back to article Asus ROG Phone 3: An ugly but refreshing choice – for gaming fans only

The mobile industry has given us 108MP cameras, headache-inducing stereoscopic 3D displays, and the Escobar Phone. Each year, it seems as though some vendor is trying to up the ante with unprecedented levels of weird, leaving you to wonder where we’ll eventually end up. Microsoft Bob Mobile? A Samsung Galaxy S21 Theranos Edition …

  1. DarkwavePunk

    Odd device

    Certainly sounds quite niche and I'm not sure exactly who for. Surely if you were that keen on gaming while on the go a Nintendo Switch would be a cheaper sane option if not just for real controls rather than the horror that is trying to play anything like an FPS on a mobile touchscreen.

    Which raises another point. Given it has that clip on mechanism for the fan/extra USB-C, why no physical game controller type attachment?

    All in all sounds like an expensive franken-phone with no clear use case that would merit the price.

  2. macjules

    National anthem?

    I'd go with Nine Inch Nails - Quake - Main Theme. Especially for those who play games on the tube without earphones.

    1. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: National anthem?

      Nah, get with the times - Doom eternal soundtrack is where its at.

      (either that or DOOT E1M1... Look it up for post modern surrealism.. Or Internet madness.)

  3. DJO Silver badge

    Aspect ratio?

    19.5:9

    Why? that's the same as 13:6 which is a bit easier to visualise.

    It could equally well be 123.26:56.89 but that would be ridiculous so why is 19.5:9 not considered similarly ridiculous.

    There is no rule that aspect ratios must include a 9 ...... or is there ......

    1. Ross 12

      Re: Aspect ratio?

      :9 has become the marketing standard for screen ratios sadly. My OnePlus 6T has an '18:9' screen, which is actually 2:1 but that doesn't sound as 'big'.

      Reminds me of the old story when Wendy's (or some other competitor?) sold a 1/3lb burger to compete with McDonald's 1/4lb-er at the same price, but most people thought 1/4 was bigger than 1/3

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: Aspect ratio?

        18:9 is WAAAAAAAAY better than 2:1, figures don't lie!

    2. DarkwavePunk

      Re: Aspect ratio?

      Most people don't seem to even grasp the basic concept of an aspect ratio. I've had people rattle off specs of their latest shiny TV or whatever as though they're some kind of arcane runes handed down to mankind by a deity.

    3. Mark #255
      Mushroom

      Re: Aspect ratio?

      All the different ratios also make the single (diagonal) number pretty useless in telling you how big the screen actually is.

      Icon is me realising this is a hill I'm willing to die on*.

      * Argue about.

      1. Zarno

        Re: Aspect ratio?

        Fond memories of buying the "cheapest per diagonal inch that isn't utter garbage", which back then was a 1080 55" flat screen for ~$700.00 out the door.

        Bugger if I remember the aspect ratios changing out.

      2. StargateSg7

        Re: Aspect ratio?

        I don't HAVE to deal with this STINKEEENG STUPID CHEAP-ARSE LOW BROW PHONES when I've got a SUPER HONKIN' ALL-CANADIAN DESIGNED AND BUILT hunk of Titanium Super-Smartphone that BLOWS EVERYTHING ELSE OUT O THE WATEE IN FULL 50 MEGATON NUCLEAR HELL-FIRE !!!

        At OLED-based DCI 8K resolution 240 Hz refresh at 8192 by 4320 pixels at 16 bits per RGBA channel (64-bit colour!) custom-built GaAs combined CPU/GPU/DSP that is 128-bits wide and runs at a reduced-for-mobile clock speed of 15 GHz instead of our usual 60 GHz of the desktop version, it is THE BE ALL and END ALL of Super Smartphones -- NOTHING ON EARTH BEATS THIS !!!!

        It also helps this chip fills the ENTIRE 6.7 inch screen AND has a built in APS-C image sensor on the other side of the substrate (also at DCI 8K video resolution and 50.3 megapixels for stills) AND I'm running a completely custom BIOS and OS that is NOT Linux, Windows or Android-based.

        Plus my battery is a 30,000 mAh Aluminum Oxide-Air battery which can take millions of charges without memory effect or degradation. It also has 4 Terabytes of SYSTEM RAM (built-onto the CPU chip itself!) and over 16 Terabytes of Non-volatile storage memory kind of like an SSD but much FASTER!

        We built the RAM and SSD-like storage that onto the 3D-stacked CPU/GPU/DSP chip itself which is WHY the phone is a full 25 mm or ONE inch thick!!! We make all our own CPU's, RAM Memory, Hard Drives and Image Sensors gear since we ARE a Billion-dollar Aerospace company!

        Like I said.... I don't have to deal with the plebes and minions of smartphones when I have the KING KAHUNA BURGER of IP-69/Milspec-810-G super-ruggedized SUPER-Smartphones!

        Bwaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh !!!!!!

        I WIN !!!!!!!!

