For the Zenfone 6, Asus didn’t wish to make a telephone that’s the identical as all of the others. Nevertheless it hasn’t simply include a brand new look, Asus has additionally approached the core expertise in a manner that’s completely different from everybody else. The consequence will not be solely one of the vital attention-grabbing Asus telephones shortly, but additionally one of the vital versatile.
Digital Traits visited Asus in Taipei, Taiwan, to take an in depth have a look at how the Zenfone 6 was developed, and to get an early hands-on with the brand new telephone. Simply forward of the launch in Valencia, Spain, a closing overview mannequin was positioned in my fingers, prepared for an in-depth look earlier than our closing overview verdict.
The Zenfone 6 was conceived round 4 ideas: An enormous-screen viewing expertise, lengthy battery life, quick and easy efficiency, and photographic creativity. Lofty objectives, however hardly distinctive. Nevertheless, Asus has delivered on them in some uncommon methods. To attain the big-screen view and the creatively enabling digicam, it has constructed a formidable motorized flip-around digicam, so the 19:5.9 side ratio display screen doesn’t have a notch or a gap punch. It will get its efficiency from a Snapdragon 855, and for the lengthy battery life, the Zenfone 6 has an enormous 5,000mAh cell inside.
That’s the most important battery in any flagship smartphone in the mean time, however does that make it the thickest and heaviest flagship in the mean time? It’s undoubtedly thick at 9.1mm, however at 190 grams, it’s comparatively gentle in comparison with its rivals. The telephone’s 3D, curved Gorilla Glass three rear blends into the metallic chassis, whereas the Gorilla Glass 6 over the display screen stands happy with the physique. This method masks the dimensions of the telephone each visually and if you maintain it.
If, like me, you admired the individuality of the Asus ROG Telephone, the Zenfone 6 additionally has its personal id, whereas being extra usable each day than the gaming telephone.
The motorized flip-around digicam system is the characteristic everybody will speak about. To facilitate the notch-free display screen, Asus has made its personal interpretation of the pop-up motorized digicam. From the again of the telephone, the dual-lens cam seems like another, however to take selfies, it flips excessive of the telephone. Nearly every thing you are able to do with the rear digicam, you are able to do for selfies too.
The motorized flip-around digicam system is the characteristic everybody will speak about.
A Sony IMX586 48-megapixel digicam sensor is the star of the Zenfone 6’s lens array, and it’s joined by a 13-megapixel ultra-wide lens, all wrapped up inside a splendidly complicated module manufactured from extremely sturdy, super-lightweight liquid metallic. How complicated? There are 13 gears inside delivering the torque wanted to flip the digicam round. In an everyday pop-up digicam, there are normally solely 5 gears. The tiny module additionally has 17 energy cables and 32 sign cables, which have all been wrapped up inside a single 2mm-thick cable. That’s earlier than you depend the gravity sensor, the gyro, the corridor sensor, and the digicam sensors.
Liquid metallic was chosen for sturdiness, because it’s 4 occasions extra resilient than chrome steel, and the mechanical motion has been examined to 15,000 cycles. It’s actually intelligent, too. For instance, it really works with the proximity sensor so it received’t by accident open or shut when it’s in opposition to the aspect of your face — useful if you happen to’ve acquired lengthy hair and don’t need it caught within the mechanism — and the gyro routinely flips the digicam closed when it senses the telephone is being dropped. Asus has examined greater than 100 completely different situations to make the digicam system user-friendly and never only a gimmick.
What’s it like? Utilizing it’s so a lot enjoyable. Sure, enjoyable. The rotation strikes via 180-degrees, and you may cease it at any level by utilizing an on-screen slider and even the quantity keys. We love the automated panorama mode, the place the digicam itself strikes to seize the scene, somewhat than you following instructions on the display screen. It even tracks motion, so you possibly can observe a topic on the transfer with out all the time caring about watching the viewfinder. Lastly, Asus has added its personal pop-up digicam management overlay so you need to use the characteristic in apps like Instagram and Twitter.
To this point, only some dozen take a look at photos in, the digicam hasn’t impressed in the best way I hoped.
It’s quirky, enjoyable, uncommon, and genuinely serves a function. It’s completely completely different from another pop-up digicam, because it affords artistic alternatives you don’t get from a single pop-up digicam on telephones just like the OnePlus 7 Professional. It’s actually fairly mad, however clearly conceived and engineered by those that perceive the right way to make mad options helpful, and that’s a uncommon mixture within the smartphone world.
All these options will probably be for nothing if the standard isn’t there. To this point, only some dozen take a look at photos in, the digicam hasn’t impressed in the best way I hoped. Photos are just a little washed out, and lack the pop many will count on to see, even on a shiny and sunny day. The HDR+ works nicely although, particularly for selfies. Oddly, I appreciated the selfies I took greater than the pictures when the digicam is going through the again. Panorama pictures could be huge and nearly unusable due to it, whereas the portrait mode has adjustable blur whereas taking the shot, and edge recognition is first rate however not outstanding. There’s a great likelihood that enhancements will come, because the ROG Telephone’s digicam is a powerful performer, and the 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor is able to taking nice pictures too.
Andy Boxall/Digital Traits
There are another downsides to the digicam. It doesn’t embody optical picture stabilization, solely digital stabilization, as a result of the extra weight would have drastically affected the dimensions and weight of the motorized module. Face unlock is onboard, nevertheless it’s not automated — it’s important to slide up the display screen to make it work, which is slower and fewer handy than different techniques. It’s early days for the Zenfone 6 and its software program, and our assessments are solely simply beginning.
