Every year hundreds of new Android phones are presented. Standing out among such a large number of competitors is really complicated, which is why many brands approach very specialized niche markets.
Gaming mobiles: what they are, how they differ and which are the best
What are the best gaming mobiles? How do they differ from normal mobiles? Can a normal mobile be used for gaming? We explain it to you.
This is the case of Asus, which with its ROG family is clear about what kind of consumers it wants. For those who do not know their ROG family, suffice it to say that it is the acronym for Republic of GamersThat is, it is their line of devices for gamers.
Within that range it has a line of mobiles, the Asus ROG Phones, which we have talked about in the past, and also analyzed.
We have been able to spend a month using the latest model of this company, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 in its most power beast configuration. And no, the title of the article is not great at all.
Features ASUS ROG Phone 3
- Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus eight-core.
- RAM: 16 GB LPDRR5.
- Internal: 512 GB UFS 3.1.
- MicroSD: no.
- Graph: Adreno 650.
- Size: 6.6 inches.
- Resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels.
- AMOLED technology.
- 144 Hz refresh rate.
- Aspect ratio: 19: 9.
- Rear camera.
- Resolution: 64 Mpx the main, 13 Mpx the secondary with wide angle, 5 Mpx the macro.
- Others: LED Flash.
- Front camera.
- Connectivity: 5G / 4G / LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, WiFi 802.11ax, NFC …
- Jack 3.5 mm (in the fan).
- Double USB Type-C connector.
- Screen fingerprint sensor.
- Battery: 6000 mAh with 30W fast charge.
- Dimensions: 171 x 78 x 9.85 mm.
- Weight: 240 g.
- Android version: Android 10 with ROG UI.
A gaming mobile that is nothing flashy
One thing we often take for granted is that gaming-focused devices, so-called gadgets gaming, they use aesthetics and exceptionally eye-catching colors. The reason why we think that is quite logical, and is that many times it is. However, ASUS wanted to maintain a design line in this model that we already saw in the terminal last year.
Asus ROG Phone II review, the best if you are looking for power and battery
The Asus ROG Phone II is a real beast when it comes to chewing games, but it does not stop there alone: we analyze one of the best Android. Usually.
We are facing a mobile with a very conservative design. At the front we do not have any type of perforation on the screen or notch for the front camera and that is that the upper and lower frames are substantially larger than we are used to. However, this is far from a complaint, since thanks to this we have space to accommodate two big speakers. We will talk about that in the sound section.
What we can criticize is its high weight, 240 grams, something that makes it possible to bother us if we are long days of play with it in hand. Still, it’s a price to pay for its huge battery.
This weight, and the dimensions and shapes, are the same as in the ASUS ROG Phone II and is that the company has wanted to maintain compatibility with accessories.
It is also a different mobile when it comes to seeing the ports and connectors it has. The left part is where the dual SIM slot is placed, although we cannot use an external memory card. On this same side we have a hole covered with a rubber element that stores the connector for some accessories and a USB-C charging port.
At the bottom we have the main charging port. Yes, we have two USB-C ports since it is very common that we want to charge the mobile while playing with it horizontally, and the lower connector would make that task impossible.
On the right side we have the two volume buttons and the power button, plus one of the noise canceling microphones. We also have here two buttons integrated into the metal frame that work like the triggers of a game console.
The frame is also pressure sensitive, as we have seen in some models of the Google Pixel. If we press quickly or long we can execute two configurable actions, such as opening applications or launching the Google assistant.
At the top we have another noise canceling microphone. In the back we have the triple camera, the accessory elements to it, with the LED flash and a logo that changes color depending on the configuration we choose.
The construction of this device is very good, with a pleasant grip metal frame and a rear area that traps traces a lot. And it slips, which is why it is not a bad idea to put a cover on it.
In addition, the position of the rear camera, although it is located horizontally, is heeled to one side, which means that the mobile does not sit symmetrically on the table or on any surface on which we support it.
In the back area, next to the logo, we have visible a part of the mobile’s ventilation system, which is now six times more voluminous than it was in the previous model.
So, we have a fairly normal gaming mobile in terms of connectors or weight, but with a pleasantly conservative aesthetic that is far from the stridency we have seen in other competitors. But above all, it can be seen that it has been designed to be used very frequently in a horizontal position and not vertical like most mobiles.
