In early May the Taiwanese company has seen fit to change the cards on the table with regards to its main range, launching ASUS Zenfone 6, the first Flip Phone the brand. Being a top of the range, the newcomer presents a technical sheet that leaves nothing out (or almost) and a photographic compartment headed by a sensor from 48 mega-pixels. How useful it is to have one rotating camera (rather than a pop-up form)? Is it a cumbersome or too fragile solution? If you have targeted the Zenfone 6 but don't know which fish to take ... then take a look at our review for the answers you need.
Review ASUS Zenfone 6
The smart black cardboard of the smartphone has compact dimensions and contains an exhaustive equipment. Opening the sales package we find inside:
- ASUS Zenfone 6;
- 5V 2A wall charger - 9V 2A (with US plug);
- USB / USB Type-C data cable;
- pin for the SIM slot;
- transparent protective cover in semi-rigid silicone;
- ear phones;
Design and construction
The new top of the line branded ASUS is an impressive smartphone with its own 159.1 x 75.44 x 9.2 mm (for a weight of 190 grams); in short, generous dimensions justified by the presence of a large display and not only. The sense of "grandeur" is also given by the fact that we are faced with a solution without notches or holes, all screen, with a thickness and a weight accentuated by a battery that does not go to the thin thanks to its 5000 mAh.
The back is made of glass Corning Gorilla Glass 6, with curvatures 3D along the sides; the photo module is in satin aluminum (Liquid Metal), while at the center of the body there is a small space reader fingerprint digital. The brand logo stands out in the middle of the body and the general design returns an extremely elegant appearance thanks to the use of premium materials, the look of the Dual Camera and the ASUS writing in blue. The only drawback is represented by the aforementioned fingerprint reader, perhaps a bit too small but still reliable and fast (beware, it is not lightning fast but does its duty).
Along the aluminum frame we find some plastic bands for antenna reception; the upper edge includes the microphone for noise reduction, while on the contrary we have the entrance mini-jack from 3.5 mm, the connector Type-C, the main microphone and the speaker.
The right edge houses the volume rocker and the Power button, as well as a button additional dedicated to Google Assistant (customizable, we will see later how) while on the left it finds space for the SIM slot. Frontally we have a thin chin and a flush ear capsule. The smartphone offers a good grip (in spite of dimensions and weight) and - as already pointed out - a style that is well suited to a top of the range.
The display ofASUS Zenfone 6 is a panel IPS da 6.4 inches diagonal with resolution Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixel), with a surface / screen ratio of 92%, a DCI-P3 color gamut of 100%, brightness up to 600 nits, support HDR10 and Gorilla Glass 6 protection. Also present was the Bluelight thread to avoid eye fatigue and a multi-touch screen at 10 points can also be used with gloves.
The company refers to its solution with the name of NanoEdge display, certainly high-sounding but that leaves a hint of bitterness in the mouth. We would have preferred an OLED panel to give the device a further premium touch, but this does not result in a rejection. The display offers colors vivid e bright, with tone faithful and a good yield even in direct sunlight; the brightness sensor plays its role in a reactive way, the viewing angles are good and overall we are faced with a solution that is not afraid of regrets.
In Settings, Display you will be able to put your hand to some options to customize the experience, but nothing striking.
Hardware and Performance
Being a top smartphone, the heart of ours ASUS Zenfone 6 is represented by the chipset Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm octa-core made with 7 nm process and with a maximum frequency of 2.84 GHz. The model we tested is equipped with 6 GB of RAM LPDDR4X e 64 GB of UFS 2.1 storage.
Obviously talking about performance is almost wasted: on board we find one of the most powerful SoCs in circulation and despite the release of Snap 855 + (an enhanced variant in terms of clock frequency and GPU performance), its predecessor is whippy as always. Navigation in the interface screens is fast, the opening of the app in a flashy background; you breathe a pinch of "slowness" (a term that is extremely inappropriate, being a matter of seconds) with apps to be opened for the first time after a reboot, but nothing compromising. The hardware sector is in perfect shape, but we would have expected nothing less.
Any GPU consideration Adreno 640 it is superfluous: it is a solution capable of making any security in a circular manner, from the lightest to the most demanding. A detail regarding the gaming phases: during prolonged sessions it is impossible not to notice a temperature increase. Don't worry, it is a perceptible sensation but that does not go to affect the gaming experience.
Review ASUS Zenfone 6 - Benchmark
The Flip Phone ASUS Zenfone 6 comes with the interface ZenUI 6, Based on Android 9 Pie and with security patches updated in August 2019. The UI of the Asian company, in combination with the hardware mentioned above, allows you to enjoy a fluid and complete experience, essential and without frills but still rich in features.
We have the Twin App to clone the apps on which you want to use two different accounts; the mode Game Genie accompanies you during the game, allowing you to stream live on YouTube and Twitch or simply play without being disturbed by turning off calls and notifications in the foreground. Through the function SOS it will be possible to automatically send an SOS call and an SMS in case of emergency; OptiFlex allows you to speed up the start up of the app, reduce reloads and consume less on standby while the Gesture more disparate (such as double-tap to turn on or off the display) or swipe controls on the fingerprint reader.
Obviously you can select a classic navigation bar or use the Full Screen Gesture. Cute the ability to take screenshots with a long swipe in the lower left corner, ie the Gesture for the Activity Management.
