System Performance

System performance of the ROG Phone III should be interesting given its gaming phone nature, as well as for the fact that it’s the first Snapdragon 865+ device we’ve come to test. As always, system performance doesn’t necessarily just depend on the hardware of a device, but also on the software tuning that a vendor does to its DVFS and SoC scheduler settings.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0  

In the PCMark web-browsing test, the workload is quite sensible to scheduler and DVFS settings. Here the ROG Phone III is rather conservatively tuned in its 60Hz setting, only catching up due to the higher 144Hz refresh rate when in that mode.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The writing sub-test is the most important of PCMark, and the ROG3 here fares slightly better than most other Snapdragon 865 devices on the market, but falls just short of Kirin 990 phones as well as the Snapdragon Galaxy S20.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

We see a similar positioning for the photo editing test.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

The data-manipulation test seems refresh-rate bottlenecked and here the ROG3 sees a big jump when scaling from 60 to 144Hz.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance 

Overall, in the PCMark performance scores, the ROG Phone III only falls short to the Snapdragon Galaxy S20 Ultra in our tests. There are a few details I want to expand in regards to this positioning and why it doesn’t fare better:

The test scores here were performed under the phone’s default operating conditions, with X-Mode being disabled. Unfortunately, it seems that under these conditions, the phone’s performance is very conservative and doesn’t really stand out much from the crowd.

The scores are significantly improved when enabling X-Mode, however I take issue in publishing these figures into our charts given that what this mode does is simply cripple normal DVFS operation of the SoC by raising the minimum operating frequencies, or essentially just pegging them to their maximum.

There’s been a delicate balance by various vendor’s performance modes, some which implement quite reasonable settings, whilst other simply are akin to just enabling a benchmark cheat mode. Samsung’s and Huawei’s performance modes are still reasonable as they still use the full dynamic range operating frequencies of the SoC, only increasing the aggressiveness of the scaling behaviour.

Other vendors such as OPPO, and ASUS here, just enable a rather dumb “all-out” mode that in my view isn’t very realistic for a battery powered device, and that I wouldn’t recommend anyone on actually using. I’ll get into more detail about this in the GPU performance section, but I don’t find the default X-Mode levels particularly well implemented when it comes to the balance between performance and power consumption.

JetStream 2 - OS Webview  WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

The ROG Phone III did adequately in the browser Javascript benchmarks, although WebXPRT 3 does showcase its rather conservative performance tuning when in its default operating mode.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

I had some really odd issues with Speedometer 2.0, in that the ROG Phone III kept performing quite horribly in WebView containers as well as Chrome. I’m not sure what happened here, as the same versions of the apps performed quite well on other Snapdragon 865 devices, which points out to possibly some OS-specific issue on the ASUS device. Using Samsung Internet for example made it perform normally – really odd.

Update: The issue has been resolved with the latest firmware update.

Overall, system performance of the ROG Phone III is excellent, but generally I wouldn’t say that it’s in any way class-leading or able to distinguish itself from other 120Hz phones. The 144Hz mode isn’t something that you will notice over other 120Hz phones, and whilst the phone is very snappy, without the questionable every-day use of X-Mode, it lags behind Samsung’s devices. In this regard, the ROG3 doesn’t perform much differently to any other high-refresh rate Snapdragon 865 phones.

ASUS's Gaming Features GPU Performance & Power
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  • ArcadeEngineer - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    I don't get this idea that bluetooth headphones are somehow more convenient than wired ones. Having another charger to juggle outlets on is the opposite of convenient.
  • Tchamber - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    I use my headphones all day work. For fun, I can listen to music, whatever. But I'm standing, walking, bending over and leaning in my CnC mill all day long, and having a cord was a hassle for me. That's pretty much the only place I listen to my phone. For me, it's no hassle having one more plug, especially when my LG Tones last two days at work.
  • ads295 - Saturday, August 29, 2020 - link

    High five from someone who owns two Swiss-types :-)
  • flyingpants265 - Sunday, August 30, 2020 - link

    Of course it's not a f****** hassle.

    The reason for deleting headphone jack is to sell wireless headphones, it is a multi-billion dollar market on its own. This is a tech website, everyone should know this by now.

    Comments about removing the 3.5 jack, have been bought and paid for. Haha. What I mean is, Corporations have successfully used money for advertising and other various influences to ultimately engineer legions of smooth-brained human beings to tell me that plugging in my headphones is bad. Yeah, ok. I'll do anything you want. Why don't you just sodomize me too while you're at it?
  • Great_Scott - Monday, August 31, 2020 - link

    The good news here is that there's a cottage industry of USB-C sound cards with 3.5 jack support for phones like this. And the huge battery means that you wouldn't need to charge it at the same time...
  • s.yu - Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - link

    You don't. Because there are two C ports. As long as there exists flagships with headphone jacks or two C ports, I will not buy one with one C port no jack.
  • Quantumz0d - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    Tell me does any of those BT sets have a good driver to boot, and then tell me whether any of them support AptX technology to be able to play my FLAC files / 24 Bit files or Can they work without an app always to function.

    Dude I have a V30 with me, the ESS DAC in that is not possible to be beaten by any company, I even have a Modi stack with me for monitors, and I can plug in my IEMs, Monitors, HD600s and I don't have to fiddle with some stupid charging box and worry about them, my IEMs are Triple Drivers with Hybrid technology. And you say you want Audio fidelity ? nice joke esp with Power Beats ? Muddy Bass technology is what they have.

    I'm sorry there's none of the BT technology which makes any aspect from Sound quality, Fidelity, Convenience & Price to Performance, there are NO BT sets in mainstream that we can buy which have stunning audio performance you need to shell out for MMCX, like Shures.

    Let me tell you one more thing, my phone has BT as well, and I can buy any BT set I want and a 3.5mm enabled any of the ChiFi or Japanese or European IEMs/Cans. Also instead of that overpriced Powerbeats Apple set go and buy an RHA T20 wireless, it has AptX, great battery, superior sound, superior build quality and have 3.5mm wire also.
  • vol.2 - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    you're just walking into a dumb argument here. people are allowed to like their specific wired headphones and they should be able to use them if they want to. i have both; i use the bluetooth for calls and watching youtube, i use one of my many pairs of wired headphones for music.
  • Tchamber - Friday, August 28, 2020 - link

    Sure, I didn't think I was arguing though. I get it, wired headphones sound better.
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, August 30, 2020 - link

    Thing is, the two technologies can coexist till the end of time. Point is, there's no excuse to remove the jack from a phone or worse, from a tablet (S7 line). Then ironically, gigantic camera bumps are protruding from phones in futile attempt to keep the rest of the phone "slim". 0.9 or 1cm thicc phones are perfectly fine, that's around my S9 + cover included and that phone feels way more secure in the hand than the stock 0.85cm.

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