Asus Zenfone 9 is the direct successor of last year’s Zenfone 8 model, and brings a much improved design, better cameras and autonomy in an equally compact edition.
Zenfone 9 has more advantages, and you can find out everything about them and a few of its disadvantages from the review.
Asus Zenfone 9 SPECIFICATIONS
|Asus Zenfone 9|
|5.9“ Super AMOLED|
FHD+ (1080 x 2400); 445ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass Protection
|146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm|
Gorilla Glass Victus glass front, metal frame frame, polycarbonate back
stereo speakers: YES
Water resistance: IP64
|Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 5G (5 nm) (1×3.19 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.75 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510)|
|128/256GB UFS 3.1microSD: WHAT|
30W wired (100% for 75 minutes)
50 MP, f/1.9, 23.8mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF, gimbal OIS
12 MP, f/2.2, 14.4mm, 113° (ultrawide), 1/2.93″, 1.4µm, AF
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[email protected], [email protected]/60/120fps, [email protected]/60/240fps, [email protected]; gyro-EIS, HDR
|fingerprint reader on the side|
|5G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band GLONASS (1), BDS (2), GALILEO (2), QZSS (2), NavIC (1)|
3.5mm audio: DA
IR Universal Remote: NO
FM Radio: NE
Ultra Wideband (UWB): NE
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ASUS ZENFONE 9 DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
The main and basic task of the Zenfone 9 phone is to offer a flagship phone without much compromise in a compact edition. Its case has roughly the same dimensions as its predecessor, and is identical in weight.
The design has seen a significant improvement in my opinion even though it has a polycarbonate back. It comes again with a 5.9-inch screen, which is completely flat and protected by Gorilla Glass Victus glass. The selfie camera is in the hole in the upper left corner of the screen.
The metal edges are now made of aluminum and are also completely straight and flat, so they resemble the iPhone 13 series.
Above the screen along the top edge is the call handset, that is, the speaker, which cooperates with the other on the bottom edge. The left edge is clean, and on the right side are the volume control button and the Power button with a capacitive fingerprint reader. They called it Zen Touch and for a reason.
At the bottom of the device are USB C, the main microphone and the main speaker, and at the top is the secondary microphone and 3.5mm audio jack, which is also a real rarity today.
The back has the most changes. Instead of the matte glass of its predecessor, the Zenfone 9 got a polycarbonate cover, with a soft texture similar to rough paper under the fingers. I liked him very much. Two large eyes of the main and ultra-wide camera with LED flash on the side protrude from it.
This year, the Zenfone 9 is also certified waterproof IP68and it’s a shame that it didn’t get support for wireless charging.
Using the Zenfone 9, I rested my hands, and even more so my groin, which today’s megaphones regularly pierce every time I sit behind the wheel. After a few days, I realized that I really don’t need a bigger screen because I can do everything on this one.
YouTube and video will of course look better on a larger screen, but if you don’t do it very often, these 5.9 inches will be enough for you.
Compactness and ergonomics, the Zenfone 9 therefore mastered like a champion.
ASUS ZENFONE 9 SCREEN
As befits a phone that sees its place in the flagship category, the Zenfone 9 has a screen that should not be embarrassing to anyone. Super AMOLED panel on 120Hz by refreshing and FHD+ resolution, here it comes in the diagonal of 5.9 inches.
It is completely flat and the frame is not too thick, although it has a bit more at the bottom. The selfie camera hole does not take much away from the screen and is located in the upper left corner. It is noticeable a little more because it has that kind of silver ring.
The display of colors is pronounced and beautiful, the contrast is clear, and the lighting is very good, although in the sun and with glasses on the nose, it could be a bit brighter. Angled legibility is exemplary.
By default, the panel will automatically adjust the refresh rate from 60 to 120Hz, but I set it to the maximum in the settings. This of course guarantees super smooth scrolling through the contents and nice fluid animations of the interface.
The AlwaysON display is also supported, and I like that the screen can be turned on and off by typing.
There is no fear of scratches either, since it is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
ASUS ZENFONE 9 ORIGINAL
A decent selfie camera with autofocus on the front and two cameras on the back is what you’ll get if you choose the Zenfone 9. The selfie camera also offers 4K video up to 60fps with pretty good EIS stabilization.
The selfie photos themselves are what they say hit & miss, and in nature it means that some will turn out very good, and others will turn out strange. Namely, HDR, i.e. recording in conditions with background light, is not particularly reliable. While some are very good, some selfie photos have an overexposed background, and some reproduce the sky in the background almost like an artistic painting.
On the back are the 50MP main camera, which is also used by Nothing Phone (1), OnePlus Nord 2T or Realme 9 Pro Plus. Above the Sony IMX766 sensor is an f/1.9 lens with Gimbal OIS stabilization, which does a great job. With that camera, it also records video up to 8K at 24 fps.
In addition to the main camera, the Zenfone 9 also has a 12MP 113° ultra-wide camera with autofocus, so you can take macro photos with it.
