ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review

ASUS ROG has released its latest gaming mobile with ASUS ROG Phone 8 in standard and Pro models, but is it enough to pull gamers away from flagship mainstays?

Custom image of the back of the back of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition for a review of the device

Our Verdict

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition is a powerhouse right out of the gates and arrives as potentially the best gaming phone on the market. While it’s an expensive bit of kit, it’s worth it for any hardcore mobile gamer, but also provides plenty of utility for those just looking for a capable smartphone with plenty of storage and great cameras.

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is a new formidable contender against other flagship Android devices. This latest model isn’t just a mere upgrade but a significant leap forward in redefining what a gaming smartphone can be. There’s plenty to shout about, including the ridiculous cooling solution ASUS ROG seems to be sticking with – spoiler: it’s practical now. There are also some questionable downgrades, such as the battery size, but is it worth dropping your Samsung or Pixel to get the best gaming experience on Android?

Gaming phones have something to prove in 2024. Some people think all mobile phones can play any game or run any app, but that’s not true. While most modern phones can run most releases, ASUS ROG Phone 8 and Pro models focus on player experience with extra buttons and AI-powered tools that actually can make a difference. Are all of these gimmicks practical? Well, let’s find out.

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A home screen with a Bulbasaur background on the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition for a review of the phone

Pros: 

  • Best-in-class gaming performance
  • Improved cameras
  • Massive internal storage

Cons: 

  • Expensive
  • Cooling fan isn’t always practical

Price and availability

ROG Phone 8 comes in Phantom Black and Rebel Grey with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage and will be available for $1,099.99. Fancy a faster experience with more storage? ROG Phone 8 Pro with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB storage will be available at $1,199.99.

The version covered in this review, ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition with 24 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, and an AeroActive Cooler X in the box, will be available for $1,499.99. This model is exclusive to ASUS’s Official Online Store.

Specs

Battery 5500mAh, 65W HyperCharge, Wireless Qi 1.3 compatible
Display 6.78-inch 165Hz Samsung E6 AMOLED (2400×1080 pixels)
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM 24GB
Storage 1TB
Front camera 32MP
Back cameras 50MP IMX890 primary, 13MP ultrawide, 32MP telephoto
Weight 225g
Dimensions 163.8mm x 76.8mm x 8.9mm
Colors Phantom Black

Features

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition enhances mobile gaming with the features found in ASUS homegrown tech, X Capture and X Sense 2.0. X Capture utilizes an AI pattern recognition system to detect and record critical moments during gameplay automatically. It records kills, deaths, and victory moments, so you don’t need to worry about capturing that massive frag – Unreal Tournament must make a comeback for this reason alone.

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X Sense 2.0, optimized for popular games like Genshin Impact, offers functionalities like auto pick-up, fast-forward, and auto escape, enhancing gameplay by automating repetitive tasks and allowing players to focus on strategic aspects of the game. You would only usually find this in emulators, cheating software, or turbo controllers, and if you opt to use it, you should do so responsibly.

ASUS AI features can also do handy things for fans of auto battlers, like keeping games running in background mode. Another helpful feature is using the software to record keywords to find guides online. Just admit it: we all use them. Combining these AI Gaming features in the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition creates a user-centric gaming experience. Best of all, it’s optional, giving players even more choice.

ASUS has incorporated the Game Cool 8 cooling system to chill its powerful internals. This innovative system uses a five-section design, including a vapor chamber and advanced materials like Boron Nitride, to enhance thermal efficiency. This efficient cooling mechanism is essential to maintain peak performance during extended gaming sessions, preventing thermal throttling that can hinder processor performance.

ASUS includes the AeroActive Cooler X in the Pro Edition pack, featuring dual triggers at the top to compliment the phone’s double-touch triggers on its side. It features another Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 IoC to control temperature extraction of fixing to the ROG Phone 8 back plate for optimal heat distribution. Using the Chilled setting almost literally turns the contact pad into a refrigerator. It’s an amazing bit of tech.

Custom image of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition cooler on the back of the device for a review of the phone

The ROG Phone 8 Pro also utilizes AI-driven machine learning in its audio offering for computational noise cancellation. Supporting upload and download directions, this tech ensures incoming and outgoing audio is crisp and clear, both in and out of games. Team-based games should run without a hitch.

The integration of DIRAC VIRTUO technology for headphone spatial sound is another highlight. It supports all headphones, providing an immersive audio experience irrespective of headphone brand or model. Spatial audio via headphones is another level of audio design in gaming, from thrillers to shooters. Hearing footsteps behind or bullets shooting past one’s head wraps you in immersion.

In a world of Bluetooth and other wireless tech, it’s great to see powerful gaming handsets rock a 3.5mm headphone jack. Whether wired or wired, the sound quality is fantastic. It adds flexibility for those who need more money to splash out on a premium Bluetooth headset or buds.

Design

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro elevates design to new heights, presenting a form that is as functional yet striking. The phone’s chassis, significantly lighter than its predecessor, practically shouts how ASUS has designed it purposefully for gamers. Its reduced weight enhances portability and ensures prolonged gaming sessions are comfortable, an ergonomic consideration for those looking to play for hours at a time.

Custom image of the bottom part of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition for the design section of a review of the phone

Compared to the ASUS ROG Phone 7, the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition features a 14% thinner bezel and a 15% slimmer profile, driving home comfort and ease of handling despite this slimming down. It’s still a challenging piece of kit, but one made more attractive thanks to enhanced moisture protection with its IP68 water resistance rating. Now, the republic of gamers has peace of mind in various environments, whether a rainy day or an accidental spill. Just don’t try to play Pokémon GO in the pool.