        V

    4. UBF

      The standard aspect for screens is 16:9

      I think there is an implicit rule that screen aspects should refer to the industry standard of 16:9, which is the aspect of most desktop monitors and TVs. Thus, an aspect like 19.5:9 or 21:9 can be easily compared to the familiar shape of 16:9.

    5. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: Aspect ratio?

      21:9 on a phone though works alot better than expected.

      The phone is about iPhone 6/7 narrow but long enough that you can type on the keyboard without it covering most of the screen.

      Seriously, why aren't more phones made this way?

  4. silent_count

    Be warned

    I was given an Asus ROG 14" Zephyrus for my birthday as a personal (ie. non-work) laptop. Good hardware but the Asus software is junky. It does not do anything particularly useful but does inexplicably change Windows power mode to "high performance" (as in, flatten the battery) if the mains power ever becomes disconnected or switched off. No help from Asus support who do not even seem to comprehend that this behaviour would be undesirable.

    It also does not have page up/page down/home/end keys, nor any key combination to simulate those keys. Who thinks that's a good idea?

    I have had nothing but good experiences with Asus' cheaper laptops so I can only conclude that the ROG branding translates to "overpriced and badly designed".

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Be warned

      And on the other side, I had for many years a 17" ROG G73 gaming laptop that worked perfectly and never let me down. Would still be using it now, except that I've moved on to a desktop computer since I'm no longer doing the world travelling thing.

      ROG designs tend to be what you might call leading edge, i.e. outside the usual envelope. Whether that works for you is a personal choice, but I would never call them badly designed. And as for the no page up/page down/home/end keys? Seriously? You mark a 14" laptop down for that? I cant remember the last time I used those keys or even saw them on such a small laptop. And anyway you can set those sorts of functions in Windows, so whats the big deal?

      Whether ROG stuff is overpriced is a matter of personal choice, but my G73 was still going strong and meeting minimum specs for every new release for over 5 years, so I wouldnt say it was overpriced particularly...

      1. PerlyKing
        FAIL

        Re: No page up/page down

        What I get from this is that if something isn't a problem for you, it couldn't possibly be a problem for anyone else.

        PageUp and the rest are standard keys, which some people use frequently even if you don't. I'm sure you can map (for example) Fn+Up to PageUp but that's just not as convenient as having a dedicated key.

        Maybe gamers don't use PageDown et al. and so Asus decided to drop them from a dedicated games machine in order to make the arrow keys bigger (or something). I could at least understand that rationale, but if you're used to using those keys and they're not there I can also understand that it would be rather annoying.

        I don't understand what bearing the screen size has on the issue. Many moons ago I had a Lenovo X200 for work, which had a 12" screen and a full keyboard, also one of the best laptop keyboards I've ever used.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Re: No page up/page down

          What I was getting at is that its silly to mark down a small laptop for not having extra keys beyond the standard grid on a small laptop. I love having a numeric keypad, but I wouldnt mark down a 14" laptop for not including a numeric keypad. As such I wouldnt mark it down for not having the additional 6 that usually sits above the arrow keys, which also on a normal keyboard sit off to the side away from the standard grid.

          Just because they've managed to fit in the arrow keys (usually by making sacrifices to the various shift/ctrl/alt/enter keys), you cant expect them to fit an additional 6 keys in again. Maybe they could have put them in, but they obviously decided they werent used enough and so didnt install them.

          I guess I took umbridge to Silent count declaring ROG stuff badly designed, all because the laptop he was given didnt have a couple of the keys he wanted. As a designer (nothing related to Computers) that sort of thinking bugs me massively. Just because it doesnt have a feature you want, doesnt means it badly designed, it just means perhaps you werent the intended audience.

          1. Down not across

            Re: No page up/page down

            Its probably rather rare (in fact can't think of any from top of my head) to get separate numpad on laptop under 17".

            I would say PgUp/PpgDn are definitely part of standard grid. Usually its things like SysReq, NumLock, Pause etc that get delegated to be via Fn.

            As for design, gaming laptops certainly have scope to flaunt it as they present plelnty of thermal challenges. Sadly often "design" seems to concentrate of gaudy looks rather than something that really matters. Asus has some quite nice designs where they have managed surprisingly slim and light gaming laptops without too many compromises.

      2. Down not across

        Re: Be warned

        Seriously? You mark a 14" laptop down for that? I cant remember the last time I used those keys or even saw them on such a small laptop. And anyway you can set those sorts of functions in Windows, so whats the big deal?

        Not downvoting you, but I'm writing this on Dell 12.5" laptop. Yes, of course it has PgUp and PgDn (along with Home,End.etc).

        In fact the only laptops I have (or have come across) that skimp on PgUp/PgDn are MSI 17" (so no excuse...other than it is sold as gaming laptop so quirks are expected) gaming laptop that has PgUp and PgDn combined with Home/End and HP 10" Pavilion X2 detachable that has somewhat understandably combined them with cursor keys due to lack of space (Psion 5 had better keyboard).

