Asus Zenfone eight evaluation: Dimension isn’t every little thing, and this small telephone proves it

“The Asus Zenfone eight is a well-designed, fastidiously thought-out compact flagship telephone, however issues with display screen responsiveness and battery life go away it struggling towards the competitors”

Small and light-weight

Nice, however fairly easy, digicam

Poor battery life

Display screen responsiveness issues

No wi-fi charging

toAsus isn’t trying to tackle the Galaxy S21 Extremely or every other large smartphone with the brand new Zenfone eight. As an alternative, it’s concentrating on telephones just like the iPhone 12, the Google Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5 by making a high-performance cell phone that matches neatly in your hand and pocket. The Zenfone eight is a compact flagship telephone, and a extremely well-designed one, however the larger query is, does anybody actually need such a factor anymore?

The Zenfone eight has been my most important telephone for some time now, and if I’m completely sincere, regardless of its skill, I did miss an even bigger telephone. However in the event you’re bored with thumb-stretching display screen sizes, you’ll in all probability really feel very otherwise. Nevertheless, Asus hasn’t bought the basics proper with the Zenfone eight, and it’s at risk of being misplaced within the crowd. Let’s go into extra element.


Asus set itself some robust targets with the Zenfone eight. It wished a telephone that was lower than 70mm large and beneath 150mm tall, as this could make the telephone appropriate for snug one-handed use. It has succeeded, because the Zenfone eight measures 68mm large and 148mm tall, and in my average-sized hand, I can attain most areas on the display screen with out stretching or juggling the telephone.

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a bit longer and wider, however the Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 Professional are far nearer in measurement to the Zenfone eight, and each equally manageable with one hand. The iPhone 12 Mini is significantly smaller than all of them. The Zenfone eight could also be compact, but it surely’s not likely filling a spot out there in the best way Asus appears to assume it can.

Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Asus has used Gorilla Glass Victus over the display screen, and 3D frosted glass on the again of the telephone, giving it a modern look. Whereas modern, the Zenfone eight can also be slippery, which makes one-handed use awkward as a result of it’s consistently making a bid for freedom. The 3D curve down the edges makes it pleasing to carry, however the smoothness means you find yourself gripping it fairly arduous. A plastic case is included within the field, although, and it has a grippier texture that mitigates the issue — supplied you don’t thoughts utilizing it.

Google Pixel 5, from left, Asus Zenfone eight, and Apple iPhone 12 Professional Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

There’s one different situation with the Zenfone eight. It’s a bit boring to take a look at. The again is apparent, the digicam module is modestly sized and really unusual, and my evaluation pattern’s black coloration doesn’t add a lot life to it both. The one flash of coloration comes from the electrical blue energy key, but it surely’s not sufficient to raise the look of the telephone past the mundane. The Google Pixel 5 is now not the dullest-looking telephone on the desk when the Zenfone eight is round.

Display screen

The compact measurement extends to the display screen. The Zenfone eight has a 5.9-inch AMOLED display screen with a 120Hz refresh price, making it smaller than the 6-inch Pixel 5 and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Professional. It seems wonderful, with 1100 nits most brightness and all the stunning distinction, colours, and black ranges we count on from an AMOLED display screen, however Asus nonetheless must refine it. My evaluation telephone is operating the ultimate model of the software program forward of launch, and there could also be different updates that come quickly after launch to repair the next points.

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The primary situation is with contact sensitivity and edge recognition. The Zenfone eight might have little bezels and no dramatic curve, but it surely actually suffers from phantom touches. I endlessly open apps by chance, swipe down the notification shade, or change between options with out that means to, and I discover myself treating the telephone delicately making an attempt to keep away from these issues. Very irritating.

Regardless of it not being an enormous telephone, Asus has added a one-handed mode to the Zenfone eight, which minimizes the show to the decrease a part of the display screen — the precise quantity it covers might be adjusted within the settings — to make it simpler to make use of with one hand. It looks as if overkill after making an precise small telephone within the first place, however worse is the way it’s activated. It is advisable to swipe down on the display screen within the decrease half, and certain as a result of display screen’s hypersensitivity, it’s an actual ache to take action. It’s normally the notification shade or app tray that seems, and when the one-handed mode does interact, the slightest breeze on the display screen makes it disappear.

