The fixed refinement of the smartphone kind issue has resulted in close to perfection. In 2019, there are few problems with nice consequence left to unravel. Understanding this, firms have lengthy integrated options that serve two functions on the similar time. The primary: present a reliable resolution to an issue. The second: be an attention-grabbing novelty. Suppose Samsung’s curved shows, the LG V sequence’ second-screen, or Motorola’s Moto Mods. Corporations must work more durable than ever to lure you onto the hook earlier than they will reel you in.

The distinctive function on the brand new Asus Zenfone 6 — its motorized flip digital camera — is a working example. Sure, it solves the issue of a full-screen show and not using a notch. However it’s additionally unbearably engaging as a “factor to play with.” I problem you to see it in motion in a retailer and never wish to test it out for your self. It’s the sort of factor nerds like me dream of.

Asus has undoubtedly succeeded on the novelty a part of the equation, however is the flip digital camera a reliable resolution to an issue? Does it simply change one drawback with one other? What else does the Zenfone 6 have to supply past its most identifiable function? Let’s discover out in our Asus Zenfone 6 hands-on.

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Asus Zenfone 6 digital camera

48MP Sony IMX586, f/1.79 aperture
13MP ultra-wide lens (125 levels)
HDR+, Tremendous Night time Mode

4K 60fps video with EIS (entrance and rear)
Full HD slow-mo at 240/120 fps
HD slo-mo at 480fps

The Zenfone 6 takes the same sort of method to that adopted by the Oppo N1 again in 2013. Why put weaker cameras on the entrance of a telephone if you need to use the principle cameras for every little thing? Oppo’s resolution rotated the cameras housed within the large high bezel of the N1. Asus as an alternative flips the principle cameras on the again as much as allow a close to bezel-less show.

You get the present 48MP flagship sensor from Sony right here, defaulted to a 12MP pixel-binned picture. Pixel binning combines mild information from 4 adjoining pixels right into a low mild “tremendous pixel” at one-quarter the sensor’s max decision. You possibly can at all times swap to 48MP pictures if you need increased decision images in good lighting.

The secondary lens is an ultra-wide “selfie” digital camera that doubles as a wide-angle panorama lens utilizing the motorized hinge.

Asus Zenfone 6 flip camera closeup front 2

Asus Zenfone 6 flip camera closeup rear 1

A tiny customized gearbox powers the hinge, utilizing 13 micro-stepped gears for extra fluid and correct operation. Faucet the “change digital camera” button to flip the digital camera up a full 180 levels, or press and slide the shutter button to manually alter the digital camera’s angle. Asus calls this “free angle taking pictures” and makes use of youngsters, pets, and distinctive factors of view as the plain use instances.

The motorized hinge mechanism makes use of a micro-stepped gearbox for fluid operation and granular management.

The flip digital camera’s motor can take auto-panoramas in horizontal or vertical orientation. Merely faucet the shutter in panorama mode and the digital camera will routinely rotate till you cease it — this implies you stay regular whereas the digital camera strikes, fairly than the opposite method round. If you happen to do drop the Zenfone 6 whereas the digital camera is out, it’ll routinely retract earlier than it hits the bottom.

Movement-tracking mode locks onto a topic and retains them in focus. It additionally routinely adjusts the angle of the digital camera to maintain the topic in body. It’s fairly wild stuff and a little bit disorientating the primary time you strive it. The identical is true of slowly adjusting the digital camera angle: you’ll see the viewfinder picture pan all the best way up till your head seems the other way up on the high of the body. (Once you auto-open the digital camera to 180 levels you’ll seem proper aspect up).

Asus Zenfone 6 camera settings

Asus Zenfone 6 camera resolution options

Asus has clearly put plenty of thought into making the Zenfone 6 digital camera distinctive past the gearbox itself. That is encouraging to see. It could really feel like a gimmick, nevertheless it’s a better-executed one than most. The Zenfone 6 has the potential to radically broaden the boundaries of what’s potential with smartphone pictures — so long as sufficient individuals purchase it. You’ll simply have to attend for our full Asus Zenfone 6 evaluation to see what the digital camera efficiency is definitely like.

