If you are tired of the current smartphone designs, then I am pretty sure Nothing phone (1) has lit your eyes somewhat. But if you prefer to own a mid-range phone, or maybe you just weren’t lucky to secure one, here’s an alternative that I thought could be worthy of your attention: the new ASUS Zenfone 9 Android smartphone.
With the ASUS Zenfone 9, ASUS is focusing on single-hand usability. For starters, it is super compact, rocking a 120 Hz 5.9” Samsung AMOLED FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080 resolution) display and a right-angle design with flat sides and slimmer bezels for easy one-hand usage.
The squared-off design affords the device to remain compact and lightweight (169g/5.96 oz) while packing a larger 4,300 mAh battery (as opposed to the 4,000 mAh found on its predecessor, the Zenfone 8). The battery supports 30W fast charging and it is supplied with a 30-watt HyperCharge adaptor.
Furthermore, it has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor (on the power button) that fits the natural thumb position. The same button also offers a range of functions, such as double press for the voice-to-text function to quickly take a note or send a message, or long-press to fire open Google Assistant, swipe down or down to reveal the quick setting menu, et cetera.
Also contributing to the one-hand use is the new newly-developed tactile, high-grip texture back that ensures a grippy grip on the device.
In addition, ASUS has dropped the camera bump design in favor of individual camera protrusion much like Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Not going to lie. It offers a rather clean look which is refreshing.
Speaking of the camera, it has a dual camera setup on the back comprising a main camera featuring a 50 MP Sony IMX766 1/1.56” sensor with a 6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer, the latest EIS algorithm, and ultrafast autofocus technology, and a 12 MP Sony IMX363 sensor with Dual PDAF.
Over at the front is a 12 MP Sony IMX663 punch-hole front-facing camera with also boasts dual PDAF.
The phone supports both 8K and 4K videoing, as well as Audio HDR, 3D Surround captures spatial sound in natural-sounding high-fidelity, and Wind Noise Reduction.
It offers a number of shooting modes, including a bata Light Trail mode, plus Night, Pro, Panorama, Slow Motion, and Timelapse.
With the new Zenfone, ASUS also ditched the heat pipe cooling solution in favor of the now-common vapor chamber which it touts no less than 1,727.17 mm2.
The ASUS Zenfone 9 is a flagship device and as such, it is no surprise that it is powered by the 4 nm process Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform, along with up to 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256 UFS 3.1 ROM and it is outfitted with WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 with support for Snapdragon Sound and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless.
Other spec-sheet details include Corning Gorilla Victus, dual stereo speakers with Qualcomm amplifiers, NFC, GPS (GNSS, GPS (L1+L5), GLONASS (L1), Galileo (E1/E5a), Beidou (B1/B2a), QZSS (L1/L5), and NavIC (L5)), IP68 rating, and believe it or not, a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The device runs on ASUS ZenUI 9 overlaid on top of Android 12. Five colors are available: Moonlight White, Sunset Red, Starry Blue, and Midnight Black. I was almost sold by the device until I saw the price.
It is not cheap, commanding at least €799 (about US$817). I don’t recall Zenfone 8 was this dear. It is available for pre-order in select countries, including the U.K. and several EU countries.
All images courtesy of ASUS.