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ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Review: The New Era of Lifestyle Gaming Phones

The new line of ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) phones came out and ASUS was kind enough to let me borrow the ROG Phone 8 Pro for 21 days.

THE ROG Phone 8 Pro Design

Remember the previous designs of the ROG Phone series 1-7 which screamed “I’m a GAMER because I have a GAMING Phone”? Well, ASUS decided to scrap that whole design mindset and went on a different direction: LIFESTYLE *cue in Blue Steel Zoolander face*

The new ROG Phone 8 pro is designed with a sleek black matte design with its signature ASUS glossy diagonal design right in the middle. Within the matte finish, you can see some glossy text akin to the gaming brand of ROG.

One good thing that caught my eye is that the phone has two USB-C charging ports, one on the left side (with the front of the phone facing you) and one on the bottom. Now, for non-gamers, you may ask why this feature was added. Some of the games gamers play are in landscape mode. When we put the phone in landscape mode and play while charging or streaming, the USB-C on the bottom hampers our finger dexterity and that will decrease our performance as a user. The USB-C charging port on the side, however, solves that problem and gives you more freedom to do the claw grip for your more competitive titles without any hindrance.

Some users like me are particular with their phones having a water or dust-resistant rating. I like watching on my phone over the sink while washing dishes. Since there’s a chance for it to be splashed or get wet if it falls down, I’d like to have some peace of mind that it won’t break from that experience. With the current design, ASUS made this gaming phone have an IP68 rating making it dust/water resistant.

One hand gaming, or at least one hand phone usage is back! The new size (6.45 x 3.02 x 0.35 in) makes it easier for medium-sized hands to comfortably hold it. Still, I found myself holding the phone with caution considering that the matte finish is fairly slippery. They did, however, include a plastic case which helps increases grip and friction without increasing the size and ruining the form factor.

On the lower right, though you cannot see it when it’s not activated, is the highly customizable AniMe Matrix panel. On the upper left, you’ll see the camera units all grouped into a new real estate different from previous ROG phone models.

The AniMe Matrix

This panel deserves its own subheading because it is a category on its own. Now I’ve seen some phones with their own LED panel on other parts of their phone but the the AniMe Matrix takes it down a notch to a simpler marquee-like feature. The first time I saw this feature was on the ROG Zephyrus G14. It’s customizable for different states of use with your phone: e.g. notifications, standby with the phone down, while the phone is on, playing a game, etc.

If you’re on the discreet side and you don’t want to broadcast that you’re secretly a gamer, you can opt to turn it off and it will disappear into the matte background going back to a full lifestyle mask on the phone.

The ROG Phone 8 Pro Display and Sounds

The ROG Phone 8 Pro, compared to the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, still has the 6.78 inch AMOLED display but that’s where the similarity ends. It’s now protected with the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, has a brighter display of up to 2500 nits with a base of 1600 nits, and has an FHD+ display. The display’s refresh rate can go up to 165Hz which gives a luxurious butter-smooth feel. Compared to my current phone’s limit of 120Hz and my monitor’s 144Hz, using the ROG Phone 8 Pro makes everything else in my world seem slightly out of sync in terms of refresh rate.

At full volume, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is quite satisfactory. However, I do feel that it lacks the booming sound you need at that level. I’d recommend that you use your own headphones as the phone still comes with a 3.5mm jack. That’s a big shoutout from ASUS to headphone jack users.

The ROG Phone 8 Pro Camera

I was not expecting a good camera coming from a gaming phone and I was surprised that there were decent outputs from the ROG Phone 8 Pro. The base UI of the camera app provided me with simple options but the one I was looking for, a visual aperture control, was not apparent until you click a spot and adjust it. Swiping also provided you with scale options for the output, and what was a nice addition to the camera experience was its 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal stabilizer that tells you when the camera is leveled.

Check out these non-pro normie pics I took below with the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro.

The ROG Phone 8 Pro Battery Life and Performance

I actually left the phone in standby mode for 3 days and it still had 43% of battery, from a full 100%. In terms of light gaming (2 hrs/day) with light use (2 hours scrolling/watching videos), the phone can last for 1.5 days on a full charge. Upon depleting it, I got it up from 0 to 100 in just a whopping 40 minutes using the 65W charger that came with it. In this day and age, 40 minutes is actually worth a lot because that’s how long my work sprints usually run.

Let’s get to the meat and bones of the ROG Phone 8 Pro — its Qualcomm SM8650-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, with up to 24GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. This is where the “gaming” part comes in as it came in a compact package.

I ran two games, Sipher Odyssey and Marvel Snap, with both games running on full graphics and not once did I have to use the AeroActive cooler to manage the heat. The phone did get mildly warm after an hour of full use with each game but it did not slow down the performance. I was happy about this feature as I also recorded some gameplay while playing, and the phone did not slow down once! That’s great news for content creators and streamers alike!

Running the game Sipher Odyssey on the ROG Phone 8 Pro at maximum settings and it loads fast and doesn’t flinch despite the graphics load.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Review Summary

So why did I only have it for 21 days? I’ve been looking for an Android gaming phone that will fit my aesthetic and the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro called out to me so much so I might actually buy it. Two reasons why I am seriously considering getting it is that it’s a gaming phone without looking much like a gaming phone due to its lifestyle phone aesthetic. Another reason is that it performs great on the tasks I need to do and games I like to play.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Pricing and Availability

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro comes in two variants: the ROG Phone 8 Pro – 16GB/512GB model is priced at PHP 60,995 and comes with the AeroActive Cooler X (Early Bird Bundle). The 24GB/1TB model + AeroActive Cooler X variant is priced at PHP 75,995 and comes with the ROG Cetra True Wireless (Early Bird Bundle). Take note that the Early Bird Bundle can only be availed from March 7 to April 10, 2024.

For your guide on where to buy, check it out here.