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ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Review: A Gaming Powerhouse with Everyday Elegance

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro stands out as a top-notch gaming phone, offering blazing performance. However, what sets it apart is its enjoyable day-to-day usability. It boasts a refined design, a robust camera, and convenient features such as wireless charging and an IP68 rating.

Pros:

Cons:

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Review: A Gaming Powerhouse with Everyday Elegance

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: A Quick Overview

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate held the title of the best gaming phone, but its steep price and daily usability challenges gave pause. Enter the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, still pricey but now a well-rounded flagship smartphone.

The redesign tones down the gamer aesthetics, making it less flashy. Notably, it introduces quality-of-life features like an IP68 rating and wireless charging, aligning with non-gaming phones in its price range.

A noteworthy upgrade is the camera system, competent for everyday photography—a rarity in gaming phones. Thinner bezels bring a punch-hole selfie cam, and the absence of dual front-facing speakers is a trade-off. While not matching the sustained performance of the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro, the ROG Phone 8 Pro compensates with the AeroActive Cooler X fan, included in the top model.

This gaming phone strikes a balance with top-tier speed and a 6.78-inch 165Hz AMOLED display. Gaming-centric features like Air Trigger shoulder buttons and a secondary USB-C port enhance the experience.

In essence, Asus hasn’t just created a faster gaming phone; the ROG Phone 8 Pro excels beyond gaming, offering a valuable all-around experience.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Pricing and Availability

Priced at $1,099 / £949 (roughly AU$1,640), the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro hit the shelves on January 16, 2024. This review treats the three variants as a unified entity due to their fundamental similarities.

Starting with the base model, the plain Asus ROG Phone 8 offers 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and classic RGB lighting. Stepping up to the ROG Phone 8 Pro at $1,199 / £1,099 (approximately AU$1,790) boosts you to 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a shift to subtle LED lighting on the back.

For the premium experience, the exclusive ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition, priced at $1,499 / £1,299 (around AU$2,240) on the Asus official online store, packs 24GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, LED lighting, and includes an external AeroActive Cooler X fan in the box.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Pricing and Availability

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: In-Depth Specs

AttributeSpecification
Dimensions163.8 x 76.8 x 8.9mm
Weight225g
Display6.78-inch, up to 165Hz Full HD+ AMOLED
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM12GB / 16GB / 24GB (LPDDR5X)
Storage256GB / 512GB / 1TB (UFS 4.0)
OS (at launch)Android 14
Primary Camera50MP f/1.9 Sony IMX890 1/1.56-inch sensor w/ 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal
Ultra-wide Camera13MP f/2.2 120˚ FoV w/ freeform lens
Telephoto Camera32MP f/2.4 3x zoom w/ OIS
Front Camera32MP f/2.5
Battery5,500mAh
Charging65W wired, 15W wireless
ColorsPhantom Black, Rebel Grey
ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: In-Depth Specs

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: A Closer Look at Design

The ROG Phone 8 Pro marks a departure from overtly ‘gamery’ aesthetics. Asus recognized the need for a design that blends into everyday life. At 8.9mm thickness and 225g weight, it aligns with flagship standards.

Its rounded edges, subdued color palette, and refined shimmery finish distinguish it from previous gaming-centric designs. The Pro model, sans RGB lighting, introduces AniMe Vision—341 discreet white LEDs conveying vital information when activated.

Notably, Asus embraced IP68 certification, a boon for accidental water exposure. The absence of the bulky AeroActive Portal enhances durability, complemented by the AeroActive Cooler X fan accessory.

However, the reduction in bezel size makes room for a punch-hole selfie cam, sacrificing a bit of display real estate. Front-firing speakers are missed, affecting audio quality in landscape mode.

Gaming-centric elements like Air Triggers persist, providing tactile controls for enhanced gameplay. The secondary USB-C port on the longer edge facilitates convenient charging during landscape gaming. Plus, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack caters to low-latency audio needs.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: A Closer Look at Design

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Unveiling the Display

The ROG Phone 8 Pro boasts a 6.78-inch E6 OLED display, not the sharpest at 1080 x 2400 (FHD+), especially in its price range. However, my experience prompts no complaints.

With a peak brightness of 2,500 nits in HDR and 1,600 nits in high brightness mode, it excels outdoors. Even with auto-brightness off, it hits an impressive 775 nits, surpassing the Red Magic 9 Pro’s 445 nits.

Switching to Normal mode, the display exhibits accurate and natural colors. As an LTPO panel, it dynamically adjusts between 1 to 120Hz for energy efficiency during regular usage. When gaming, it cranks up to an impressive 165Hz, catering to potential high-refresh-rate games.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Exploring the Cameras

Elevating its flagship status, the ROG Phone 8 Pro packs a vastly improved 1/1.56-inch main camera with a gimbal. This 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal, akin to the Zenfone 10, outperforms standard optical image stabilization, ensuring steadiness.

Teaming up with a 13-inch ultra-wide lens featuring a freeform design and introducing a dedicated 32MP 3x telephoto lens, Asus has fortified its camera game. The 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890 sensor, shared with the OnePlus 11, contributes to well-exposed and detailed shots across various lighting conditions.

The gimbal’s prowess extends beyond night shots, delivering remarkably steady video footage. A user-friendly UI element ensures the gimbal is actively enhancing stability during capture. As ASUS enhances both aesthetics and camera capabilities, the ROG Phone 8 Pro emerges as a serious flagship contender.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Camera Performance Unveiled

Delving into Hyper Steady mode, the camera crops in, employing electronic image stabilization (EIS) for smoother active shots. Capture options include 8K at 24fps or 4K at 60fps, but Hyper Steady mode is exclusive to 1080p/30fps.

