As announced, Asus has unveiled its new compact Android smartphone. The new Asus Zenfone 9 fills a niche that has almost not been filled in the Android sector lately and its features are directly based on the predecessor (our review) in parts. The new Zenfone wants to score with a high-resolution AMOLED display and a screen diagonal of 5.9 inches.
The Asus Zenfone 9 in detail
Finding a really compact, currently equipped Android smartphone below 6 inches is almost an impossibility these days. The new Asus Zenfone 9, which the manufacturer unveiled on July 28, serves exactly this gap.
Compared with the predecessor, the display specifications remain largely the same for the first time. Thus, the 9 model also relies on a 5.9-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
However, the maximum brightness has been improved and is now supposed to be quite strong at 1,100 nits – 700 nits on average. The color fidelity, which is DeltaE <1 ex-factory, is also pleasing. At the same time, the display takes up an even larger part of the smartphone. The screen-to-body ration is 90 percent.
Overall, the Asus Zenfone 9 measures 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm, making it slightly more compact than its predecessor in all respects. The weight is shared by both models, with the Zenfones weighing in at 169 grams here.
Up-to-date Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 on board
The new Asus Zenfone 9 (Asus is forgoing a Zenfone 9 Flip with a foldable camera this year) uses the current flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, which promises excellent performance and energy efficiency.
Depending on the model, it is supported by 8 GB or 16 GB LPDDR5 working memory and 128 GB or 256 GB fast UFS 3.1 system storage. Other features include WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, as well as a USB Type-C and a 3.5 mm jack.
The Zenfone 9 is dual-SIM capable and accepts two nano-sim cards. A memory expansion via microSD card, however, is unfortunately not possible. In return, the smartphone is protected against water and dust according to IP68.
More battery capacity, revised UI
The battery capacity increases compared to the predecessor. Here, the battery now comes to 4,300 mAh (compared to 4,000 mAh in the Zenfone 8) and should top the excellent runtimes of the 8 model once again. Charging is done with a maximum of 30 watts and unfortunately only via cable.
The ZenUI 9, which is based on Android 12, has also been revised. It is supposed to have been optimized for one-handed use in particular. The central element is the so-called ZenTouch multifunctional button, which not only includes the power button and fingerprint sensor, but also allows swipe gestures.
For example, you should be able to show notifications or control media playback via it. A double tap on the smartphone’s back also triggers various actions, while you can switch to one-handed mode with a swipe on the display from top to bottom.
The audio equipment is also convincing. For example, the Zenfone 9 offers support for the high-resolution Bluetooth codecs LDAC and aptX HD, while the jack port is additionally equipped with an amplifier (Qualcomm Aqstic WCD9380 DAC).
Strong cameras with gimbal stabilization
The camera setup has also been revised on the Asus Zenfone 9. On the top left of the back, you’ll find two large lenses. They consist of a 50-megapixel main camera, based on the Sony IMX 766 (f/1.9, with OIS), and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera (f/2.2) including macro function.
Another special feature of the rear cameras: They are stabilized on six axes via gimbal, which is supposed to compensate vibrations and movements even better. This is of course especially interesting for video recordings. In addition, there is a HyperSteay stabilization for videos, which protects the image even more from blurring.
However, the image is heavily cropped (“cropped”) in the process, which means that only Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) recordings are possible with HyperSteady. Otherwise, the smartphone allows recordings in 4K resolution with 60 FPS, as well as slow and fast motion recordings in 4K with 120 FPS or 1080p with 240 FPS.
The front camera has a resolution of 12 megapixels and also supports video recordings in 4K. It offers a display flash function and comes up with an aperture of f/2.45, which makes it not as fast as most competitors.
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Pricing and availability
The Asus Zenfone 9 will be available in Moonlight White, Starry Blue, Midnight Black and – exclusively in the Asus Store – Sunset Red. Pre-orders for the smartphone are set to start today, with delivery starting August 12, 2022.
It starts at an MSRP of 799 Euros for the model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of system storage. A doubling to 256 GB storage is then 849 Euros, while the top model with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB system storage will cost 899 Euros. All details can be found on the official product website.