Conclusion & End Remarks

The ROG Phone III is a device that attempts to carve itself out a niche place in the mobile device market. We’ve put the device through quite a lot of testing, and the question which remains is whether it’s been able to successfully rationalise its existence as a gaming device.

From a design standpoint, I think the ROG Phone III is a success, simply from a practicality point of view. ASUS doesn’t attempt to create a super-modern or sleek design, but rather what they did is to create an extremely solid phone that mostly doesn’t have any gimmicks in order to set itself as a good gaming device.

Key aspects here are simply its large size and display, the avoidance of any front notches or hole-punch cameras, and the symmetrical outstandingly well performing front-facing stereo speaker setup.

Sure, it’s a big and heavy phone, but unlike some other phones in the market, I the ROG Phone III feels more like it’s meant to be big and heavy.

The screen is a key feature of the phone, and it’s very good. Although in 2020 it doesn’t stand out quite as much as it did in 2019, the 144Hz refresh rate is still very good and the 270Hz touch response certainly helps with the fluidity of the device. ASUS also has accurate display colours, although the higher gamma target means you’ll have darker tones.

Due to its massive 6000mAh battery, the ROG3 again takes the top spot in our battery charts, beating any other flagship class device on the market, you’d actually have to give up performance to be able to get a phone with bigger batteries or longer battery life.

On the camera side of things, the situation isn’t as great. The ROG Phone III is pretty much lacklustre here, as the daylight processing just isn’t very good, with the phone having issues with exposure and HDR. In low-light, the lack of OIS is the phone’s Achilles’ heel and also isn’t able to compete much against other devices on the market. It’s by far the device’s biggest weak-point, much alike last year’s ROG Phone II.

Performance is the big question mark for the ROG Phone III, and here things are both positive and negative. It’s an extremely snappy and fluid device thanks to the 144Hz, but it does lose out on the software side of things in terms of optimisations. Running the phone in X-mode all the time gives you better performance but comes at a cost of battery life, ASUS here could have just used a smarter way to tune things rather than employing a relatively dumb minimum frequency peg.

Gaming performance is supposed to be the phone’s key selling point, and ASUS makes available a lot of features to achieve a better experience. The phone’s air trigger buttons are clear hardware advantages that cannot be copied by any other “regular” smartphone, so that’s one aspect of mobile gaming where the ROG3 takes the lead.

However, the Snapdragon 865+ seems to be a double-edged sword. While yes, it does improve peak performance by 10% over the regular Snapdragon 865 devices out there, it looks like this comes at a 25% power penalty. In sustained performance tests, the ROG Phone III without the AeroCooler add-on performs worse than competing devices from LG, OnePlus or Xiaomi. With the accessory connected, it’s only able to marginally edge out these devices, which makes you wonder if it’s all even worth it.

One positive of ASUS’s ROG Phone III SKU offering is that the base “Strix” model features just the regular Snapdragon 865, which if it performs similarly to other devices in the market, shouldn’t have the same compromises between performance and heat. ASUS also gives you the option to tune-down the phone for better thermals, but then again, what’s the point in getting it?

 

I don’t see the 999€ or 1099€ variants of the ROG Phone III being worth it, however the 799€ base model should make for a quite balanced phone which shines in terms of battery life, and gives you a great high-refresh rate experience. If you can live with the weak cameras, then it should represent a good phone for you.

Video Recording & Speaker Evaluation
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  • Kishoreshack - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    Just love how far ASUS has come with its phones Reply
  • Kangal - Sunday, August 30, 2020 - link

    Yeah, in 2019... but this year they have gotten worse.
    Just compare the Zenfone 6 to the Zenfone 7 for starters.

    On the ROG 2 vs ROG 3,
    The new device is slightly larger, heavier, and lost the 3.5mm Jack. And it raised the prices.
    But comparing the 16GB RAM vs 12GB RAM, isn't that big deal. And the uplift from the QSD 855 to the 865/865+ is hardly impressive. Or the 5900mAh battery compared to the 6,000mAh battery. Even the screen is the same comparing 144Hz to 120Hz, or the 270Hz-Touch to the 240Hz-Touch. By most metrics the new model is the same or worse than the older one.