The Zenfone 6 has the potential to radically broaden the boundaries of what is potential with smartphone pictures.

There’s a bunch of different good digital camera stuff right here. HDR+ and Tremendous Night time Mode present enhanced dynamic vary in excessive distinction and low-light environments, respectively. Tremendous Night time Mode additionally de-noises and restores shade in low-light pictures.

The two×1 on-chip-lens PDAF autofocus on the first digital camera offers eight instances the pixel space of conventional PDAF techniques for sooner autofocus instances. As a result of the principle digital camera rotates, your selfie digital camera now has autofocus. Whilst you don’t usually want autofocus on a front-facing digital camera, it’s good to have the choice.

Asus Zenfone 6 camera app UI detail

A digital camera replace quickly after launch will add Google Lens, a 2x toggle to rapidly swap to a lossless crop, and auto-panorama mode when the digital camera is in selfie place.

4K video at 60fps with digital picture stabilization (EIS) is feasible no matter which path the digital camera is dealing with (forward-facing 4K 60fps with EIS was solely added since we first noticed the telephone, so remember you would possibly see conflicting info elsewhere).

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Asus Zenfone 6 in hand showing Android app drawer

Software program

Past its digital camera, essentially the most notable factor in regards to the Zenfone 6 is that it runs a near-vanilla model of Android. Asus continues to be calling it ZenUI however the Zenfone 6 dispenses with the visible muddle and much more preloaded apps. Moreover the cleaner format, you’ll additionally get a system-wide darkish mode regardless of the Zenfone 6 solely working Android 9 Pie. The Zenfone 6 is a part of the Android Q beta program, nonetheless, and is confirmed to get the Android R replace.

OptiFlex is Asus’ machine studying reminiscence administration system. Utilizing a neural community, it predicts the apps you’re almost certainly to make use of and preloads them for sooner launch instances. A hybrid algorithm additionally prevents ceaselessly used apps from being launched from scratch. There are a number of Android framework optimizations at play to assist velocity up sluggish system efficiency in areas like latest apps, the gallery and the keyboard.

A Sensible Key on the right-hand aspect of the telephone launches Google Assistant. You possibly can double press it to entry private updates, or press and maintain to start out walkie talkie mode in Assistant. If you happen to haven’t used this earlier than, it enables you to activate the mic solely so long as you’re urgent the button. In comparison with ready for the Assistant to cease listening earlier than replying to you, it’s good to have. You may as well disable it or re-assign to a number of different widespread shortcuts.

There are additionally a few good audio tips right here. When activated, Non-public Listening routes audio by means of the earpiece speaker. This implies should you request one thing of Assistant on the practice you don’t must alert the complete carriage to the reply.

Sensible Quantity, alternatively, routinely adjusts the amount of incoming calls, media playback and VoIP calls to match the ambient quantity of the surroundings. Meaning no missed calls when its loud and no blowing out your ears when it’s not.

Asus Zenfone 6 stock Android+ home screen display

6.Four-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD
92 p.c screen-to-body ratio
19.5:9 facet ratio

Gorilla Glass 6 (entrance)
Stereo audio system
Bundled hi-res earphones

The Zenfone 6 show is an IPS LCD fairly than OLED. This might be a disappointment to many, however the 6.Four-inch diagonal and notch-less design will take not less than a little bit of the sting away. It covers 100 p.c of the DCI-P3 shade house and 96 p.c of the NTSC shade gamut.

There’s a reasonably familiar-sized bezel surrounding the display, however no notch to intrude on what Asus is asking a NanoEdge show. I discovered it to be fairly good, with good colours and brightness, even exterior. We’ll must topic it to our full show take a look at to see the way it stacks up towards the competitors.

There’s a tiny earpiece speaker within the high bezel and a bottom-firing essential speaker. Proper subsequent to that could be a three.5mm headphone port which might be a pleasing sight for a lot of. On the again, you’ll discover a capacitive fingerprint scanner surrounded by glass. The house across the digital camera hinge is certain to get chock stuffed with mud, however the identical could be mentioned about any telephone utilizing a transferring digital camera.

