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Rog8, should you buy? Answer here.

Danishblunt
Hall of Fame I

Well, I expected ASUS to release another copy and pasta phone but this time got pleasandly surprised, changes have been made that do seem very meaningful, however there are some issues that simply makes me not want to recommend this phone at all.

First the good part, ASUS has finally realized that the gaming phone market after corona has been quite bad and direcly competing with nubia isn't going to go well at all. We know that the Rog5-Rog7 where pretty much trainwrecks in terms of reliability, performance and software support, not only that but as a Phone, the Rog series was always a pretty huge "meh".


Everything changed with the Rog8, finally we see a gaming oriented phone rather than "gaming phone". So whats new?

Display:

The display is finally upgraded to the current generation rather than relying on an outdated E4 panel which the previous versions from Rog5-7 used. In terms of brightness and power efficiency there has been some updates. That being said,I personally don't think the E6 panel is that great, high input lag and is already an older panel which was used in the Iphone 14 pro. I am happy they didnt use the E4 panel again, but am a little sad about the excessive price given the panel. Much like many others, I'm not entirely sure about the punchhole, I find it rather annoying but most people don't care.

Speakers:

Speakers have changed greatly, instead of dual front firing speakers, we see 1 front firing speaker and a downwards firing speaker. This architectual change does have some implications, when gaming you are more likely to block the downwards firing speaker, but at the same time because of how the speaker at the bottom is designed you have a massively increased soundstage, on the videos and recordings, the Rog8 sounds way more spacious. Another great change is the fact that ASUS has finally given up on the bass boosted nonsense that usually either blows speakers up or make them sound horrid on bass heavy tracks to the point where the speakers start to pop. An unwelcome change however is that ASUS has cheaped out out on the DAC, before it was 1DAC per speaker, now it's 1 DAC for both speakers, which as a result has made the speakers more quiet.

Performance & Cooling:

A huge upgrade, namely the much improved passive cooling capabilities are a very welcome change for the phone. One of the biggest issues the Rog5-7 had were horrid passive cooling capabilties that almost forced people to use the oversized clunky aerocooler when playing games. While it does throttle a great deal with the new Gen3 SoC, this is unfortunately not ASUS's fault, in an attempt to sell the new qualcomm chips, qualcomm simply made the chips even more powerhungry, making it almost impossible to cool down in any phone. Overall I am happy that ASUS is thinking about the passive cooling capabilities rather than forcing the huge cooler addon onto people.

Battery:

The battery this time around is 10% smaller than previous generations, this has resulted in similair battery life to last generation models. While the battery is 10% smaller, the improvements on the display have been balancing it out somewhat. The Rog8 may be only lasting very slightly less longer than it's Rog7 counterpart, however this 10% loss gave the Rog8 Wireless charging, which I absolutely would trade for 10% battery volume. Some may feel different about it.

Camera:

The processing on the Rog phones has always been absolute top notch, the Rog7 scored quite admirably in last years MKHD blind camera test, with this year the Rog8 has gotten huge upgrades in the camera department, the telephoto, front camera and main camera have seen large upgrades and the Rog8 is capable of competing with flagship phones such as the Samsung, Iphone or Oneplus. The only sensor I find insufficient is the Ultrawide sensor, since it's still too budget imo, the other 3 are very competitive with even the best flagships due to superior processing.

Software & support:

Can't say to much about software stability, however this is where the fun ends. Software support being meager as usual, it's very dissapointing, but isn't that unusual given other manufacturers do it such as xiaomi, that being said, the reason I simply cannot recomend the phone is the lack of ability to unlock the bootloader.ASUS has a history of bad updates and features that never get fixed, not only that, but after your 2 major OS updates, you're done, no more updates for you as you're stuck to a locked bootloader, 3rd party development has been killed off completely for ASUS's phones. I do understand why ASUS decided to shutdown unlocking the bootloader, this has to do with shady sellers selling crossflashed ASUS phones that are causing countless issues and wasting ASUS's time repairing issues that were caused by 3rd party sellers that crossflash firmware that don't belong on the phone, however the userbase shouldn't suffer from it. At the very least have the option for customers to unlock their phones at the service center or similair ala 1 unlock per person, which would hinder the mass crossflash but also allow users to keep supporting their own phone further down the line, rather than having a dead paperweight.

Conclusion:

Overall I'm quite happy about many of the changes ASUS has made to make a way easier phone to recommend in many ways, however the software and lack of bootloader unlock makes this phone not purchasable imo. Personal recommendation is to not buy until ASUS releases an bootloader unlock tool or offers some kind of service to unlock it.

6 REPLIES 6

steph
Star III

Thx for the review,
I agree, for the price, the mediocre software support is unacceptable.

And as I said before, IMO it's absurd to spend that kind of money on a tiny, fragile pocket "computer" with a very short lifespan and no possibility of upgrading basic components (RAM, battery).

I miss the days when you could change the battery. But it is strange because I was convinced that in the EU it was now mandatory for smartphone manufacturers to allow easy replacement of basic components such as screen and battery.

starts from 2027.

So I guess I won't buy any new phones until then!

Far7799
Star III

Easy answer.

NO.