We all have it.
It can be a friend, a relative or an acquaintance but he exists, you have met him.
We are talking about the one who prefers compact smartphones. The one who is desperate for a phone that fits easily in his pocket, that can be used with one hand, that does not integrate a display well under 6 inches.
Well, to him – and to all those who follow the same philosophy – it is dedicated ASUS Zenfone 9. The newcomer of the Taiwanese giant inherits the 5.9-inch screen and low weight from its predecessor, elements that make it one of the most compact top of the range on the market.
But this is only the beginning. Zenfone 9 has a lot more to offer. We talk about it in this one review.
The display size is unchanged. The weight too. But no, it’s not a Zenfone 8 clone.
First of all, the design changes. In fact, the Asian giant has listened to the requests of users and brought a product to the market that manages to stand out from the competition, embellished by the different colors proposed that give even more personality to the product.
Then grow the sensors of the photographic sector, the SoC, the battery and the components dedicated to heat dissipation.
Plus we lose a few millimeters. Very few, mind you, but sufficient to further increase the handling of the product.
As anticipated, the aesthetics of Zenfone 9 are very different from that of the previous model. We have a flat aluminum framethat hosts the new ZenTouch multifunction button, which not only integrates the fingerprint reader but can help you quickly call up the voice assistant, an application, a function and much more. You can even associate the swipe on the button to the notification curtain to open and close it on the fly. In short, the potential is enormous.
Along the right edge we also find the volume rocker, at the top instead we have the always loved 3.5 mm jack while at the bottom we have the USB-C and the SIM slot.
The back is also well-kept with a very particular texture, which in some ways reminded us of some recycled covers that we have tried in recent times. And no, this is not a bad thing because does not slip, does not hold fingerprints and the grip is always firm. Not to mention the originality of the choice made by ASUS compared to competitors who often focus on glass.
We conclude with the IP68 certification, for protection against water and dust, and with the Gorilla Glass Victus which instead protects the display.
5.9 in They are few? Absolutely no. We had no difficulty browsing, reading articles, consulting emails and watching multimedia content. If your view is not perfect, we remind you that you can decide to enlarge the font at any time using the appropriate menu. And if you want bigger icons just opt for the 4 × 4 or 4 × 5 grid.
The panel is un AMOLED provided by Samsung, such as a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It is not LTPO so it does not go from 1 to 120 Hz but has predefined steps: 60, 90 and 120 Hz. You can choose the refresh rate you prefer or set the Automatic mode, with Zenfone 9 that adjusts the settings by itself based on the type of content.
Also excellent color rendering. We have a Delta-E> 1, 112% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and support for HDR10 +. All of this results in vivid, crystalline colors and deep blacks.
In addition, you have the possibility to change the temperature and the color mode, choosing between Optimal, Natural, Cinematic, Standard and Custom.
The brightness is also good, with a peak of 1100 nits. The sensor is perhaps not the fastest on the market but it reacts well to changes in light.
Finally, we report the presence of the Always-on display and the SGS Eye Care certification for eye protection against blue light.
It’s hard to find fault with this ASUS Zenfone 9. In fact, even the performances are first of the class thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and 8 or 16 GB of RAM. There is nothing slowing it down, not even gaming.
And the space? The memory can be 128 or 256 GB. Enough to host games, applications, photos and documents.
Nothing is missing even on the connectivity front with il WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and then GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou and NavIC. And, we repeat, there is also the audio jack. A rarity now on smartphones in this price range.
The software here is Android 12 with the ZenUI which looks a lot like the stock version of Google’s operating system. However, there are small additions that further improve the experience without making the customization of ASUS annoying or intrusive.
On board we find a 4,300 mAh battery which, thanks to the optimization of ASUS, performs really well. We had no problems making it to the end of the day and the consumptions in stand-by are very low.
Too bad for the lack of wireless charging and for the fast one that stops at 30W.
Finally, we come to the camera with two rear sensors: a main 50 MP (Sony IMX766) with 6-axis optical stabilization and a 12 megapixel ultra-wide angle (Sony IMX663).
Complete the picture the front camera, also 12 megapixel.
How does Zenfone 9 behave on the pitch? Overall we were not at all sorry. The glance is great, the colors are natural and there is no chromatic aberration. The distortion of the ultra-wide angle is then reduced to a minimum and we do not have an invasive artificial intelligence that unnecessarily modifies the shots. What we felt was missing, on both rear lenses, is the detail. Obviously you will not notice it by looking at the photo in its entirety but by zooming in you will see that a little something is lost, especially as the subject moves away.
On the video front we have 8K at 24 fps, 4K up to 60 fps and FullHD always at 60 fps. Keep in mind that as the resolution increases, we lose Ultrasteady stabilization (only on FullHD) and HDR (absent on 8K).
So what are the best videos? We particularly liked FullHD with Ultrasteady because it is really stable, with natural colors and the ability to activate HDR. 4K at 60 fps is also not bad; the stabilization here drops to Normal but all in all the yield is satisfactory.
ASUS Zenfone 9 is available for pre-order from today, July 28, and will be in promo until August 17th, promo leading the price of the 8/128 GB version ranges from € 799 to € 729.
However, variants also arrive on the market 8/256 GB at €849only in black and white, and that 16/256GB at €899only in black color.
Is it worth buying? We particularly liked it. It is compact, original enough, with an excellent display, top-of-the-range performance and good autonomy. Even the camera, although not like other top of the range, has managed to satisfy us all in all. The price is particularly interesting. In short, to consider if you want a flagship with reduced dimensions.
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