    And again, it's more expensive. I think that second chipset (Qualcomm's external modem) is the culprit for this year's lacklustre phones (larger, hotter, battery thirstier, less internal space, more expensive).

    The only point where ASUS has made a notable upgrade is in the camera. And that's on both the ROG 3 and the Zenfone 7. But it's hardly a reason for someone to choose to buy a new ROG3, when they could get the ROG2 on a discount.

    I think I could've been fine with the ASUS ROG 3, if they kept the 3.5mm headphone jack, added a microSD slot, and added wireless charging. That would've made the +$200 price hike easier to swallow. If they included JoyCons in the box, it would've been an instant hit.

    To be honest, I would've preferred they downsized it slightly to around (166 x 74 x 9mm) which is like the size of the OnePlus 8 Pro, any larger makes it unpocketable for most regular mens jeans/pants. Even if that means downsizing the 6000mAh battery down to 5000mAh battery, it's worth it for the quality of life improvement.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Monday, August 31, 2020 - link

    When SD865 prices just got announced people were seeing a price hike of the handsets as inevitable. This phone looks decidedly less "gaming" than the predecessor and that's a big plus for me, and the second C port means the lack of the jack is at least tolerable. How they should cut corners on the optics so much confuses me, I'm wondering if this is a defective unit.
    There's rumor that Samsung is still contemplating bringing back the jack in flagships next year so I'm taking the wait and see approach, the S-Pen for me is worth it, but if Samsung doesn't follow through then I'll come back and buy one of these second-handed. With far superior battery to the Sony, it's already the closest thing to an all-rounder on the market.
    Reply
  • Kangal - Monday, August 31, 2020 - link

    I'm thinking the next year's QSD 875 will be like 8% faster simply because of the 5nm advancement. Plus another 8% speed due to slight architectural improvement in the X1 core, and modem efficiency.

    Yes most important, it should have the 4G/5G modem integrated (hopefully)... and that should mean better efficiency, and slightly larger internal space. So we could see the 3.5mm Headphone Jack make a comeback because of that.

    But Samsung has killed the Jack for good. They have their own wireless earphones for sale. They got rid of it on the Note10 for no good reason. It's not coming back. Heck, even if they wrongly accuse the internal space restrictions, which is not true, there is no reason that they cannot integrate the 3.5mm Headphone Jack into the underside of the SPen.

    I'm hoping this year has negatively affected all OEMs that they re-introduce some wanted features next year like Headphone Jack, microSD... on top of REDUCING the prices down (-30% ?) to regular levels to ensure strong sales/continued sales. I think this year proved that marketing wasn't strong enough to deceive the consumers.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - link

    lol I would bet on a comeback of the 3.5mm than a 30% price drop. Anyhow, the market hasn't exactly been exciting this year so I'm truly not in a hurry to upgrade, so I'll wait and see until there's something solid suggesting no jack again. Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Joycons are stupid, it should be a whole PSP-like controller case that locks in place, to literally turn your phone into a PSP. Then we can have serious game development and ports for phones.

    This should have been available since 2007 or before. 13 years later and we're still using weird flimsy attachable joycon things.

    The current Chinese Bluetooth psp-style controllers suck bad.
    Reply
  • Kishoreshack - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    The most awaited review is finally here
    Wanted to see how it fares against other flagships
    Reply
  • Kishoreshack - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    6000 mah battery with 865 plus & 144hz display is an instant sell for me Reply
  • nico_mach - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    Yes, this, I think this phone is more compelling outside of its gaming. Esp in comparison to iphones - they dominate the performance but usually ship with tiny batteries. Android phones need to carve out a niche, and this phone does that. Reply
  • melgross - Monday, August 31, 2020 - link

    They still have some if the best battery life. And they’re not “tiny” batteries. iOS doesn’t need very large batteries as Androud phones do. Reply

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