ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro review: most powerful smartphone in the market?

Review Summary

Expert Rating
8.0/10

Design
★  
8.0
/10
Display
★  
8.0
/10
Software
★  
8.0
/10
Camera
★  
7.5
/10
Performance
★  
8.5
/10
Battery
★  
8.0
/10

Pros

  • Clean UI and Snappy performance
  • AirTriggers for console-like experience
  • AniMe Vision lights
  • Solid battery backup

Cons

  • Bulky and slippery
  • Limited AI features

ASUS’s ROG Phone 8 Pro series aims to go beyond the gamer audience that previous ROG phones have inherently targeted. At its core, it’s still a gaming smartphone with a handful of unique features you don’t see on competitors at any price point. However, the latest ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro features a slimmer and minimal design. There’s also a renewed focus on cameras for a broader appeal.

Under the hood, it gets Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC with LPPDR5X and UFS 4.0 memory standards. The ROG Phone 8 Pro also gets a variant with up to 24GB RAM, which is totally remarkable and unprecedented on smartphones. Does it make the most powerful (also worthwhile) smartphone in India?

Verdict

The ASUS ROG 8 Pro, with its revamped cameras and design, definitely gains an edge and can be considered by even non-gamer customers if performance is a priority. However, at its core, it is still a gaming device, and best suited for hardcore gamers. Its inbuilt AirTriggers and external accessories truly make the whole gaming experience worthwhile, perhaps next to none. Its cameras are decent and could use improvements in terms of detailing and native editing options.

Design and display

ASUS claims that the ROG 8 Pro series features the “biggest” revamp in its history, and rightfully so. It weighs 225 grams and measures 8.9mm thick, making it roughly 9 percent lighter and 15 percent slimmer than the ASUS ROG Phone 7. The rear camera module has been shrunk and sits neatly in the top right corner. The back offers a satin-like finish and fewer contours compared to last-gen, providing a subtle appearance even for non-gamers. The black variant in particular looks chic, but there’s a white option as well, which looks equally attractive.

asusrog_phone8_pro_review005

The biggest attraction of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is the built-in customisable mini-LED lights on the back, enhancing both functionality and appearance. ASUS calls it “AniMe Vision,” which uses 341 programmable mini-LEDs arranged in an 11×31 grid on the phone’s back cover. The company deserves credit for seamlessly blending the lights into the back panel, providing incredibly smooth touch (perhaps too smooth at times).

asusrog_phone8_pro_review005

The AniMe Vision lights can be adjusted for specific notifications via the native Armoury Crate app. Additionally, it’s a handy feature for checking time and notifications when the phone is resting screen-side down. There is also a variant of the ROG 8 Pro featuring RGB Aura lighting on the ASUS logo on the back, maintaining the classic gaming aesthetics familiar to ROG laptop users.

A few other things remain constant on the new ASUS ROG smartphones. For instance, it continues to carry two USB-C ports to let users simultaneously charge and plug in external accessories like the AeroActive Cooler. There are built-in AirTriggers on the right side that rely on dedicated touch sensors and haptic motors for a console-like gaming experience. It is also a rare device in the segment to offer a 3.5mm audio jack. You will find the same audio option on the ASUS AeroActive Cooler accessory (included in the box, but only Pro variant).

Overall, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro has a thoughtful design to attract moderate gamers while keeping hardcore fans in mind. However, at 225 grams, it is not a lightweight phone. The weight distribution could be improved for better ergonomics. Perhaps we will see improvements in the next iteration. For what’s worth, the phone is IP68-certified for protection against dust and water splashes, which is a must-have for devices in this range.

asusrog_phone8_pro_review005

Moving to the display, the ASUS ROG 8 Pro has one of the most decked-up specifications on any smartphone. It boasts a tall 6.78-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ (2,400 x 1,080 pixels), up to 165Hz refresh rate, and 720Hz touch sampling rate. The viewing experience is crisp and immersive as the display has super slim bezels with a 94 percent display-to-body ratio. It also offers the smoothest scrolling I’ve experienced on any other smartphone. For added durability, there’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which can provide extra protection, especially during accidental falls. However, it is still prone to scratches, which I experienced during my review.

Notably, while the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro offers sufficient brightness even under harsh sunlight, the screen does not offer desired dim levels in low light. There’s an “extra dim” option, but that does not help substantially.

Performance and gaming

As mentioned, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro draws power from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The unit I am reviewing offers 24GB of RAM and 1TB of USF 4.0 storage, priced at Rs 1,19,999, which might seem like an overkill, both in terms of price and memory. You may consider the base variant priced at Rs 94,999, which offers 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The latter will be sufficient for even the most hardcore gamers.

Based on numbers, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro comfortably surpasses all competitors in Geekbench and AnTuTu. Even in the dedicated memory benchmark via CPDT, the ROG Phone 8 Pro stands tall. The closest to ROG Phone 8 Pro based on numbers is the iQOO 12, which is half the price. However, the latter misses key gaming features, including AirTriggers and dedicated accessory support.

