Gamers have a mixed relationship with mobile gaming. After snake became one of the most popular of games on early Nokia phones in the late 90s and early 2000s, mobile phones have come a long way since with the games that users have access to now. In fact, Nokia went all-in on the gaming experience and built several N-Gage devices and other gaming-specific handhelds to try and lure the gaming crowd away from Nintendo’s dominance in that space.
The idea never really took off for Nokia, despite their best efforts as dedicated gamers preferred the comforts of their power-hungry PCs and consoles that allowed them to play on bigger screens. Still, mobile gaming continues to thrive largely through more casual free-to-play games such as Pokemon Go and Apple Arcade.
With the advent of cloud gaming and an increasing number of console-quality games coming out on mobile devices though, we’ve definitely seen an increase in certain manufacturers trying to make powerhouse devices aimed at the gamer market. ASUS is currently looking to be at the forefront of that shift with their new ROG Phone 3 (as reported by The Verge).
The new phone features a 6.59-inch OLED HDR colour-calibrated screen that has a fast 144Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response time. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset with 5G support, and it can be configured with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 ROM storage. Both of those specs push the boundaries of what we’ve seen so far in a phone and most certainly allows the handset to compete with consoles.
The new ROG will come with a big 6,000mAh battery to provide power for all of that processing grunt. Even with a battery of that size, it’s likely the device won’t last too long in full gaming mode before it needs a recharge, though no exact specs are available from ASUS on this yet. It will also be interesting to see how the device handles cooling because I could imagine this smartphone getting very hot in the hands when playing some seriously graphically intense games.
Asus claims to have made improvements to the ultrasonic AirTrigger pressure-sensitive touch sensors located around the edges of the phone that mimics the experience of using a real controller. Asus has also added a swipe gesture to each button for a secondary command and dual-partition button emulation on the AirTriggers that essentially mimics having physical L1 / L2 and R1 / R2 buttons. Which could all be quite confusing in the heat of playing a game, but it is great to see these functions added in. Asus has also provided an option to map an in-game command, like reloading your weapon, when you shake the phone.
Asus is releasing a whole slate of accessories you can buy to help you get even more out of the phone’s power. There’s a TwinView Dock 3 coming that adds another display to the mix so that you can multitask, and a mobile desktop dock that lets you harbour the phone and use it with a keyboard and mouse. Something which I’m sure many gamers would prefer for certain games.
The phone will still do all the usual tasks such as taking calls, reading messages, emails and browsing social media, but it is clearly designed with gaming as a focus and includes a side-mounted USB-C port, so the charging cable can stay out of the way while you game in landscape mode. It’ll even be compatible with Google Stadia when it launches.
There is no pricing on the phone and no word yet if it’ll launch locally. With cloud gaming becoming more dominant, expect that price tag to be rather hefty.
Last Updated: July 23, 2020