The Asus ZenFone 8 is an Android iPhone mini

After a few generations making telephones with flip-out cameras and more and more giant shows, Asus has taken the ZenFone 8 in a completely completely different path: small.

The flipping digicam idea lives on within the also-new ZenFone 8 Flip, nevertheless it’s not a normal function throughout this 12 months’s ZenFone lineup. As a substitute, beginning at $629 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the ZenFone 8 lands within the upper-midrange class with a standard rear digicam bump and a a lot smaller 5.9-inch show. An 8GB RAM / 256GB storage configuration can be out there for $699.

Somewhat than an attention-grabbing digicam function, the main focus of this design has been to create a smaller telephone that’s comfy to make use of in a single hand, which Asus has accomplished with out skimping on processing energy or higher-end options.

It’s an Android iPhone mini, and it’s incredible.

Our overview of
Asus Zenfone 8

Verge Rating

8 out of 10

Good Stuff

  • Considerate compact design
  • Sturdy construct high quality and IP68 ranking
  • Glorious Snapdragon 888 efficiency

Unhealthy Stuff

  • Battery life is simply okay
  • Solely two main OS updates
  • No telephoto digicam

Purchase for $600.00 from Asus

Asus ZenFone 8 display and design

The ZenFone 8 could also be small, however that hasn’t saved it from providing the most recent flagship processor: a Snapdragon 888 chipset, coupled with 6, 8, or 16GB of RAM (my overview unit has 16GB). I can’t discover fault with this telephone’s efficiency. It feels responsive, animations and interactions are clean, and it retains up with demanding use and speedy app switching. That is efficiency becoming of a flagship system.

The show is a 5.9-inch 1080p OLED panel with a quick 120Hz refresh fee that makes routine interactions with the telephone — swiping, scrolling, animations — look rather more clean and polished than a normal 60Hz display or perhaps a 90Hz panel. By default, the telephone will routinely change between 120 / 90 / 60Hz relying on the appliance to avoid wasting battery life, however you possibly can manually choose any of these three refresh charges if you happen to desire.

The show’s 20:9 facet ratio was rigorously thought-about by Asus. The corporate says it settled on this barely narrower format so the telephone would match extra simply right into a pocket, and it does. I can’t get it all the best way right into a again denims pocket, nevertheless it largely matches. Extra importantly, it matches properly inside a jacket pocket and doesn’t really feel prefer it’s going to flop out if I sit down on the ground to tie my sneakers. The ZenFone 8 is rated IP68 for mud safety and a few water submersion.

I can’t get it all the best way right into a again denims pocket, nevertheless it largely matches

The entrance panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus and homes an in-display fingerprint sensor, whereas the again makes use of Gorilla Glass 3 with a frosted end that’s on the matte facet of the matte / shiny spectrum. The entrance panel is flat, however the rear contains a slight curve on the lengthy edges for a better match within the hand. At 169 grams (5.9 ounces), it’s heavy for its measurement, and it feels surprisingly dense once you first decide it up. The telephone’s body is aluminum, giving the entire package deal a high-end feel and appear. There’s even a headphone jack on the highest edge as a deal with.

The facility button (an thrilling shade of blue!) is well-positioned so my proper thumb falls on it naturally with the telephone in my hand. Similar for the in-screen fingerprint sensor: the goal seems to be positioned greater on the display than typical, however that really places it inside a cushty attain of my thumb.

I’ll admit up entrance that I’ve a private bias towards smaller telephones, however the ZenFone 8 simply feels nice in my hand. I’ve spent a number of time utilizing huge gadgets over the past six months, and I’ve gotten used to it. However the ZenFone 8 is the primary system that feels prefer it was tailored to me, not one thing I’ve needed to adapt to utilizing.

Asus ZenFone 8 battery and software program

The telephone’s small measurement makes a smaller battery a necessity — 4,000mAh on this case, a lot smaller than the ZenFone 6 and seven’s 5,000mAh. I felt the distinction in utilizing this telephone versus a battery-for-days finances or midrange telephone, however I had no drawback getting by means of a full day of average use. I even left Strava operating for 20 hours by chance, and the battery nonetheless had some life in it the following morning. The ZenFone 8 helps 30W wired charging with the included energy adapter, which takes an empty battery to one hundred pc in a bit greater than an hour. Wi-fi charging isn’t supported, which makes the ZenFone 8 a little bit of an outlier within the flagship class.

Asus provides a ton of choices to assist stretch day-to-day battery life in addition to the general lifespan of your battery. There aren’t any fewer than 5 battery modes to optimize telephone efficiency or battery longevity every day, and completely different charging modes allow you to set a customized charging restrict or stagger charging in a single day so it reaches one hundred pc across the time of your alarm for higher battery well being. You received’t discover class-leading battery capability right here, however relaxation assured if you could stretch the ZenFone 8’s battery, there are many choices.

The ZenFone 8 ships with Android 11, and Asus says it’s going to present “a minimum of” two main OS with safety updates for a similar timeframe. That’s on the low facet of what we’d anticipate for a flagship telephone, particularly in comparison with Apple’s typical four- or five-year assist schedule. An vital notice for US consumers is that the ZenFone 8 will solely work with AT&T and T-Cell’s LTE and Sub-6GHz 5G networks; you possibly can’t use this telephone on Verizon, and there’s no assist for the quick, however extraordinarily restricted, millimeter-wave 5G networks.

Asus ZenFone 8 digicam

There are simply two cameras on the ZenFone 8’s rear digicam bump, and they’re each price your time. Somewhat than cram in a depth sensor, macro, or some monochrome nonsense, Asus simply went with a 64-megapixel major digicam with OIS and a 12-megapixel ultrawide. They’re borrowed from final 12 months’s mannequin, minus a telephoto digicam and the flipping mechanism.

