The ZenFone 8 has a one-handed design. It features a 5.9-inch display with a quick 120Hz refresh rate, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 CPU, and a durable frame with an IP68 waterproof rating. It’s a compact phone with plenty of features.
- Compact and lightweight
- AMOLED screen
- Super-fast ZenUI
- Good battery life and fast charging
- Impressive photo and video quality
- Wireless charging is not supported
- Under peak load, the phone gets hot
- Optimizations can be done for the dynamic refresh rate mode
- No telephoto camera
Asus, the electronics company headquartered in Taiwan has been in operation since 1989. The company is now going to unveil the Zenfone 8, and this time it will have no Zenfone mini. The possible reason for this has been cited as the fact that Zenfone 8 itself is mini – a compact android phone that packs in itself all the features that other Android phones pack, nothing has been compromised and this makes it one of the most intriguing phones of the season.
After Sony stopped production, the compact field was lying barren with only Apple launching the iPhone 12 mini. The phone is set to be launched in India on October 7 (tentatively) at a price of approximately 44,190 INR. As incredible as the phone sounds, we will be reviewing it to see if it can actually meet up to your expectations? Now, let’s start reviewing without further ado.
Let us take a quick look at all the specifications of the Zenfone 8. The phone has a screen size of just under 6 inches, which is 5.9 inches with an aspect ratio of 20:9. The resolution is 1080×2400 pixels.
It is powered by the Qualcomm SnapDragon 888 octa-core processor, and the amount of RAM can be 6GB, 8GB, OR 16GB. Its operating system is Android 11. A 4000 mAh battery, which supports fast charging is powering the device. Internal storage has two options 128 and 256 GB.
On the backside, the phone has two cameras. The wide-angle camera of 64 megapixels and the ultra-wide-angle camera of 12 megapixels. There is a front camera of 12 megapixels with an autofocus feature.
The UI is ZenUI 8.0 based on Android 11. The mobile supports dual sim connectivity, with both slots supporting nano-SIM cards and GSM cards only. It will be launched in three colors – Horizon Silver, Obsidian Black, and Moonlight White colors.
The phone supports connectivity options such as Bluetooth v 5.20, WiFi 802.11, GPS, USB Type – C, NFC, 3G, 4G, and band 40 support, which is used by some LTE networks in India. The phone also supports face unlocking.
Fingerprint sensors, ambient light sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, and proximity sensors are the sensors included in the phone. Stereo speakers are also included along with a 3.5 mm audio jack at the bottom of the phone, despite being such a compact model.
Asus Zenfone 8 Unboxing
The Zenfone 8 will come with the usual retail bundle. The box upon opening contains a 30 W adaptive charger for fast charging, a USB cable is also present with C-type support. You also get a plastic case with a grip on the back. Although the phone contains a headphone jack, unfortunately, there are no headphones in the box. You can use your own wired set with the phone. The phone is having flagship features, so such an omission can be overlooked.
Design and Build
The Asus Zenfone features such a premium build quality and compact design, that at the first look only you will begin to think that this was the phone you have been longing for. The first-ever phone launched by Asus with proper ingress protection, the phone has IP-68 certification. It has both water and dust resistance. With an aluminum frame in-between, and two glass panes this phone takes on the usual build of flagships. A nice combo of both shatter-proofing and scratch resistance is attained by this phone due to the latest Gorilla glass Victus being used for the screen.
The backside of the phone features superb scratch resistance due to being made from Gorilla Glass 3. It is also slightly curved with a matte finish. The phone is quite light weighing 165 grams, but the frame is not as thin as on recent flagship phones at 0.9 mm.
A very good design is achieved by the phone due to matching colors and curves to the rear panel, and to ensure that the phone is not slippery there is a matte finish. The OLED is made by Samsung with reasonably thin bezels.
The 12 MP camera lies on the upper left side of the screen. The thin grille above the screen doubles up as both the stereo speaker and an earpiece. The rear is quite clean but slippery. But this is not a cause of worry as the matte finish makes up for it. The 12 MP camera is below the 64 MP one, along with one of the three mics and a single LED flash. A mic and 3.5 mm audio jack are present on the top. The USB port, dual-SIM tray, and mouthpiece along with the notification LED are present at the bottom.
The right has the power and volume keys, while there is nothing on the left side. The cyan-painted power switch can be used for many different purposes by carrying the time and frequency of touches. Even while handling the phone case-free, it feels quite safe. The phone also features a one-handed mode, the whole UI is brought down and this makes handling the phone with a single hand quite easy.
The display made by Samsung, E-4 AMOLED which is compact yet premium, is one of the most advertised features of this phone. The 445 PPI 5.9” 20:9 panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The refresh rate is 120 Hz for the phone. The display has been certified HDR 10+ with a touch sampling of 240 Hz. The 12 MP front camera can be seen as a tiny punch hole present on the upper left corner of the screen.
Asus promises a fairly high brightness level and provides us with it. 800 nits of brightness are there in outdoor conditions, 440 nits are the maximum amount of user-controlled brightness and 1100 nits are the maximum brightness. 2.2 nits are the minimum possible brightness level.
