Review Asus 6Z (6GB RAM, 64GB)


Design

Plus


  • Beautiful, stand-out design - a curved rear that fits nicely into the palm of your hand, a glossy back, and most importantly, a 6.4 in full-screen display free of bezels and notches
  • A neatly positioned, well thought-out alert and charge light - in the top right corner just above the screen
  • A handy, configurable Smart Key (defaults to Google Assistant) - you can configure it to have specific single-press, double-press and long-press actions
  • The physical fingerprint sensor at the back is fast, and conveniently positioned, for both left- and right-handed use

Minus


  • Like all glossy backs do, this one too will attract a lot of fingerprints
  • Relatively hefty (190g)
  • Face unlock is not as quick as on other competing phones with the time taken to flip the rear camera forward adding a little delay


Display

Plus

Large, clear, immersive 6.4-inch screen with minimal bezels, and of course, no notch

Minus

But the screen is LCD, rather than OLED, so it's not quite as gorgeous as the AMOLED on the OnePlus 7

Software


  • ZenUI 6 is leaner, faster, more streamlined than before - making it now one of the best and most clean Android UI implementations around
  • There are range of tweaks of course - OptiFlex (learns which apps you use and loads them faster than the norm), Dark Mode (essentially replaces the white background with a black one easing eye strain), Smart Volume (sets media, ringtones and call volume to a level appropriate to ambient noise) - there are plenty of other tweaks too, but they are less obtrusive than previous iterations of ZenUI
  • Asus also adds a range of its own apps including a gallery, file manager, weather app, data transfer tool, sound recorder and its own camera app - which are handy - and there is no unnecessary bloat


Performance

Top-end flagship performance with the flagship Snapdragon 855 underneath - the Zenfone 6 is in fact one of the cheapest phones at present to pack the 855


Camera


  • Of course, the highlight of the Zenfone 6 is the clever, unique flip camera system
  • Asus has thought not just about removing the front camera for the 'full screen' experience, but also about enhancing the camera's usability - the result is not just another pop-up design - open the camera app and the dual rear-facing lenses are used in the usual way - switch to selfie mode and the camera housing swings out from the back of the handset until the two lenses sit proud of the top of the phone, facing forwards!
  • The camera system consists of dual cameras - a 48MP primary camera + a 13MP ultra-wide camera, that can create some cool framing opportunities
  • The image quality is very impressive - even considering the excellent competition - in daylight shots, you can expect a great deal of detail, while indoor shots too capture texture and detail well
  • The special camera setup means there are a bunch of smart features, like motion tracking (set this off and the camera will follow a moving subject, as long as it's moving slowly), and a motorized panorama mode (select it and hold the camera steady, and the flip lens moves through its full 180 degrees, shooting as it goes)
  • Night mode shooting captures quite a lot of detail
  • Great video quality, with very capable stabilization, and range of video modes - the ability to record at [email protected] with EIS is a nice touch, too
  • Finally, of course, the best outcome from the flip camera mechanism is that you now get to use the same excellent rear cameras as your front cameras as well - this means that the selfie quality is pretty much unrivalled, when compared to even the best of camera phones
  • There is some added shot-framing flexibility as well - if you hold the selfie button a slider pops up that can be used to rotate the camera housing into a particular position -- perhaps using it as a stand, or to get a shot that's at an awkward angle
  • Finally, what you are getting is excellent quality in daylight and low light, image and video, front and back - making for one of the best camera phones, especially in this price bracket (and yes, it's a significant way ahead of the OnePlus 7)

Minus

The only phone in this price bracket that is arguably a bit better in overall camera quality is the Pixel 3a

Audio

Nice stereo speakers - they deliver plenty of volume, and reasonably good quality

Battery


  • The other big highlight of the Zenfone 6, apart from the flip camera setup, is the exceptional, class-leading battery life, powered by a huge 5000mAH battery - you are going to get 2 days of use from this beast with moderate use
  • QuickCharge 4.0 support


Conclusion


  • No 2 ways about it, Asus has delivered a surprising capable, sublime mid-ranger here, and given OnePlus a lot to worry about
  • A great camera setup, and an excellent battery life are the highlights - and add to that some nice-to-haves that are increasingly harder to find in the high-end segment like a headphone jack, a status LED, and a dedicated microSD slot, and you can see how the Zenfone 6 makes a really compelling case for itself
  • The 2 main competitors will be the OnePlus 7 (better AMOLED display, but not as good cameras), and Pixel 3a (better cameras, but behind in most other areas) - and the Zenfone 6 is likely to compete well against these champions

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