The ROG Phone 8 Pro is the device to buy if you want the highest-powered gaming phone in the market. However, a revamped, streamlined design and improved cameras means it’ll appeal to anyone looking for a premium Android handset.
For a while now, Asus has been the market leader in dedicated gaming phones.
2023’s ROG Phone 7 Ultimate was a beast of a device, instantly becoming the handset to beat for mobile gamers.
With 16GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s all-conquering Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, it delivered top-tier performance, justifying its weighty price tag. Yet as powerful as it was, Asus is hoping to go one better with its successor, the ROG Phone 8 Pro.
Like its predecessors, the 8 Pro is an extremely powerful and capable piece of kit, but this time, it’s more than just another gaming phone.
Design & Build
New lighter build
Minimalistic black design
IP68 water and dustproof rating
Probably the headline feature of the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s design is that it’s noticeably lighter and sleeker than last year’s entries.
Gone is the (slightly brash) white ‘futuristic’ design of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, with the Phone 8 Pro wielding a more discreet monotone black colour palette that will sit more comfortably with people who aren’t dedicated gamers.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
The general public will also be pleased to hear that the phone now weighs 225g, compared to 239g for the Phone 7. While this still puts it on the bulkier side of the spectrum, it’s lighter than many other premium Androids (including the 234g Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra).
The phone is also thinner than before, at 8.9mm compared to 10.49mm for the Phone 7 series. Again, this is a fairly modest difference, but it helps to give the device a different feel and vibe than its stablemates, heightening the sense that it’s targeting a wider demographic than in previous years.
Other notable features include a redesigned squarish camera module on the phone’s back, which houses its triple rear lenses and flashlight. Other than that, things are laudably minimal, with a gloss black stripe running diagonally across its matte ‘Phantom Black’ rear.
One other improvement over previous models is that the Phone 8 Pro now carries an IP68 rating. This make it water resistant to a depth of up to 1.5 metres for half an hour, but also fully protected against dust. Without a doubt, the design of the ROG Phone 8 Pro makes it a more practical everyday phone than its predecessors.
Screen & Speakers
Rich 165Hz 6.78-inch AMOLED display
Smaller top bezel & always-on display
Dual front-facing speakers sacrificed
Much like its predecessor, the ROG Phone 8 Pro boasts a large 6.78-inch AMOLED display. That includes the maximum 165Hz refresh rate, but this time it incorporates LTPO technology. This means the refresh rate can automatically adjust from 1-120Hz depending on what you’re doing, helping to boost battery life.
However, the higher maximum brightness is arguably more significant. The 8 Pro can reach a peak of 2500 nits, up from 1500 on the Phone 7 Ultimate. This makes a big difference when playing games or viewing media which requires a bit more light, especially given how reflective the screen is.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
The display is probably the biggest difference between the two phones, with the ROG Phone 8 Pro also introducing the option of having an always-on display. This feature is relatively limited, providing the time, date and battery charge, but it’s nonetheless welcome.
Because it has thinner bezels around its display, the 8 Pro includes a pin-hole selfie camera this time around. It may be a matter of taste, but jettisoning the thicker bezel at the top of the display does make for a more sophisticated appearance.
However, the one downside of having a smaller top bezel is that the phone doesn’t include the impressive dual front-facing speakers of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, which came with an onboard amplifier. The audio is still good, and does benefit from the use of spatial sound, but lacks some of that ‘wow’ factor we got before.
Specs & Performance
Superb Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Max 24GB RAM and 1TB storage
The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate was one of the most powerful smartphones in the market at the time of its release in April 2023, and the Phone 8 Pro continues Asus’ tradition of outgunning most of its rivals.
To say that the Phone 8 Pro is a powerhouse would be something of an understatement. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip onboard, it easily outperforms its predecessor in most benchmark tests.
Its speed is boosted further by the 16- or 24GB of RAM on board. Not to mention Qualcomm’s Adreno 750 GPU, which has been designed with gaming in mind and can adjust frame rates to within 1Hz.
There’s also the option of having either 512GB or 1TB of internal storage, which in either case provides plenty of space for downloads and saves. However, there’s no support for expandable storage.
Not only does the phone seem like a juggernaut on paper, it performs like one, with the device handling all of the latest Android games without any issues whatsoever. I tried games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile and Need for Speed: No Limits during my time with the device, and at no point did the ROG Phone 8 Pro experience any kind of slowdown or lag.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
This means it can handle all everyday tasks with ease, while the phone’s power and speed also make it ideal as a work device. It allowed me to run multiple apps at the same time without any issues, making it perfect for working on documents, images, videos or anything else.
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro benchmarks
As with previous ROG phones, the Phone 8 Pro is compatible with its own fan accessory. Known as the AeroActive Cooler X, Asus says it’s 29% smaller than its predecessor (the AeroActive 7) and also offers 1.2x the thermal efficiency.
Clipping this onto the side of 8 Pro is recommended when using the phone’s X-Mode, which switches on automatically whenever you begin playing more advanced titles. However, it’s still sold separately, and costs £71.99 at full price.
50Mp main rear camera
New 32Mp telephoto with 3x optical zoom
Effective night mode
If Asus really wants the ROG Phone 8 Pro to transcend the ‘gaming phone’ tag and excel as an everyday device, it needs to have a great camera. And this is a difficult area to compete in, given the wide range of great camera phones available right now.
