The Asus Zenfone 8 could have been just another Android phone in the same way as the Samsung Galaxy S21 plus, OnePlus 9 and so on.
Instead, Asus has made a smart decision to try to highlight this among the other best Android phones. Unlike the phones we just mentioned, the Asus ZenFone 8 is small. Like, iPhone 12-Small level.
I spent a few days on the new phone that was introduced next to the Asus Zenfone 8 Flip, and although there is not enough time to make a final judgment, here are my first thoughts.
Design and screen
A device with a sub-6-inch screen is rare in the Android range, and recently released phones (Pixel 4A, Pixel 5) can not really be classified as flagship devices.
The Zenfone 8 is not marketed as a “Mini” or “Lite” version of a larger device – this is Zenfone’s true flagship for the year. It’s exceptionally pocketable, seriously lightweight at 169g, and is still feature-rich.
It’s not as compact a device as the iPhone 12 Mini; it’s just a little smaller than the iPhone 12. This is a good step from Asus, as it would probably have prevented more people from being as small as Apple’s mini-phone than would have been attracted. The size here looks like a decent compromise, and the device should definitely be of interest to anyone who thinks Android phones are usually too big.
Size aside, the Zenfone 8 feels great. The metal back is strongly curved to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and while it’s not the thinnest device, there’s room on top for a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There’s a USB-C port at the bottom and a touch of color from a blue power button. You will even receive a notification, a charging LED next to the USB-C port and an IP68 rating.
It’s a simple design, but in my opinion, this phone looks smart and subtle.
On the front is a 5.9-inch flat screen. It’s smaller than most, though I’ve found it more than enough for games and videos so far. It’s also the perfect size to navigate with one hand, which is even better thanks to the one-handed iOS mode.
Asus may have chosen a smaller screen, but it did not save on the Technology that powers the panel. The SAMSUNG OLED E4 Panel offers wide HDR support, Gorilla Glass Victus, reported 1100 nits brightness, on-screen fingerprint sensor and 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and responsive gaming. These are all the best specs on a par, if not better, than most of the other flagships I’ve tested this year.
Although The screen is not adaptive like the OnePlus 9 Pro’s panel, you can switch between 60Hz, 90Hz or 120Hz or automatically switch the system for you. I left The Auto option on for a while; however, the screen never seemed to switch up to 120 Hz. I’m a fool for this 120Hz sweetness, so I forced him to stay there all the time.
Asus reports that the screen covers 112% of the cinema-grade DCI-P3 color space. I will check this as soon as I can test the phone with a colorimeter in trusted labs.
To the eye, however, it is an excellent screen with a wide choice of customization options to adjust colors and color scales.
The only area where sacrifices have been made to reduce the size of the device are the cameras. There are only two on the back, with one zoom scrapped due to lack of space.
The main camera is a 64-megapixel Sony IM686 sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS), f / 1.7 aperture and 8K video recording. This is coupled with a 12-megapixel Sony IMX636 ultra-wide-Angle-sensor.
I’ve been shooting with the camera for a few days now, and it can produce decent images. The colors are impressive, there are a lot of details, and the application focuses quickly. However, there is nothing remarkable to notice, as camera processing is often a vulnerability for Asus.
However, the secondary camera takes good ultra-wide photos: there is a noticeable color shift between the camera sensors. The lack of any kind of Zoom-apart from the Digital Option-is a shame, but not a surprise. The similarly sized iPhone 12 lacks the telephoto zoom and you won’t find it on the Pixel 5 either.
The most surprising aspect of the Zenfone 8 is the number of high-end specifications Asus has inside. It is common for small phones to save on internal components and offer more mid-range chipsets-but this is not the case here. The phone is a Snapdragon 888 platform with 5G and up to 16GB (!) LPDDR5 OF RAM. Although there is no expandable memory, the 256GB UFS 3.1 memory should be enough for most.
I have been using the phone for a few days and it is very fast in all situations, whether it is games or just daily business. Some quick benchmarks back it up, with Geekbench 5 notes of 1119 (Single-Core) and 3689 (Multi-Core) compared to other high-end phones.
It’s been a few years since I used an Asus phone properly for a long time, And I can’t say I was too enthusiastic about the software at the time. This is now another story, because the user interface contains many design elements, usually called “Stock Android”. It’s clean, focusing on Google’s own apps and services, but with an extra depth that you simply don’t see on the brand’s Pixel phones.
You have deep control over the display, performance and there are even adjustments proposed for the button on the page. This is also a similar story for the Battery. There are options to limit loading to a certain percentage in order to draw more life from the cell.
Asus has announced that the Zenfone 8, along with the associated security patches, will receive another two years of Android updates.
I will dive a lot more into battery life if I spent a little more time with the phone. In terms of specifications, it includes a 4000mAh battery with 30W fast charging (and a power brick included). Wireless charging is lacking, however. Although the battery capacity may be less generous than many other Android phones, I can spend the day with the smaller screen of the ZenFone 8.
By not following the model of almost all other Android phones, Asus has found a niche for the Zenfone 8. If you are looking for an iPhone 12 Size Android phone with high-level specifications, then this device is a great Option for design.