System Performance

System performance of the Zenfone 8 should be quite good virtue of the new Snapdragon 888. On top of that, ASUS’ 120Hz mode and 240Hz touch input rate should result in extremely fluid and responsive experiences.

One thing I have to make note of here is ASUS’s refresh rate modes. By default, the phone comes in the “Auto” mode, which in my experience simply switches between 90 and 60Hz depending on the application. I’ve never actually seen 120Hz used by the phone anywhere in this mode, which is odd. Besides the Auto mode, you can also explicitly set the phone to 120Hz, 90Hz or 60Hz modes all the time. In PCMark and also many other generic applications, Auto mode will switch to 60Hz mode while browser activity will switch to 90Hz mode. I tested that, as well as the explicit 120Hz mode of the phone.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

In PCMark which is a good representation of overall device responsiveness, we see that the Zenfone 8 tracks rather very closely to the performance of the Snapdragon 865 powered Zenfone 7, depending on the refresh rate. What’s actually a bit weird is that at 60Hz, the ZF8 is actually a bit slower than the ZF7, a point which I’ll come back to in a bit.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView (64b) JetStream 2 - OS Webview (64b)

In the browser benchmark, which we’ve lately started from a clean slate due to the new 64-bit browser deployments on Android in the last few months which improve performance compared to past results, we see that the Zenfone 8 tracks closely to the Snapdragon 888 powered Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is expected.

Overall Device Experience - 120Hz Good, Everything Else Bad

At the 120Hz setting, the Zenfone 8 performs extremely well as is as responsive as any other device in the market. What’s actually very strange and extremely concerning for the ZF8 is all the other operating modes, such as 90Hz and 60Hz. For some reason, beyond just a slower refresh rate, these modes have seemingly increased input lag as well as just overall sluggish feel for the device. The 60Hz mode in particular is quite horrible – it feels as if ASUS is also modulating the input touch response based on the refresh rate. Generally speaking, for the best experience, you want to keep the phone in 120Hz always mode and avoid the Auto as well as the lower refresh rate modes.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance


View All Comments

  • Tams80 - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    The XZ2 isn't really compact. Reply
  • Tams80 - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link


    You do realise there are people happy to make that trade-off, even if they are only a small group? And the XZ1 has pretty decent battery life.

    The market is absolutely saturated with large phones, which are popular. That doesn't mean only large phones should exist.

    People like you really grate my gears.
  • Findecanor - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    Agreed. Smartphones do keep getting bigger, but people's hands do not.

    It is also not "the smallest flagship by far". It is about the same size as the iPhone 12/Pro, and weight-wise in-between. And if we compare to flagships from last spring, we got the Samsung Galaxy S20.
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    True… only iPhone 12 mini seems to be allmost compact and no Android versions have been around for years… Reply
  • Linustechtips12#6900xt - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    12 mini or se 2020 Reply
  • Linustechtips12#6900xt - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    as an s10e user, the s10e without a case does very well fit in a single hand thank you very much especially when used with the one-handed feature or just on one ui, in general, that's what one UI was made for to be better on bigger phone and make them easier to use even though s10e is compact it is a very decent phone. Reply
  • inperfectdarkness - Sunday, May 16, 2021 - link

    XZ2 Compact > XZ1 Compact, imho. Damn shame Sony doesn't care diddly squat to make another 5" phone. Everything is 6" now. Reply
  • prophet001 - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    Anybody know a good 4g phone that's like the size of a Blackberry Bold. I like having it in my pocket and can't find anything that is that size and still has email, web etc.

  • hemedans - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    sony xperia xz1 compact
    bold 115cm
    xz1c 128cm

    bold 66cm
    xz1c 65cm

    bold 10.5cm
    xz1c 9.3 cm

    xz1c will be narrow and compact but a little bit taller.
  • inperfectdarkness - Sunday, May 16, 2021 - link

    Bold: 115 x 66 x 10.5 mm (4.53 x 2.60 x 0.41 in)
    XZ1 Compact: 129 x 65 x 9.3 mm (5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 in)
    XZ2 Compact: 135 x 65 x 12.1 mm (5.31 x 2.56 x 0.48 in)

    Those are the closest you'll find outside of something pitifully small and unusable--which is pretty much every phone in the < 4" size.

    The XZ2 Compact - international version - can handle dual SIM cards or SIM + SD.

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