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


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  • MrGutts - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    So let me get this right, the smaller version has a headphone jack but not the much larger unit? Reply
  • arashi - Sunday, May 16, 2021 - link

    The larger unit is literally the old version with updated SoC. Laziest upgrade. Reply
  • Kangal - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    The new QSD 888 isn't that much faster than the QSD 865, due to throttling. And the QSD 865 itself isn't that much faster than the QSD 855. Basically having QSD 855 in 2022 is still considered luxury/"flagship" level, unless you're in the iOS Market. With that said, the new "high-end" level chipset, QSD 780, is around the QSD 860 level. So that's a bargain. Maybe that's what ASUS should've gone for instead.

    After a year (or two), we should see a better, newer and optimised AndroidOS version, that is running on the next platform ARMv9. So I expect a good performance leap up from the QSD 888+, similar (probably better) to the performance leap from the Early QSD 845 to the Later QSD 855+.
  • XMight - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    Looks cool phone, the kind I would use, but, has 2 drawbacks:
    1. no sd card slot. Its not the problem that 128 GB is not enough for me, its just having the possibility to store data outside internal memory and access it fast without plugging the phone in a PC.
    2. No FM radio in Europe. I'm tired of this, honestly. I look forward when Europe will force by law, like US, phone manufacturers to include FM radio. I really enjoy FM radio and even if I have unlimited plan, FM radio sounds way cooler and it feels more real-time than internet radio with apps with lots of ads and bloatware. Radio on Nokia 5 sounds really cool. I waited for Sony 5 III, which could have been my next phone, but no radio. Sony 10 III has no gyro, and I look at the stars with the phone through stellarium.

    And the whole issue is that there isn't a single phone on the market that has: SDCARD, FM RADIO, dualsim, GYRO, Snapdragon CPU, IP rating, 3.5mm, small form-factor at the same time. So, I will stick to my Nokia 5 and Sony XZ1 compact combination for a few more years. I really hate this marketing crap the companies are pulling for forcing people buy something they aren't 100% satisfied with at the moment so they will feel incentivized when a new phone with something they wanted appears, but misses something else they had before.
  • msildoja - Monday, July 5, 2021 - link

    Totally agree with the second part. No good compact phone on the market. Purchased xperia 5ii but returned it as it was too long. Went for asus zf8, but it has so poor battery life compared to xpetia 5ii. Sad. Reall no good phones available after sony ditched the compact series. Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    Yeah, it's incredibly tiring. I recently got a new phone, but it was too big. I left it in the box and carried on using my 4 year old phone instead. Reply
  • patel21 - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    Hi Andrei,
    Wouldn't a 870 or even 865 make more sense in a compact phone like this which isn't able to use 888 to its fullest?
    They could even shave off a bit from price and the battery would also last longer
  • sheh - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    Roughly the same size as the S10 and S20.
    A good start, but shaving extra 2-3mm width and 10mm height would be welcome.
  • tkSteveFOX - Friday, May 14, 2021 - link

    Strange, other reviews praise the camera for the price, but I also looked at their photos and more willing to go with your assumption.
    Ultrawide especially was lacking in fine detail even in broad daylight, and there's too much sharpening going in postprocessing. The main camera looks decent, but got to be expecting better than IMX686, however the front camera is miles better than anything in that price range.
  • SolarBear28 - Friday, May 14, 2021 - link

    This is pretty much the size and price I'd want for my next phone. My 2018 Galaxy A8 is a fantastic device and still getting quarterly security updates. I'd like to stick with Samsung for their Good Lock and One Hand Operation apps but they don't makes any good phones under 6" anymore. The S21 is a fantastic device but slightly bigger and slightly more expensive than I'd like. Reply

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