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow
Slider

Needless to say, the ROG Phone 8 Pro aced our gaming tests. I tested by playing demanding titles, including Real Racing 3, BGMI, Call of Duty, and Genshin Impact. Not only did the ROG Phone 8 trump in terms of graphics and consistent frame rate, but the AirTriggers took the experience to another level. During my testing (BGMI), the sensors worked smoothly, and the haptic feedback was tactile.

While I wish the AirTriggers had more functionalities similar to the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button, they are pure bliss for gaming. The Armoury Crate offers several options to adjust modes (X Mode for the best experience), vibrations, and the viewing area. It is also accessible by swiping inwards diagonally from the right side during games.

asusrog_phone8_pro_review005

Attaching the AeroActive Cooler also significantly aids performance, though it is not the most ergonomic accessory. Even after playing BGMI on smooth graphics and at 90fps for nearly 20 minutes, and X mode enabled, the AeroActive Cooler maintained the phone’s temperature at 33 degrees Celsius. Mind you, this is when most parts of Delhi were touching 45 degrees and ACs weren’t most effective. The accessory has physical buttons in case using AirTriggers becomes tiresome. It’s a matter of convenience, though I prefer AirTriggers more.

Beyond gaming, there’s not much to nitpick about the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro’s performance. The phone offers a clean Android build and you can expect a lag-free experience. However, it has very limited native AI and gen-AI features for productivity. In that case, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro remain champions in terms of software experience.

Cameras

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro has a special focus on cameras, which wasn’t the biggest priority of older ROG Phones. The rear camera system houses a 50MP OIS-enabled camera, a 32MP telephoto camera with OIS and 3X optical zoom, and a 13MP ultra-wide camera. The front gets a 32MP camera.

There’s no doubt the rear cameras see a bump in specification and performance. Most photos with the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro feature natural colours and a neutral white balance. The phone manages shadows and contrasts quite flawlessly, making photos look highly dramatic and social media-ready. I was also happy to see colour consistency in photos taken with the wide, ultra-wide, front, and telephoto cameras.

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow
Slider

If you look closely at the photos, you will also notice that the ROG Phone 8 Pro tends to minimise noise. However, details can sometimes appear soft and even facial features in portrait mode can be difficult to spot. To be fair, the photos look good, but they lack rich details.

I noticed similar performance in low light. The ROG Phone 8 Pro balanced light and colours well in dim conditions, and kept noise minimal. As a result, details can get compromised as you zoom in.

The video performance is decent at best. The ROG 8 Pro offered good stability during full-HD recording, though that may take a hit in 4K. The front camera supports only 1080p recording at 30fps. ASUS could’ve considered adding recording at 60fps at least.

Battery

One of the reasons why the ROG Phone 8 Pro got slimmer and lighter this year is because of a relatively smaller battery unit. It carries a 5,500mAh battery instead of a 6,000mAh unit. Mind you, even a 5,500mAh battery is a highly respectable size for smartphones.

asusrog_phone8_pro_review005

In the PCMark battery test, the ROG Phone 8 Pro lasted for nearly 10 hours (flight mode enabled and 50 percent brightness and audio), which is a decent score at best. However, in real life, the phone managed to run for a full day with the highest settings enabled, including AniMe Vision lights. With moderate usage, you can easily prolong the backup.

With a bundled 30W charger in the box, the ROG Phone 8 Pro took nearly 50 minutes to fully charge from 20 percent. The phone gets 65W charging support.

Final verdict

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro, with its revamped aesthetics and cameras, can be considered a “massy” smartphone, though it is still best suited for gamers. It may also be an ideal smartphone if you want to enjoy unparalleled performance, thanks to an overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC and the latest memory standards onboard.

However, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is yet to unlock native Gen AI features, and for that, the Google Pixel 8 Pro (review) or the Samsung Galaxy S24 (review) series might be better. If your budget is tight and you still want a gaming-centric device with a decent amount of focus on cameras, the iQOO 12 (review) won’t disappoint.

But if numbers and design matter to you and you want to enjoy the smoothest scrolling experience, perhaps best of the best in terms of performance, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro stands tall over its rivals.

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10

Reasons to buy:

  • The ROG Phone 8 Pro pro offers snappy performance and clean Android UI.
  • It gets useful gaming features, such as AirTriggers and AeroActive Cooler. Plus, loads of options in the Armoury Crate.
  • The AniMe Vision lights on the back give it a unique look. The backlight can also be a useful quick notification glace.
  • The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro offers solid battery backup.

Reasons not to buy:

  • The ROG Phone 8 Pro remains bulky to carry. Its back panel can also feel slippery.
  • The cameras are decent at best. Images can lack details once zoomed in.