ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Philippines Hands-on initial verdict: The ROG Phone 8 Pro sheds many of its polarizing, gaming-centric features in favor of a cleaner design and better day-to-day usability. It’s the most normal we’ve ever seen the ROG Phone, and it’s all the better for it.
ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Philippines Hands-on: Design
There’s a huge change in the design of the ROG Phone 8 Pro VS the previous generation. The most obvious here is the fact that the design doesn’t scream gamer anymore. Gone are the gaming accents on the rear that peppers the back of the ROG Phone 7 Pro, as well as the large, OLED strip. What’s left is a sleek, matte black design with a black metal frame, with a few, understated grey accents.
My first impression of using the phone for a day was that it felt normal. Previous ROG Phones were big, tall, and heavy – the ROG Phone 8 Pro was none of those. Its overall size is close to what you’d expect from a regular flagship, and it’s fairly comfortable to hold and use one-handed. Older ROG Phones put a premium on the screen and gaming experience, which resulted in them being larger and more ungainly than your average phone.
Probably the only obvious gamer nod that the ROG Phone 8 Pro has is the AniMe Matrix OLED at the back that lights up when you’re charging, playing games or music, or when you receive a notification. And even that can be turned off if you want to go stealth mode.
The ROG Phone 8 Pro also gets one of our most requested features: water resistance. ASUS has managed to seal the phone up tight enough to get IP68 water resistance, which puts it in line with most flagship phones in the market today.
There are still shoulder buttons at the side of the phone that you can use as virtual buttons when you play games, but unfortunately, they’ve also been downgraded. They’re no longer ultrasonic, so there are no advanced features like sliding or holding to tap.
There are still two USB Type-C ports that you can use, one on the bottom and one on the frame, though the frame-mounted one loses its three-pin functionality for advanced accessories. The front-facing speakers have been reduced to a bottom-firing one as well, and it’s been reduced in volume.
ASUS still includes the AeroActive Cooler with each ROG Phone 8 Pro, though it too has been changed. It’s smaller now, has two fewer keys and no longer has a subwoofer, a feature that I enjoyed with the ROG Phone 7 Pro. Despite that, it still does its job well and manages to keep the phone cool during long gaming sessions with Genshin Impact.
Despite many of the necessary “downgrades” that the phone has had to endure to put it in line with other flagships in its class, the ROG Phone 8 Pro still feels like the best that ASUS has ever put out to date.
ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Philippines Hands-on: Display and cameras
As we said earlier, the ROG Phone 8 Pro gets a slightly smaller display this time around at just 6.78 inches. It’s still FHD+, but it’s now brighter than before, sporting 2500 nits of peak brightness. It also has a 165Hz refresh rate, HDR10 plus Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection.
One thing that ASUS worked on for the ROG Phone 8 Pro is the cameras. Gone are the days when we usually tell you that you don’t get a gaming phone for its cameras. The ROG Phone 8 Pro has a 50-megapixel camera with an f/1.9 aperture plus PDAF and a gimbal OIS, paired with a 32-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens and 3x optical zoom, as well as a 13-megapixel f/2.2 aperture lens for ultrawide snaps.
Photos taken from the main camera look good – at least better than we’ve seen on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. There’s plenty to take a look at camera-wise for the ROG Phone 8 Pro so we have to take our time with it, but for now take a look at the sample photos we took:
ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Philippines Hands-on: Performance, battery life and software
Despite all of the design changes, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is still a gaming phone at its heart. Since it’s ASUS’ top-of-the-line machine, it gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. ASUS went all out with the top-end model when it comes to RAM and storage too, with the ROG Phone 8 Pro getting 1TB of storage and a whopping 24GB of RAM – that’s more RAM and storage than most PCs today.
Because of those ridiculous specs, the ROG Phone 8 Pro runs everything you throw at it with ease. There’s no reason why you should hold back when you’re playing games like Genshin Impact or Tower of Fantasy – crank those graphics settings to high and enjoy the ride.
Because of its smaller overall dimensions, the ROG Phone 8 Pro gets a smaller battery – just 5500mAh VS the usual 6000mAh that you got with previous generations. Fast charging also hasn’t moved past 65W, though the phone now gets 15W of wireless charging as well.
ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Philippines Hands-on Wrap-up
The ROG Phone 8 Pro is the most gentrified we’ve ever seen a phone from a gaming brand become, but that’s not a bad thing. ASUS removed a lot of features that were either too polarizing for the general public or were just not needed for a gaming phone. And the result is a phone that looks like a sleeper but has tons and tons of power under the hood. This may just be the best ROG Phone ever.