG Phone 3 will launch in various territories, but when it does we suspect the gaming hardcore will be tempted indeed. Especially by the accessories proposition.
Asus ROG Phone 3 rumours in retrospect: What lead up to launch day
21 July 2020: Asus confirms that 6,000mAh battery
17 July 2020: Asus ROG Phone 3 excites in high-quality image leak
Images clearly showing the ROG Phone 3 leak, giving us a good look at the forthcoming phone.
13 July 2020: 6000mAh battery suggested
As the ROG Phone 3 passes through Taiwanese certification it's revealed a 6,000mAh battery could be on board. That's a lot of capacity!
8 July 2020: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus announced and confirmed for ROG Phone 3
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 865 Plus, along with confirmation that it's going to be powering the new ROG Phone 3.
2 July 2020: Asus ROG Phone 3 launch date official
Asus has confirmed that the ROG Phone 3 will be revealed on 22 July.
30 June 2020: Launch event on 22 July suggested
A date of 22 July has been suggested, but we're yet to see official confirmation of this.
26 June 2020: ROG Phone 3 spotting on Bluetooth SIG
Certification is a clear sign that the phone is close to launch and it has now been listed by the Bluetooth SIG.
19 June 2020: Hands-on video shows up
As we've already seen, there's a subtle design change, but a leaked hands-on video shows a much better impression of the phone than the standard images in TENAA do.
16 June 2020: ROG Phone passes through TENAA and Antutu
More details have been confirmed about the forthcoming ROG Phone 3 thanks to TENNA certification and an Antutu score.
4 June 2020: Unknown Asus phone passes through Geekbench with 12GB RAM
A mystery phone has passed through Geekbench with 12GB of RAM, leading to the suggestion that this could be another version of the ROG Phone 3.
21 May 2020: Asus ROG Phone 3 gets benchmarked and certified
The unreleased ROG Phone 3 has popped up a couple more times, getting certification at the Wi-Fi Alliance, as well as appearing in Geekbench.
14 May 2020: Asus hints at June or July launch for ROG Phone 3
Asus revealed that the ROG Phone 3 would was launching in late Q2 or early Q3 when talking about its Q1 results.
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.