Asus Zenfone eight, from left, Google Pixel 5, and Apple iPhone 12 Professional Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

I’m not executed but both, as a result of the in-display fingerprint sensor is gradual and unreliable. After being irritated by the Galaxy S20’s in-display fingerprint sensor, which was mounted on the S21 sequence, plus utilizing the lightning fast fingerprint on the OnePlus 9 Professional, going again to a sensor that doesn’t work very properly is an irritation that appears pointless nowadays. There’s additionally a face unlock characteristic, however this doesn’t match the pace of different telephones both. Safety on the Zenfone eight is a ponderous affair.


For a flagship Android telephone, it’s a shock to see the Zenfone eight isn’t stuffed filled with digicam lenses. There are simply two on the again — a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 with optical picture stabilization, plus a 12MP Sony IMX363 wide-angle digicam — and a single 12MP selfie digicam in a hole-punch within the display screen. All three have autofocus, which makes for a pleasant change, however no optical zoom characteristic. It’s all shockingly restrained on Asus’ half, when some others might have added a ineffective macro digicam simply to make for a “higher” spec sheet.

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The outcomes are typically excellent, though it’s clear that even when it’s set to Auto, the HDR impact is robust. Personall,y I don’t thoughts the look, however others will discover it’s very heavy-handed and like to show it off. The addition of “bracketing,” the place three images are taken with totally different publicity values, may be answerable for this look.

There’s an inclination for the digicam to typically underexpose in troublesome lighting, and you will see these images will want some modifying to enhance the look. The wide-angle digicam is especially delicate to this, and there’s not all the time a lot consistency throughout the cameras. Colours are sturdy and vibrant in images taken with the first digicam, and scenes have loads of depth and emotion to them, encouraging some creativity.

It’s a disgrace there’s no optical zoom, however Asus does add a “lossless” 2x crop on the principle digicam. This characteristic is a bit hidden away on the busy viewfinder display screen, because it’s not alongside the principle/wide-angle toggle, however managed by a separate button within the nook. In any other case, the app is similar to different programs when it comes to use, however is typically a bit gradual with the shutter launch.

As an alternative of seeing what Samsung does with a number of lenses, Asus has regarded to Google for inspiration and given the Zenfone eight a pair of succesful cameras that take good images. Nevertheless, avid photographers will miss the flexibility of an optical zoom.

Efficiency and software program

Asus has used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor for the Zenfone eight, which is most positively a flagship processor, and it comes with as much as 16GB of RAM and 256GB of space for storing. I haven’t seen any distinction in efficiency in comparison with the Galaxy S21+, the OnePlus 9 Professional, or the Xiaomi Mi 11, all of that are powered by the identical chip. It’s quick and highly effective sufficient to play Genshin Influence easily, and carry out all of your on a regular basis duties with out situation.

The software program is Android 11 with Asus’ ZenUI, which seems and operates in a really comparable method to Android on the Google Pixel. Not like Asus’ glitzy, sci-fi-style, optionally available Android UI on the ROG Telephone 5, it’s clear and uncluttered right here, but nonetheless has loads of options. A number of the extra helpful inones clude the identical Recreation Genie mode because the ROG Telephone 5, which tweaks telephone efficiency and operation when taking part in video games, plus particular modes to schedule battery charging.

Leaving apart the display screen frustrations, the Zenfone eight actually does supply a “flagship” telephone expertise in a compact package deal on the subject of efficiency and software program. The Snapdragon 888 has huge reserves of energy and can make sure the telephone lasts for years, even in the event you play a number of the newest video games.

Battery and sound

A four,000mAh battery and assist for an included 30-watt Asus HyperCharge quick charger, plus Qualcomm Fast Cost, ought to put the Zenfone eight properly forward of the competitors on the subject of battery life — but it surely doesn’t. In my use, the Zenfone eight has upset with a shorter than anticipated utilization time, particularly when used reasonably arduous.

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Though most of my day is spent related to Wi-Fi and utilizing the telephone for common calls, electronic mail, social media, and a few images, it has normally ended the day with round 40% remaining. Sometimes, with telephones just like the Galaxy S21 Extremely, this type of use sees at the very least 60% left. Issues get a lot worse whenever you use the telephone a bit extra.

