On July 28, 2022, ASUS announced its latest smartphone – the Zenfone 9. This smartphone continues on ASUS’ latest quest to make small phones that aren’t underpowered. The Zenfone 9 is actually smaller than the Zenfone 8 was, while boasting a bigger battery, bigger cameras and bigger thermal material. Which is quite impressive, to say the least.
Some of the ways that ASUS was able to do this, was by getting rid of the curved back, and going for a flat back and sides. Taking on some design cues from the iPhone and the new Nothing Phone (1).
Now that the ASUS Zenfone 9 is out, and official, it’s time to tell you everything you need to know about this new phone. So let’s get started.
When will the ASUS Zenfone 9 be available?
ASUS says that the Zenfone 9 will be available in Europe first, and it is already available. It’ll come to other countries later this summer, including the US. There’s no set launch date for the Zenfone 9 in the US just yet.
There’s no “flip” model for the Zenfone 9 this year, there’s just a single model. But it does come in three different RAM/Storage configurations. That includes 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB and 16GB/256GB.
How much will it cost?
ASUS has not announced pricing for the US yet. But we do know that it will cost €799 in Europe. That converts to about $813 USD. So we can expect it to start at around $799-$899 when it does come to the US. Given ASUS’ relatively small market share in the US, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see only one model come to the US, instead of all three variants.
In previous years, ASUS has not made their phones available on carriers. So it’ll likely only be available as an unlocked smartphone. But it does have bands for T-Mobile and some for AT&T and Verizon.
Where can I buy it?
While ASUS has not announced where you’ll be able to buy the Zenfone 9 in the US, we expect it to be available on Amazon, and perhaps Best Buy. We will of course update this once we get more information on the US launch.
What are the specs of the ASUS Zenfone 9?
Here are the specs of the ASUS Zenfone 9, compared to its predecessor, the Zenfone 8 which was released in May of 2021.
|ASUS Zenfone 9||ASUS Zenfone 8|
|Display||5.9″ FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED||5.9″ FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|RAM/Storage||8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, 16GB/256GB||6GB/128GB, 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, 12GB/256GB, 16GB/256GB|
50MP main sensor, f/1.9
12MP ultrawide, f/2.2
64MP main sensor, f/1.8
12MP ultrawide, f/2.2
|Audio||Dual Super linear speakers with Dirac HD sound||Stereo Speakers, Dirac HD sound|
|Authentication||Fingerprint sensor (power button), Facial recognition||Fingerprint sensor (under display), Facial recognition|
|Dimensions||146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1mm||148 x 68.5 x 8.9mm|
|Software||Android 12, ZenUI 9||Android 11, ZenUI 8|
What colors does it come in?
ASUS is offering the Zenfone 9 in four colors this year. That includes:
- Midnight Black
- Moonlight White
- Starry Blue
- Sunset Red
Far more colors than we had with the Zenfone 8. Now, in the US, those colors may be more limited. Again, due to the small market share that ASUS has in the US.
The ASUS Zenfone 9 Design
Last year, ASUS really stressed the amount of R&D they did for the Zenfone 8, to make it that small, and not be a terrible experience. This year, ASUS is improving on the model. It made the Zenfone 9 smaller, while making the battery bigger, cameras are bigger and the thermal material is also larger. So how did they do it?
Well a big help here was making the back and sides flat. With the Zenfone 8, the back and sides were curved, which uses up a lot of space. But making it flat, like an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13, allows it to have more space for things like a battery.
Just to put things into perspective, the SoC is about 10% larger, the cameras are 40% larger and the battery is 7.5% larger, while the physical size of the Zenfone 9 is about -2% compared to last year. That’s quite impressive. And that’s all while still being waterproof, rated at IP68.
What new features were announced with the ASUS Zenfone 9?
So what’s new with ZenUI 9? Well, there’s a few things, on top of what Android 12 brings us. So let’s go over them all.
Battery care features
The battery is pretty important for everyone, and ASUS wants to make it last as long as possible and make charging less of a hassle. So they have introduced Scheduled Charging. With “Sleep Well” options, such as an Auto end time (by alarm), Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode, scheduled charging keeps the battery at a lower percentage overnight, and does trickle charges to 100%. Instead of trickling while it is at 100%. This will keep your battery in tip-top shape.
It can also detect battery-draining apps. And it’ll report them to the user to find the cause of the increased battery usage. Unlike some other phones, it will not automatically kills those apps.
New One-handed Mode
One-handed mode really isn’t anything new, but ASUS has improved on it in ZenUI 9. There’s now a new navigation feature which will limit the height of the screen to the user’s preferred height. And this can easily be triggered by swiping down from the bottom region of the screen.
Better UI customizations
Also included in ZenUI 9 is some new UI customizations. There’s Material You, which is an Android 12 feature. This will allow you to color-code your accents to the wallpaper on your home screen. And it does work just as it does in Android 12 on a Pixel smartphone.
ASUS has also moved the Animation Speed settings into the Display section of the Settings. So you don’t need to open Developer Options any more. This is mostly a placebo thing to make your phone seem faster, but some people really like this option.
Finally, ASUS has also finally added the option to not automatically switch between light and dark mode by sunrise/sunset or schedule. It is also possible now to force all apps to run in dark mode. And apply a dark tint to the wallpaper. Which is also going to make the display more kind to your eyes.
This is just a few of the many things that ASUS has added in ZenUI 9.
What version of Android does it run?
Out of the box, the Zenfone 9 runs on Android 12, with ZenUI 9. Which is their latest Android skin for the Zenfone. It is slated to get Android 13, however that is not even released yet by Google, so it’ll be at least a few more months. Google is slated to release the stable build of Android 13 in either August or September (right after Labor Day is more likely).
What about the cameras?
ASUS is using Sony sensors for all of the cameras on the Zenfone 9. They are upgraded sensors from last year, though surprisingly, on paper, it looks like a downgrade from the Zenfone 8. Seeing as the Zenfone 8 had a 64-megapixel sensor and now the Zenfone 9 is only 50-megapixels. The aperture also fell a bit. But these are much larger sensors, which should result in better pictures.
These sensors are about 40% larger compared to the Zenfone 8. Allowing it to bring in more light, and produce better shots in low-light and with no light.
So what about the features in the camera for the Zenfone 9? Well, for the first time, ASUS is letting users edit the camera modes. So you can set it to show your most used modes, and hide the others behind the “More” section.
ASUS is also introducing Light-trail mode. This is in beta on the Zenfone 9, and won’t be coming to the Zenfone 8, unfortunately. Users can use a manual shutter or a preset shutter time to capture moving scenes such as traffic trails, light graffiti, waterfalls and more. Since it’s in beta, it likely won’t be amazing, but ASUS is going to be continuously updating it.
Among a few other minor things that are new in the camera app for the ASUS Zenfone 9.
Should I buy the ASUS Zenfone 9?
If you’re wanting a smaller phone, that doesn’t compromise on flagship power of features, then yes, buy the Zenfone 9. But in the US, things are a bit more difficult. Since it will only work on T-Mobile and partially on AT&T. Not to mention the fact that unlocked phones are not really a thing in the US.
ASUS is the last manufacturer giving you basically everything you want in a smartphone. That includes a headphone jack, a charger in the box, and a smaller footprint that doesn’t compromise on power or battery life. It’s a shame that ASUS has such a small market share, because this phone is definitely solid on paper, and you can read our review on it here.