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Asus ZenFone 6 in the test: Folding camera, 5,000 mAh and a lot of power at a fair price

Asus ZenFone 6 im Test: Klappkamera, 5.000 mAh und viel Leistung zum fairen Preis

tl; dr: The Asus ZenFone 6 sets for prices from 500 euros on an extravagant folding camera and essential virtues: long battery life, many connections, large display and light-footed software. Under the hood is also the fast Snapdragon 855. Although the Smartphone stands out rarely, but the overall package is convincing.

The Asus ZenFone 6 caused a sensation in his performance. This is partly due to the folding camera, which simply turns the main camera for selfies and ensures a frameless and uninterrupted display. On the other hand, in a smart phone market where high-end models are becoming more expensive, the comparatively low price for the wealth of hardware and features that made Asus stand up. The ZenFone 6 starts at 500 euros in the variant with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory, the test model is available for 560 euros with double space. Meanwhile, a model with 8/256 GB is available for 600 euros.

A smartphone for the most important thing

But despite the eye-catching folding camera Asus not only focuses on the wow effect, but focuses on basic virtues. These include a large battery for the manufacturer, light-footed software, a large screen, but also certain basics such as a status LED, a jack or a microSD slot. Unlike the much more expensive ROG Phone (test), Asus does not try to get the maximum out of detail, but rather to offer a round package for the targeted price.

Technical data in comparison

Glass and metal as far as the eye can see

Like virtually every current smartphone, Asus also uses a sandwich design made of glass and aluminum. The 6.4-inch display is covered with Gorilla Glass 6, on the back is also a glass substrate from Corning used. The smartphone is held together by an aluminum frame whose edges are ground. The back is bulbous and lies well in the hand due to the slimmer profile on the sides, but it does attract fingerprints. For protection against residues and falls, Asus adds a transparent cover to the scope of delivery.

The workmanship of the ZenFone 6 is beyond reproach and error-free. Everything sits in its place, the gaps are small and even and the holes are clean. The comparatively high weight of 190 grams is pleasantly distributed so that the smartphone fits ergonomically in the hand. The sanded edges add some extra elegance to the mobile device. All buttons are located on the right side, from top to bottom these are the “smart button”, the volume rocker and the power button. Considering the size of the ZenFone 6, the Smart key in particular is small, but the roughened surface makes it distinguishable from the other keys. In general, the keys feel good and provide a rich pressure point with clear feedback.


Asus Zenfone 6
Asus Zenfone 6

Asus Zenfone 6
Asus Zenfone 6

Asus Zenfone 6
Asus Zenfone 6

Asus Zenfone 6
Asus Zenfone 6

At least when switched on shows one of the peculiarities of ZenFone 6, namely the absent front camera. To accommodate the display as large as possible and without interruption, Asus has refrained from placing it in a notch or a notch. According to the manufacturer, the screen-to-body ratio is 92 percent. This is made possible by Asus' “flip camera”, which works 180 degrees from the front towards the user when selfie is needed.

Flip Camera rotates at the push of a button

This is clearly the unique selling proposition of the ZenFone 6. Pressing the Selfie button will spin the camera unit in about one second and also offers the front camera's capabilities and most of the modes of the main camera. The solution relies on a rotating socket that houses the two cameras and connects them to the smartphone. According to Asus, the rotating module consists of a liquid metal alloy that is four times stronger and 20 percent lighter than steel. It is set in motion by a small stepper motor. According to Asus, the module is designed for (at least) 100,000 rotations, which equates to 68 operations per day over a useful life of two years. With three years of use, about 45 daily rotations are possible, over four or five years are still guaranteed 34 or 27 missions daily. In addition, a gravitational sensor should detect falls and automatically retract the camera as needed to prevent damage.

Flip Camera of the Asus Zenfone 6
Flip Camera of the Asus Zenfone 6

This shows that Asus is aware of the trade-offs associated with mechanical components. The ZenFone 6 is not waterproof, which would not be impossible with the mechanical camera, but would be much heavier and drive the costs. In addition, the part of the frame where the camera module sits is very thin and may be more prone to falling. The camera itself sits in the closed state firmly in the module, but is not secured magnetically or similar. As a result, it can also be manually opened by finger, although this requires a minimum, targeted effort. Accidentally, the camera does not open in everyday life.

Reliable, but not without compromise

Targeted the module rotates only in the camera app. It is shot about it as well, but also via a quick access in the notification bar. Basically, the camera moves back automatically as soon as the camera app is left. But if, for example, some obstacle, such as a finger, gets in the way, after a short showdown, the engine stops working against it. The camera then remains unfolded at the angle at which it hit it, even though it is no longer in the way. At this point, quick access is useful. Alternatively, the camera can also be brought back into position with the finger, but here it does not lock (always) immediately, but requires even minor improvements. If the camera is moved with too much force by a finger, a message appears on the smartphone that violence can restrict the function.

During the trial period, the module made a reliable impression at all times. Not once has the camera not properly rotated or responded incorrectly to the commands within the camera app. Only manually it should not be moved because it can not sit rock solid due to design. In everyday life, the construction is stable and easy. However, it is questionable how it will look in the long term, also with the influence of possible falls. The module can be protected only badly, since it always space to move needs, if not completely renounced on it. Mechanical components have been enjoying increasing popularity in smartphones since last year. A solution like the ZenFone 6 is rather uncommon, but is found in a modified form but also in the Samsung Galaxy A80. But other solutions are also a pop-up camera as in the OnePlus 7 Pro (test) or as a slider like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Until front cameras are advanced enough under the display, mechanical components should remain relevant.


The flip camera in the extended state
The flip camera in the extended state

The flip camera in the extended state
The flip camera in the extended state

The flip camera in the extended state
The flip camera in the extended state

As with all mechanical components in the smartphone, the “flip camera” is also an approach for the use of a large display without cuts and at the same time small edges. Nevertheless, such a decision remains questionable, because the long-term reliability is difficult to predict, also mechanical parts are more prone to damage from falls and also make it difficult to protect against the ingress of dust or water.

Solid display for front-facing

The display of the ZenFone 6 is an IPS-based 6.4-inch panel due to the “flip camera”. The resolution is 1,080 × 2,340 pixels in 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. At first glance, the screen convinces with rich and strong colors, even if no OLED is installed, such as in the ROG Phone. According to Asus, the DCI-P3 color space is 100 percent, and the NTSC spectrum is also 96 percent covered. The display is very sharp thanks to a pixel density of 403 ppi, although it can not keep up with the resolutions of top models from Google, Huawei or Samsung. Due to the relatively high contrast of 1551: 1, contents are stronger overall, even if the value itself is not the highest compared to some mid-range smartphones. But in everyday life this is enough.

Asus Zenfone 6
Asus Zenfone 6

The same applies to the maximum brightness, which according to Asus lies at 600 cd / m² for good readability outdoors. In the test, a maximum of 525 cd / m² was measurable even in automatic mode with targeted lighting. This is like the contrast no top value, in everyday life but also sufficient. It is noticeable, however, that the manual control is very erratic, and only from about 80 percent on the controller, the display achieves a brightness of about 300 and 400 cd / m². The model can not convince at the white point, because at around 7,400 Kelvin ex works, the smartphone goes in the direction of blue. In addition, the angles are not good, colors fade and white gets a clear blue cast when viewed from the side. So the display of the ZenFone 6 is overall solid, but can in no way keep up with the panels of other, more expensive top models.

On the next page: Fast Snapdragon 855, slim ZenUI

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