The Asus Zenfone 8 was a non-descript compact Android flagship, a one-of-a-kind device since the rest of its competition was just larger. Many drew parallels stating how this was the iPhone mini for Android users. It included a decent camera, a flagship processor, and a relatively clean Android experience with Zen UI.
With a device that did many things right, it was clear that we’d expect to see a successor, and today the Asus Zenfone 9 was made official. Most of the device’s features leaked in a promotional video earlier in July, but with the finer details now available, let us look at what’s on offer.
Asus Zenfone 9
The Compact Flagship
The Zenfone 9 features internal hardware comparable to any flagship launched in 2022, but it features the key-selling point of being a compact device. If you were looking for a small phone that does things better or equal to most options on the market, this is a phone to keep your eyes on.
While its predecessor sported a plain and simple look, the Zenfone 9 ships with a significant divergence; the square-slab design and the camera lenses are most noticeable. Asus even decided to discard the glass sandwich design in favor of a polymer material for the back that arrives in four different color options and helps reduce the phone’s weight. Asus states the change brings a 36% reduction.
Zenfone 9 weighs in at 169g while sporting a reasonably sized 5.9-inch AMOLED display, a significantly larger camera system with a gimbal system, and a 4300mAh battery.
Unfortunately, along with the change in design, Asus decided to do away with the under-screen fingerprint scanner on the Zenfone 9. The biometric component is embedded in the power button and provides gesture-based controls for the user interface.
But arriving at the list of features that have stuck around this year, the display still has Gorilla Glass Victus protection, the IP68 rating is maintained, and along the top edge, you will find the 3.5mm headphone jack. The volume rockers are above the power button with the USB-C port adorning the bottom.
Overall, it looks like the Zenfone 8 from last year, whose only defining factor was the compact size, has a new look that should make it stand out in the market.
Jumping into the weeds about the display, like its predecessor, Zenfone 9 will feature a 5.9-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, and Samsung continues to make it. The panel was described as vibrant and great to view the last time; that remains the case this year.
The panel has a rated maximum brightness of 1100 nits, with color accuracy calibrated at two different brightness levels. This type of calibration allows the display to have a low Delta-E value. The panel even supports Always-on technology and standards like HDR 10 and HDR10+. And as mentioned earlier, the display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
Note: A low Delta-E value means the display has better color accuracy.
Like with the ROG Phone 6, Asus has chosen to ship the Zenfone 9 with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen. Using this chipset means the compact phone is in line to be one of the few powerhouse devices that comes with excellent efficiency. Qualcomm said the new processor was 10% more powerful and 30% more efficient than its predecessor, which is bound to affect a phone with a smaller-than-average battery in 2022 positively.
Zenfone 9 will ship with a minimum of 8GB of RAM or jump directly to 16GB. As for internal storage, the base unit will offer 128GB with an option to upgrade to 256GB — both UFS3.1.
The camera hardware on Zenfone 9 sees a notable set of changes from its predecessor. Replacing the 64MP Sony IMX 686 from last year is the new popular kid on the block, the 50MP f/1.9 Sony IMX 766. The camera ships with OIS and a 6-axis gimbal stabilization system to enhance the experience further. The second camera is a 12MP Sony IMX 363 with an aperture of f/2.2 and a 113-degree field of view, while the front camera — housed in a hole-punch — is a 12MP Sony IMX 663 with f/2.4 and a 76.5-degree field of view and autofocus.
The camera comes with other smarts, like a Light Trail Capture feature (currently in Beta) and a Pro mode that provides enough customizability to grab great shots. To see how the camera fares look forward to future content surrounding the Zenfone 9 on Pocketnow.
Amongst the other positive changes, Asus has also increased the battery size on Zenfone 9. The encased cell extends from 4000 mAh to 4300 mAh on Zenfone 9. The OEM also continues to maintain support for 30W charging. And like last year, the Zenfone 9 presents software-based features like a charge limiter, scheduled charging, and steady charging, each of which will help preserve the health of the cell inside.
Asus ships a 30W adapter in the box with Zenfone 9.
Pricing and Availability
For pricing, the Asus Zenfone 8 started at $629 for its base 8GB + 128GB variant in North America. With the upgrades this year, the Zenfone 9 is slightly more expensive and will start at $699 in the United States. But for what it is worth, the device is unique and does stand to offer a great experience.
Iterating on the SKUs we mentioned earlier, you can buy variants that feature 8GB of RAM or 16GB of RAM, bundled with 128GB or 256GB of storage. The actual combinations sold will vary by region.
|8GB + 128GB||$699||€799|
|8GB + 256GB||NA||€849|
|16GB + 256GB||NA||€899|
As for availability, the device is currently available for pre-order on some of Asus’ European websites, with deliveries set to happen in August. Other regions, including North America, still lack official details.
|Category||Asus Zenfone 9|
|Dimensions||146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm|
|Display||5.9-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED Display
1100 nits peak brightness
HDR 10 and HDR10+ Certification
Delta-E Gorilla Glass Victus
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|RAM||8GB or 16GB|
|Internal Storage||128GB or 256GB|
30W Fast Charging
|Operating System||Android 12|
|Rear Camera||50MP Sony IMX766, 1/1.56″ large sensor, 1.0µm pixel size, f/1.9 aperture, 6-Axis Hybrid Gimbal
12MP Sony IMX363, 1/2.55″ sensor, 1.4 µm pixel size, f/2.2 aperture, 113 -degree field of view
|Front Camera||12MP Sony IMX663, 1/2.93″ sensor, f/2.45 aperture|
|Video Capability (Rear)||8K at 24fps, 4K at 30fps/60fps, 1080p at 30fps/60fps with Hyper Steady
Slow Motion: 4K at 120fps, 1080p at 240fps, 720p at 480fps
|Video Capability (Front)||4k at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps|
|Speakers||Dual-stereo speakers with Dirac HD Sound|
|Colors||White, Black, Red, and Blue|
|What’s in the box||Documentation
USB Power adapter
USB-C to USB-C Cable