All figures to the maximum
We always say that the list of specifications of a mobile does not always convey the feeling it gives when using it. And it’s true, it doesn’t always happen. But sometimes yes, and this is one of those occasions.
The ROG 3 is an extremely powerful device. The unit that has been given to us for analysis is the one that has the most memory, with 16 GB of RAM and no less than 512 GB of internal memory. The processor is the new Snapdragon 865 Plus, with a maximum clock frequency of 3.1 Ghz. Here it is relevant to highlight ASUS ‘work to keep thermal throttling under control.
Last year we had a model with 1 TB of memory, but this time it is not so because there are no memories of that capacity with UFS 3.1 technology, which is what ASUS wants to use, the fastest.
That model is compatible with Wifi 6E, with Bluetooth 5.2 and with 5G, although only in Sub-6, not in mmWave.
The mobile response is instantaneous when it comes to opening applications, managing multitasking, unlocking and we have had no errors or lags.
One of the most curious functions of this mobile is the frame with pressure sensor that allows to press the mobile to launch any application, something that we can configure. We have activated the Google Assistant for when we press it briefly and Mode X, which we will talk about later, with a long squeeze.
The fingerprint sensor is not one of the fastest we’ve tested, but being under the screen is somewhat expected. Despite that, it is functional and we use it regularly since it is also not problematic like some we have seen in other brands.
A highly advanced gaming experience
Obviously, behavior in games is the strongest asset of that mobile. We have tried it with a multitude of titles, many more than we usually use every day, to get the most out of it.
The response of the terminal is electric, vibrant, the best we have seen on a device, partly because of the screen, partly because of the power and partly because of the software.
We can control various game response parameters, such as latency or refresh rate, as well as processor speed, in case we are playing at a competitive level.
In addition, the buttons on the right side allow you to create custom configurations, with pulsations, swipes, configuring various reactions depending on where we press … It is something that can be overwhelming but what most gamers will be used to.
We can even configure the turns and movements of the mobile as activations of actions in a game, such as throwing a grenade in an FPS or activating the turbo in a racing game.
A software to match
We have decided to talk about the game software section in this section due to its importance. In the Asus ROG Phone 3 we have several modifications on Android that improve the gaming experience.
On the one hand we have the X mode, which gives us the option of modifying hardware requirement profiles depending on what we need. We will have three levels and the maximum of them can only be enabled if we connect the accessory that includes a mechanical fan.
This fan has a USB-C port to charge the mobile, a headphone jack to connect our cable helmets and an element that turns it into a lectern, in case we want to watch a movie or use a wireless remote control. As a nice detail to say that it has a housing to store the rubber piece that usually covers the side connector of the mobile, to prevent us from losing it.
We also have to talk about Game Genius, a software that runs on top of games and that allows modifying their behavior and mobile behavior in real time. We will can:
- Activate the haptic buttons on the sides.
- Lock screen brightness.
- Control the temperature of the mobile.
- Record small video clips.
- Modify the refresh rate.
All games for the best screens: special high refresh rate
Smartphones have evolved from their origins. For example, we now enjoy screens over 60Hz. But what games take advantage of it?
We can even open applications in floating windows if we want to have a chat or a specific website open while we play.
These are only the main options and it shows that Asus has taken this section of the mobile very seriously.
Good sound, but no headphone jack
The sound of this mobile is one of the best I have been able to enjoy on a mobile device. In addition to having a dual speaker, these are placed at the front making it virtually impossible to accidentally cover them up.
If we put the mobile with the sound activated we can mute each application separately, pressing on the settings that appear when pressing the volume buttons.
The only downside we could see it in the Lack of 3.5mm headphone jack to connect a sound system by cable, although personally I have not missed it. Of course, we can always use the fan that comes in the box that enables this port.
As for the software and algorithms, this time ASUS has chosen the Dirac company since DTS and Dolby have specialized in multimedia consumption and with Dirac it has been possible to improve the sound by focusing these improvements on video games.
This mime in acoustics concludes with the presence of four microphones. The main two are in the lower frame and the upper one. There is another on the right side, next to the d button, for when we use the mobile horizontally. The last one is behind, next to the cameras, and serves to record better sound in videos.
