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ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review

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9.3Expert Score
It's got game

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition is a beast of a smartphone with intelligent software to help you get the most from a gaming perspective.

Design
9.5
Performance
9
Pros
  • Unique styling
  • Powerful performance
  • Customisable gaming settings and shoulder buttons
Cons
  • Camera images slightly washed out
  • Camera array protrudes a lot
  • Can get hot without the fan attachment

Some of the best gaming laptops are big, bright, ostentatious devices with colourful RGB backlighting and big branded logos. It makes sense that someone, somewhere would bring that same sensibility to smartphones.

THE ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition is the premium version of the latest Republic of Gamers smartphone. It is big, bold, and bright, with powerful specs, unique gaming features and a solid camera.

But it’s not for the faint of heart. Apple built its success on creating a phone that your Nanna could use, but the ASUS ROG Phone 8 is much more geared towards those who like to tinker with their PCs to get the best possible performance. 

This can occasionally mean that things don’t work the way you want them to, and finding the right setting to get things working properly can be difficult to find.

The back of teh ROG Phone 8 Pro EDition

Design

ASUS has launched three models in the ROG Phone 8 Series, and the model I got to test was the top of the line flagship ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition.

That slightly confusing name means I got to test the model with 24 GB RAM and 1 TB of storage. All three phones are powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, which is as good as it gets in a non-Apple iPhone right now.

Because this is a phone designed for gaming, the specs are designed to excel in gaming situations. Alongside the top of the line processor and 24 GB RAM, the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition offers a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 2400 × 1080 resolution and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. 

You can even push that refresh rate up to 165Hz if you like, and the screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions thanks to the 2,500 nits of brightness.

ASUS has also opted for a pinhole front-facing camera and an under-screen fingerprint sensor, which helps the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 screen dominate the front of the device with next to no bezel at all to be seen.

Flip the device over, and you begin to see some of that bold gaming design come into play. The camera array pops out significantly, with a sharp corner carved out over a second layer to create a striking look. An angled texture slices across the rear of the phone as well, separating the camera from the bottom half.

On that bottom half is the phone’s answer to RGB: A mini LED screen that flashes through things like the time, the phone’s battery life or ROG branding. You can also customise it if you have the time, patience, and inclination.

The Air cooler on the back of the phone

Ports to spare

As you might expect, power and volume buttons rest on the right-hand side of the phone. 

There are also two captive buttons at the top and bottom on this side of the phone. Called “Air Triggers” these buttons act like console triggers in certain games. 

Moving around to the bottom of the phone, it’s a bit surprising to find there is both a USB-C port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a headphone port on a premium phone, but the justification is there: This is a gaming phone, and so it makes sense that it wallowers gamers to connect to their expensive gaming headsets.

The surprises continue though as you rotate around to the left-hand side of the phone, where you will find a second USB-C port.

This one has a specific purpose: It allows you to connect the AeroActive Cooler X fan accessory, which came in the box of the 8 Pro Edition I was sent.

This device acts as a cooling fan for the phone for intense gaming sessions, and also includes a couple of shoulder buttons for gaming. I found it a bit awkward to really play with those triggers though, as they sit quite central to the rear of the phone.

The gaming settings on the phone

Unboxing is an experience

I just wanted to quickly shout out the unboxing experience of the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition, which was pretty cool.

Unlike a traditional Android phone where you take the phone out of the box, remove the plastic and then migrate all your crap over, the ROG Phone uses its rather bulky, hexagonal box to take you through an AR gaming experience that shows off some of the phone’s features. 

You insert the phone into different parts of the box to activate the rear LED, play a little game using the Air Triggers and experience the phone’s potential for the first time.

It’s not a great gaming experience as such, but for a gaming phone, it’s a really cool way to introduce the phone’s features and functions.

The camera protrusion on the ROG Phone 8 Pro

Performance

This is a premium smartphone designed for gamers, so it’s good to know that it has enough grunt to get the job done.

Let’s start with a look at GeekBench 6 benchmark scores, compared against other phones over $1,500:

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition
2315
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
2161
Google Pixel 8
1562
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
2289
Apple iPhone 15 Pro
2892
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
1999

Multi-core

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition
7312
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
6653
Google Pixel 8
4216
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
5388
Apple iPhone 15 Pro
7196
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
5286

GPU

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition
16442
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
11208
Google Pixel 8
5071
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
22784
Apple iPhone 15 Pro
27332
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
9100

As you can see, the ASUS holds its own across the board, topping even the iPhone 15 Pro for multi-core CPU performance.

It’s worth pointing out that the ROG Phone offers customisable performance levels through its Armoury Crate app, and it defaults to the Performance Mode as soon as you open up GeekBench. 

Maybe that gives it an unfair advantage, but ultimately, it’s showcasing the power of the phone, in my opinion.

The camera array of the phone

The Armoury Crate

Speaking of the Armoury Crate app, this is something gamers will spend a lot of time exploring and customising. It’s where you map the air triggers and customise the rear LED functionality.

Swiping in from the top corner of the phone mid-game also launches the Game Genie, which lets you customise your gaming experience. 

That means things like easily pausing notifications and calls, customising the air trigger functions, screen brightness and speaker volume.

You can even create macros for certain games, which makes gameplay quicker and easier.

If you’re interested, it can also show you system information like CPU and GPU Speeds and system temperature, plus your remaining battery life.

Camera performance

The ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition boasts a 50MP main camera, a 32MP telephoto lens and a 13MP ultra-wide.

ASUS has also packed in a 6-axis hybrid stabiliser to help keep images sharp, no matter how much your hands move.

The camera produces a lot of detail, which is great, but I found the skin tones to be slightly washed out in some lighting conditions. 

Verdict

The ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition is a beast of a phone, and I kind of love it.

It doesn’t offer the simplicity of an iPhone, and it’s not designed to be a productivity workhorse like the Galaxy S24 Ultra (though it can deliver on most tasks effortlessly).

This is a phone for gamers. It brings PC gaming customisation and functionality to a mobile device intelligently, without sacrificing the things you need from your phone, like solid battery life and impressive cameras.

The greatest challenge I think is that gaming via the Google Play Store isn’t quite at the same standard as the PC gaming market. For all the titles that are capable of running at 165Hz, most of them don’t need the processing grunt (or the 24 GB RAM) this phone provides.

Apple made waves last year by announcing its Pro models could play console games like Death Stranding, and while the list of available titles is still short, it’s still more than what’s on Android.

But with devices like this hitting shelves and opening up a new market, I expect we’ll see improvements to the quality of games launching on Android in the not too distant future.

Where to buy:

Product disclosure

ASUS supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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