Asus Zenfone 9 official. The smartphone that dances alone

The Zenfone 9 is official, with Asus continuing its tradition: a small smartphone, perhaps too much, which, however, covers a sector where no one is present.

Asus doesn’t make products for the masses, it has always thought about its audience, and the Zenfone 9 also seems to be designed and aimed at this audience. A well made phone, definitely premium, with two weaknesses and a price that will make people argue. The weak points are certainly the design, where the back is cured and covered with an innovative material that is really pleasant to the touch Asus contrasts a front part that gives a feeling of economy. The chin in the lower part, the slightly symmetrical frames, the camera hole not centered on the radius of curvature of the screen: the Zenfone 9 is not beautiful to look at.

In some respects there is a reason: the 5.9 ”OLED screen for example is a rigid panel, therefore it is not possible to reduce the lower area of ​​the frame. A flexible OLED panel was needed, but Asus does not have the bargaining force and even the pieces needed to ask Samsung for a similar production: it would have cost too much. To give a greater balance, he could still have harmonized the thing better, and above all centered the camera hole.

The second weak point is the absence of wireless charging: it is comfortable, there is no doubt, but it was impossible to fit it in such a small body while guaranteeing reduced thickness and speed of recharging. Apart from these two points, Asus has also improved some aspects of the already excellent Zenfone 8: security updates, for example, are guaranteed for three years while for the system they are only two.

Then there is the price: Zenfone 8 starts at 599 euros, Zenfone 9 starts at 799 euros and that’s 200 euros more. When there is no competition, you can get the price you want, and perhaps if we look at what the 799 sector offers they are a fair price for a phone that has everything that Asus offers in the Zenfone 9.

However, there are still many, especially since we are in front of the basic version 8/128 GB. The 8/256 version will cost 849 euros while the 16/256 version is 899 euros. Paradoxical that Asus increases the memory, reaching the useless 16 GB, e do not propose a 512GB version which is perhaps more useful, also calculating the absence of memory extension.

The body of the phone, as we have said, is covered with a new material, available in four colors, and is IP68 certified: this new material, in addition to being “bio”, helps to reduce the weight of the back cover by 36% compared to that of Zenfone 8 The frame is made of aluminum, and Asus has chosen to put the biometric sensor on the release button rather than under the display.

The display is a 120 Hz AMOLED, no LTPO: Asus talks about Delta E <1, 115% sRGB coverage and 112% DCI-P3, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus coverage. Inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 +, to cool which Asus has used all the know-how that has always used a PC field: graphite sheets, heat diffusers, thermal paste.

We have the phone in our hands and it doesn’t get too hot, but we don’t know if it’s due to the Asus treatment or the fact that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 was produced by TSMC and not by Samsung. The battery is 4300 mAh and fast charging from 30 Watt: in such a small body the decision to keep it at 30 Watt is in our opinion wise, fast charging generates a lot of heat to be disposed of.

Zenfone 9, among the peculiarities, also has the audio jack that rests on Qualcomm’s Aqustic DAC. On the camera front we find a double Ultrawide – Wide camera. There was no tele, and rightly Asus used two focal lengths that they would not have been replaceable.

If he had not put the superwide to make room for telephoto, no lens could have managed a 13 mm focal length, while telephoto can be done digitally, through crop. The sensors used are two old acquaintances: Sony IMX766 50 megapixel, the same as OPPO phones, Nothing and OnePlus, mounted on a 5-axis gimbal and IMX363 Sony, the 12 megapixel sensor of the Pixel 6a.

We have been using the Zenfone 9 for more than a week and we have delayed the review a bit precisely because we want to understand it well, and above all let a few people try it to collect impressions.

It looks like a gem, but it is also small, perhaps too much, and it does not immediately give the impression of an 800 euro phone. Especially if you take home a refurbished iPhone 12 Pro for 800 euros, the same size but with software support and a decidedly different resellability.