Construct and sturdiness
Inside just a few hours of starting to make use of the Zenfone 6, the rattle brought on by the digicam module because the telephone vibrated started to bother me. I do know it’s the digicam module, as a result of if you maintain it down, the telephone vibrates usually. It doesn’t flap about, nevertheless it clearly doesn’t sit in opposition to the physique tightly sufficient when not flipped over.
Andy Boxall/Digital Traits
The motion when it does flip round is extremely mechanical — in that you could hear and even really feel the gears working. When activating it within the digicam app, it’s a easy, properly dampened movement. For those who slide the digicam view button up and down, you possibly can management the digicam’s angle your self, and even the velocity of the motion. It feels very nicely engineered.
It’s Gorilla Glass three on the again of the Zenfone 6, and I managed to crack the rear panel when taking images. It fell backwards on a stand onto a picket floor, which I’d not usually count on to interrupt a telephone. It’s fully potential the early model we’ve for overview could have suffered in transit. The telephone can be slippery to carry, even within the provided hard-cover case. Lastly, there isn’t any IP ranking. Asus says it’s protected in opposition to rain and common damp circumstances, however not from taking a dip. The Zenfone 6 could find yourself being a fragile little factor.
Software program and display screen
ZenUI is historical past, and as a substitute comes a clear, nearly Pixel-like Android expertise. Deep inside are a whole lot of velocity enhancements, from clearing apps to reminiscence administration, and even a quicker preliminary launch time. The work has paid off — it’s fast, fluid, and there aren’t any irritating slowdowns when switching between a number of apps.
ZenUI is historical past, and as a substitute comes a clear, nearly Pixel-like Android expertise
The straightforward Android expertise means you’ve a slide-up app tray, a slide-down notification display screen, and Google Assistant to the left of the house display screen. App icons are persistently designed, the design is pleasantly coherent, and there are only some pre-installed Asus apps. It’s an enormous step ahead in gaining mainstream enchantment for the Zenfone 6.
A Sensible Key on the aspect calls Google Assistant, and could be remapped to hold out different features too. It’s set close to the highest of the telephone’s aspect, so that you received’t mistake it for the sleep/wake key. The notch-less, 6.Four-inch LCD display screen has a Full HD+ decision, and though Asus calls it NanoEdge, the bezels are comparable in thickness to an Apple iPhone XR or a Galaxy S10e. It additionally has a barely bigger chin. It’s good high quality, however I miss an always-on AMOLED display screen, and it isn’t very shiny when seen exterior in daylight.
Safety, battery, and specs
Asus went to some size to elucidate to Digital Traits why it has made sure choices on the Zenfone 6. It has a rear fingerprint sensor and never an in-display sensor as a result of it could have made becoming within the giant battery and a three.5mm headphone port not possible. The rear sensor is a tried-and-tested methodology of securing a smartphone and it’s quick and dependable right here; nevertheless it doesn’t sustain with the most recent design developments. Some could discover the Zenfone 6 seems dated due to it.
Andy Boxall/Digital Traits
There’s no wi-fi charging as a result of it impacts the life span of the battery over time, which can be the explanation it doesn’t have charging quicker than 18W. Asus opted for a higher-capacity battery as a substitute, reducing down the necessity to recharge so usually, or so shortly. We’re nonetheless utilizing the telephone, and can’t touch upon utilization occasions but. Indicators are good although, and on the primary full day of use, the Digital Wellbeing app reveals three hours, eight minutes of use over a 12-hour interval, with 51% battery nonetheless remaining.
The Zenfone 6 embodies every thing that’s nice about smartphones in 2019
No such compromises have been made on the specs. The Snapdragon 855 processor is inside with 8GB of RAM and as much as 256GB of cupboard space. Asus labored onerous to revamp the PCB, making a two-piece board, so it could slot in a triple-slot SIM tray with room for 2 SIM playing cards and a MicroSD card as nicely. That is very welcome, and extra preferable than having to decide on between storage and a second SIM. The telephone has been quick and easy to date, and we don’t count on to return throughout any state of affairs the place it lacks energy.
Lastly, Asus has determined in opposition to launching dozens of various Zenfone 6 fashions. There is not going to be a midrange or an entry-level model of the telephone. In order for you a Zenfone 6, this would be the solely alternative. It’s a really wise choice, and avoids complicated you with a number of fashions with only some variations.
The Zenfone 6 embodies every thing that’s nice about smartphones in 2019. It doesn’t observe developments set by Apple and Samsung, it doesn’t simply undertake the options different producers have chosen, and it doesn’t repeat errors which have damage Zenfone fashions prior to now. Asus has taken a step again, relaxed, and thought of what it must do to compete this 12 months. The Zenfone 6 is the consequence, and it goes its personal manner in a really particular vogue.
Is that route successful? It’s nonetheless early to cross full judgement; however first impressions are very constructive concerning the efficiency, battery, and software program. The display screen isn’t as stunning as some others, as a result of it being an LCD somewhat than an AMOLED, and we’ve some issues over sturdiness. The flip-over digicam will not be a gimmick and does include some attention-grabbing options.
The telephone seems to have the ability to maintain its personal, even amongst this 12 months’s severe competitors, however so much goes to depend upon the worth, which isn’t recognized on the time of writing. Asus says it can price lower than the $900 ROG telephone, which is able to stay the corporate’s flagship. To make sure the correct amount of consideration, it might must match the $750 OnePlus 7 Professional. We’ll replace right here after we know extra, and you may count on a full overview within the close to future.