Not everybody goes to love the concept of a transferring half or a motor of their smartphone, and that is completely affordable. Whether or not we prefer it or not although, from the OnePlus 7 Professional to the Realme X, we’re going to be seeing increasingly more of those till we lastly get cameras that may see by means of the show.

For $499, the Zenfone 6 gives a 5,000mAh battery, headphone jack, no notch, and inventory Android+.

As with different OEMs, Asus assures us it has extensively examined the sturdiness of the flip digital camera system and is assured in its reliability. Till we’ve had an opportunity to make use of a Zenfone 6 for an prolonged time period we’ll reserve judgment. Naturally, not having a transferring half or motor in a telephone means they will’t break or get broken both, so that you’ll must determine should you’re prepared to take the chance.

Associated: Android Authority’s large ebook of smartphone firsts

Asus Zenfone 6 back glass reflection with fingerprint scanner and camera

Asus Zenfone 6 specs

7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
As much as 8GB RAM + 256GB storage

5,000mAh battery + 18W charging
Triple-slot (dual-SIM + microSD)

The Asus Zenfone 6 specs are top-tier, from the newest Qualcomm cell platform to beefy reminiscence configurations proper as much as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Asus used a two-piece stacked PCB setup to create more room internally. It used that house for necessary stuff like a 5,000mAh battery and the headphone jack.

Asus opted towards 40W tremendous quick charging as a result of it will require a thicker separator between the anode and cathode. That may imply you both find yourself with much less house for an enormous battery or want a thicker telephone to accommodate it. Asus selected to go along with 18W charging as an alternative.

 Asus Zenfone 6
Display6.Four-inch IPS LCD
FHD+ decision
19.5:9 ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855
GPUQualcomm Adreno 640
RAM6GB / 8GB
LPDDR4X
Storage64GB / 256GB
UFS 2.1
Expandable with microSD card (as much as 2TB)
Battery5,000mAh battery
Fast Cost Four.zero at 18W
CamerasPrimary:
48MP Sony IMX586 sensor
f/1.79 aperture
zero.8μm / 1.6μm pixels
1/20-inch
Twin LED flash
4K 60fps video with EIS (back and front)

Secondary:
13MP ultra-wide sensor

Connectivity802.11a/b/g/n/ac
2x2MIMO
Bluetooth 5.zero
NFC
GPS (Twin bands, L1+L5)
GLONASS(L1)
BDS(B1)
GALILEO (Twin bands, E1+E5a)
QZSS (Twin bands, L1+L5)
SIMDual nano-SIM
MicroSD card (as much as 2TB)
Working SystemAndroid 9 Pie
AudioDual audio system
NXP TFA9874 good amp
Bundled earphones
No headphone jack
Dimensions159.1 x 75.44 x 9.1mm (largest mannequin)
190g
ColorsMidnight Black, Twilight Silver
Corning Gorilla Glass three for again glass

In line with Asus, a Four,000mAh battery with 40W quick charging occupies the identical house as a daily 5,000mAh battery. However a 5,000mAh battery with 40W charging occupies the identical house as a daily 6,000mAh battery. 18W charging meant a 5,000mAh battery that loses no house to a bigger separator. You’ll must determine if that was the suitable resolution on your wants.

Asus factors out bigger capability battery has an extended typical lifespan than a smaller battery that requires extra frequent charging. Asus’ testing exhibits 5,000mAh battery charged at 18W can get the identical quantity of juice — the fabled “day’s utilization” — in slightly below an hour. In line with Asus’ figures, that is precisely the identical period of time it takes a three,300mAh battery charged at 27W to realize the identical cost (as a result of charging charges decelerate as a battery nears 100 p.c capability).

Asus Zenfone 6 worth

The Asus Zenfone 6 worth begins at $499/499 euro for the model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. We’ll replace this text with further pricing and availability particulars as they change into obtainable. The Zenfone 6 is obtainable in Midnight Black and Twilight Silver.