Since flagship smartphones need more cameras, bigger screens, and styli to appeal, their size has expanded. Some have urged businesses to produce tiny phones with flagship processors. Asus listened to your requests and developed the Asus Zenfone 9, which is great.
Zenfone 9 is Asus’ flagship phone. The phone features a hefty specs list and a stylish design. Zenfone 9 is great for enthusiasts of tiny phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22.
Design and Build
Zenfone 9’s design is appealing. At 5.9in and 169g, it’s a small phone by modern standards. At 9.1mm thick, it’s not the thinnest phone, but you wouldn’t call it clunky. That extra thickness feels insignificant when you consider how tiny the phone is.
Other aspects of the design are novel. The finish. Asus chose a scratch-resistant material for the Zenfone 9’s back.
It’s black, blue, red, and off-white with a textured, grippable feel. I thought the phone felt cheap and almost like paper at first, but I’ve come to like it and appreciate that it’s strong. It’s different from most phones, so check it out before buying.
My review had issues with the finish. Asus sent me a white phone, which quickly developed yellow stains. The firm says I obtained one of a small batch of white devices that never received the final protective coating during construction, but I’d still be careful of buying it in white.
Battery Health and charging performance
Asus only has room for a 4,300mAh battery in the Zenfone 9. High-end specs in a compact gadget reduce battery life. If you don’t push the phone hard (by which we mean not playing games and watching video), it will just last two days without requiring a recharge. When unchallenged, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is efficient.
For 30 minutes of gameplay or 1440p video playback, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1’s battery life drops by around 10%. An hour of this, plus normal use and images or video, will drain the Zenfone 9 in a day. It’s not terrible, and mostly expected for a battery with this capacity, but if you’re going to use the phone as its specs encourage you to do, then be prepared to visit the charger each day.
Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 4.0 are supported, but wireless charging is not available. Using the Asus charger will take over an hour.
Software and updates
Zenfone 9 runs Android 12 with Asus’ Zen UI. This is a barebones skin, so the phone looks and feels like’stock’ Android. It uses Google’s core programmes nearly exclusively, with only a few Asus apps pre-installed. Asus optimised the already-small phone for one-handed use. Best is the side-mounted fingerprint sensor/’ZenTouch’ button.
By default, swiping down on this pulls down your notification tray, though if you prefer you can use it to refresh pages, scroll quickly, or control media playback. It’s a small touch, but one I naturally found myself using a lot for notification access, as it saves the hand adjustment needed to reach the top of the screen.
A swipe down from the bottom of the screen initiates one-handed mode, and swiping down in the camera app brings settings to the centre. Again, modest touches to prevent straining while using the phone.
Long-term support is a disadvantage. The business guarantees Android 13 and 14 updates and “at least two” years of security patches. With the Galaxy S22 providing double, Asus needs to do better.
Price and availability
The 8GB/128GB Asus Zenfone 9 will cost $699 in the U.S. In Europe, pre-orders begin July 28 through Asus’s online store and selected partners. In terms of price comparison, Zenfone 9 is cheaper than the $599 Pixel 6, $799 Galaxy S22, $699 iPhone 13 small, and $799 iPhone 13.