Asus Zenfone 9 Will get All of the New Telephone Specs Right into a Small Measurement With Massive Cameras

What’s taking place

The $700 Asus Zenfone 9 has each a tiny 5.9-inch display screen and the most recent Snapdragon chip.

Why it issues

The Zenfone is among the smallest Android telephones at present made and one of many most cost-effective telephones to incorporate probably the most highly effective Snapdragon processor.

What’s subsequent

Whereas small Android telephones will nonetheless be a rarity shifting ahead, we anticipate the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip to be in much more Android telephones in the course of the second half of 2022.

The Asus Zenfone 9, revealed Thursday, may give followers of smaller telephones all of the specs and energy of bigger, dearer flagship telephones. The Zenfone 9 consists of the most recent Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, a 120Hz excessive refresh fee display screen, two rear cameras, Android 12, twin audio system and a headphone jack.

I examined the $800 model of the Zenfone 9 for just a few days, which incorporates 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The bottom $700 mannequin comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Internationally the cellphone prices 799 euros, which converts roughly to £670 or AU$1,170. A launch date has not but been introduced.

Comparisons to Apple’s $729 iPhone 13 Mini are simple. Whereas the Zenfone 9 is barely taller and wider than Apple’s smallest cellphone, each embody the newest and highly effective processor supplied — the A15 Bionic within the case of the iPhone.

Zenfone 9 dimensions vs. iPhone 13 Mini


Display measurement



Asus Zenfone 9

5.9 inches

5.76 in (146.5 mm)

2.68 in (68.1 mm)

Apple iPhone 13 Mini

5.4 inches

5.18 in (131.5 mm)

2.53 in (64.2 mm)

The Zenfone’s smaller measurement, together with its spectacular specs, have made it a pleasure to make use of thus far. The cellphone seems like just a little distant management that may deal with something that I throw at it: video games, evening mode images and video calls. Once I unlock the cellphone, there’s even a peppy wallpaper animation that furthers its velocity.

The Zenfone 9’s sub-6-inch show means it is a rarity amongst Android telephones. It is impressively small and highly effective, operating on the Snapdragon chip discovered primarily in gaming telephones such because the $729 RedMagic 7S Professional. Although the upcoming OnePlus 10T may also embody the chip.

But the brand new Asus cellphone is lacking a number of options that almost all different $700 telephones have. Chief amongst them is the shortage of wi-fi charging and a software program replace timeline of greater than two years. An Asus rep stated that software program updates would possibly lengthen previous two years. However in contrast with the three and 4 years of Android OS updates supplied by Google and Samsung, respectively, that is on the shorter aspect.

The Asus Zenfone 9 features a headphone jack up prime, and twin audio system.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Quick display screen, quick charging

The Zenfone’s 5.9-inch display screen has a 1080p decision and is straightforward to make use of with one hand. Asus tailor-made the settings in its ZenUI interface to make one-handed use even simpler: to Apple’s Reachability characteristic, you may transfer the highest a part of the display screen to the underside to make issues simpler to succeed in.

The 120Hz refresh fee makes apps and web sites clean to browse. That prime refresh fee coupled with a 240Hz contact sampling fee makes it really feel like I am flying via duties. I performed just a few video games on the cellphone — which was barely tougher on the smaller display screen since lots of them are designed with bigger telephones in thoughts. However the cellphone’s responsiveness is useful, permitting for quicker response instances throughout gameplay.

When it comes to sturdiness, the display screen is roofed in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The cellphone has an IP68 ranking for water and mud resistance. Meaning the it might probably survive being submerged in 1 meter of water for half-hour.

Whereas I nonetheless have to run formal battery exams, I have not wanted to cost the cellphone’s 4,300-mAh battery a lot. Throughout my most lively day of use — taking images of a ramen lunch, watching YouTube movies whereas studying information, utilizing Google Maps to go to a dimly lit bar the place I took Night time mode images — the battery ended the day at roughly 50% .

Asus stated the battery ought to final 1.9 days. Thankfully the cellphone comes with a 30-watt charger within the field and there are a number of power-saving modes in Settings like scheduling a lower-power mode to run in a single day.

The Asus Zenfone 9 cameras

The again of the Asus Zenfone 9 is outlined by its two massive rear cameras.

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The twin rear cameras are first rate

The again of the Zenfone 9 is dominated by its two rear cameras. They’re sufficiently big to virtually be a design assertion. There is a foremost 50-megapixel digital camera with a six-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer and a 12-megapixel digital camera with an ultrawide lens. On the entrance is a 12-megapixel selfie digital camera.

Pictures taken below common lighting look fairly good. Check out the colour and element within the picture beneath that I took of my ramen lunch.

Ramen lunch photo shot on Asus Zenfone 9

This Zenfone picture of ramen was taken indoors.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Plants photo taken on Asus Zenfone 9.

I took this picture of crops on a sunny Manhattan rooftop.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

I used to be most impressed by the cellphone’s Night time mode. Take a look at the picture beneath that I took inside a really darkish bar. The Zenfone’s Night time mode makes the images look brighter virtually like there was extra lighting.

NIght mode photo in dark bar taken on Asus Zenfone 9

Discover how Night time mode made the shadows brighter and retained particulars like the feel within the wooden paneling on the bar’s entrance.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The front-facing digital camera can also be positive and picks up sufficient element in images. Discover the sample on my shirt within the selfie picture beneath. Asus claims the front-facing digital camera has the quickest autofocus at present accessible, however in my early exams it felt common in comparison with different telephones on this value vary. Video calls with the front-facing digital camera additionally labored nicely.

Front facing camera photo from the Asus Zenfone 9

Entrance-facing digital camera picture taken on the Asus Zenfone 9.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Small-size cellphone with massive efficiency

The Zenfone 9 is a superb possibility for somebody on the lookout for a small cellphone that has higher-end options like a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip and a 120Hz high-refresh fee display screen. The cellphone runs on 5G and helps sub-6 and C-band.

If you happen to’re contemplating the Zenfone 9 consider it solely has two years of software program assist and lacks wi-fi charging and mmWave 5G assist (which continues to be a rarity throughout a lot of the US). If you happen to’re on the lookout for a small-ish cellphone below $500, try the $449 Pixel 6A and its barely taller 6.1-inch display screen.