Asus Zenfone 6Z features a unique motorized flip camera.
Prices start at Rs 31,999.
It features top-of-the-line specs, and runs stock Android Pie.
Asus today launched the Asus 6Z in the Indian market. It has launched in three different variants, and prices start from Rs 31,999. The India launch for the Asus 6Z comes weeks after the company revealed the device on the global stage.
Taking a closer look at the price and features, it is clear that Asus 6Z is taking on the likes of OnePlus 7, Honor 20 Pro, and Vivo V15 Pro. Other rivals that the 6Z will compete against include Google Pixel 3a, Poco F1, and the soon to launch Redmi K20 Pro. Asus sent across its latest Asus 6Z, and I had a chance to use it as my primary phone for a couple of weeks. Let’s check if the Asus 6Z has what it takes to compete against its rivals including OnePlus 7, Poco F1, Honor 20 Pro, and more. Here is my Asus 6Z Review.
Impressive design and built quality of Asus 6Z
Given how unique and well built the Asus 6Z is, it is only natural to discuss its design and built quality before anything. To begin, the Asus 6Z features a clean glass sandwich design. The front of the device sports Gorilla Glass 6 panel for protection against shattering and any accidental scratches. The back of the Asus 6Z also comes with a curved glass panel that meets the frame on the sides to mimic other premium flagship smartphones.
The design of the device is not quite as aggressive as the ROG Phone, but one can sense the inspiration with the rear glass finish. Up front, the display is not really a full-blown bezel-less affair in-spite of the Flip camera. Instead, we see a thin bezel on the top along with an even thinner speaker grill and a hidden LED light. The bottom of the display sports a slightly thicker bezel, something that is not uncommon in other flagship devices. Moving to the side, we observe an aluminum frame to provide rigidity to the entire package.
Inspecting the device, we see that the power button, volume rocker, and a new, “Smart” key are situated on the right side. There are no buttons located on the left side, but we still get the triple slot tray there. The back of the device sports the dedicated fingerprint scanner, the Flip camera module and the Asus branding. Overall, the Asus 6Z is a well-built smartphone with an impressive design enough to grab eyeballs.
Motorized Camera design and Smart Key
The “Flip Camera” with a motorized mechanism is the highlight of the Asus 6Z. This is because we have not really seen such a radical problem to solve the notch issue. The ironic part about the Flip camera is that Asus did not really set about conceptualizing the camera and then build the smartphone around it. Instead, the decision to include a camera that flip was influenced by a number of other factors.
The inclusion of such a design acts as a double-edged sword for the Asus 6Z. This is because, on one hand, we see an impressive, out-of-the-box design. On the other hand, the Flip camera is likely the weakest part of the device taking away any potential chance of water resistance.
I enabled Face Unlock feature on the Asus 6Z to use the Flip Camera to unlock the smartphone. Even though the “Flip” happens quickly, it is still not as fast as pop-up camera Face unlock or in-display fingerprint level unlock. In addition to this, the quick “Flip” up and back seems to put some strain on the upper portion of the Asus 6Z. If there is any obstruction in the path of the camera, it shows an error stating, “Face recognition has stopped” on the lock screen. The device also asks the user to try again in addition to the error message.
Asus has added fall detection in the Asus 6Z to ensure that the camera module automatically closes in case of a fall or slip. The device also comes with a stepper motor and gearbox with 13 gears to ensure a smooth transition between different states. In fact, the entire thing takes enough space inside the smartphone that Asus had to make a stacked motherboard to save space. While capturing images with the Flip camera, users can change the position of the module manually without damaging the motor. We will talk more about this in the Camera section below.
The company has also added a new “Smart Key” on the right side of the smartphone. This is not a new move and other smartphone makers have already tried to add a new key on their devices. However, the area where Asus excels is offering customization options baked right in the Android OS. This immediately makes the “Smart Key” much more helpful than any other device with a dedicated key out there. The customization options offer three states to personalize including “Press once”, “Press twice”, and “Press and hold”. However, all that does not really matter because of the somewhat awkward position of the button. It would have been better if the button was placed on the left side of the smartphone, or towards the middle on the right.