If we talk about the refresh rate, Asus offers 4 settings. 60 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, and auto. The default and most adaptive one is auto. Streaming services and videos are best run at 60 Hz, UI is run at 90 Hz. The games run at 60 Hz. The auto mode is quite confusing sometimes, as it does not revert back to lower or higher settings sometimes and this provides for a very unpleasant experience. You can reduce the flickering by turning on Low Brightness DC mode and transition speed can also be changed.
Performance and Gaming, Software
The UI of this phone – ZenUI is one of the best UI you can get. It is fairly simplistic and provides a lot of tweaks and optimizations which you can do in settings. Android 11 is provided on the phone. If you are looking for an easy experience, this can help you. The smart key feature is also available.
The battery and display menu is quite extensive. Battery settings have different optimizations, which can be adjusted to your liking. You can adjust RAM, CPU, and GPU performance too. For gaming, there is a high-performance mode. If you want to enjoy the 90 fps animations, you can use the speed-up animations option as some of the animations may appear quite slow. There is a game toolbar that you can call to adjust settings and the game genie offers some basic gaming settings.
An OptiFlex memory management system is present, which you can set on auto and it will analyze which apps to keep running in the background and which ones to shut down. The chip performance is the best, as this is the latest chip to date – the SnapDragon 888. This chipset can be said to be an overperforming chip for this device.
Battery, Charging and Sound-check
The Asus Zenfone 8 comes with a fairly large battery capacity of 4,000 mAh, despite being such a compact device. Keeping both the 3.5 mm jack and the battery was no easy task, but Asus says they did it using some board stacking and clever engineering. An endurance rating of 88 hours was scored by the battery. On-screen times are also not less, with 12 hours for browsing and 16 hours for watching videos. Some more 30-40 minutes can be added if you use 60 Hz frequency instead of 120 Hz. However, the standby performance of the battery is not good.
If we look at the charging speed, The Zenfone 8 supports fast charging and comes with A 30 W adapter and USB-C cable which helps in this. Charging times are pegged at 60% in 25, 80% in 38 and fully charged in 80 minutes, which is quite good.
The sound system here consists of two stereo speakers, one doubling up as an earpiece on the top and one at the bottom of the phone. A 10X12 mm 7-magnet piece forms the upper speaker while a 12X16 mm 3-magnet piece forms the lower one. To provide deeper bass, foam balls fill the space. Zenfone 8 sound quality is certainly superior to other phones.
Camera and Video Quality
The Zenfone 8 features dual cameras at the back, and a single one at the front. The primary camera of 64 MP acts as a telephoto and can zoom 2X without loss, and the secondary camera of 12 MP which is ultrawide can take macro shots. The primary camera achieves lossless 2X zoom by cropping high resolution 64 MP and stacking frames. You can capture 8K videos at 24fps, and 4K videos at 30 and 60 fps. The macro photography from the ultrawide camera can be done from as close as 4 cm. Video capture at 30 fps can be done by the selfie camera also. All cameras use Sony sensors for clicking photos.
The two back cameras can be controlled using the pro mode. 1/1000 s to 32 s range can be set up for shutter speed. White balance can be controlled manually using a slider. Like some professional cameras have preset, this phone also contains presets in the pro mode which can be set up earlier. Videography also supports pro mode in which you can change settings such as white balance, exposure, shutter speed, ISO, and focus.
The picture quality of the photos taken by these cameras is outstanding and there is no overprocessing. Everything looks natural and praiseworthy. 2X zoom by default is used by the portrait mode, and can not be opted out of. The blur level can be adjusted. You can also get very detailed photos by shooting in 64 MP, but the process is quite time-consuming at 3 seconds for one photo. The Ultrawide camera also works pretty fine from 4 cm, but some parts may blur if you get far or too close. The selfie camera of 12 MP also provides excellent detailing, and great color and contrast are there.
The night mode photos taken are also good. There is no noise in the images. The shutter speed is 4s by default. An overall balanced look is achieved. However, using the night mode to capture photos at night is not necessary. The cameras work fine without using night mode too. Colors are not as saturated, but still, stay true to life. There is no lossless zoom at night, this is only present in broad daylight. Ultrawide camera shooting without night mode is not recommended, as the photo becomes quite noisy and there are washed-out colors.
Video recording is also flawless, with 8K at 24 fps and 4K at 30 and 60 fps. Electronic stabilization and sound effects can also be added during video recording. Additional effects such as surround sound, front, and rear-only receiving can be used in the Pro Video mode.
Asus Zenfone 8 Price
The phone will be launched in India in October, at a price of 44,190 INR. In the US, the price is between $700-900 according to the version of RAM and Storage.
Conclusion – Asus Zenfone 8 Review
The Zenfone 8 is a unique phone, carving a niche of its own. Not even larger devices have so many features, this phone can be termed as the enthusiast’s smartphone. This is a non-compromise device, excelling in all aspects of smartphones. Living up to every single promise Asus made, this phone is a recommendation from our side.