Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro: A Comprehensive Gaming Beast Review
Asus has returned with a bang in 2024, unveiling its flagship gaming phone, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro. In many ways, this iteration differs from its predecessors. With the gaming landscape evolving rapidly, Asus aimed to create a device with broader appeal, one that could compete head-to-head with traditional flagships.
This review delves into the design, build quality, display, performance, and other key features to determine whether the ROG Phone 8 Pro retains its throne as the gaming phone king.
Design and Build Quality
Gaming phones often cater to a niche audience, primarily mobile gaming enthusiasts, and the ROG phones have been at the forefront in providing top-notch gaming features and customization options. However, with the ROG Phone 8 Pro, Asus has opted for a more mainstream design. The matte black finish, devoid of vibrant gamer-style colors and geometric elements, adds a touch of elegance. The aluminum frame seamlessly meets the Gorilla Glass back, resulting in a lighter and more compact device compared to its predecessor.
While the design is more conventional, Asus hasn’t completely abandoned its gaming roots. The signature side port, a second USB-C port for charging and accessories, makes a return. Notably, the ROG Phone 8 family now boasts an IP68 rating for water submersion, a significant improvement from the previous IP54 Splash proofing. The rear of the phone features a programmable mini LED Matrix called Anime Vision, which supports black and white GIF animations, adding a unique gamer flair.
The AeroActive Cooler X accessory, bundled with the Pro Edition and available separately for the standard Pro and vanilla 8 models, enhances the gaming experience. With RGB lights, extra buttons, a kickstand, and various ports, it efficiently cools the phone during extended gaming sessions.
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The ROG Phone 8 Pro boasts a 6.78-inch E6 OLED display with a 1080p resolution and an impressive 165Hz adaptive refresh rate. The adaptive refresh rate, ranging from 5Hz to 165Hz, ensures energy efficiency when not interacting with the phone. The introduction of a punch-hole camera and slimmer bezels gives the device a more modern look, though some gamers may miss the extra space provided by larger bezels for a better grip during gaming.
The display delivers sharp and contrasty visuals with excellent color accuracy and HDR10+ support. With a maximum brightness of 830 nits (manual) and over 1,700 nits (auto), the display excels in various lighting conditions. The absence of a notification LED is compensated by a virtual notification indicator that lights up the display corner for notifications.
The audio system of the ROG Phone 8 Pro has undergone changes. While it retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, the front-facing stereo speakers have been repositioned. Though the sound remains of high quality, it lacks the fullness and bass found in its predecessor, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. However, the device supports external audio accessories and can be connected to an Xbox controller via Bluetooth.
Biometric Input and Air Triggers
The under-display fingerprint scanner on the ROG Phone 8 Pro is quick and accurate, providing seamless biometric access. The air trigger system, a hallmark of ROG phones, makes a return but with some downgrades. The sensors are no longer ultrasonic and lack support for advanced inputs like long presses and swipes. However, motion controls are still available, ensuring a familiar gaming experience.
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Powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, the ROG Phone 8 Pro offers top-tier performance. With up to 24GB of LPDDR5x RAM and up to a terabyte of UFS 4.0 storage, the device excels in benchmark tests, outperforming its predecessor and other 2023 flagships.
The sustained performance and thermal management are commendable, especially when coupled with the AeroActive Cooler X accessory. The cooling fan attachment significantly enhances performance during extended gaming sessions.
User Interface and Gaming Features
Running on Android 14 with Asus’s customized UI, the ROG Phone 8 Pro offers a familiar interface for ROG phone users. The Game Genie overlay provides performance feedback and various gaming options, including the AI Grabber, which recognizes in-game text for web searches. The Armory Crate offers in-depth gaming settings, allowing users to customize profiles for individual games and make system-wide changes for optimal gaming performance.
Battery Life and Charging
Despite a reduced battery capacity of 5,500mAh compared to its predecessors, the ROG Phone 8 Pro delivers impressive battery life. The inclusion of 65W fast charging ensures quick replenishment, with a 0 to 80% charge in 30 minutes and a full charge in 42 minutes. Additionally, the device supports 15W wireless charging, providing users with flexible charging options.
In a departure from previous ROG phones, the ROG Phone 8 Pro prioritizes camera capabilities. The triple-camera setup includes a 50MP main camera with gimbal stabilization, a three-times telephoto camera, and a 13MP ultra-wide camera.
Photo and video quality from the main camera are commendable, with detailed shots and good color accuracy. Night mode and dedicated night mode enhance low-light photography. The 8K video recording capability is a standout feature, offering high-quality videos with excellent detail and stability.
Telephoto and Ultra-Wide Cameras: The telephoto camera produces sharp 8MP photos with good contrast and dynamic range. Night mode performance is acceptable, and video recording at 1080p provides satisfactory results. The ultra-wide camera captures 13MP photos with good detail and color accuracy. Night mode improves low-light performance, and 4K video recording is available, although the quality is not as impressive as with the main camera.
Selfie Camera: The 32MP selfie camera with a wider field of view delivers detailed and natural-looking selfies. Skin tones are accurate, providing a pleasing result for selfie enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro strikes a balance between gaming prowess and mainstream appeal. The design is more subdued, offering a device that caters to a wider audience without compromising on gaming features. The inclusion of water resistance, wireless charging, and improved cameras showcases Asus’s commitment to versatility. While there are compromises, such as a smaller battery and changes to the air trigger controls, the ROG Phone 8 Pro remains a gaming beast at its core.
Despite the slight deviations from its gaming-centric roots, the ROG Phone 8 Pro stands out as a flagship gaming phone with unparalleled hardware and an industry-leading software package. The compromises made seem justified if they contribute to a broader recognition of the ROG phone lineup. Time will tell, but as it stands, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is a highly recommended choice for gaming enthusiasts and users looking for a powerful and versatile flagship device.