Asus 6Z Review: Display
Asus 6Z features a 6.4-inch IPS LCD panel with FHD+ (1080×2340 pixels) resolution. In addition to the LCD panel, the display also features a 19.5:9 aspect ratio along with Gorilla Glass 6. Digging further, the Asus 6Z display features 100 percent coverage for DCI-P3 color gamut along with support for HDR10 technology. Moving beyond, the color production of the LCD display is good with impressive viewing angles.
However, one thing that the Asus 6Z display lacks is brightness. Even at 100 percent, the brightness levels take a hit at anything less than straight down viewing angles. It was somewhat difficult to properly read the text under direct sunlight because of lower screen brightness and reflection. However, it is worth noting that IPS LCD screens are capable of pumping more brightness and this problem was somewhat unexpected.
Asus 6Z performance: Right up there with other flagship rivals
The smartphone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC along with up to 8GB RAM and up to 256GB internal storage. Talking about the performance of the smartphone, I did not encounter any problem in the almost two week test period. I did not face any stuttering or app crashes even when I tried to push the smartphone to its edge.
The back of the device did heat up during long gaming sessions but that is normal in almost any computing device. It easily chewed through anything that I threw at it. While playing PUBG Mobile, the game defaulted to “High-dynamic-range graphics”. Other heavy-duty games including Dead Trigger 2, Shadow Gun Legends, and Real Racing 3 ran flawlessly on the smartphone. The smartphone zipped through daily tasks and heavy multitasking. Talking about other aspects, the built-in speakers performed well while playing videos and movies. The smartphone also produced excellent audio quality with clear sound during calls.
Camera performance on Asus 6Z
Asus 6Z sports a rear dual-camera setup along with laser-assisted autofocus mechanism and a Dual LED unit. The dual camera setup features a 48-megapixel primary Sony IMX586 sensor with an f/1.79 aperture and a secondary sensor a 13-megapixel sensor with a 125-degree ultra-wide angle lens. The 48-megapixel sensor captures images and then converts them into 12-megapixel final images. These final images showcase improved colors, details, and subject sharpness because of pixel binning. The camera app in the Asus 6Z is straightforward with easy to access modes at the bottom and other settings on the top.
The Camera app gives quick access to modes including Timelapse, Slo-Mo, Motion Tracking, Video, Photo, Portrait, Pano, Night, and Pro. You can make changes to the HDR mode, aspect ratio, Flash, and Built-in filters on the top. It also comes with built-in AI scene detection which can be toggled in the “Settings” section. Other options available in the “Settings” section include Camera resolution, Timestamp, ASUS watermark, Touch shutter, Flip camera sound, and more. The camera UI also sports buttons to switch between the regular wide angle primary sensor and the ultra-wide lens on the secondary sensor.
The app also comes with a shortcut for digital zoom at the bottom left corner of the frame. This shortcut allows users to quickly switch between the normal 1X and 2X digital zoom. One can ignore this button as the digital zoom is not ideal for good quality images. Given that the same sensor is used for selfie images, Asus has tweaked the software accordingly to provide selfie-centric features when the camera is Flipped.
The camera flip button in the camera app can also be used to control the flip state of the “Flip Camera”. In addition, users can also use the Volume rocker to control the flip state of the “Flip Camera”. Asus 6Z also comes with full support for Cam2API out of the box. This means that developers will be able to develop compatible Google Camera ports easily. Now that we have talked about the features in the camera software, let’s talk about the image quality.
Asus 6Z captures impressive images in ideal lighting conditions with a good amount of detail and texture. The company has likely not spent much time tuning the look of images that come out of the camera. This results in somewhat neutral-looking images. These neutral-looking images look pretty good with the good dynamic range that HDR+ mode manages to capture. The software perspective correction does a good job in fixing distortion caused by the ultra wide lens while shooting images.