In Settings, Advanced Settings, Smart button you will be able to customize the physical button dedicated to Google Assistant. If you don't need the assistant you can reset it to call up other features (with a click, a double click or a long press, then three different features).
We conclude by reporting the presence of the Record Screen, the Recorder during calls and the Digital Wellbeing.
Review ASUS Zenfone 6 - Photo quality and Flip Camera
The latest top of the range from ASUS features the ubiquitous sensor from 48 mega-pixel Sony IMX586 with opening f/1.79, accompanied by a wide-angle 13 mega-pixel module. As is now known, the Sony sensor is equipped with Bayer Quad technology, ie it is able to take images "merging" 4 pixels in 1 and obtaining images from 12 mega-pixels. This is the solution of the moment, able to return detailed shots characterized by faithful colors and good lighting management. Present the support AI for the recognition of the scenes (different 16), the HDR + Auto, the mode Super Night e Portrait, the possibility of taking Pro shots using the mega-pixel 48. We have a autofocus laser and the PDAF, plus a Dual LED flash. In short, a very respectable module, complete and able to offer really good shots.
The flip Camera: we will be able to manually change its position and tilt it of 90 ° (and not only) when necessary, so as to be able to choose the angle of the shot; thumbs up for mode panorama, in which the camera will take care in total autonomy to "capture" the landscape (you will only have to remain still). Functionality is present Motion tracking for videos: the camera will focus on the subject and follow it automatically. EIS does its job to minimize micro-vibrations; the device is able to run good videos in 4K at 60 fps.
A praise to the Portrait mode: thanks to the contribution of the software is able to return shots with bokeh effect really good (except for a few small smears). During the day we have not noticed any particular imperfections and the images are always pleasant; the same cannot be said with the falling of darkness (or with artificial lighting), where the sensor begins to lose strokes. Nothing too worrying even though we would have expected a little more from the night mode.
However the fact of being able to shoot Selfie with the Sony IMX586 module - with so much of Super Night, as can be seen also from the samples above, it makes you forget any flaw. The self-portraits are perfect for social use, with defined details and a quality that only a high-end module like this is able to return. Nighttime faults also recur with selfies, but even in this case the game is worth the candle.
With regard to size, weight and thickness, we have already pointed out that ASUS Zenfone 6 pays no attention to battery costs. On board we find a large unit from 5000 mAh, able to arrive without the slightest problem at the end of the day and beyond; we have reached the 8 hours and minutes 20 display turned on with average usage, while in more intense situations we fluctuated between the 5 hours and 40 minutes and the 7 hours of active screen.
The included charger allows you to take advantage only of the 3.0 Quick Charge from 18W and is able to charge the battery in just over 2 hours. However, we remind you that the smartphone has 4.0 Quick Charge charging support, but to use it you will need to buy a charger .
Connectivity and audio
The device mounts a slot Dual SIM LTE, which also has a third space dedicated to microSD (up to 1 TB): so if you need to expand the memory you won't have to sacrifice a phone card like it does with hybrid slots. Good audio on call (as well as quality), a little less reception. The smartphone is slightly slow in the switch between the networks, but in any case nothing to worry about or to affect the user experience.
The rest of the connectivity package relies on a 802.11 Wi-Fi module a / b / g / n / ac dual Strip; present on Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and aptX HD support. The inevitable then theNFC, essential for those looking for a complete smartphone in every respect. Navigating via GPS / Glonass / BDS / Galileo was an experience without hitches; we emphasize the presence of Dual Frequency GPS, with support for the L1 + L5 bands.
We conclude with the audio part, entrusted to one speaker with five magnets with smart NXP TFA9874 amplifier and a second solution integrated in the ear capsule. We therefore have a dual speaker device; there is also Hi-Res Audio and DTS: 7.1 support. Good headphone sound, with both wired and wireless headsets; even the sound through the double speakers gives some satisfaction, with a more than satisfactory volume (even if there is some slight distortion).
Review ASUS Zenfone 6 - Conclusions and price
It is time to conclude our review of the new one ASUS Zenfone 6, a smartphone that - we say it right away - has snatched a smile of joy more than once. Skepticism towards the Flip Camera was skyrocketing before getting my hands on the device, no denying it. What benefits could a moving module have? And are these such as to justify the presence of such a "weird" solution?
We tried his camera in various ways, even as a catapult (without too much success ...) or for lifting small weights. We laughed about how children deal with a new toy - after all it is always important not to take themselves too seriously - and skepticism has slowly begun to thin out.
The top of the ASUS range gives satisfaction in the round and it is certainly capable of filling the expectations of a vast audience. The autonomy is excellent, the elegant design and the quality of construction and materials is perceived from the first impact. The Flip Camera with the Sony IMX586 allows you to get good images and think about using the same form for selfies ... well, it's great! The full screen display is a feast for the eyes thanks to the absence of any notch or hole. The onboard hardware offers high performance and even the ASUS software has made progress, becoming increasingly rich and - at the same time - essential.
The only discordant note could be the sale price: almost 500 € they are not few, but in any case it is good to keep in mind that this figure we are bringing home a flagship without too many compromises and with a "new" aesthetic (and why not, funny). Have you been bewitched by the Zenfone 6? Then we leave you with a Coupon dedicated to the 6 / 64 GB version present on the store GearBest (which we thank for sending the sample).
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