The screen increases the speed … of refreshment
In 2020 it already seems that we are not amazed by any benefit on mobile phones. The 120 Hz refresh rates are not yet massive, but they don’t stand out as much as they did earlier in the year. So, companies like Asus have decided to raise the level.
The Asus ROG Phone 3 has a panel with OLED technology and 2340 x 1080 px resolution, that is, FHD. But the star number is your refresh rate, which can reach 144 Hz, like other gaming mobiles that we have analyzed.
In addition, the system allows us to set the refresh rate in automatic mode, so that it only rises when necessary. We were surprised to see that we can not only go from 60 to 144 Hz, but we can also choose intermediate steps, with 90 and 120 Hz.
Another figure to mention is the 270 Hz tactile sampling rate, which makes the mobile respond extremely quickly to our commands. The maximum brightness is 1000 nits and of course it does not need more even to use it in full sunlight.
We have the possibility to calibrate the screen in an advanced way, prevent it from turning off if we are looking at it, change the aesthetics of the shutdown menu, change the font, hide any of the icons in the status bar and even activate the Always- mode. on Panel, which leaves the time on the screen at all times.
There are many options that Asus gives us even though its layer is not one of the ones that most modifies the aesthetics of Android 10. We will talk about it later.
The fingerprint sensor is under it and works well. Even with the screen off, it unlocks acceptably, the scanning area being larger than in many models. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
As for the viewing experience, we have no complaints with the panel. Yes, it is true that it is not the highest resolution that we have seen, but the quality is at a great level, and when it comes to watching movies and, above all, playing, we enjoy in the same way that we do with the performance of the terminal .
We expected a worse camera on the ASUS ROG Phone 3
When a manufacturer puts all the meat on the grill to offer maximum power, great autonomy and enormous quality on the screen of a mobile phone designed primarily for gaming, there is one aspect that is often neglected: the camera. In fact, in the presentation of this product the photographic section has had a testimonial presence, being generous.
We can say without much fear of being wrong that practically all gaming mobiles have cameras that, at least, can be improved for the price they have. And it is normal, these devices are not designed to be a substitute for a photographic camera, but a machine that sometimes replaces a computer or a console when it comes to playing and that, collaterally, have cameras.
And surely that’s why I was so surprised, for good, the photographic system of the ASUS ROG Phone 3.
This device has three cameras on the back, a 64 Mpx main sensor, 13 Mpx wide angle and 5 Mpx macro sensor.
He main sensor, 64 Mpx, it is configured to shoot by default at 16 Mpx, improving the detail obtained especially in low light conditions. By day the quality is very good, and the dynamic range and the detail have surprised us especially. There are phones that boast a camera with a lower quality than the ASUS ROG Phone 3. It has an aperture of f / 1.8 and uses the Sony IMX 686 sensor, the same one that mobiles like the Poco F2 Pro or the Red Magic 5G have.
To put some criticism, sometimes the background of the images seems too little contrasted or with a slightly lower brightness than reality.
He wide angle, of 13 Mpx, also behaves quite well, although at the edges we notice a loss of detail and a slight deformation, typical of these lenses but that in other models have been solved by software. Of course, the central elements of this type of photography appear in fairly high detail even if they do not reach the level of the main sensor.
Of night the quality is also superior to what we thought we were going to have, with a control of the lights that other models already wanted and a night mode that we can activate if we wish.
The last of the sensors is surely the least important, the macro. Despite that, we are surprised to see a 5 Mpx sensor for macro photography when many similarly priced mobiles opt for a lower resolution one.
The video recording is quite well worked, with great stabilization and a dynamic range that, although it is not the best we have seen, seems sufficient. Even video recording by changing lenses goes more unnoticed than most high-end mobiles on the market. However, this does not mean that it is invisible.
In the front we have a single 24 Mpx camera curiously, it is capable of Pixel Binning and will offer us 6 Mpx images with a fairly acceptable quality.
Daytime selfies offer quite correct detail and acceptable dynamic range for what we expected. It is true that sometimes in high beams the image may burn somewhat, but it has behaved much better than we would have thought. Of course, in the 6 Mpx mode the embellishment by software is excessive. And at night the quality drops quite a bit, and there may be digital noise when increasing an image to 100% of its size, without going any further.
