Asus had launched Zenfone 5Z last year with flagship level hardware with ZenUI,thankfully had got ridden of most of the bloatware (pre-installed apps). This time Asus seems to have upgraded some hardware along with making ZenUI look as close to stock UI as possible. And they have added a flipping camera which acts as both front and rear camera, along with a gigantic battery of 5000 mAh for a flagship. Let us see how this device fares.
- Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, Adreno 640 GPU
- 6.4-inch IPS LCD Display with 2340 X 1080 (Full HD+) Resolution
- GorillaGlass 6 for protection
- 6/8GB RAM, 64/128/256 GB Storage, micro SD (dedicated slot) extension up to 2TB
- 48 MP + 13 MP (ultra-wide) rear camera with LED Flash
- 2 Mics for Directional Audio Recording
- 2G/3G/4G-VoLTE dual nano-SIM
- 5000mAh battery
- Fingerprint sensor
The device looks modern and feels great to hold. The measurements stand at 159.1 X 75.4 X 8.5 (in mm). The phone is quite big and the entire screen would not be reachable in one hand for people who don’t have large hands. The aspect ratio is 19:9, which makes the phone long and is not apt for operating with one hand for people that don’t have large hands. Asus has used LCD in-order to keep the cost in check. The visibility is good even in direct sunlight, but OLED would have made the device even more attractive to look at.
Due to the camera design of the device, there is no front camera and hence Asus has been able to utilize the maximum possible area for the display, with a 92%screen-to-body ratio. The rear cameras are placed on the top of the backside,one beside the other in a single housing, and protrude a bit, not as much as to make anyone uncomfortable in the pocket. The entire camera unit rotates through a motorized mechanism. The dual LED flash sits inside the swiveling camera part.The fingerprint sensor sits in the center of the backside, towards the top.
On the bottom side of the phone, we have a speaker grille and a mic on the right, USBC-type connector in the middle, and a headphone jack towards the left. On the left side of the phone, you have the SIM tray, where you can insert 2 SIM cards AND a micro-SD card. Good on Asus to have a dedicated slot for micro SD expansion. Power and the volume buttons are in the right side towards the top from midway. Above the volume buttons, there is another button which can be configured according to user’s preferences. By default, it opens the Google assistant, but you can change that. The top side has a solitary mic which we think would be used while recording audio for the videos. A speaker for the voice calls is housed behind and on top of the display, where there is a small slit for the same.
It comes with Android Pie 9.0, with ZenUI 6 on top. Asus has improved ZenUI by miles and it shows.There are no more irritating bloatware’s which you could not uninstall. And they have also changed the UI a lot to make it look like stock Android as much as possible. It’s still not as good as say, stock or OxygenOS, but it’s firm step in that direction. You still get some bundled apps like sound recorder and FM Radio, which is not much as to irritate. You can’t uninstall them, nor can you disable them. Overall, this is a great, clean Android experience. The fingerprint sensor on the backside is fast and unlocks the phone in a fraction of a second.
Watching videos in this phone is a good experience, owing to the wide aspect ratio of the phone.The display is crisp and makes it for a good watch. It is capable of playing 4K videos without any hassles due to the processor used. Audio quality is also great and you would enjoy listening to your music. There are some audio settings which you can tweak around in the settings once you have connected your earphones. There are two speakers which can be used. The sound quality of this speaker is really good, so much so that it sounds better than my laptop speakers. Asus has bundled a good quality earphone, tuned by 1More.
6Z supports EDGE, 3G or 4G (with VoLTE) data connection speeds. Wi-Fi (dual band) support is also there and so is Bluetooth 5.0 for data transfer, it can also act as your personal Wi-Fi hotspot with the internet sharing feature, allowing you to tether other devices. Wi-Fi is also useful for sharing via DLNA. It also comes with dual VoLTE support. Bluetooth protocols like LE, A2DP. For location services, the device supports GPS, GLONASS, etc. Also, for data transfers, the device has a USB C-type connector. NFC is also there.
6Z comes with a 48 MP main camera and a 13 MP secondary wide-angle lens which is also used for depth sensing. There are few modes like Portrait, Auto, Night and HDR which is self-explanatory. There is also a Pro mode where in you can control all the settings manually, like shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure and also gives an option to manually control the focus of the main camera. The camera does have EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) and stabilizes a bit. The camera takes great photos in daylight and decent photos in low light. The portrait mode works well and you get good looking photos here. Asus got rid of the secondary cameras and made the primary camera to rotate using a motorized mechanism. So, you can use the same camera for selfies. This makes a lot of difference and gives great selfies. Due to the rotating mechanism, the camera in 6Z has some neat tricks. There is an auto-panorama mode where the camera automatically swivels a full 180 degrees slowly to take a panoramic shot without having to move the phone. You can also do the same thing manually using the volume buttons to rotate the camera to and fro. It also allows you to shoot and store the photos in RAW format which allows more control for post-processing later.
Video recording allows for capturing in 4K, 1080p & 720p resolutions, with EIS and stabilization is fairly good, nothing to complain about. You can rotate the camera using the app UI while recording a video. The level of detailing is good in recordings,2 mics provided for stereo audio recording do a good job at capturing the surrounding sounds properly. There is also a motion-tracking mode where you can select an object to focus on, and if that object near the edge of the scope of the camera, the phone will try rotating in that direction to get it back in the scope of it. This would be ideal to capture small kid’s activities. It also allows slow motion video capture, 1080P at 240 FPS and 720P at 480 FPS. Below are some pictures captured by 6Z.
6Z has a 5000 mAh capacity battery, which lasts easily more than 2 days on moderate usage, which is really great for a smartphone in its class. With heavy usage it will still make it through a day and half. There is a power saving mode which will limit the background app activities, disables email auto-sync and reduces visual effects.Also, there is a fast charger provided with the phone which charges the phone faster, but it’s not as fast as, say dash charging. It uses the built-in Quick Charge from Snapdragon 855 CPU. The battery life is very good, but charging speed is super-fast as you can find in most of the other flagships in its class,but you can live with it considering the battery life the device offers.
Price & Verdict
Asus 6Z has been launched at ₹ 31,999 (6 GB RAM, 64 GB Storage). It is also available in 6GB/128GBfor ₹ 34,999 and 8GB/256GB for ₹ 39,999. We had the 8GB/256GB variant as our review device. At this price, it gives great value in terms of design, camera and performance. It goes up against the likes of Oneplus 7, Redmi K20 Pro which have pretty much similar specs. 6Z is not without its shortfalls, like the display is IPS-LCD which doesn’t look as crisp as an OLED, but is really not a deal-breaker since the LCD in here does a decent job. Also missing are an IPX rating for water and dust resistance, Low-light camera performance leave us a lot desired. We are really nit-picking here, but 6Z offers a great value proposition for its price. With almost stock Android and big battery, combined with a flagship processor, Asus has great device in their hands. It is hard to argue against it at this price bracket. Great value for money and you can hardly go wrong with this.
- Design, build quality
- Unique camera, neat tricks
- 5000 mAh battery, up to 256 GB storage, dedicated micro SD slot
- Snapdragon 855, butter smooth performance
- ZenUI 6 is bloatware free and looks closer to stock Android
- Great audio, good earphone bundled
- No water/dust resistance
- Low light performance of camera