While it can’t quite compete with those, the 8 Pro is a big step forward when it comes to camera performance. It features a triple rear lens camera module, combining a 50Mp main lens with 13Mp ultrawide and new 32Mp telephoto. Despite moving to a punch-hole selfie camera, it’s still a 32Mp sensor.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
In practice, the main 50Mp lens – a Sony IMX890 – is capable of taking some really nice photos, with the inclusion of gimbal-based optical image stabilisation (OIS) helping to prevent blurs and smears. Images are sharp and natural-looking, with no real tendency to oversaturate photos or add too much brightness.
The other two lenses are also perfectly usable, if not quite as impressive as the main camera. The 13Mp ultrawide does work well in good light, offering a slightly more saturated – but still pleasing – image than the main lens.
And while the telephoto lens does need a careful photographer to get the best out of it, its 3x optical zoom can bring you closer to the action while retaining enough detail and clarity.
It’s also good to note that the phone’s night mode works very well. As some of the camera samples show, it can help you take pretty vibrant and transparent images once the sun has gone down, provided you have a steady hand.
Battery Life & Charging
Smaller 5500mAh battery
65W wired charging
15W wireless charging
At 5500mAh, the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s battery is 500mAh smaller than the cell (actually two cells) found on the 7 Ultimate. The main reason for this reduction is to help make the device slimmer and more lightweight than its predecessors. However, Asus claims that battery life remains the same, thanks to improved software efficiencies.
In practice, everyday users will find that the phone easily lasts a couple of days without needing a recharge. As for regular gamers, they should be able to make it through a whole day, unless they solidly play more intensive games using the phone’s X-Mode.
I certainly never had any issues making it through the day on the 8 Pro’s battery, benchmark tests suggest that it doesn’t quite have the excellent longevity of earlier ROG Phones. PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test simulates real-world usage at a fairly typical 200 nits.
The 8 Pro’s score of 11 hours and 34 minutes is good, but not quite as impressive 14 hours and 55 minutes of the 7 Ultimate. However, neither make it into the top 10 of your best battery life phones round-up.
However, charging remains very speedy with the ROG Phone 8 Pro, which comes with a 65W charger that can get the phone up to around 80% in 30 minutes. And unlike the 7 Ultimate, it also supports wireless charging at 15W, although you’ll need to purchase a compatible wireless charger (it’ll work with any that are Qi enabled) separately.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
Software & Apps
Highly customisable gaming modes and options
New AI features
As with previous generation, the ROG Phone 8 Pro features two key pieces of software for gamers. The first is Game Genie, which pulls up a dashboard from the bottom of the screen, enabling gamers to change various settings while playing, from the refresh rate and gaming mode to controls and screen recording.
This helps to enhance and refine gaming experiences on the 8 Pro, as does Asus’ Armory Crate app. This is basically a one-stop hub for the device’s games and gaming features, enabling users to download and sort titles or fine-tune the phone’s performance.
Simon Chandler / Foundry
Of course, these two features help cement 8 Pro’s position as one of the leading gaming phones on the market. Yet there are a number of other welcome software features on board the device, including those that will appeal to a wider audience.
Arguably the most intriguing are a variety of AI-based tools. For example, the phone can provide AI-powered noise cancellation on calls, as well as a semantic search feature that makes finding the exact app or website you want much easier. There are also AI features for games, such as X Sense 2.0, which can provide in-game hints and prompts.
None of these features are ground-breaking on their own, but combined, they help deliver a more immersive and intuitive experience.
In terms of core software, the phone runs on Android 14, with the user-friendly ROG UI running over the top. Aside from those above, Asus hasn’t made any huge changes to software experience.
But unfortunately, it only guarantees two Android version updates, which is well behind most of the competition. You do at least get four years of security updates, though.
Price & Availability
The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is available in two versions, one with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and the more powerful reviewed here with 24GB and 1TB. They cost £1,099/$1,199.99 and £1,299/$1,499.99 respectively, and can be ordered directly from Asus, Asus US or from Amazon.
The phone is available to pre-order in the UK until 4 February, with Asus running an early-bird offer that provides buyers of the 16GB version with the AeroActive X cooler (normally, only the 24GB version comes with the cooler out of the box).
Despite being so expensive, there are no retailers selling the phone on contract. So you’ll have to buy it outright and combine with a SIM-only deal.
Users looking for alternatives could try the standard ROG Phone 8, which comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and is priced at £949/$1,099.99. It has only two other differences: no LED lighting on the back, and an alternative ‘Rebel Grey’ finish.
There are plenty of other gaming phones worth considering. But if you’re thinking about using it as a regular smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (from £1,249/$1,199) is one of very few similarly-priced Android phones.
Should you buy the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro?
The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro largely succeeds in its mission to evolve beyond being a mere gaming device.
Not only does it boast awesome processing power that can handle any game or task, but it adds an attractively streamlined design and an improved triple lens camera system.
Yes, it remains expensive, but the combination of a sharp display, speedy charging, versatile cameras and peerless performance help justify the cost. If you’re looking for a high-end Android phone and can afford it, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is definitely worth considering.