In quest of the right compact telephone: Asus ZenFone 9

I actually thought issues had been over for compact telephones (and for this collection as nicely). With the early demise of the iPhone Mini, and Samsung’s dedication to foldable gadgets, it certain appeared like instances had been a-changin’.

Now, foolish Bob Dylan references apart, the dimensions of recent flagship telephones at all times appears to develop, and when it will get unmanageable, you simply fold it in half. Sensible! However simply as I used to be submitting away my compact articles with a lonely tear within the nook of my eye, the strangest factor occurred.

Asus has determined to stay it to all 6+ inch show producers (figuratively talking), and launch one other compact flagship – the ZenFone 9. Not solely is it smaller than its predecessor, however its greater brother – the ZenFone Flip has additionally been despatched to the inexperienced pastures, so Asus followers have a selection – to change into compact! (or hop on the gaming bandwagon and get a ROG telephone however let’s not spoil the dramatic impact). So, as we speak we will have a look at the ZenFone 9 from the angle of the right compact telephone.

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First impressions

Nicely, the Zenfone 9 appears like no different telephone available on the market, it has two big digicam rings on the again, a spongy-rubber polycarbonate again that appears to develop out of the primary body, and a 5.9-inch show.

The flat aluminum body has a pleasant matte end, and there are even nicer accents right here and there – cool prints across the energy button, wider body for the three.5 mm jack, blue stripe on the fingerprint scanner.

The display is flat (thank goodness for these curved, waterfall, infinity abominations), and the again has this good curve the place the primary body merges with the again cowl. Many individuals in all probability will not name this telephone lovely, particularly on the again, however magnificence is within the eye of the beholder, and I might take a telephone that is simply recognizable over rocking a generic design “impressed by” any day of the week. from one other huge model on the market.

Weight and pocketability

Though I are inclined to lose my shit in the case of any telephone that’s remotely compact, I’ve to confess that the Zenfone 9 is within the molten grey space between a real mini, and only a common, barely scaled-down flagship.

Do not get me flawed, it is one of many smallest Android telephones on the market (I feel the Pixel 4a is smaller however then once more, it is very outdated and really non-flaggshippy). The factor is, when positioned subsequent to the iPhone Mini, the ZenFone 9 appears big.

Subsequent to the Galaxy S22, it does not look as compact as I like (it is nearly the identical dimension), and the S22 is even one gram lighter. If we return to the now-forgotten Galaxy S10e, issues begin to look even much less spectacular.

All that being mentioned, in comparison with all the pieces else available on the market proper now, the ZenFone 9 does extraordinarily nicely. If you’re coming from a Galaxy Extremely mannequin, or an iPhone Professional/Max, you will see that this little factor very comfy to hold.

(My) thumb consolation, a hand operation

My arms are excellent for such pretentious editorial items as a result of they’re completely common. I am about 5’8″ tall, mixing and merging the hand dimension distribution throughout completely different populations and gender within the palm of my hand (fairly actually).

So, how is the Asus ZenFone 9 in my completely common hand? Nicely, I just like the width of the telephone, you may attain each side simply, with out hand gymnastics. Vertically, although, issues do not look good – the telephone is a couple of centimeter taller than what can be an ideal top.

You possibly can’t attain the highest with out sliding the telephone into your palm, stretching your thumb just a little. One might argue that you simply in all probability do not use the highest space of ​​a telephone that a lot, and that is partially true. And moreover, you may pull the notification shade to the wonderful side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

So, sure – it isn’t excellent, however you are able to do it – customise the house display, use the sting shortcuts, swipe the scanner for notifications, there are methods to do it. On the finish of the day, nevertheless, the iPhone mini stays unchallenged on this explicit space, and as an Android man, this kida makes me just a little unhappy.

Typing and media consumption

Typing on a slim machine is at all times a problem, and the ZenFone 9 is not any exception. I discovered it troublesome to kind shortly and precisely on the similar time (it is one or the opposite), and sometimes hit the flawed letter (primarily on the pages of the underside row). Watching movies on the ZenFone 9 is nevertheless a pleasure. The display is absolutely good, and in contrast to the massive notch on the iPhone Mini, right here we now have a discreet gap punch within the higher left nook. I will not faux it isn’t there, but it surely’s considerably higher than the aforementioned iPhone.

The dimensions of the show has by no means been an enormous challenge for me when watching clips and stuff. You already know, it would sound foolish, however you may compensate for any bodily distinction between to illustrate a 7-inch and a 6-inch telephone by putting the latter just a little nearer to your face (an even bigger display for work and video games use is a totally completely different matter, I do know).

I’ve so as to add a couple of phrases in regards to the stereo audio system on this factor. Given the dimensions, they’re superb – very clear with wonderful stereo separation and deep bass. Asus has performed some sound magic with the algorithms, and I will not go into the technicalities. Simply know that at this dimension the stereo audio system are probably the greatest.

Battery life

We have now arrived on the Achilles heel of all compact smartphones – battery life. As a lot as I beloved the iPhone Mini (each the 12 and 13 iterations), the battery life on these fashions was simply unacceptable.

Folks usually idiot themselves {that a} day on one cost can be sufficient, however the actuality is just a little completely different. That feeling when day-after-day begins to fall like night time, you get the 20% horror beep out of your telephone. I can not stay with such stress in my life.

The excellent news is that you simply in all probability do not must in the event you select the ZenFone 9, as a result of it is a true battery champion. The 4,300 mAh battery inside rival telephones a lot greater than the ZenFone 9, and two days on a cost will not be solely potential, however very actual.

Sure, it comes at the price of wi-fi charging, that is true however once more, I might take an even bigger battery over the flexibility to not plug a bodily cable into my telephone (it is loopy simple, come on) all day of the week.

What I like in regards to the ZenFone 9

  • What a attribute machine!
  • The battery life is wonderful
  • It is tremendous quick, tremendous highly effective
  • Good touches within the UI to additional help along with your compact journey
  • Good sound
  • The worth

What I do not like

  • Nonetheless not as compact because the iPhone Mini
  • Important digicam stands out (how a lot!)
  • The again cowl is barely scratched


And right here we’re on the finish of our journey. It began so optimistic and optimistic – with humorous allegories, and compact hope (what a phrase!). The ZenFone 9 is not the right compact telephone but it surely’s rattling shut! If solely it had been half an inch shorter, however nonetheless rocked a 3.5mm jack and the identical battery…

To finish on a optimistic be aware – it is one of the best compact Android flagship telephone on the market proper now, and it is very attractively priced. As well as, it retains the compact dream alive, so to talk. Perhaps someday Sony would get up from its 21:9 slumber and provides us again the “compact” Xperia we have been dreaming of?

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