The addition of a 32MP 3x telephoto camera elevates zoomed shots, maintaining crispness and tonal consistency with the main sensor. However, the 13MP ultra-wide camera exhibits tone, detail, and dynamic range disparities, despite the inclusion of a distortion-reducing freeform lens.

AI image processing occasionally misinterprets scenes, evident in shots of an old train carriage with exposure inconsistencies across lenses. The 32MP selfie camera, while offering flexibility with a ‘0.7x’ wider view, presents a slight lack of subject sharpness.

While not challenging the camera prowess of flagship competitors, the ROG Phone 8 Pro represents a significant leap forward for gaming phones, moving toward respectability in photography.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Camera Performance Unveiled

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Unleashing Performance

Beneath its stylish exterior, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is a powerhouse. Fueling this beast is the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, setting a 2024 standard.

Ranging from 12GB to a hefty 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM in the Pro Edition, the specs scream cutting-edge. The Geekbench 6 CPU benchmark hits around 7,200, aligning with top-tier competitors.

In GPU-focused benchmarks, the ROG Phone 8 Pro excels, outperforming the Red Magic 9 Pro in on-screen tests. However, the Red Magic 9 Pro gains an edge in sustained performance, thanks to its integrated fan cooling system.

The ROG Phone 8 Pro may warm up during extended gaming sessions, especially without an integrated fan. Yet, it remains a top-tier performer, effortlessly handling graphically intensive games at maximum settings.

Storage options range from 256GB to a whopping 1TB, offering ample space for games and media files. In essence, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is a formidable force in the competitive realm of high-performance smartphones.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Navigating the Software

Running on Android 14 with the ROG UI, Asus keeps things refreshingly close to the stock Android experience. Unlike some counterparts, like Nubia’s Red Magic OS 9.0, setup and operation are smooth, devoid of previous hiccups.

The user-friendly experience kicks off with a choice between stock Android or the Asus Optimized quick settings panel. The flexibility extends to a Classic (stock) home screen layout—a feature sorely missed in other Android devices.

The ROG UI, akin to Zen UI on the Zenfone 10, introduces subtle cosmetic tweaks and gaming-centric elements. The Armoury Crate app takes center stage, allowing users to fine-tune performance, Air Trigger configurations, and load custom macros for individual games.

Though the interface includes some ‘gamer’ wallpapers and a couple of pre-installed apps, it remains uncluttered. The Armoury Crate UI overlay feature, accessible during gameplay, enhances the ease of mapping Air Trigger controls.

Asus commits to at least two major OS updates, ensuring the ROG Phone 8 Pro stays current up to Android 16, coupled with four years of security updates. While it doesn’t lead in software updates among premium Android phones, the robust hardware compensates for any shortcomings.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro: Navigating the Battery Scene

To achieve a sleeker design, Asus trimmed the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s battery to 5,500mAh from its predecessor’s 6,000mAh. While chip and display enhancements compensate, there’s an acknowledged dip in stamina compared to the previous model—a drawback in the gaming phone realm, known for pushing limits.

For context, the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro sports a larger 6,500mAh battery. In practical terms, the ROG Phone 8 Pro falls slightly behind its more affordable counterpart. In a typical day with moderate usage, it hovered just under 50% by the end, whereas the Red Magic 9 Pro maintained a robust 65%.

Despite its smaller battery, the 65W charger bundled with the ROG Phone 8 Pro delivers swift results, reaching 100% in about 40 minutes. An added advantage is the inclusion of 15W wireless charging, a thoughtful touch often absent in gaming phones, enhancing overall usability.

Should You Consider the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro?

Go ahead and Buy:

  • If you desire a gaming phone without an ostentatious appearance, the ROG Phone 8 Pro strikes the right balance.
  • Seeking gaming luxuries like wireless charging, IP rating, and a telephoto camera? The ROG Phone 8 Pro delivers.
  • For sustained flagship performance, the ROG Phone 8 Pro outshines competitors, maintaining its prowess over extended periods.

Don’t Buy If:

  • On a budget? The ROG Phone 8 Pro comes at a premium, while competitive gaming experiences are available at a lower cost.
  • Do you prefer slim and lightweight phones? Despite a refined design, the ROG Phone 8 Pro retains its chunky profile.
  • Long-term commitment concerns? Asus commits to only two years of major Android updates for the ROG Phone 8 Pro.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Review: Alternatives to Consider

PhonePrice (at launch)Dimensions (mm)Weight (g)OS (at launch)DisplayChipsetRAMStorageRear CamerasFront CameraBattery (mAh)
Nubia Red Magic 9 ProFrom $649 / £579 / (around AU$965)164 x 76.4 x 8.9229Android 146.8-inch (1116 x 2480) up to 120Hz BOE Q9+ AMOLEDSnapdragon 8 Gen 312GB / 16GB (LPDDR5X)256GB / 512GB (UFS 4.0)50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro12MP6,500
Asus ROG Phone 7 UltimateFrom $1,399 / £1,199.99 / AU$2,099173 x 77 x 10.3239Android 136.78-inch (1080 x 2448) 165Hz AMOLEDSnapdragon 8 Gen 216GB512GB (UFS 4.0)50MP main, 13MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro32MP6,000
iPhone 15 Pro MaxFrom $1,199.99 / £1,199 / AU$2,199159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25221iOS 176.7-inch (2796 x 1290) adaptive 120Hz Super Retina XDR OLEDApple A17 Pro8GB (LPDDR5)256GB / 512GB / 1TB (NVMe)48MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP 5x telephoto12MP4,422

Note: Prices, dimensions, weights, and specifications may vary. Always check the latest information before making a decision.

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