With the Realme X on one side and the exciting new Zenfone 6 from ASUS on the other, OnePlus has hardly had time to enjoy the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro releases.
The new Zenfone 6, which seems ready to take on the OnePlus 7, has just been officially unveiled by ASUS. This new Zenfone includes competitive hardware and easily the most exciting camera package since Pixel introduced the true power of computational photography to the world.
ASUS Zenfone 6 specifications
Let’s start with the basics. The Zenfone 6 is included in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC – the fastest chip an Android phone can have, 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and 64, 128, or 256GB of UFS 2.1-based storage. This is paired with a 5,000 mAh battery, what ASUS promises is 2-day battery life. The phone supports Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 4.0 technology (18W) for fast charging.
The 6.4-inch display is notch-free and available in an FHD + resolution and a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. Unlike the OnePlus 7 duo, this is an IPS LCD screen, which means that it is not likely to be so contrasting. The screen brightness goes up to 600 nits. This screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. It also has a 100 percent DCI-P3 rating, which means it can display as many colors as the iPhone XR.
In terms of connectivity, you get USB-C, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, and a triple-slot SIM slot. You also get stereo speakers, and compliments, a headphone jack, and a notification LED.
The most exciting feature, however, is the camera.
ASUS Zenfone 6 camera
Specs-wise, the camera packs a Sony IMX 586 sensor rated at 48 MP, just as it is on the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro. Unlike the OnePlus 7 duo, this camera outputs full 48 MP images. and no of 12 MP combined images. The lens aperture is relatively larger at f / 1.79.
Along with this is a 13 MP secondary unit that has a 125º field of view. Images taken with this camera are automatically corrected, otherwise they would be distorted.
For autofocus, you get PDAF and laser AF. A dual LED flash is also included.
ASUS claims that they don’t need a telephoto lens because the camera’s 48 MP native images can be enlarged and cropped as needed. This seems a bit of an exaggeration, as it still makes more sense to shoot 48 MP TV footage rather than cropping a wider image, but hey, maybe ASUS pulled a rabbit out of the hat this time.
For portraits, the camera system uses both cameras to focus on the subject and blur the background.
What about selfies?
Well that’s what makes this phone really interesting. There is no selfie camera. The rear camera lifts.
Now this may sound simple, and it seems like a pretty logical choice, but it seems like quite a bit of engineering work was needed to achieve it. To begin with, ASUS had to design a completely new stepper motor to precisely control the movement of the lid. They also had to figure out how to fit more than 40 cables into a pair of holes only a couple of mm wide. If that wasn’t enough, the turning mechanism had to be smart enough and strong enough not to be damaged when there is an obstacle blocking the turning mechanism.
The advantage, of course, is that you basically get the best selfie camera possible, a camera with all the benefits of a rear camera. That means 48 MP selfies, 13 ultra MP wide selfies, 4K 60fps recordings with EIS, and more.
The good does not end there.
The turning mechanism is fully user controllable. You can orient the camera at the angle you want and take a photo. Better yet, you can use the flip mechanism to automatically take panoramas too. That’s really cool stuff. This convenience also means that you don’t need to precariously perch your phone on something. You can simply flip the camera 90º and place it on a table, for example. This inversion can be done through the volume buttons and also through a software function that appears in applications such as Instagram Y Snapchat.
The mechanism has been tested to 100,000 laps, which means it can take 28 selfies a day for at least 5 years, according to ASUS. Oh, and the camera retracts immediately when the phone detects that it is falling.
ASUS Zenfone 6 software
The phone runs ZenUI 6, an update to existing ZenUI that is based on Android Pie. ZenUI 6 seemingly goes to great lengths to provide a standard Android experience while still offering the convenience of ZenUI. These include double tap to wake up, smart volume, a dark mode, and general improvements to user interface speed and user interface animations.
ASUS also confirmed that it was participating in the Android Beta Program and promised that Android Q and Android R, the next two versions of Android, will come to the device. This is a little over two year commitment and therefore actually highly recommended.
Along with ZenUI, you will find a new smart key, a physical button on the side of the phone, above the volume buttons.
Pressing the key activates the Google Assistant while holding it down allows you to talk to the Assistant just like you would on a walkie-talkie radio. A double tap of the button opens personal updates for you to review.
Fortunately, this button is programmable and can be adapted to almost any function you want.
The phone will be available in Midnight Black and Twilight Silver color options on Flipkart. While we do not have Indian prices, this is the price in the European markets:
- 6GB RAM 64GB storage: € 499
- 6GB RAM 128GB storage: € 559
- 8GB RAM 256GB storage: € 599
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