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Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review: Lifestyle makeover

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review: Lifestyle makeover

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro marks a significant shift from previous models. It's a flagship phone first, and a gaming phone second. With its latest iteration, Asus has decided to widen the appeal of its gaming smartphones by going mainstream. That means improving the non-gaming features, like the camera, which have often been overlooked in the series. While the ROG Phone 8 Pro still retains many gaming features, it now also feels like a flagship device that's ready to compete with the likes of Samsung. I tested the more expensive ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition, which is essentially the same phone as the standard ROG Phone 8 Pro, but with more memory and storage, and comes with a cooler accessory.

Quick specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor with 24GB system memory and 1TB storage
  • 6.78-inch AMOLED screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels, 165Hz)
  • 50MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide camera and 32MP telephoto camera
  • 5,500mAh battery

Right from the start, the ROG Phone 8 Pro feels different in the hand. It's slimmer, and slightly lighter (225g vs 239g) than its predecessor. The bezels are narrower, especially at the top, with Asus switching to a hole-punch selfie camera to cater to mainstream users. The matte black rear of the phone is also less flashy, though the ROG motto “Dare to Win” survives the cut. It also has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, up from IP54 for the previous version. Overall, the ROG Phone 8 Pro looks more like a mainstream phone, like something you'd see from Xiaomi or Poco.

However, this impression may change once you enable the programmable mini-LED lighting at the back (dubbed AniMe Vision) that can show various animations such as when you receive an incoming call, or when you're playing music on the phone. The 6.78-inch AMOLED screen appears similar to last year's version, with an identical FHD+ resolution and a smooth 165Hz refresh rate. It's brighter, though, topping out at 2,500 nits, up from 1,500 nits.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro
You can set the mini-LED lighting to display various animations like the battery level. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The biggest change is the ROG Phone 8 Pro's triple camera system. The main camera sensor has been upgraded, and for the first time in the series, there's a telephoto lens (3x). There's also a gimbal stabiliser to reduce shake while shooting videos. Photos taken in the day look good at first glance. The colours, especially, are spot-on, and not too saturated like some Samsung phones. But on closer examination, the photos do look slightly over-sharpened and overly processed compared with similar shots by the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

The new 32MP 3x telephoto lens is pretty good — the phone also has up to 30x digital zoom. These 30x photos are blurry in places, but usable if you're trying to see what a distant signboard is saying. Night shots are decent with acceptable noise level, though images can be a tad smeary. There's no blooming from light sources. The new HyperSteady video stabilisation feature works great — videos taken while I was running with the phone only has a slight shakiness to them, and are very usable.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro
The AeroActive Cooler X (shown here) is included with the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Gamers will be pleased that Asus hasn't compromised on the gaming features. Notably, you'll still get the AirTrigger controls that work like the shoulder buttons on a controller, and arguably give users an advantage in games. My review unit also comes bundled with the AeroActive Cooler X that adds two more physical buttons, and helps to keep temperatures in the 30 degrees Celsius range during gaming sessions. The stereo speakers still sound great, while the headphone jack has also been retained.

With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, performance is unsurprisingly top-tier. The ROG Phone 8 Pro managed a Geekbench 6 score of 2,251 (single) and 7,141 (multi), which are the highest I have seen, narrowly beating out Samsung's flagship S24 Ultra (2,049 and 6,637 respectively). It also supports the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard. However, the battery has been reduced in size (from 6,000mAh to 5,500mAh), likely to accommodate the slimmer design. Battery life dipped significantly from over 12 hours for the ROG Phone 7 to 8hr 13min for the latest model in PCMark's battery life test.

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At S$1,599 for the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, and S$1,999 for the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition (bundled with the cooler), we're looking at a S$100 price hike over last year for both models. That's still cheaper than the S24 Ultra, and competitive with the S24+. It remains to be seen if the lifestyle makeover given to Asus' gaming phone will increase its appeal to more mainstream users. I certainly liked what I saw, especially with the improved camera as well as the slimmer, less flashy design. Asus also managed to keep most gaming features intact, though the battery did take quite the hit. Get the ROG Phone 8 Pro from Shopee and Lazada.

Note: Review unit provided by Asus.

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Tweaked to appeal to mainstream users and gamers alike

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