As within the ZenFone 7 Professional, the 8’s major digicam produces 16-megapixel photos with vibrant shade and loads of element in good mild. Photos can lean a bit of too far into unnatural-looking territory, and a few high-contrast scenes look a bit of too HDR-y for my liking. However general, this digicam does fantastic: it handles reasonably low-light situations like a dim retailer inside properly, and Evening Mode does an okay job in very low mild, offered you possibly can maintain the telephone nonetheless for just a few seconds and your topic isn’t transferring.

  • Ultrawide digicam

  • Ultrawide digicam

  • Ultrawide digicam

A skin-smoothing magnificence mode is on by default once you use portrait mode, and it isn’t good. Pores and skin appears to be like over-smoothed, unnaturally flat, and brightened, like your topic is carrying a few layers of stage make-up. Turning this off improves issues considerably.

The ultrawide digicam additionally turns in good efficiency. Asus calls it a “flagship” grade sensor, and whereas which may have been true in 2018, it’s a minimum of a step up from the smaller, cheaper sensors usually present in ultrawide cameras. Likewise, the front-facing 12-megapixel digicam does fantastic. Magnificence mode is turned off by default once you change to the selfie digicam, and thank goodness for that.

There’s no telephoto digicam right here, simply digital zoom. On the digicam taking pictures display, there’s an icon to leap to a 2x 16-megapixel “lossless” digital zoom to crop in shortly, which works okay, nevertheless it isn’t a lot attain, and it simply makes the restrictions of the small sensor and lens extra apparent.

On the entire, the digicam system is nice however not nice. The shortage of true optical zoom or a telephoto digicam is a disappointment, however you possibly can’t have all the things on such a small system, and I’d personally take an ultrawide earlier than a telephoto any day.

The ZenFone 8 fills a void within the Android marketplace for a full-specced, small-sized system. The Google Pixel 4A is across the similar measurement, nevertheless it’s decidedly a finances system with a step-down processor, plastic chassis, and fewer niceties like an IP ranking or a fast-refresh display. Apart from battery life, which is manageable, you hand over little or no in the best way of flagship options to get the ZenFone 8’s small type issue.

It’s a must to look to iOS for this telephone’s most direct competitors: the iPhone 12 mini, which it matches virtually spec-for-spec from the IP ranking right down to the digicam configuration. The 12 mini is definitely a bit of smaller than the ZenFone 8, and once you consider storage capability, it’s the costlier alternative at $829 for 256GB. Nonetheless, when you think about that the 12 mini will in all probability get a pair extra years of OS and safety assist, it might be the higher purchase in the long term, if you happen to’re versatile in your alternative of working system.

Flagship-level construct high quality and efficiency fairly actually within the palm of your hand

I just like the ZenFone 8 quite a bit, however I’m undecided it’ll discover a huge viewers, a minimum of within the US. Apple is having bother promoting the iPhone 12 mini, and if there’s one factor Apple is nice at, it’s promoting telephones to US prospects. As a lot as I hate to entertain the thought, perhaps we’ve gotten used to large telephones. I really like how the ZenFone 8 feels in my hand and in my pocket, however I do discover how a lot smaller the display and all the things on it appears in comparison with the larger telephones I’ve used just lately.

There are additionally just a few vital issues, like the dearth of compatibility with Verizon and the comparatively quick assist lifespan of the telephone. Should you want the best possible in battery life the ZenFone 8 can’t provide that, and if you would like a class-leading digicam, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

All that stated, the ZenFone 8 would be the proper match for a particular sort of particular person, and I can heartily advocate it to my fellow small telephone followers. You’ll get flagship-level construct high quality and efficiency fairly actually within the palm of your hand.

Pictures by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Replace June twenty ninth, 11:50AM ET: Up to date to incorporate ultimate US pricing.

Comply with proceed: Asus ZenFone 8

Each sensible system now requires you to comply with a sequence of phrases and situations earlier than you need to use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s unimaginable for us to learn and analyze each single considered one of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of instances it’s a must to hit “agree” to make use of gadgets once we overview them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and undoubtedly can’t negotiate.

To really use the Asus ZenFone 8, you need to comply with:

  • Asus finish consumer license settlement
  • Google Phrases of Service
  • Set up updates and apps: “You agree this system can also routinely obtain and set up updates and apps from Google, your service, and your system’s producer, probably utilizing mobile information. A few of these apps might provide in-app purchases.”

So as to add a Google account, you’ll additionally have to agree to 2 extra issues:

  • Google Play Phrases of Service
  • Google Privateness Coverage

The next agreements are elective:

  • Permitting Asus to gather product and site data
  • Asus product registration
  • Again as much as Google Drive: “Your backup consists of apps, app information, all historical past, contacts, system settings (together with Wi-Fi passwords and permissions), and SMS.”
  • Use location: “Google might accumulate location information periodically and use this information in any nameless manner to enhance location accuracy and location-based providers.”
  • Enable scanning: “Enable apps and providers to scan for Wi-Fi networks and close by gadgets at any time, even when Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is off.”
  • Ship utilization and diagnostic information: “Assist enhance your Android system expertise by routinely sending diagnostic, system and app utilization information to Google.”
  • Service location entry: “Your service often requires location information to enhance its providers and analytics.”

Moreover, for Google Assistant, there’s an choice to agree to make use of Voice Match: “Permits your Assistant to establish you and inform you other than others. The Assistant takes clips of your voice to type a novel voice mannequin, which is simply saved in your system(s). Your voice mannequin could also be despatched briefly to Google to higher establish your voice.”

Ultimate tally: three obligatory agreements to make use of the telephone, one other two for Google account providers, and 7 elective agreements.

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