CES 2024

Asus’ ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro Show That There’s Still No Ceiling to Gaming Phones

When it comes to gaming phones, Asus still reigns supreme.

Asus ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro gaming smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chips announced at CE...
CES 2024

There usually aren’t many new phones announced at CES, but this year we do have one notable one. Well, technically, two: Asus’ ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro.

Plugged-in mobile gamers will be familiar with the ROG Phone series. They’re often literally the biggest phones released in the year, with the beefiest tech specs and gamer-specific features like pressure-sensitive shoulder triggers, high refresh rate displays, and massive batteries designed to improve gaming performance.

The ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro continue that gaming excellence while adding features that have been missing on Asus’ past gaming phones.

Gamer-Approved Features

As I said, ROG phones are usually slabs, embracing thickness for the sake of functionality and performance. But that’s all in the past because the ROG Phones have hit the gym to drop weight and tone up. Compared to the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, which measures 10.3mm thick and weighs 239 grams, the Phone 8 and 8 Pro both are 8.9mm thick and weigh 225g. You don’t need a tech expert to tell you that that means the phones will fit better in your pocket and cramp your hands less.

These being gaming phones, Asus has stuck with a matching aesthetic. On the rear of the phone, there’s a customizable “Anime Vision Mini-LED” matrix screen with 341 LEDs. Only you can decide if that’s an upgrade or downgrade from the 2-inch OLED on the Phone 7 Ultimate. The new gaming phones also sport a more durable IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating than the IP54-rated Phone 7 Ultimate.

Asus has kept the same 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate. New is LTPO tech, which makes the screens more power efficient, allowing them to automatically adjust the refresh rate when displaying different types of content, as well as support an always-on display mode. The displays on the Phone 8 and 8 Pro are significantly brighter, too: 1,600 nits with typical use and 2,500 nits peak brightness compared to the 1,000 nits typical and 1,500 nits peak brightness on the Phone 7 Ultimate.

Asus also debuted a new cooling fan clip-on accessory for the Phone 8 and 8 Pro and gaming wireless earbuds.


In terms of tech specs, the Phone 8 and 8 Pro do not skimp. These are gaming phones, after all. Both phones use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip. The Phone 8 comes in two configurations: 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage with 12GB or 16GB of RAM. The Phone 8 Pro earns its name with a base model that comes with 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage and 16GB of RAM and a 1TB version with a whopping 24GB of RAM. Do gamers even use that much RAM? Wi-Fi 7 ensures the fastest and most stable connection.

Asus says its “Rapid-Cooling Conductor” directs heat from the chipset to the cover. The company also shrank its cooling fan accessory (sold separately) that clips to the back of the gaming phones, while apparently improving cooling speed and performance.

The “AeroActive Cooler X” accessory add-on will go for $99.99.


The one feature that might give you pause is battery life. Both the Phone 8 and 8 Pro have smaller 5,500 mAh batteries compared to the massive 6,000 mAh battery in the Phone 7 Ultimate. However, the power efficiencies of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip could make up for the capacity reduction. The silver lining is wireless charging — the Phone 8s finally have the feature, as well as reverse wireless charging.

The rear cameras on gaming phones often are neglected, but Asus put more effort into improving them this year. You still get a 50-megapixel f/1.9 main lens and a 13-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide lens, but instead of the 5-megapixel macro lens on the Phone 7 Ultimate, there’s now a 32-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. (Two regions, India and South East Asia, are stuck with the macro lens instead of the telephoto.) Both Phone 8 models come with a 32-megapixel selfie camera — same as the Phone 7 Ultimate.

You Like AI, Right?

Asus Phone 8 and Phone 8 Pro gaming smartphones announced at CES 2024

A common theme at CES 2024, Asus might have leaned a little too hard into the AI features on its new gaming phones. In its press release, the company says the Phone 8 and 8 Pro have “advanced AI capabilities, including X-Sense 2.0, AI Grabber, semantic search, AI noise cancellation, and more.” There’s also “gaming-friendly AI features like Background mode and X Capture.”

Don’t have a clue what any of that stuff means or how they are gamer-related? Let me help decode them. X-Sense 2.0 is an improved version of Asus’ machine learning algorithms that shows notifications when there’s a new item or an enemy is near. X-Capture is an AI tool that uses machine learning to save screen recordings of key moments when you’re playing a game, like when you make a game-winning headshot or someone else does it to you. AI Grabber lets you copy text from a game (if that’s something you’ve been wanting).

The “semantic search” AI feature is a fancy way of saying you can search for things in the Gallery, Launcher, and Settings apps using natural language. The Phone 8 and 8 Pro also have an “AI Wallpaper” feature that uses Stable Diffusion, a popular text-to-image AI generator, to create fresh wallpapers. The AI noise-cancellation feature is self-explanatory; it improves audio for voice and video calls, and voice chat in games.

I haven’t tried Asus’ gaming phones or poked around the AI features, but if I’m being honest, they all sound pretty gimmicky.

Price and Release Date

Both the ROG Phone 8 and 8 Pro launch in the first quarter of the year. Asus already has product pages online, listing the Phone 8 starting at $1,099.99 and the Phone 8 Pro starting at $1,1999.99. The “AeroActive Cooler X” accessory add-on will go for $99.99.

INVERSE brings you everything from the fun and futuristic world of consumer technology at CES 2024. For all the latest technology coverage from the show, go to the INVERSE CES 2024 hub.

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