Taking about less than ideal lighting conditions, the camera does an adequate job in capturing images. Though noise does manage to creep into the images. Pushing things to the extreme, Asus 6Z falls short in capturing a decent image in more challenging situations during night time. The images shot at night in regular ‘Photo’ mode are muddled up by noise. Switching to ‘Night’ mode improved things, but each image took about 2.2-2.6 seconds to capture. Images shot in the ‘Night’ mode took care of the excess noise, but it also sacrificed the texture and details in the images.
Images shot on the portrait mode offer good subject isolation for portrait images. The interesting thing is that it works on both lenses, subjects and objects, both on the front as well as back. Taking a look at all the images shot, I can easily say that Asus 6Z managed to do a good job. However, the camera software needs improvements in some areas including low light conditions and Night mode capture time. Beyond this, thoughts on the neutral look of the images is a matter of personal preference.
Asus 6Z Software: When a company listens to the feedback
Software is one area where Asus has completely revamped what it is offering buyers with the Asus 6Z. The Asus 6Z comes with Android 9 Pie-based ZenUI 6. But, unlike previous versions of ZenUI, you will be greeted with an almost stock Android-like interface. Digging though the UI, will be greeted with a number of core ZenUI features indicating a OnePlus-like approach. Some of these features include Smart key, Mobile Manager, Private listening, Game Genie, Twin Apps, and Safeguard.
Other features include OptiFlex, Gestures, One hand mode, Screen recorder, Screenshot, and Flip camera features. Asus has also added optional Pocket mode and Glove mode in the operating system. All these features are present in the “Advanced” menu in the “Settings” app. Asus also revealed that it has made optimizations to the Android framework to decrease the launch time of popular apps. These apps include the call dial screen, calendar, and contacts. This works along with the Asus OptiFlex technology that uses AI to improve app launch times based on usage.
During my usage, everything was zippy and fast as intended. I did not face any stutters, jitters while using the Asus 6Z. The device also comes with Google Digital Wellbeing out-of-the-box. Last but not least, Asus also assured that it will upgrade Asus 6Z to android R when it is available. It also revealed that Asus 6Z will be one of the first devices to receive Android Q update.
Asus 6Z Review: Battery backup
Asus 6Z sports a massive 5,000mAh battery along with 18W QuickCharge 4.0 technology. This is an impressive feat as the device is not as heavy as one would imagine a 5,000mAh battery sporting device to be. I tried to push the battery of the device to its edge with extremely heavy usage. However, the smartphone still managed to last for about 12 hours where most devices died between 8-10 hours. This number jumped to about 15-16 hours on days with moderate usage.
A moderate day for me includes shooting 18-25 images, 1.5-1.75 hours of gaming, and about two hours of streaming music. It also includes 1.25-1.5 hours of streaming on YouTube or Netflix, 3-4 email accounts, WhatsApp and Telegram all day long. Charging the device from 0 to 100 percent takes about 2 hours and 25 minutes, something better done at night.
Verdict: Should you get the Asus 6Z?
At a starting price of Rs 31,999, Asus seems to have nailed the pricing. Considering what users get for the price, the sub-Rs 35,000 pricing is extremely competitive. This gives Asus a good chance to compete against OnePlus 7, Poco F1, Google Pixel 3a, and more. Concluding my Asus 6Z review, the company has done a good job in the design, software, and battery departments. But, the Asus 6Z is not really a perfect package as one would like to purchase.
The company needs to make improvements in the camera department and display departments to get our involuntary recommendation. If you are an Asus fan then go ahead with the purchase. If you want a stylish smartphone and don’t really mind an ok camera in low light, Asus 6Z is a good choice. However, if you want a somewhat better camera, you have to look elsewhere to its rivals.
|Features||Asus Zenfone 5Z||Asus 6Z|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|OS||Android Oreo (ZenUI 5)||Android 9 Pie|
|Display||Super IPS Display-6.2-inches,
19:9 aspect ratio FHD+
|6.4-inch-1080 x 2340 pixels|
|Internal Memory||256GB Storage + 8GB RAM||6GB RAM + 64GB storage|
|Rear Camera||12MP + 8MP dual Camera||48PM + 13MP|
|Front Camera||8 MP with F2.0 aperture||48PM + 13MP|
|Battery||3300 mAh battery||5,000mAh|