The honeymoon phase should have worn off by now, but I just finished writing our Asus Zenfone 9 review. Most of the mobile devices I assess are either put back in their boxes and put in a drawer or are sent back to the maker. On the other hand, I refuse to return the Zenfone 9.
As a matter of fact, the Zenfone 9 has supplanted the Pixel 6 Pro as my preferred Android device. The battery life is nearly twice as good as the Pixel’s in our testing, and its small design makes it convenient to tote about inside or outside of my home. It also has more power than I need.
I adore a lot of things about the Zenfone 9, but there are three features that I think stand out above all others that have been launched in 2022 to date. I do not, however, have rose-colored glasses on when I examine this phone. Though it has some shortcomings, most notably software-related ones, I don’t believe they significantly diminish what I find appealing about this gadget.
I genuinely like smaller phones despite the fact that my hands are large, more than large enough to dwarf most mice and controllers. The smaller Galaxy S or Pixel A, as well as the larger 6.1-inch iPhone, are all excellent devices. Large, challenging-to-use-one-handed slabs are not my style.
Since I can successfully use the Zenfone 9 alone, it takes the prize in my book. I can’t say the same with the enormous iPhone 13 Pro Max that I frequently use because it is difficult to reach across the screen with my thumb.
My opinion is that the Zenfone 9 is the ideal size. Just large enough that I don’t have to squint to see the 5.9-inch display (something I noticed at times when I reviewed the iPhone 13 mini). The phone’s size is sufficiently large to accommodate a 4,300 mAh battery and all of the components required by the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 CPU. Even a headphone jack can fit in there.
I’m still amused by the Zenfone 9 and iPhone 13 Pro Max’s different sizes a week later.
Surprisingly Great Battery Life
You might anticipate that a little phone wouldn’t have great battery life. Just imagine the 2020 iPhone 12 tiny. The iPhone 13 mini performed better in our tests, although it fell short of the 10-hour benchmark we like for smartphones.
The Zenfone 9 laughed after taking a look at everything. It passed our testing with more than 13 hours under its belt, earning a spot on our list of the best phone batteries. In our test, a phone constantly browses the internet at a brightness of 150 nits. Even though it’s not ideal, it’s supposed to offer you a general estimate of how long a phone will live in your usage.
The Zenfone 9 can go nearly three days between charges under my usage. Given that, I don’t use it as much as my iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it’s still useful. Every night, with the same usage, I have to recharge the Pixel 6 Pro. I only had to recharge the Zenfone 9 once during the course of my review, and that was after playing Blade Runner 2049 in its entirety and engaging in some intensive gaming.
It appears that Asus made the proper choice. Usually, when I see a phone with absurdly long battery life, I’m looking for aggressive background task killing. On the Zenfone 9, emails and Slack notifications work without a hitch, with the former frequently arriving before the Gmail website on my laptop.
My opinion of a phone is greatly influenced by its battery life, and the Zenfone 9 has unquestionably earned the top rank in my book.
The Performance I Need
For the Zenfone 9, Asus didn’t skimp on the specifications. The best processor currently available in an Android phone, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, is featured in this device. This CPU and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM were combined by Asus to create a device that can easily handle any task, even strenuous gaming.
The Zenfone 9 performs flawlessly in use, meeting all of my performance requirements. The GPU is what you’ll notice, however, the majority of the CPU power will be wasted on many individuals. Devices with mid-range Snapdragon processors, like the Nothing Phone (1), perform admirably for typical day-to-day tasks. However, it only reveals its mid-range status when a game is loaded.
The Zenfone 9 punches much above its weight even though other flagships might be bigger. In fact, it outperforms other top choices like the Pixel 6 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, and Galaxy S22 Ultra in terms of power. Although the iPhone 13 series still outperform it, the gap between them is so small that a layperson is unlikely to see the difference.
It’s true that good things can come in modest packages.
Zenfone 9: What I Don’t Like
Now, don’t think that I’m just raving about the Zenfone 9 while I’m sitting here. Yes, I have up to this point, however, there are some issues with the phone. It has two annoying issues, both of which Asus could solve if they chose to.
The first is that there will only be two years worth of Android updates for the Zenfone 9. This is unacceptable in a world when the majority of other Android phone manufacturers offer three or four. I don’t understand why the Zenfone 9 couldn’t last long.
Pricing-wise, a phone for $799 isn’t too expensive, but it’s still a lot of money for a device that will essentially reach its end of life in 2024. At the very least, Asus could provide three years of service.
The second problem I have is much less serious, but I don’t like how some photographs are edited on the Zenfone 9. In my testing, I discovered that many of the photographs I took had too warm tones. Sincere to say, I could only sometimes tell when compared to the identical photo taken with the Pixel 6 Pro.
It’s not too bad outside, but it gives indoor spaces a sickly yellow tint. Although Asus has to improve its post-processing techniques, the camera hardware is good. A good camera phone is so close to being the Zenfone 9. While not the best, it is more than adequate in its current state.
Zenfone 9 Outlook
I’m having a blast with the Zenfone 9. I prefer to take it up and operate it one-handedly because it is so simple. It has several positive attributes, including outstanding battery life and first-rate performance, which I find appealing. There is even a headphone jack on this excellent phone!
It’s certainly not perfect. The software support timetable is really bad, and the cameras aren’t even adequate. But I believe that, for the most part, the Zenfone 9’s advantages outweigh its drawbacks. The two years of platform changes are beyond my comprehension.
However, I still think the Zenfone 9 is the best smartphone this year. It surpasses competing devices like the Galaxy S22 and the OnePlus 10 Pro, and it is now the closest non-gaming phone has been to the iPhone 13.
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