      3. silent_count

        Re: Be warned

        ROG designs tend to be what you might call leading edge, i.e. outside the usual envelope. Whether that works for you is a personal choice, but I would never call them badly designed. And as for the no page up/page down/home/end keys? Seriously? You mark a 14" laptop down for that? I cant remember the last time I used those keys or even saw them on such a small laptop. And anyway you can set those sorts of functions in Windows, so whats the big deal?

        Ok fine. If they don't want to have dedicated hardware keys for pgup/pgdn/home/end, given the laptop's size, I can understand that. But I can't understand why they wouldnt have some key-mapping for those keys. My wife's previous laptop (funnily enough an Asus which cost half as much) had those keys mapped to FN+arrow keys. As for not using those keys, pgup and pgdown see some use from me while navigating web pages, like scrolling up and down the Reg comments. I use all four while navigating source code. You can argue that a "gaming" laptop isn't for writing source code but writing scripts and viewing web pages is I'd suggest within the purview of gaming related activities.

        As for their choice of aesthetic design, I'm indifferent. It's fine. My complaint is they chose not to include keys (or at least mappings for them) which are useful but did manage to find space for an "armoury crate" key. How often do you adjust the configuration of fan speed vs cpu or gpu temp such that you need a dedicated key for it?

  5. Bit Brain

    "Colours feel a bit washed out and saturated."

    Surely these are the opposite of each other?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Colours feel a bit washed out and saturated."

      Thank you. Glad it's not just me. The same thought struck me but I didn't want to accidentally reveal my ignorance. More than usual, I mean.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: "Colours feel a bit washed out and saturated."

      Should be desaturated, not saturated. It's been fixed. Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything weird or wrong so we can address it ASAP.

      C.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "National dish? Doritos."

    Surely you meant Cheetos.

    And that "lemonade" bottle is (was) actually Mountain Dew. [Maurice LeMarche-grade belch]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "National dish? Doritos."

      I have no idea what a cheeto is. Someone who cheats?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "National dish? Doritos."

        The Big Cheeto: current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC ?

      2. gotes

        Re: "National dish? Doritos."

        They're like really cheesy Nik Naks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "National dish? Doritos."

          At least they are not Scampi Flavoured NikNak.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unprecedented levels of weird

    These days, surely, "unprecedented levels of weird" would be something simple, like a sub-6" phone with a reasonably high cpu/ram/etc spec. :-)

    1. the hatter

      Re: unprecedented levels of weird

      Thankfully, after several years hiatus, that is no longer weird and is very much mainstream. But if you don't like pictures of fruit on your phones, then you're still mostly out of luck.

  8. Shades

    WTF has happened to El Reg?

    "I almost wish other manufacturers borrowed this approach, particularly Samsung.

    Imagine if you could neatly clip a USB-C dock to the side of your phone, touting all the ports you’ll need to connect a display and peripherals. Its DeX mode would start to feel a lot more useful, and less like an also-ran bolted on.

    This is an idea Samsung should borrow - neatly clipping a USB-C dock to the side of your phone, touting all the ports you’ll reasonably need to use your phone as a desktop computer in DeX mode,"

    The Department of Redundancy Department obviously hasn't been furloughed.

    "its 144Hz aspect ratio"

    Aspect ratios come in Hz now, do they?

    "Colours feel a bit washed out and saturated."

    *Bzzzzt*. Contradiction.

    Cancelling my subscription, etc, etc.

    1. Kane
      Thumb Up

      Re: WTF has happened to El Reg?

      "The Department of Redundancy Department"

      Well played.

      Also, Unsubbed etc

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Corrections

      > The Department of Redundancy Department obviously hasn't been furloughed.

      That part's been trimmed.

      > Aspect ratios come in Hz now, do they?

      Should be refresh rate -- a brain blip where fingers type the wrong words. Now fixed.

      > *Bzzzzt*. Contradiction.

      Should be desaturated not saturated, and fixed.

      > Cancelling my subscription, etc, etc.

      I hope you can forgive these errors -- we're worn out, letting typos slip through, and looking forward to the Christmas break to rest and recharge. Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corrections

        Apply writers' skills to your writing, not the IT mind-set that you will fix it after complaints reach you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        these errors

        Pointing at external factors to explain your errors is quit a narcissistic trait that I attribute willingly to The Big Orange, but do not want to accept from The Reg.

  9. AIBailey

    C'mon 'Reg...

    Any chance of any kind of consistency? Are these pixel densities sharp or crap?

    Vivo X51 review -

    Flip it over, and you catch sight of the X51 5G's 6.56-inch AMOLED display, which is bright and vibrant, but with a resolution of 1,080 x 2,376, it's not as high-res as others at just 398 PPI density.

    ASUS ROG Phone 3 review -

    ASUS saw fit to clad this device with a 6.59-inch AMOLED display, with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a squat 19.5:9 aspect ratio. As you'd expect from an AMOLED panel, this looks amazing. It's bright and sharp, with great colour fidelity.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "Any chance of any kind of consistency?"

      Ah yeah, sorry that slipped through the edit. It's now fixed. Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything weird.

      C.

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