I have the happy job of reviewing the best gaming phones on the market here at T3. It's a pretty sweet gig actually – there are only a couple of handsets left in the space, meaning every year I get to put them through their paces to see which is the best.
Last year, the Asus ROG Phone 7 took the crown. For me, that handset offered the best all-round experience, fusing excellent gameplay with a phone experience that could go toe-to-toe with a lot of more regular Android phones. That edged out the Redmagic 8 Pro Titanium, too.
Now, I have its successor – the Asus ROG Phone 8. There are a handful of changes on offer here, which add up to a remarkably different device. Is it better than the previous generation? Let's jump in and take a look.
Asus ROG Phone 8 review: Price and Release Date
The Asus ROG Phone 8 comes in a handful of different variations. Those all run at different price points, offering varying specs to boot.
At the lower end, you'll find the standard model. That comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and will set you back £949.99.
Up from that is the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro. That comes packed with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and will set you back £1,099.99.
At the top end is the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. That is the max spec, with 24GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. You'll also find the AeroActive Cooler X – normally worth £99 – in the box for £1,299.99. That's the variant we have for testing here.
The Asus ROG Phone 8 series was launched on the 16th of January 2024.
Asus ROG Phone 8 review: Features and What's New
If you compare the spec sheets of the ROG Phone 8 with the ROG Phone 7, you'll probably find yourself checking you've got them the right way around. That's because Asus have engaged in a less is more approach with the new range.
For example, the battery is smaller. On the ROG Phone 7, a 6,000mAh battery powered things, where this time out there's a 5,500mAh unit.
Then, the AeroActive Cooler is changed up. On the old unit, a subwoofer was included on the Cooler, which paired up with a duo of forward facing speakers in the handset to produce some truly unparalleled sonic activity. That's gone this time out, with a different speaker arrangement.
Still, it's not all missing pieces. Arguably the biggest improvement I was longing for on the ROG Phone 7 was the camera. That was slightly lacklustre, particularly when compared to the quality of the rest of the handset.
This new range packs in a fantastic camera setup. The main 50MP sensor uses the 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabiliser from the Asus Zenfone 10. That was one of my favourite parts of that phone, and I'm really happy to see it in use here. You'll also find a 3x telephoto lens, with up to 30x HyperClarity zoom, too.
One other thing you'll notice on this new model is the AniMe Vision window on the rear of the handset. That features a 341-element display on the rear of the device, which can be configured to show different things.
What's coolest about that is that it's invisible when not in use. If you have an important meeting and don't want your gaming credentials being shown off by your phone, you can turn it off to reveal a sleek looking handset.
Asus ROG Phone 8 review: Performance
Let's talk performance, and we'll kick off with how this thing handles the gaming it was made for. In short – brilliantly. Loading up a general suite of popular mobile games, I was greeted with slick gameplay and smooth motion, thanks to the high refresh rate and touch sampling rate of the display.
Button presses are all pretty snappy and responsive, making gaming easy and giving you the edge when you need it most. Of course, one of the most unique features for this model is the Air Trigger. These buttons sit on the right hand edge of the phone, and offer an experience similar in feel to the triggers on a console controller.
These can be mapped to any location on the screen, with different profiles available for different titles. I particularly like it for first person shooter games, using the triggers to aim and fire without having to put my thumbs over the screen.
These are perfectly fine to use. I feel like they aren't quite as responsive as they were last time out – though there's every chance that I'm just not quite as good as I used to be. In any case, they work just fine, though be aware that there is still no momentary option so aiming will need to be clicked on and off.
Let's move on to the battery life. That was cause for concern here, particularly with the smaller capacity on offer. In practice though, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Does it last as long as the last one? I honestly couldn't tell you. In practice, it will easily last a full day, which is more than enough for most users. You can be certain it won't make a tangible difference, regardless.
Asus ROG Phone 8 review: Verdict
Long story short, if you're looking to buy a dedicated gaming phone there really are only a couple of options worth consideration. If you want one which isn't emblazoned with RGB lights and other gamer-centric features, it's even tougher.
This Asus ROG Phone 8 should be top of your list, without question. It's not only a phenomenal handset, it doesn't look out of place in among other traditional phones.
Those additions to the camera this time out have really elevated the performance here. It's ultimately the phone which most users probably should pick, even if they aren't entirely gaming obsessed.
Asus ROG Phone 8 review: Alternatives
If you're looking to pick up another gaming phone, you'll need to look at Redmagic. They're the only other brand making dedicated gaming handsets worth talking about.
If you're looking for something cheaper, I'd either look at the generation old Google Pixel 7 Pro, or the Nothing Phone (2). Both of those pack in wonderful specs, and should be more than capable of running most games without issue.