Asus 6Z Review: Is It Flippin’ Worth It?
Have you ever used a smartphone that’s admirably sufficient in almost all of its aspects?
Well, that was our experience with the recently launched flagship by Asus, the Asus Zenfone 6 or the Asus 6Z. Bringing major versatility to the table, Asus managed to hit the nail on its head with Asus 6Z, posing some serious competition to the likes of OnePlus 7 and Honor 20 in the highly competitive smartphone market.
The successor of Asus ZenFone 5Z that was launched last year, Asus 6Z comes with a better design, better features, and not-to-forget, the most headline-grabbing feature of it all: a motorized camera. Let’s have a look at whether the phone lived up to its expectations.
Speaking of the design, Asus seems to have gone for a minimalistic approach with the Asus 6Z featuring a glossy curved Gorilla Glass 3 rear panel that blends into the metal chassis of the phone. If you’re someone who is big on the trendy gradient design, it’s fair to say that you’d find the design of Asus 6Z almost, ahem, boring. Gorilla Glass 3 rear panel means reduced chances of getting ugly scratches across the rear-panel which is good news but then you get unsightly fingerprint smudges on the back which makes for a sad news.
Asus 6Z is not your average trying-desperately-to-fit-under the sleek/slim category kind of a phone. It does have a bit of a weight to it which adds to the overall chunkiness of the phone. But that’s mostly expected because Asus 6Z carries one honker of a 5000mAh battery inside it along with a motorized flip camera.
Speaking of the variant, we tried what Asus likes to call “the midnight black” variant. However, you can also try the “twilight silver” if you’re not about the black color. The glossy black back gives Asus 6Z an overall nice look, but there’s one big caveat: the Asus branding at the back in metallic blue is off-putting.
Asus branding that’s placed vertically across the center of its rear-panel looks heavy and the company could have stuck to placing just a single logo across the back like it did in the case of Asus Zenfone 5Z. Another drawback to glossy rear panel is that the back feels a little slippery and is easy to slide off of hands.
The volume control is placed on the right side of the phone along with the smart key (for Google Assistant) and the power button. You get a SIM tray on the left side (which can easily fit two nano sim cards and a microSD card) with the Type-C charging port, speaker grill and a 3.5 mm headphone jack at bottom.
It also comes with a tiny fingerprint sensor that works just fine. The speakers work great and there’s also an audio wizard mode that further enhances the overall audio experience.
Flip the phone to the front and you see that’s where Asus 6Z scores major points. Taking the bezel-less trend by its horns, Asus 6Z features an almost bezel-less NanoEdge display with 92% screen-to-body ratio
. There’s a slight chin at the bottom but it doesn’t exactly take away from the overall look of a larger screen. Also, there’s no notch whatsoever (thanks to the flip camera) on the phone, meaning larger and expansive screen space.
Let’s now talk about the display. Asus 6z features a 6.4-inch IPS LCD display at a Full HD+ 1080 x 2340 pixels with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a Gorilla Glass 6 for extra screen protection. The overall color and contrast of the app icons is quite good indoors, and the peak brightness of 600 nits, along with the 100 DCI-P3 colour gamut adds to the overall vividness of the colors.
However, it’s when you go outdoors is when you’re reminded that Asus 6Z doesn’t have an AMOLED display like its rival, OnePlus 7. The LCD display has poor sunlight legibility, and makes it hard to read through the screen when outdoors during daylight.
This takes away a major point from Asus 6Z since you can get better display options at this price point. Also, the auto-brightness feature isn’t all that “auto” and takes a little while to adapt. But, in all, the sharpness, clarity, and contrast of the display is good on its own and the notch-less display saves the day.
Performance And Software
When it comes to performance, Asus 6Z comes powered with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC along with Adreno 640 GPU, a major upgrade from last year’s Qualcomm 845 in Asus Zenfone. It offers three options with 8GB RAM + 256GB internal storage, 6GB RAM + 128GB internal storage, 6GB RAM + 64GB internal storage.
We tried the 6GB RAM + 128GB variant and the first thing that hit my mind was its speed. Switching from one app to the other feels like a breeze and you can easily play all your heavy-duty games with high graphics settings. Coming to the battery life, it’s no surprise that Asus 6Z comes packed with a monstrous 5000 mAh battery and ships with a 18W Quick Charge 4.0 charger.
Now, for a battery that big, an 18W Quick Charger seems like the need of the hour and it does charge the phone pretty quickly. Although, we’d admit that a 30W charger would have been much more convenient for a huge battery like this one. The battery life though is quite spectacular, giving you an entire day’s worth of juice in times of medium to heavy use (think heavy gaming, Netflix streaming, non-stop texting, et al).
In case of really mild use where all you do is make a few phone calls, a little bit of texting, and social media, you can get a solid two days worth of battery life which makes the additional thickness that the phone gets (9.1 mm to be exact) worth it.
