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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Asus Zenfone 6 first impressions: A worthy OnePlus 7 Pro alternative?

Asus Zenfone 6 will launch in India soon. The latest flagship phone from Asus packs a flip camera featuring 48-megapixel and 13-megapixel sensors. Here are our first impressions of the smartphone.

tech Updated: May 17, 2019 13:22 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Asus’ new phone features flip cameras
Asus’ new phone features flip cameras(HT Photo)

Asus may not have big market share to flaunt but it has stuck around in the smartphone space and managed to have quite a few hits and many misses. Recently it came with a ROG gaming phone and with that Asus showed it was capable of delivering a capable phone and even cater to power users. Asus’ course correction continues with its Zenfone 6, a new flagship phone that will take on OnePlus 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Google Pixel 3.

Asus Zenfone 6 is nothing like Zenfone phones launched over the years. The first thing you will notice is the notchless display. The phone features a 6.4-inch nanoedge display with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. With 92% screen-to-body ratio, it gets as edge-to-edge as possible. The full HD+ resolution of this big screen will not blow your mind but it’s pretty much on par with high-end mid-range phones. While OnePlus 7 Pro may have QHD display, the basic OnePlus 7 still stuck at full HD+.

Just like every other smartphone player, Asus has to improvise the design to compensate for a full-screen smartphone. Unlike OnePlus 7 Pro’s, it has a flip camera – which is similar to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy A80. Flip cameras look quite unique and in the case of Zenfone 6, they actually work. We’re not sure how these modules fare after a long-term usage.

Asus Zenfone 6’s flip camera isn’t just about flipping the lenses. Users can adjust the flip angle as per their preference. Asus at its product briefing said the adjustable flip angles can help users take some unique shots without needing to actually physically move.

Asus Zenfone 6 has a glass back panel
Asus Zenfone 6 has a glass back panel ( HT Photo )

As far as camera capabilities go, Asus has packed in 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with f/1.79 aperture and a 13-megapixel 125-degree wide angle. The cameras also support Laser AF assist and Dual LED flash. We’ve already seen Sony IMX586 sensor on phones like Huawei P30 Pro, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro, and OnePlus 7 Pro. The sensor is quite reliable and delivers mostly good results. Sony’s 48-megapixel sensor works much better with high-end processors. Asus got this covered with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor.

We didn’t get to test the performance of the phone during our brief usage. But, we did notice the new ZenUI which aims to deliver near-stock Android experience. The custom ROM also brings some unique features, for instance, system-wide dark mode – an Android Q feature still in the works. Custom ROMs, if implemented well, can really make the experience better. But it’s also up to the OEMs to keep updating the phone with bug fixes and firmware updates. Asus says it’s getting more serious about software updates on its phones.

A closer look at camera UI on Asus Zenfone 6
A closer look at camera UI on Asus Zenfone 6 ( HT Photo )

Asus is also bundling a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charger – this will be among the highest battery capacity on any premium phone so far.

Summing up,

Asus Zenfone 6 is definitely the best smartphone from Asus so far. From design, clean UI, camera to flip cameras, Zenfone 6 checks all the boxes for a premium smartphone. It could very well be the worthy alternative to OnePlus 7 Pro. Asus Zenfone 6 is set to launch in India soon and will be available via Flipkart. Stay tuned for our detailed review.