The camera interface offers a handful of options and possibilities. Among the shooting modes are Portrait, Night, which jumps into automatic (though not always if you would like), Pro photo, but also Pro video camera, where it offers a lot of manual settings for videographers.
That Gimbal OIS stabilization will help when recording video, which is very well stabilized at 4K 60 fps, but also when taking photos in night conditions.
Although the cameras are not on the list of the strongest assets of this phone, they allow you to take very good photos with it. During the day, the main camera captures a handful of details with a very good dynamic range and a natural bokeh effect. It will also take very good photos at night, although it struggles with moving objects.
The color reproduction of the ultra-wide camera does not differ from the main one, which is definitely a plus. Daytime photos are great, but night photos are weaker than those taken with the main camera, but still mostly solid.
Some will miss the telephoto camera. Zenfone 9 only offers digital zoom.
Do not miss a couple of examples of videos recorded by the Zenfone 9 in beautiful locations on the island of Hvar and in London in the video review at the end.
ANDROID 12 + ZEN UI
If you prefer that refined Android UI, similar to Google’s Pixels, I’m sure you’ll like the Zenfone 9. With only a few positive interventions and additions to the interface, a smooth and native Android experience is offered here.
Android 12 is based on that ZEN UI interface, which then offers some options that the Pixels lack, such as the double-tap-to-lock gesture, the option of scrolling through the pages of the Home screen around, but also all the standard Material You themes and customizations. You can even change the font color under the app icons.
You choose between the app drawer or the iOS style with all apps on the Home screen. You can navigate the interface using gestures or buttons in the navigation bar.
Although it is a small phone, it also offers a one-handed mode, by lowering the display down to make it easier to reach the top of the screen. It also has a side menu for shortcuts for the applications of your choice.
Everything is accompanied by extremely smooth animations, which you can easily speed up or slow down in the settings.
There is no bloatware application at all. Everything is neat and clean with the addition of only a couple of Asus applications and tools, of which I will highlight the File Manager, Asus Data Transfer tool for data transfer and the Game Genie tool set for gamers, and it is very similar to the one from their ROG gaming phone.
ASUS ZENFONE 9 PERFORMANCE, SOUND AND BATTERY
Although smaller in size, the Zenfone 9 does not make any compromises under the hood. It is powered by the best drive chip this year Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 i to s do 16GB RAM-a. Let us remind you that it is a refreshed version of the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen1 chip, now even more efficient and cooler.
The Zenfone 9 works so smoothly that it resembles Apple’s iPhone. The interface is extremely fluid, it opens applications lightning fast and keeps them in memory for a long time. It also plays games without jerking or overheating, so this is a phone for those who like to play.
Data memory or 128 or 256GBand there is no memory card slot.
Despite its small dimensions, the Zenfone 9 did not disappoint with its speakers either. There are two of them, so it guarantees a very good stereo experience, and as an additional asset, it also has a standard 3.5mm audio jack, which you will not find so easily today, and practically not at all in the premium segment.
I didn’t notice any problems with connectivity or the quality of phone calls. Everything works very nicely. Of course, it also has NFC, which served me well for G Pay payments.
Amazing autonomy for such a small phone!
If the Zenfone 9 pleasantly surprised me with something, it is autonomy. Battery capacity 4300 mAh without any problems it will offer a whole day of quite intensive use with over 6 hours of screen on and even more. Charges at 30W with charger included. In half an hour on that charger it is at 50%, and it takes about 75 minutes to reach 100%.
Wireless charging is unfortunately not supported.
ASUS ZENFONE 9 RATING
In my opinion, the Asus Zenfone 9 is proof that a small phone does not mean a less valuable phone. In compact, manageable dimensions, this phone offers practically everything a flagship phone must have.
It has an excellent screen, top performance and excellent autonomy. It also has very good cameras, stereo speakers and an attractive and waterproof design. If we add to that the charger and mask in the package, it is not difficult to overcome the absence of a telephoto camera and wireless charging. In the minus column, I must mention only two years of announced updates, while the competition offers up to five years.
If you’re looking for a premium phone in a smaller edition, but you don’t want an iPhone, Asus Zenfone 9 is simply the best choice at the moment.
The price of the Zenfone 9 8/128GB model in Croatia is 838 euros. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a smaller phone, it’s worth the money.
|✅ PLUS||⛔ MINUS|
|✅ compact and attractive design||⛔ high price|
|✅ top performance||⛔ does not have a telephoto camera|
|✅ great 120Hz screen||⛔ no microSD slot|
|✅ very good autonomy||⛔ does not support wireless charging|
|✅ very good cameras||⛔only 2 years of Android updates|
|✅ waterproof housing (IP68)|
|✅ stereo speakers|
|✅ 3.5mm audio jack|
|✅ dual SIM|
|✅ ZEN UI interface close to pure Android|
|✅ high-quality haptic response (vibro motor)|
|✅ a handful of clever gestures and tricks|
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