It also has a dual screen. Well, kind of. ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition has a rear “Anime Vision” Mini-LED display featuring 341 programmable LEDs. This feature adds a customizable flair and introduces practical functionalities like notification indicators and NFC-enabled secret animations. The ability to customize these displays with user-created GIFs offers a new level of personalization, which you can find in various phones with an outer screen, but the mini LEDs make it novel.

Display

At the heart of the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition’s appeal is its 6.68-inch Samsung E6 AMOLED display, rocking 2500 nits peak brightness and LTPO adaptive refresh rate peaking at 165Hz. These specs translate into a visibly superior gaming and viewing experience. The high brightness ensures excellent visibility in varied lighting conditions, which is crucial for gameplay in different environments. Meanwhile, the adaptive refresh rate contributes to battery efficiency by adjusting based on content, providing smooth visuals without unnecessary power drain.

The 720Hz touch-sampling rate of the display is a game-changer for responsiveness. This feature is especially beneficial in fast-paced games where every millisecond counts, offering gamers an edge over competitors. Victus 2 Gorilla Glass underscores ASUS’s commitment to durability and only adds to its rock-solid design, including an eye protection mode for long sessions.

Camera

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro’s camera system is a powerhouse, featuring a 50 MP primary camera equipped with a 6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer, ensuring sharper images and significantly reducing blur in action shots. The 13MP ultrawide and 32MP telephoto lenses add layers of versatility, offering everything from expansive landscape shots to detailed zoomed-in images. This range allows users to capture diverse photographic scenarios, from gaming events to everyday moments, with professional-level quality.

Custom image of the ASUS Rog Phone 8 Pro Edition camera for a review of the phone

AI-driven features like ASUS-developed AI Object Sense, which identifies and processes different objects in a photo separately, improving overall image quality. The Handheld Light Trail mode is another innovative addition, ideal for capturing movement in various environments like traffic or nature scenes. These features bolster the phone’s photography capabilities and cater to creative users who seek more than just standard snapshots from their smartphone cameras.

On the front, the 32MP RGBW sensor with a 90-degree ultrawide angle and pixel-binning technology stands out for its ability to capture high-quality selfies and group shots with greater clarity and color accuracy. This is particularly advantageous in low-light conditions, ensuring users can capture clear, vibrant images regardless of the setting. The front camera’s wide-angle also makes it ideal for video calls and streaming, providing a broader field of view that is especially useful in gaming and social interactions.

Performance

The heart of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition’s performance is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. Its 3.3GHz CPU clock speed delivers a 30% overall performance improvement over ASUS ROG 7. This increase translates into faster app launches, smoother gameplay, and more efficient multitasking.

This development means enhanced gaming experiences with reduced lag and improved frame rates for gamers, which is crucial for competitive gaming scenarios. The chipset’s 20% increased efficiency over those above means better battery management, allowing longer play sessions without frequent charging interruptions.

Custom image of the side of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 with buttons for a review of the phone

The phone’s graphics performance, powered by a 25% more efficient GPU than ROG 7, ensures the best performance on the Android-based mobile market. This improvement is evident in the high Antutu benchmark scores, where the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition outperforms competitors like the Xiaomi 14 Pro. These numerical scores reflect real-world performance gains that users can experience daily, especially in visually demanding games and applications.

Battery

The one gripe we’ve had with the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is the downgraded battery power. The 5500mAh high-capacity battery is still smaller than ROG Phone 7 by 500mAh, but it does feature support for a 65-watt HyperCharge adapter. This rapid juicing technology enables the phone to charge from 0% to 100% in just 39 minutes. Need to charge before leaving for work? Don’t worry about it and take a shower, you filthy animal.

In addition to wired charging, the ROG Phone 8 supports the Wireless Qi 1.3 standard, which is convenient but won’t charge anywhere near hypercharge speeds. It does add a layer of flexibility, allowing users to sit at home and use public wireless charge pads.

Should you buy the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition?

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition is a testament to ASUS’s mastery in crafting a gaming smartphone that transcends conventional boundaries. ASUS ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro offer a comprehensive package that appeals to hardcore gamers and general users seeking top-tier performance. The gimmicks, such as AI-powered keyword storage and noise cancellation, are practical solutions to issues mobile games face. If that sounds like an attractive proposition to you, then this smartphone is definitely worth its high price point.

It’s nearly perfect, but we’re still waiting for an ASUS Rog Phone that can cool itself and provide solid mobile controls without plugging a big fan into the back of it. It’s a beautiful fan with nice responsive triggers, but it’s not practical on the go.

Alternatives

If our ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review hasn’t convinced you, here are some alternatives for mobile gamers.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The big dog of the latest series of Apple devices is a powerhouse for gaming, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max beating out many Android alternatives. This smartphone is the obvious alternative to the ROG Phone 8 for those who aren’t a fan of Android software and would rather play it safe with an iPhone. Of course, it’s less customizable, and the internal and external cooling options aren’t as impressive as the latest ROG Phone, but if you’re an iOS die-hard, this is the potential alternative for you.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Until the impending release of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, the S23 Ultra is still the premium device from the Korean tech brand, offering the best Android experience on the market. While the S23 Ultra isn’t as gamer-friendly as the ROG Phone 8, with not nearly as many useful features just for play, it’s a fantastic all-rounder still capable of running high-intensity games like Honkai Star Rail and PUBG Mobile.