The Taiwanese electronics giant Asus has launched its third iteration of the ‘Republic of Gamers’ series, better known as ROG Phone. The Asus ROG Phone 3 continues the legacy and retains a lot of its external features from the previous generation, i.e. ROG Phone 2. From the outside, barring a few minor and subtle differences, there isn’t much to differentiate. Although the specifications have been bumped up quite a lot. The phone carries all the power-packed features that you will find in any top-end smartphone, but simultaneously raises the bar in every department as well.
Up to 16 GB (DDR5)
Up to 512 GB
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
With Android 10 out-of-the-box, the Asus ROG Phone 3 is up-to-date. It uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus and Adreno 650 GPU, which takes the clock speed to a whopping 3.1 GHz. To give you a sense of comparison, my laptop’s processor clocks at 2 GHz. The screen to body ratio has been kept unchanged, whereas the screen refresh-rate has been bumped up to 144Hz, which means even smoother animations. If you have been using a 60 Hz display previously , you will notice a massive difference in the user experience. The animations are snappier. Talking about the internal memory & RAM for the top variants, its 512 GB and 16 GB (DDR5) respectively. As the phone is meant for gaming, it provides gaming triggers (pressure sensitive) along with front-firing speakers. It also provides charging and connectivity port both at the bottom and in the sides, which makes the entire gaming experience even more enjoyable. As opposed to the previous version, Asus has removed the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and have now provided a USB Type-C connector. Asus has kept their customers in mind and therefore will be shipping a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter in the box. The phone also furnishes a massive 6000 mAh battery which supports Quick Charge 4.0. Last but not the least, if we talk about accessories, Asus ships the AeroActive Cooler 3 (which takes care of the heating issues, and yes, it definitely works) & the Aero Case, along with the unit.
The Gaming Industry: India & World Over
The mobile gaming industry has been growing like anything. As per a report published by Sensor Tower, game publishers accounted for close to 15% of the total number of app publishers worldwide on App Store & Play Store. An estimate suggests that this year consumers will spend more than 674 billion hours on their mobile devices. The mobile games category is as popular as music apps category and is probably second to only the social media & communication apps category. NASSCOM also predicted such a growth in the Indian gaming industry in their research which was published a couple of years ago.
Link to NASSCOM report – ‘Mobile Gaming on the Rise in India’ : https://www.nasscom.in/knowledge-center/publications/mobile-gaming-rise-india
The estimated total revenue for Indian gaming industry for FY20 is ₹79,622 million, & ever since Jio has come into the picture the total user base has also gone up considerably with a steady YOY growth. Since the launch of games like PUBG in India, and their popularity, the gaming industry has seen a boom. With the rise in the number of game streamers and gaming channels on YouTube, it seems like a bandwagon which nobody wants to miss. Such growth has encouraged OEMs like Asus to go for high-end specifications. Specifications which are at-times under-utilized. So, is there a need for a regular user to go for specifications like 16GB RAM and 512 GB storage? The answer is not a simple Yes or No. Although the OEMs have designed these types of phones keeping in mind a heavy user, and these are machines which on the face of it seems only suitable for people who spends a considerable amount of their time playing games, but are simultaneously excellent regular usage phones as well. ROG Phone 3 is meant for gamers, but regular users can go for it as well. Now a curious question is, ‘do actual gamers play games on mobile devices?’ The answer is again both yes and no. It boils down to individual preferences. Some like old-school gaming setups – the assembled ones; some prefer gaming laptops; and some go for ultra-portable gaming phones. Trends show that there is a shift from expensive heavy bulky laptops (gaming PCs are anyways losing their shine day-by-day) to relatively lesser expensive high-end gaming phones. OEMs like Asus are trying to cash-in on the growth in usage of mobile devices and have somehow figured out how to marry a regular smartphone with a gaming phone. All in all, OEMs are just following the trend and the growth projections. Of course, demand is being created as well, but mostly it is driven by the customers in this case, and not the OEMs.
The Phone Itself: Design & Performance
The design and display of Asus ROG Phone 3 has improved a lot since the first iteration. The design is no longer on-your-face and have gone a bit subtle. It still harbors the RGB accents on the illuminated ROG logo, but has become a lot refined and subtle. This shows, that with departure of bright colors and visible air vents, the company is targeting not only the gamer, but the normal user as well. The speakers are now front-firing and sport seven magnets for better base response, and are really good smartphone speakers. They are not the ideal replacements of external speakers with large drivers, but they get the job done better than most smartphones. The screen sports an insane 144Hz panel and feels lightning fast. Although the screen doesn’t possess the highest PPI, but the high refresh-rate gets the job done. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus probably makes ROG Phone 3 the fastest phone to ever exist. It literally breaks every benchmark numbers. With such a powerful CPU, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB storage, and considering Asus also sells accessories that can allow a user to use the phone with an external monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard, one could practically use this beast of a smartphone as a PC as well. Now that is what I call a leap in technological advancement.
There is one small downside to the battery performance though. Due to the high refresh rate of the screen, even with the massive 6000 mAh battery, the battery life is sort of a mixed-bag. The battery life seemed a bit inconsistent, but with the 30W charger, the phone can be charged up to 87% in one hour. For a full charge, the phone takes roughly 106-107 mins. Still 6000 mAh is better than most smartphones out there. The camera performs better than expectation, but we need to understand that a gaming phones USP isn’t camera performance. So, even if it doesn’t meet your expectation, you can give it a pass. Although in real-life scenario, its camera performance is at-times comparable to OnePlus 8 Pro. Lastly, if we come to the software and UI part, the phone sports both a ‘Regular Mode’ and a ‘Gaming Mode’. The ‘Gaming Mode’ utilizes the CPU, GPU & RAM to the fullest extent while playing a game. It enhances your overall gaming experience by blocking incoming notifications while still running those applications in the background.
Price: ₹49,999/- (8GB) to ₹94,999/- (16GB)
Final Verdict- Should You Buy It?
Asus ROG Phone 3 is not a cheap phone (money wise) by any means, but it offers a lot for the money. While it might not attract a lot of regular users due to its clear gamer design (which have gone a lot subtler), the phone is still one of the best valued phones. While it doesn’t have some of the high-end features like IP68 Water Resistance, or a lack of headphone jack (which is anyways a rarity now a days), for what it offers, it is a value for money deal. If you are looking for a smartphone with killer performance, good camera, a big battery, and a pretty decent UI experience, Asus ROG Phone 3 fits you well. You should definitely check it out.
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