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Asus Zenfone 9: 5 reasons to buy and 5 reasons to skip

By Sanuj Bhatia August 1, 2022, 11:30 am
Zenfone 9 Featured Source: Asus

Asus officially unveiled the Zenfone 9 last week. For those looking for an Android smartphone with a great (small) screen, compact design, premium build materials, and pro-grade cameras, the Asus Zenfone 9 is an excellent option. It, however, starts at a steep price of $699. Is it worth spending so much money? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should (and should not) consider buying the new Asus Zenfone 9.

Reasons to buy Zenfone 9

1. Compact and handy smartphone

image showing asus zenfone 9 in two colors, blue and red, placed on other items Source: Asus

In a world of big and hefty Android flagships, Asus Zenfone 9 stands out on its own. It is a rare compact (with dimensions of 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm) that weighs just under 170 grams, making it very comfortable to use with one hand. However, this doesn't mean that Asus has made any compromises on screen real estate. The Zenfone 9 features a 5.9-inch 120Hz screen, which is big enough to provide a good social media experience. All in all, Asus Zenfone 9 is an excellent choice if you're looking for a sleek and handy device.


2. Flagship specs

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Image Source: Asus

Powering the Zenfone 9 is Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. This means you should expect top-of-the-line performance from this compact device and much better efficiency compared to the previous generation. Moreover, to keep the engine running cool, Asus has also included a custom vapor cooling chamber that you will generally find in $1,000 flagships and gaming smartphones.

The smartphone also comes with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS3.1 internal storage. On the whole, it's safe to say that Asus Zenfone 9 is a powerhouse and won't slouch when performing heavy-duty tasks, let alone day-to-day activities.

3. Headphone jack and IP68 rating

Zenfone 9 IP68 Source: Asus

While most smartphone makers have removed the headphone jack in the name of 'space saving', the Asus Zenfone 9 features a 3.5mm headphone jack despite its diminutive size. The smartphone also features a built-in AudioWizard app that lets you adjust the equalizer or select a pre-defined sound profile. While the phone supports wired input, the list of wireless audio features also isn't short. The Asus Zenfone 9 supports most of the new wireless audio technologies, including Snapdragon Sound, AptX Adaptive, and AptX Lossless.

And, just as you would expect from a flagship smartphone, the Zenfone 9 also features IP68 dust and water resistance, which means it can survive a dunk in the pool or the tub — though we don't recommend you to test the claim!

4. Stock Android UI with nifty tricks

Asus Zenfone 9 runs on Zen UI based on Android 12. What's interesting is that this isn't a heavily loaded skin. Instead, it has a stock-like appearance with no bloatware apps and features. You also get the Material You interface with the dynamic color picker and all the stock Android 12 features.

In addition, Asus has added a few minor tweaks here and there that make using Zenfone 9 a joyful experience. There is a one-handed mode that lets you shrink the screen size even further. And then there is the phone's smart fingerprint scanner (called ZenTouch) that lets you map different functions, such as swiping down to open the notification center, to it. You also get other useful features like floating windows, dual apps, and several battery management features.

5. Gimbal camera system

an image showing the camera design on asus zenfone 9 Source: Asus

And finally, the standout feature of the new Zenfone 9 is its one-of-a-kind camera system. While the smartphone comes with only two camera sensors — a 50MP f/1.9 Sony IMX 766 and a 12MP Sony IMX 363 ultra-wide lens — the star of the camera module is its 6-axis gimbal stabilization system. Unlike the camera system on most other flagship smartphones, the entire camera module on the Zenfone 9 moves to compensate for sudden jerks and movement. This enables the smartphone to capture smooth video and sharp-looking shots.

Product Image of Zenfone 9 in Black

Asus Zenfone 9

The Compact Flagship

The Zenfone 9 features internal hardware comparable to any flagship launched in 2022, but it features the key-selling point of being a compact device. If you were looking for a small phone that does things better or equal to most options on the market, this is a phone to keep your eyes on.

Reasons to skip Zenfone 9

1. You're on a tight budget

an image showing the various colors of the Zenfone 9 propped around a book Source: Asus

Priced at $699 in the United States (€799 in Europe), Asus Zenfone 9 is not a cheap smartphone. The competition is quite fierce at this price point, considering you can get the highly-praised Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22 at a similar price tag. Both the smartphones mentioned in the last sentence also come with a much better camera system, wireless charging, and longer Android update pledges.

2. If you're a mobile gamer

Zenfone 9's 5.9-inch FHD+ AMOLED Display Source: Asus

If you're a fan of mobile gaming, unfortunately, Zenfone 9 isn't the smartphone for you. While its 5.9-inch display is big enough to provide a good multimedia experience, you would want a smartphone with a bigger display (and more features) for gaming. While we're on the topic of gaming, make sure you check out the review of the nubia REDMAGIC 7S Pro, which is one of the best gaming smartphones available at a similar price tag.

3. No Wireless charging

box contents of Asus Zenfone 9 Source: Asus

While the move to polymer-based plastic has resulted in the Zenfone 9 being lighter, some features have been removed as well. One of the features that the Zenfone 9 lacks is wireless charging. This feature can be found in even mid-range Android smartphones nowadays, but the new Zenfone does not support it. Thankfully, the company still includes a 30W charger in the box.

4. No long-term Android updates commitment

Zenfone 9 and its four colors on a black background Source: Original by Fenibook | Edited by Pocketnow

Asus is offering only two years of Android and security updates for the Zenfone 9, which is much less than what other companies such as Google, Samsung, and Nothing offer.

5. No mmWave 5G support

While the Zenfone 9 features 5G support, our US readers should note that it doesn't support mmWave 5G. This means that the smartphone won't be able to handle 5G on every carrier.

Asus Zenfone 9 is an interesting device. While the device comes with some of the features that no other compact Android smartphone offers, it has its own share of drawbacks and disadvantages, which you should be aware of. What do you think of the new Asus smartphone? Let us know in the comments section below!


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