Asus has introduced the eighth generation of its popular Zenfone. With the Zenfone 8, the Taiwanese hardware manufacturer promises a high-end smartphone in a compact format. The Zenfone 8 Flip, which is a bit bigger, offers a somewhat unusual camera design and no less flagship feeling than the standard version. We take a look at Asus’ upcoming Zenfone generation.
Flagship in a handy format
We actually know Asus mainly as a manufacturer of powerful and/or compact PC or notebook technology. However, the Taiwanese have enjoyed great popularity with its Zenfone division for many years. Now the success story is to be continued. The Zenfone 8 is supposed to be a high-end smartphone that does not follow the design of other manufacturers. Thus, the upcoming new additions are not large-format devices. Instead, Asus wants to launch the new Zenfones in a handy design. While we already know this approach from Apple with the SE devices and the iPhone 12 Mini, Asus’ way is rather untypical in the Android world.
After all, smartphones with Google‘s operating system increasingly come in almost unwieldy sizes. Asus wants to go a different way and combine flagship features with a compact case. With dimensions of 148 mm x 68 mm x 8.9 mm and a weight of 170 grams, the Zenfone 8 should probably fit in every common pocket. Asus thus fills a gap in the market. There is simply no similarly compact or even smaller Android smartphone that also relies on a Snapdragon 888 from Qualcomm. On the other hand, the Zenfone 8 Flip is a bit less compact. It comes with a 6.7-inch display, measures 165 mm x 77 mm x 9.6 mm and weighs 230 grams.
High-end technology incl. 5G
If you look at the installed chipset, the two new smartphones don’t seem so small anymore. Asus uses the flagship model from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 888 is supposed to guarantee not only top performance, but also blazing fast 5G. While the chipset is always identical in the Zenfone 8, the RAM and flash storage are different. You can choose between 8 GB or 16 GB RAM or 128 GB or 256 GB flash storage. A storage expansion is not possible here. The situation is different for the Zenfone 8 Flip. Although it is only available in one configuration (8 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage), it offers the option of a storage expansion. The storage can be expanded by a maximum of 2 TB via a MicroSDXC card.
Meanwhile, both new additions support the popular dual-SIM feature. Thanks to 5G, both new smartphones are also future-proof. According to Asus, all bands that currently transmit in Germany are supported. Furthermore, the flagships should be able to support the latest wireless connections. Besides Wi-Fi 6, both also offer Bluetooth 5.2. Those who are looking for a headphone jack will only find it in the Zenfone 8. If you take a look at the displays, you will notice further differences. The Zenfone 8 offers a 5.92-inch display that relies on OLED technology and is supposed to offer a refresh rate of 120 Hz. In contrast to the standard version, the Zenfone 8 Flip offers a larger OLED with 6.67 inches. However, it “only” offers a maximum of 90 Hz. The resolution, however, is identical with 2,400 x 1,080 pixels.
Not always maximum brightness
Asus itself advertises the Zenfone 8’s display with a maximum brightness of more than 1,000 candela, among other things. However, you have to read the fine print here. Initial tests show that the brightness value in the four-digit range is only possible in selected apps. For example, the photo app achieves this value. Other apps, on the other hand, achieve values that are far below that. Our colleagues from Golem.de found out that they rather reach around 500 candela. The reason for that is still unknown. By the way, the Asus Zenfone 8 Flip did not show such an unsteady performance. The brightness value was always “only” around 700 candelas, but it remained constant. It did not matter which app was opened. A look at the camera reveals further differences. Especially the camera of the Zenfone 8 Flip is anything but ordinary. After all, you will not find a classic selfie camera here.
Instead, Asus relies on a kind of hybrid camera, just like in the predecessor devices Zenfone 6 and 7 Flip. This is used as the main camera as well as the front camera. The camera module on the back consists of three different components. The core is the main camera, which offers a resolution of 64 megapixels. Beyond that, the latest Flip model has an ultra-wide-angle camera (12 megapixels) as well as a telephoto camera (8 megapixels). If you need a front-facing camera, the smartphone extends the rear-facing camera and flips it to the front, in line with the name. The classic Zenfone 8, on the other hand, has a rather classic camera design. Thus, there is a camera module on the back, which consists of main camera (64 MP) and ultra-wide-angle camera (12 megapixels).
Battery life and operating system
Another difference can be found in the two batteries of the devices. Thus, the Zenfone 8 has a 4,000 mAh battery. The slightly larger Zenfone 8 Flip offers more space and accordingly also accommodates a battery with 5,000 mAh. Wireless charging is not possible in either the one or the other. This clouds the otherwise very positive flagship impression of the two upcoming high-end smartphones. Asus naturally still relies on Android as the operating system. Both devices should be able to offer Android 11 ex-factory. Many users will be happy that Asus is one of the few manufacturers that leaves the classic Android almost untouched. We do not yet know how long the two devices will receive support including updates.
Prices and availability
Different versions also mean different prices – At least that is the case for the Asus Zenfone 8, which starts with 8 GB of RAM and 126 GB of flash storage at an MSRP of 669 Euros. If you are quick, you can secure a steep discount in the Early Bird promotion and get the smartphone for as little as 599 Euros. The larger versions of the Zenfone 8 cost 729 Euros (8 GB RAM and 256 GB flash storage) and 799 Euros (16 GB RAM and 256 GB flash storage). You do not have to choose with the Zenfone 8 Flip. The only available version with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB flash storage is available for 799 Euros. We will see if Asus will launch more variants of the Flip over time. Are you interested in the two new smartphones from Asus? Then you can buy them now on the official website.