A day with an hour of gaming, 30 minutes of video, a number of calls, and an hourlong WhatsApp video name noticed the battery hit 5% at 9 p.m, which isn’t good in any respect when telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G get two days from a equally sized battery. Head outdoors into the true world, the place the telephone was pressured to connect with a traditional mobile community, and the battery loses cost faster than anticipated even with minimal use.

The Zenfone eight isn’t a telephone to work arduous if you’d like the battery to final. Once more, though I’m utilizing what Asus says is the ultimate model of the software program, updates might arrive that change the battery’s efficiency sooner or later. Recharging took 90 minutes utilizing Fast Cost four, and utilizing the 30W HyperCharge block will add 60% in 25 minutes. There’s no wi-fi charging, a expertise Asus prefers to not use so it will probably higher handle cell longevity, but it surely’s nonetheless one thing of a given on a flagship telephone immediately.

Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Like with the ROG Telephone 5, Asus has labored with audio specialists at Dirac on the Zenfone eight, and its twin stereo audio system — powered by a Cirrus Logic CS35L45 amp — sound wonderful. There’s additionally Hello Res assist and Qualcomm’s Aqstic codec. There’s even a three.5mm headphone jack, an actual rarity nowadays. All of it provides as much as make the Zenfone eight one of many best-sounding telephones you may get.

Value and availability

The Zenfone eight will launch within the U.S., however on the time of writing, the precise date and worth haven’t been confirmed. In Europe, the Zenfone eight begins at 539 euros/$650 for the 6GB/128GB mannequin, then will increase to 599 euros/$723 for the 8GB/128GB model, and to 699 euros/$843 for the highest 16GB/128GB telephone. Precisely which area will get which mannequin can also be unknown, but it surely’s attainable the 8GB/128GB Zenfone eight will be the most cost-effective out there the place you reside.

Our take

Are you going to remorse getting a “small” telephone immediately? It actually relies on what you need to do with it. The comfort of the Zenfone eight disappearing in your pocket is nice, and it genuinely is usable with one hand supplied it’s contained in the case. Nevertheless, I missed an even bigger display screen, even the iPhone 12 Professional’s barely bigger 6.1-inch display screen, once I wished to look at video for any size of time.

Many have lamented the relative shortage of compact, high-performance telephones for some time, however there’s truly a wholesome vary of them on the market, and it’s up for debate whether or not many individuals are actually shopping for them. If you happen to’re a staunch supporter of the compact telephone, the Zenfone eight ought to be proper on the high of your purchasing checklist, as the form and measurement of the telephone have been well-engineered. Plus it has the identical energy and talent as large telephones just like the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Nevertheless, the Zenfone eight actually struggles with battery life, the safety choices are gradual, and the digicam received’t enchantment to those that are critically into cell images. I just like the Zenfone eight and Asus’ dedication to not following the group, however the Zenfone eight’s downsides make it a tough promote over the competitors.

Is there a greater different?

The Zenfone eight faces severe competitors from Google and Samsung, and a problem from Apple, too, in the event you’re prepared to spend a bit extra. The Google Pixel 4a 5G is barely bigger than the Zenfone eight, however at $499 and with a robust digicam, it’s an awesome purchase. The Google Pixel 5 is simply as compact because the Zenfone, plus it nonetheless has that incredible digicam and assured software program updates, but it surely prices $699. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has much better battery life, an awesome display screen, and a good digicam for $499.

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini is $699 and is a real compact telephone, whereas the marginally bigger iPhone 12 is $799. The iPhone 12 Professional is the mannequin we actually suggest, however at $999, it’s considerably dearer than the Zenfone eight.

How lengthy will it final?

Asus will present two main Android software program updates for the Zenfone eight, however timing is probably not as rapid as on telephones just like the Google Pixel. The physique has each IP56 and IP68 water and dirt resistance, and the Gorilla Glass Victus ought to present first rate scratch and shatter safety for the display screen, plus there’s a fundamental case included within the field, so the Zenfone eight ought to be fairly sturdy. With 5G and the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor inside, it can simply final for 2 to a few years earlier than a substitute must be thought of.

Must you purchase it?

No. Except a software program replace improves the battery life, display screen responsiveness, and fingerprint sensor efficiency, it will probably’t fairly match the competitors.

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