Asus recently unveiled its latest flagship gaming smartphone, the ROG Phone 8 Pro, at CES 2024. The new phone brings significant upgrades over its predecessor, with a focus on boosted performance, improved cameras, and a refined design.
Key Specs and Features
The ROG Phone 8 Pro is powered by the newest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, allowing for exceptional processing power and graphics rendering.
- Display: 6.78-inch 2448 x 1080 AMOLED, 165Hz refresh rate
- Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
- RAM/Storage: Up to 16GB RAM, up to 1TB storage
- Battery: 6000mAh
- Cameras: 50MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto
- 5G connectivity, WiFi 7 support
- Stereo speakers with Dirac HD Sound
- IP68 water and dust resistance rating
Compared to the previous ROG Phone 7, Asus has notably improved the camera system. There is now a triple camera setup, headlined by a large 50MP main sensor. Early hands-on reviews have suggested this leads to much better image quality compared to past ROG Phones.
The display also gets an upgrade to 165Hz refresh rate for incredibly smooth visuals when gaming or scrolling. And for the first time in a gaming phone, the ROG Phone 8 Pro achieves an IP68 rating for water and dust protection.
Performance and Gaming Features
As expected, gaming performance remains the highlight of the ROG Phone series. The phone is built for lag-free, high frame rate gameplay thanks to top-of-the-line specs.
Early AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmark scores reveal staggering performance from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip:
These smash previous generation Android phones. In combination with up to 16GB RAM, the hardware enables smooth gameplay at max settings.
There are also many customizations and optimization features for gaming, including:
- Multiple ultrasonic buttons for extra controls
- Advanced haptics and force feedback
- Custom X Mode for boosted performance
- Enhanced cooling system
- And more…
With specs and features on par with modern gaming laptops, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is designed for next-level mobile gaming.
Design and Build
Perhaps the most striking upgrade on the ROG Phone 8 Pro is the exterior design. While past generations had an aggressive gamer-centric style, the new model sports a more subtle and refined aesthetic.
The overall footprint has been slimmed down and many hard edges rounded out. And instead of loud colors and logos, the rear panel uses a grayscale dot matrix design reminiscent of a luxury timepiece. There are still RGB light strips for those wanting some flare.
Despite appearances, the phone retains hallmarks of the ROG series like a premium metal/glass construction and landscape-oriented ergonomics. An included snap-on case provides additional side grips for horizontal gaming.
So while dialing back the outright gamer styling, the new design aims for a more sophisticated and mainstream luxury look. Reviewers have praised this smarter direction that retains the spirit of a gaming phone in a cleaner package.
Software and AI Features
On the software side, ROG UI based on Android 13 comes with various gaming tools and customizations as is standard for the series. But new to the ROG Phone 8 is the addition of AI-enhanced features.
There are AI cameras modes powered by a Pixelworks i6 processor for enhanced photography. Users can also summon a voice-powered AI assistant to launch apps, tweak settings, and get gaming advice on the fly.
Reviews note the AI capabilities provide nice quality-of-life additions. Though it remains to be seen if these features offer compelling long-term utility versus standard voice assistants.
Pricing and Availability
The ROG Phone 8 series is launching first in China on January 16, followed by wider global availability later in Q1 2024. Specific regional pricing is still to be announced. But based on past lineups, expect a premium price tag fitting flagship status.
Early pricing rumors suggest the base ROG Phone 8 may start around $900, while the higher-specced ROG Phone 8 Pro could reach up to $1400 or beyond.
Compared to other Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phones like the upcoming Galaxy S24 series, the ROG Phone 8 models will carry a price premium due their no-compromises gaming hardware and features.
For hardcore mobile gamers wanting the best possible performance, the ROG Phone 8 Pro looks to claim the crown yet again in 2024. The major camera and design upgrades bring welcome improvements too. Assuming pricing lands as competitively as prior generations, Asus could have another hit gaming phone lineup on their hands.
Outlook and Competitive Landscape
The gaming phone market has grown in recent years, though remains a fairly small niche overall. Some past competitors like the Red Magic and Black Shark series have seen declining mindshare.
Asus themselves have warned about slowing growth in dedicated gaming phones. Yet the ROG Phone series continues pushing the envelope and remains a standout for portable gaming power users.
The ROG Phone 8 Pro in particular sees Asus bolstering core performance and quality-of-life aspects versus wholly reinventing the formula. This evolution may be what it takes to extend market leadership given increasing flagship smartphone competition.
Still, modern devices like the iPhone 14 Pro and Google Pixel 7 Pro encroach on gaming phone territory with their own powerhouse chipsets and displays up to 120Hz. It remains to be seen how much longer mobile gamers will demand specialized hardware versus adopting other emerging devices.
For now, Asus again sets the pace with their ROG Phone 8 Pro representing the state-of-art in mobile gaming. The 2024 model strikes an impressive balance of bleeding-edge power, revamped design, and versatile utility.
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