It is that time of the year (Summer) for Asus to announce its yearly flagship smartphone, and in 2019 is Zenfone 6 time to shine.
At a press event held at the end of this week in Valencia, Spain, Asus announced the Zenfone 6 (model Asus ZS630KL), a device ment to deliver a fully intact display (no cutouts, no notches), and to do that Asus had to come up with an idea to move the selfie camera or drop it altogether, which they did.
1. Asus removed the selfie camera and embedded a flip system in its Zenfone smartphone so that the main camera is able to rotate up to 180 degrees in a way that it can be used as the selfie camera as well as a facial recognition / unlock system.
The flip system is well-made (durable materials – liquid metal – Asus says it will last up to 5 years used everyday), however it requires one second or more from the moment you open the Camera app to the moment the camera is available to use, which is not that great if you’re trying to capture something instantaneously. The same problem appears when you try to use the Face Unlock feature. Whenever you want to unlock your Zenfone 6 through face scanning it takes at least a second before the camera rotates into selfie position, scans the user’s face for recognition and unlocks the device.
The dual main camera is equipped with a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor with f/1.7 aperture + 13MP depth sensor and dual Flash LED.
2. Another thing we dislike about Zenfone 6 design, and we’ve noticed that not a lot of people comment on it, is the thickness (9.2mm) of the handset due to Asus’ decision to cram a 5,000 mAh battery inside the new Zenfone. And the space the camera flip module requires to properly fit inside Zenfone 6’s body. We believe a 4,000-ish mAh battery would have sufficed for today’s standards / needs.
Asus used a trick to make it less noticeable by curving Zenfone 6’s edges and using a glossy finnish to reflect the light.
3. We don’t get Asus’ decision to not implement an OLED panel if they decided to offer a display without cutouts / notches or other distractions. Instead they opted for an IPS LCD panel with washed out colours and only Full HD+ screen resolution (if you put it side by side with a device using an OLED panel the difference is quite noticeable). Flagship hardware, mid-range design implementation.
4. The price positioning of the Zenfone 6 is great in today’s market at under 700 euros, but who wouldn’t want to pay: say an extra 100 Euros / GBP to get an OLED display instead of a washed up LCD panel.
5. With Zenfone 6, Asus delivers on the audio side of things thanks to its stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos technology integrated as well, but it takes 2 steps backwards with its LCD display that somewhat ruins the multimedia experience. It would have been great if they would have embedded an OLED panel for Netflix, YouTube’s sake! Mobile gamers would have liked that as well. The multimedia / gaming experience on the Zenfone 6 is at 65% instead of 100% from our point of view.
6. Another issue we find inadequate for a 2019 flagship phone is the lack of an in-display fingerprint sensor. Another issue created by the LCD panel used by Asus. Instead you get a physical not very great looking fingerprint scanner on the back of the device.
7. Asus dropped altogether the ZenUI it had until 2018, and worked up on a brand new UI skin based on the stock Android UI, which Asus says it’s way snappier and faster in response to touch commands.
8. Asus says it will ship the Zenfone 6 with Android 9 Pie, but soon after Google’s Pixels receive the upgrade to Android 10 Q, the Zenfone 6 will receive it as well. Not only that but Asus bragged about delivering Android R build when it drops (second half of 2020), too.
9. Another good thing about Asus’ Zenfone 6 is that it retains the 3.5mm headphones jack, which most of 2019 flagship phones dropped.
10. Asus Zenfone 6 does not offer wireless charging, while others also include reversible wireless charging in their flagship phones to be able co charge your wireless headphones or your smartwatch.