Speaking of the software, Asus 6Z runs on Android Pie with Asus’s Zen UI 6 on top, offering speedy movement through the OS. The best thing about the company’s Zen UI 6 is that it doesn’t come loaded with bloatware, giving you a taste of what Vanilla Android feels like: simple and uncluttered.
Swipe up and you’ll get the app drawer, swipe left you’ll be greeted with the Google Assistant features, swipe down and you get a simple notification bar. The app icon designs are also quite consistent and the UI also offers an option to customize it. Other than that, the phone comes packed with a couple of other cool features including the ever-so-loved dark mode.
Let’s now talk about one of the major highlights of Asus 6Z: the rear motorised flipping camera that doubles as a selfie camera. This is good news since it fulfills all our wishes of having a selfie camera as good as the rear one. Now, before we talk about the overall performance of the camera, let’s quickly look at its specifications.
Asus 6Z comes with a flip dual-camera setup featuring a 48-megapixel primary shooter with a Sony IMX586 sensor and a f/1.79 aperture coupled with a 13-megapixel secondary 125-degree ultra-wide-angle camera. The camera also supports laser-assisted focus module along with a dual-LED unit and electronic image stabilization.
Now, since the camera is motorised, it’s hard to not ponder over the issues that motor-powered cams usually bring with them in terms of speed, dust, water resistance, and overall durability. However, Asus definitely tried hard to make sure the issues don’t get in the way of its overall experience.
The flip camera is made up of liquid metal and comes with drop protection like the OnePlus 7 Pro. But, we did observe a some irksome glitches with the selfie camera while making video calls.
For instance, it would often automatically flip back, making strong motor noises when trying to set it to the front mode. We also noticed that the camera heats up when used for too long as the selfie camera, which isn’t too pleasant of a experience. Another time when we didn’t enjoy the motorized camera mechanism was during facial recognition. Usually, it takes just a second for phones to unlock the phone when using facial recognition. But, since the Asus 6Z has a motorized camera, it takes well over a few seconds for the phone to unlock in case of facial recognition. This is because first you need to slide up the screen and then the camera flips back up and front.
Coming to the performance of the camera, its safe to say that it was impressive. The camera can rotate 180-degree, allowing you to click all those cool shots that you always wanted to without having to flip your phone.
It also comes with an on-screen slider that allows you to start and stop the rotation, however it’s a bit tedious. The camera comes with a bunch of modes including time-lapse, Slo-Mo, motion-tracking, portrait, Pano, night, and Pro mode.
Time-lapse feature is quite nifty, and you can shoot slo-mo videos at 120fps, 240fps, and 480fps. However, while shooting slo-mo at 240fps and 480fps, you’ll observe dark horizontal streaks across the screen, making it almost impossible to shoot good slo-mo vidoes. This adds to the unpleasant experience and given the price of the phone, we expected better performance.
However, the feature works decent at 120fps. Motion-tracking feature works well where you tap on an object that you want to focus and Asus 6Z camera will rotate to keep it in the frame. But, there’s only so much it can do and don’t expect any pro-like miracles from it. Portrait mode works quite well and adds just the right amount of depth and exposure.
Coming down to the performance of the normal photo mode, shots clicked during daylight, both indoors and outdoors are good with the balance of exposure, color, contrast, and detail. For low-light situations, the camera performs well but adds a little bit of smoothness to the overall shots, making it look slightly blurry.
But, if you really want to click good night shots with Asus 6Z, you should switch to its night mode which instantly brightens up the scene.
The wide-angle mode also works well but produces slightly darker shots as evident in the picture below.
For selfies, the camera performance is pretty good during daylight, both indoors and outdoors, producing clear, bright, and detailed pictures. For the portrait mode, there’s an in-built beauty mode which lets you add extra filters to the photo.
However, for low-light situations, the camera requires improvement as the selfies clicked turn out blurry and dull.
There’s also other options like HDR+ enhanced mode and AI scene detection, but we noticed that the HDR+ mode added a little bit of unneeded sharpness and depth to the photo, making it look unnatural.
Asus 6Z is a unique, affordable, and power-packed smartphone with a software that leaves a lasting impression. Packed with a camera whose capabilities are trustworthy enough to take good pictures and a super big battery, Asus 6Z shines as a good all-in-one smartphone.
However, we’ll put this out there that the motorized camera module might not be for everyone and its overall fragility in terms of durability can take some getting used to.
Overall, Asus 6Z manages to stand nearly neck-to-neck among the leading competition in the mid-range smartphone segment and makes us look forward to the future of Asus Smartphones.
Asus 6Z is priced at INR 31,999 for the 6GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, INR 34,999 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, and INR 39,999 for the 8GB RAM + 256GB storage variant.
Photography by Dhawal Bhanushali/Mashable India