The surprise has come in the video recording, since it has shown us much better stabilization than terminals that boast good cameras. This is something that can be seen even in low light, where the quality falls just as in photography, but the stabilization is still really good.
We will not have battery problems
This Asus ROG Phone 3 is a very particular terminal in the battery section. We say this because of the presence of a double USB-C connector. We also have a 30W fast charge, although with the 6000 mAh capacity the time needed to charge it sometimes becomes somewhat long, but it is not excessive either.
In the first autonomy test We have left the screen refresh rate on automatic. We have been playing, listening to podcasts with bluetooth headphones, we have called several times, we have taken some photos and videos, we have had a smart bracelet connected at all times … We have reached 28 hours of screen with just over 7 hours of total autonomy.
In the second autonomy test We have also left the screen refresh rate on automatic. We’ve been doing the same thing: playing games, listening to podcasts, taking photos and videos … We have reached 33 hours of screen with more than 7 hours of total autonomy.
In the third autonomy test We have set the refresh rate of the screen to a minimum, at 60 Hz. The use has been similar and the surprising thing is that the autonomy too. We have reached 27 hours of screen with 7 and a half hours of total autonomy. It seems obvious why the system in the previous tests has mostly set the refresh rate to 60 Hz since we have played a lot of titles that do not need a higher cup.
In the fourth autonomy test We’ve also gone for it all, with the screen refresh rate at 144 Hz at all times. We have played a lot, but we have not taken photos, we have not listened to music and we have hardly used the mobile outdoors. We have reached 7 and a half hours of screen with 33 hours of total autonomy.
We do not have wireless charging for the same reason that we do not have a headphone jack. ASUS wanted to keep the size and dimensions of the previous model but needed more internal space due to new components such as 5G modems.
Still, we can use reverse charging, by cable, with a speed of up to 10W. Even there are two customizable charging modes, so that we can choose whether or not we want to use mobile fast charging, in case we want to keep it for many years and avoid, as far as possible, battery degradation.
Pixel feel on the ASUS ROG Phone 3 thanks to ROG UI
If someone had told me a few weeks ago that the most similar feeling to using a Pixel would be a gaming mobile, I would not have believed it. But it is like this.
Although the Asus interface has themes and we can modify the icons, it is also possible to use the Google aesthetic, both on the desktops and in the settings and icons.
On this very simple layer we have many preferences and improvements, many of them designed for the screen and for the gaming experience. In the performance section we have discussed some. There are others that affect all apps, such as the possibility of hibernating some in the background to save battery power.
The gestures of Android 10, typical of the system, are not maintained by some put by Asus. We can also change parameters such as the power menu, something strange but that we do not dislike.
But not everything is pretty. We see how there are pre-installed applications such as the Facebook one, which we can at least easily delete, but we would like them to be there just after turning on the phone for the first time.
One of the few failures that we have seen is that the mobile has a not very secure facial unlocking system since even with a mask on it has been opened. You may simply recognize the eye part, but it doesn’t seem very safe.
In fact, we have done tests and even with the entire face covered but one eye open the mobile is unlocked. It is an easily fixable software bug and hopefully Asus will do so before the release of this model.
ASUS ROG Phone 3: go for it
It had been a long time since a mobile phone left me with such a positive feeling in an analysis. It is possible that it was due to my prejudices when trying a terminal designed to play. I imagined that the power and performance would be beyond doubt, but I also believed that it would be a mobile with a questionable aesthetic and with a disappointing camera. On the contrary.
I have had the opportunity to test this mobile for almost a month before it was announced and at no time have I had the feeling of wanting to return to my usual mobile, although I admit that there are some things that I would have liked to be different. The first is the weight, and it is that it is a very dense terminal in the hand. The second is the lack of a telephoto lens on the back, but considering the photographic behavior even this seems forgiven to me.
Recommending this mobile to someone who wants an extremely powerful device is very easy. If you are going to play, few options are better than this ASUS ROG Phone 3. The funny thing is that this device is also Very easy to recommend to those who are going to play a lot but want a competent terminal in literally all the other sections.
Of course, the price is high, as is logical. The model with 8 and 256 GB costs 799 euros, the 12 + 512 GB has a price of 999 euros and the most powerful version, the 16 + 512 GB rises to 1099 euros.
Buy ASUS ROG Phone 3