The Zenfone 9, like final yr’s 8, is the uncommon Android cellphone that prefers a compact dimension somewhat than a bigger display or battery. Be nonetheless my coronary heart! However what’s new this yr is the cellphone’s digicam and stabilization system: as an alternative of simply shifting a single lens factor to compensate for digicam shake, Full primary digicam — the lens, the sensor, all of it — motion. It is a distinctive method to combating a few of cell pictures’s largest enemies: low gentle and shaky video footage.
The Zenfone 9 is small however highly effective and continues the 8’s custom of packing top-tier specs right into a compact cellphone. The display is a 5.9-inch 1080p OLED with a easy 120Hz refresh charge, and the cellphone makes use of a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset — Qualcomm’s very newest and biggest. The bottom mannequin contains 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the cellphone is IP68 licensed.
There’s a 4,300mAh battery that helps 30W quick charging and an adapter is included within the field, however wi-fi charging is just not supported. The cellphone’s again panel is textured composite plastic, although the body is sturdy aluminum, and the entrance panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. And there is a headphone jack! How considerate.
Zenfone 9 has solely two rear cameras on the rear panel, which is okay: there aren’t any extra macro or depth sensors. The principle digicam’s 50-megapixel sensor and f/1.9 lens are the celebs of the present with what Asus calls a 6-axis hybrid gimbal OIS/EIS stabilizer. Under that, there is a 12-megapixel ultrawide that does double obligation as a macro digicam, together with a 12-megapixel selfie digicam on the entrance.
The principle digicam’s stabilizer compensates for actions alongside the x- and y-axis (facet to facet and up and down) but additionally makes use of data from the gyro sensor to right sudden actions ahead and backward alongside the z-axis. Asus says this allows the digicam to compensate for 3 levels of movement, in comparison with one diploma within the Zenfone 8, which makes use of conventional OIS. A superb compensation for shake is that the digicam ought to be capable to use slower shutter speeds and seize extra gentle in low-light situations, leading to higher element and colour. It is a extra strong system than common OIS and even the sensor-based stabilization Apple makes use of on a number of the iPhone 13’s cameras.
With any such stabilization it’s essential to rethink how the digicam unit is related to the processor. The cable connecting the 2 needs to be quick and organized in an S-shape somewhat than a folded configuration. The ribbon can be comfortable to use much less inertia to the digicam module. After all not all of that is seen contained in the cellphone, however the outcomes are seen on the floor: with the digicam in video mode, you may see the complete digicam package deal shifting beneath a hard and fast, giant exterior lens factor. Critically, it is wild.
The Zenfone 9 might be offered unlocked within the US, however the value remains to be TBD; In Europe, it’ll value €799, which is about… $800 USD (sorry about your forex, European mates). It would first be accessible in Taiwan, Hong Kong and components of Europe.
Pictures by Alison Johnson / The Verge