July 17, 2024
One of many first Android telephones of 2024 isn’t what you count on
One of many first Android telephones of 2024 isn’t what you count on
A person holding the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, showing the back.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

You in all probability didn’t count on a flagship smartphone to launch at CES 2024 — a present the place cell information is normally secondary to TVs, computer systems, and wearables. However Asus has used its Las Vegas go to to disclose the ROG Telephone 8 and ROG Telephone 8 Professional, the newest fashions in its long-running gaming cellphone vary.

It’s not simply the timing that’s surprising — it’s the ROG Telephone 8 Professional itself. Sure, it’s an Asus Republic of Avid gamers (ROG) smartphone geared toward cell players, but it surely’s additionally not like all of the others which have come earlier than it. If you happen to anticipated the ROG Telephone 8 Professional to be an all-out, zero-compromise gaming behemoth, put together to be somewhat bowled over by what it truly is.

What you’ll want to know in regards to the ROG Telephone 8 Professional

The back of the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Earlier than we get into what makes the ROG Telephone 8 and ROG Telephone 8 Professional so shocking, let’s discuss in regards to the specs, as a result of that’s pure ROG. There are two fashions within the vary, with the ROG Telephone 8 Professional being the cellphone I’ve been making an attempt out, and the one with the best spec. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor sits at its coronary heart, backed up by 16GB of RAM and 512GB of space for storing, however you can even get a monster model with 24GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

There’s a 6.78-inch LPTO Samsung versatile AMOLED touchscreen with a most 165Hz refresh price for some video games, whereas in any respect different occasions, it runs between 1Hz and 120Hz. It additionally has 720Hz contact sampling and an enormous 2,500 nits most brightness. It’s set beneath flat glass, with smaller bezels than earlier ROG Telephones, in an 8.9mm thick steel physique that weighs 228 grams. For the primary time, Asus has made the ROG Telephone water and mud resistant with an IP68 ranking.

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro's screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

On the again is a 50-megapixel predominant digicam with Asus’ 6-axis gimbal stabilizer, additionally seen on the Asus Zenfone 10, plus a 13MP 120-degree wide-angle digicam and a 32MP telephoto digicam with a 3x optical zoom. Pixel binning means the pictures taken at this degree of zoom might be 8 megapixels. On the entrance is a 32MP selfie digicam, and contained in the cellphone is a 5,500mAh battery and a very revised cooling system — consisting of all the things from copper warmth sinks and graphite sheets to boron nitrate injected into cavities to help warmth switch — to be sure you can sport for hours.

One other new ROG function is wi-fi charging, which joins the 65-watt HyperCharge wired possibility that takes the battery to full in about 40 minutes. The ROG Telephone 8 Professional wouldn’t be full with out the AirTriggers mounted on every shoulder, which could be mapped to totally different controls in any sport. There’s additionally a brand new mini LED show on the again of the cellphone, which exhibits as much as 20 totally different animations for various situations.

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro's camera lenses.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

For the software program, it comes with Android 14 and a selection of Asus’ personal customized theme or a extra standard-looking possibility, plus quite a lot of AI options (as a result of it’s 2024). The first mode is X Sense 2.0 for gaming, which is able to fast-forward cutscenes and carry out actions like auto pickup, working lock, and faucet to flee. Different options embrace AI Noise Cancellation for calls and for in-game chat, a Semantic Search system that works offline too, and an AI Wallpaper system.

The ROG Telephone 8 could be very related, however has a easy RGB show on the again, somewhat than the flowery mini LED model on the Professional, and it comes with 256GB of inside space for storing. You may also get an ROG Telephone 8 Professional Version, which comes with the newest AeroCool X fan cooling accent. It has a better fan pace than earlier fashions to chill much more successfully, plus it incorporates one other RGB show, two bodily buttons, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The specs are acquainted, however the cellphone is just not

A person holding the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

After studying via the in depth specs, the ROG Telephone 8 Professional will sound fairly acquainted to followers of the collection. It’s a gaming cellphone with many of the proper gaming credentials. Not like earlier ROG Telephones, nonetheless, it’s not solely about gaming, and also you’ll realize it as quickly as you maintain it. It’s thinner and lighter — and likewise shorter and wider — than the ROG Telephone 7 Final. This makes it really feel like a “regular” cellphone in your hand, freed from the ungainly really feel of the outdated fashions.

It’s an enormous change, and one Asus could be very eager to emphasise whereas on the similar time telling us that the ROG Telephone 8 continues to be very a lot a devoted gaming smartphone. It says the ROG Telephone 8 Professional nonetheless has ROG DNA, however the redesign simply makes it extra appropriate for on a regular basis use, proper right down to the improved digicam specs and the addition of IP68 and wi-fi charging. However is that right? Nicely, form of.

The flashing lights are nonetheless on board (an ROG Telephone staple), and the hidden-until-lit LED panel appears superior, and so is the side-mounted USB-C charging port. However gone are motorized thermal vents for much more cooling, among the extra mad styling and colour decisions, ports for particular docks, and the three.5mm headphone jack. The FHD+ display screen decision is somewhat decrease than anticipated too. The bezels across the display screen have been minimized, which is able to please as many individuals as it can anger, as they made good sense on a cellphone that may typically be held in portrait orientation for gaming.

There’s no query these alterations have made the ROG Telephone 8 Professional extra usable, however principally for whenever you’re not taking part in video games. It has been my major smartphone for a number of weeks now, and its normality jogs my memory of assorted chunky Xiaomi flagship telephones just like the Xiaomi 13 Extremely. The ROG Telephone 7 was a little bit of a chore to hold round and use whenever you weren’t gaming, however that’s not the case with the ROG Telephone 8 Professional.

An excellent larger problem?

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and ROG Phone 8 Pro's rear panels.
Asus ROG Telephone 7 Final (left) and ROG Telephone 8 Professional Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Asus says the ROG Telephone 8 has been formed primarily based on requests from customers, indicating the modifications haven’t come from those that thought-about the cellphone, solely to dismiss it attributable to its measurement and form. It suggests even hardcore cell players need the ROG Telephone to be greater than only a gaming cellphone, however by following this path, Asus runs the danger of alienating its actually hardcore followers who might have bought the cellphone exactly due to the facets which have now been eliminated.

Why is the ROG Telephone 8 Professional shocking? It’s that Asus has taken this step in any respect. The ROG Telephone has all the time been a shameless, no-compromise gaming cellphone, and simply the very best of its variety you could possibly purchase. Now, though it nonetheless has many of the particular gaming parts in place, it has edged quite a bit nearer to telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely, the Google Pixel 8 Professional, and the Apple iPhone 15 Professional Max.

If Asus discovered it exhausting to compete when it wasn’t a direct competitor to those telephones, it may have a shock coming when it’s one. We are going to discover out if it’s ok to compete in our full evaluate, which is coming quickly. If it’s not, the ROG Telephone 8 Professional might have misplaced the one factor that made it actually stand out and such a singular proposition. It is also the ultimate (albeit silent) admission that gaming telephones don’t actually make sense anymore, and that the ROG Telephone 7 Final will be the final actual, no-compromise gaming smartphone we’ll see.

ROG Telephone 8 Professional worth and availability

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro's screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Asus has not confirmed the discharge date for the ROG Telephone 8 but, however it will likely be bought within the U.S., similar to earlier variations. The usual ROG Telephone 8 prices $1,099 with a particular preorder worth of $999, whereas the ROG Telephone 8 Professional prices $1,199. If you’d like the ROG Telephone 8 Professional Version, it can price $1,499.

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