ASUS VivoBook 14 A413

The ASUS ROG Phone 3 was announced not too long ago, and we got our hands on one unit. It’s not the world’s first phone to have 144Hz refresh rate, but it’s definitely the world’s first phone to be able to run at 160Hz flawlessly.

XDA Developers posted this not long after the ROG Phone 3’s announcement, detailing how we can enable 160Hz on that phone with just a simple command. I was in awe since this unofficially makes the ROG Phone 3 the first smartphone to use 160Hz.

MSI Creator 17 Mini-LED

ASUS also issued a statement regarding the 160Hz display capability on the ROG Phone 3, citing that it is not actually made to be a part of the official specs of the device.

The 160Hz refresh rate is only for our internal testing and ASUS has not made this part of the official specifications of the device.

By what we can tell, this feels like a situation of “overclocking” your display to run at 160Hz. It can be done with any other displays too – but since it’s not officially part of the specs, it is totally not recommended to do so. Also, we’re unsure if 160Hz will run as smoothly as shown here on other ROG Phone 3 units.

Moreover, we presume that the warranty will not cover this situation if the display fizzles out.

What’s it like to use 160Hz?

Firstly, the colors. I immediately realized that the display is much dimmer, and the colors not calibrated. It’s desaturated and changing the color profiles did not affect the colors that much. It’s just not calibrated.

ROG Phone 3 160Hz

Secondly, the refresh rate obviously got higher. For me personally, I don’t see much of any difference between to 120Hz, 144Hz, and 160Hz. However, different people will have a completely different level of perception – which means you might realize the differences between 144Hz and 160Hz.

ROG Phone 3 160Hz

Anyway, we installed Razer Cortex Games on the ROG Phone 3 and enabled the FPS overlay so we can see what refresh rate it is running at. Then, we installed Subway Surfers as our game of choice for testing, just like before.

We chose Subway Surfers because of two reasons:

  1. It has unlocked frame rates, so it can run at whatever maximum refresh rate that your display can run at. In this case, 160Hz.
  2. It’s an old game and it’s also not demanding at all. This allows all phones – even mid-range smartphones – to run at high frame rates.

ROG Phone 3 160Hz

And from what we’ve tested, the ROG Phone 3 runs the game at 160Hz without any issues. There is no screen tearing or anything funky going on – just that the colors are desaturated. Surprisingly, the gaming experience is just smooth.

Should you use the 160Hz then?

No. Definitely not. The colors are ugly on 160Hz. And while it does work well, ASUS has not officially certified the ROG Phone 3 to work at 160Hz. And currently, we’re unsure if all ROG Phone 3 can run at 160Hz.

It still seems like an overclocked display situation here, and we advise against using 160Hz.


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