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Bottom line: Asus likes to go all out with its ROG series of gamer-focused Android smartphones. The company's third iteration is no different and arrives with bleeding edge specs and an aggressive design to ensure it stays on top of the mobile gaming throne. It could also cause users to spend more time gaming on their thrones, given its combination of a large, high refresh rate AMOLED display, Qualcomm's fastest chip, oodles of RAM and storage, all of which are powered by a beefy 6,000mAh battery.
Like its predecessor, the new ROG Phone 3 is pretty clear about its target audience. After all, the phone bears an unmistakable gamer aesthetic with an RGB logo and accents on the rear that can only be outdone by the bundled AeroActive cooler.
Its beefy internals make for the fastest Android phone available right now, one that could also give the upcoming Note 20 Ultra a run for its money when it comes to gaming. The ROG 3's display is a 6.59-inch 2,340 x 1,080 AMOLED panel with a 144Hz refresh rate that can reach up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness. It's also among the first smartphones to use Qualcomm's top-end, slightly overclocked '+' variant of the Snapdragon 865 and supports 5G (Sub-6 GHz).
Memory configurations start with a 12GB RAM/128GB combo (region-dependent) and go up to 16GB RAM and 512GB of UFS 2.1 storage. Unlike last year's model, there's no 1TB version this time around, but the ROG 3 still packs the same 6,000mAH battery of its predecessor for those long-running gaming sessions and features 30W Fast charging as well as slow charging modes for preserving long-term battery life.
The phone's camera(s) system also appears to be quite capable, consisting of a 64MP main shooter with 'Quad Bayer technology,' a 13MP ultrawide, and a 5MP macro lens with LED flash. A single 24MP unit sits on the front, which is also home to a pair of front-firing stereo speakers and an optical fingerprint sensor.
Alongside the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC support, there are two USB Type-C ports, an off-center 2.0-speed connector on the bottom, and a 3.1-spec on the side. These can be used to power Asus accessories like the upcoming TwinView Dock 3, the ROG Strix XG16 1080p 144Hz portable monitor, or an Xbox/DualShock controller with the ROG Gaming Clip mount.
Additionally, Asus has brought an improved version of AirTriggers to the ROG 3. These ultrasonic pressure-sensitive sensors located on the edges of the phone are now able to replicate Xbox/DualShock triggers through dual-partition button emulation, letting players map in-game commands and execute them through various gestures. It's all shaping up to be a mobile gamer's wet dream, which ironically could be a problem for the ROG 3 as the lack of waterproofing is amongst this phone's (very few) omissions.
Given what's on offer, expect to pay a hefty sum for the privilege of owning one. Asus has not revealed a price tag for US customers, where it will begin shipping in September. It is, however, currently up for pre-order in Europe with deliveries expected later this month. It reportedly starts at €999 ($1,150+) for the 12GB/512GB version, while the flagship 16GB/512GB variant will cost an eye-watering €1,099 ($1,260+).