One of the first phones that comes to mind when I think of the iPhone 14 Pro rival is the ASUS ZenFone 9. That’s probably not what most people will think of, but that’s only because the ZenFone 9 is not as popular as some other phones out there. The thing is, the ZenFone 9 is one of the best compact Android smartphones, and considering that its display is only slightly smaller than the one on the iPhone 14 Pro, this comparison does make sense. On top of that, both of these are flagship-grade smartphones. In this article, we’ll compare the Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9.
We’ve recently compared Apple’s new ‘Pro’ handset with the Galaxy S22, which is also a comparison that makes a lot of sense. If the Galaxy S22 is not your cup of tea, the ZenFone 9 is a great alternative. Its predecessor was quite compelling, and the ZenFone 9 is a huge improvement over it. Having said that, we’ll first list the specs of the two phones, and will then move to various other categories.
|Apple iPhone 14 Pro||ASUS ZenFone 9|
|Screen size||6.1-inch LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display (120Hz refresh rate)||5.9-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED display (60-120Hz refresh rate)|
|Screen resolution||2556 x 1179||2400 x 1080|
|SoC||Apple A16 Bionic||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, non-expandable||128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||48MP (f/1.8 aperture, wide-angle, 1.22um pixel size, sensor-shift OIS, dual pixel PDAF)|
12 MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 13mm, 120-degree FoV, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF)
12MP (telephoto, f/2.8 aperture, 77mm lens, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom)
|50MP (f/1.9 aperture, 23.8mm wide-angle lens, 1.0um pixel size, gimbal OIS, PDAF)|
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 113-degree FoV, 1.4um pixel size, 14.4mm lens)
|Front cameras||12MP (wide-angle, f/1.9 aperture, 23mm lens, PDAF)|
SL 3D (depth/biometrics sensor)
|12MP (f/2.5 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 27.5mm lens, dual pixel PDAF)|
|Battery||3,200mAh, non-removable, 23W wired charging, 15W MagSafe wireless charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging, 5W reverse wireless charging||4,300mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging (charger included)|
|Dimensions||147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9mm||146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1mm|
|Weight||206 grams||169 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, Lightning port||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||Advanced facial scanning||Side-facing fingerprint scanner|
|OS||iOS 16||Android 12|
|Buy||Apple||ASUS / Amazon|
Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Design
Needless to say, these two phones look considerably different in comparison. They also feel entirely different in the hand, actually. The only thing they have in common is the fact their sides are flat, though not even that is entirely the same. The flat portion on the ZenFone 9 is thinner, and thanks to its soft backplate, which is not entirely flat, it’s more pleasant to hold. It doesn’t cut into your hand as much, and the lesser weight of the ZenFone 9 probably has something to do with that too.
The ASUS ZenFone 9 is a lot lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro. It weighs 169 grams compared to 206 grams of the iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 Pro combines its stainless steel frame with a glass back, while the ZenFone 9 includes a frame made out of aluminum, and a polymer (plastic) back. Its backplate is soft to the touch, and the softness changes depending on the color you opt for. Each color delivers a different level of softness, believe it or not. Thanks to that backplate, the phone is considerably less slippery than the iPhone 14 Pro. Do note that usage marks are already visible on the back, and we expect it to change over time, its looks, that is, as it will wear out.
Both smartphones have very thin bezels, but the iPhone 14 Pro also has uniform bezels. It has a pill-shaped hole at the top of the display, while the ZenFone 9 has a display camera hole in the top-left corner, which is a lot smaller than what you’d find on the iPhone 14 Pro. Both phones have flat displays, and cameras in the top-left corner on the back. Those camera setups are entirely different design-wise. The iPhone 14 Pro has a recognizable setup in which all the cameras are a part of the same camera island. The ZenFone 9 has fewer cameras on the back, two, and each of them is its own camera island of sorts.
The iPhone 14 Pro is slightly taller, wider, and thinner than the ZenFone 9, while being heavier, as we’ve already mentioned. Now, the ZenFone 9 is easier to use with one hand, that’s for sure, and it’s more comfortable to hold. The iPhone 14 Pro does feel more premium, though, but it’s also a lot more slippery. Both phones are really well-built.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Display
The iPhone 14 Pro features a 6.1-inch 2556 x 1179 LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display. That display is flat, and it offers a 120Hz refresh rate. It also supports HDR10 content, and Dolby Vision as well. This panel gets extremely bright, actually, as it peaks at 2,000 nits of brightness. It’s the brightest display on a smartphone to date. It is protected by scratch-resistant ceramic glass, by the way.
The ASUS ZenFone 9, on the flip side, includes a 5.9-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Super AMOLED panel. This display offers a 120Hz refresh rate, and it’s flat. It also supports HDR10+ content, and its brightness peaks at 1,100 nits. The ZenFone 9’s display is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus, and we’re looking at a 20:9 display aspect ratio here, compared to 19.5:9 on the iPhone 14 Pro.
The good news is, both of these displays look excellent. They’re bright, vivid, and have excellent viewing angles. They’re also smooth, and have excellent touch response too. Quite frankly, we can’t really complain much. If you do spend a lot of time in direct sunlight, though, the iPhone 14 Pro is the better choice due to its brightness. We do recommend using a screen protector, though, as Apple’s previous phones have been prone to microscratches, and it seems like this device is using the same protection.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Performance
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and ZenFone 9 have excellent performance-related specs. In fact, both phones perform admirably, to say the least. The iPhone 14 Pro comes with the Apple A16 Bionic SoC, which is backed by 6GB of RAM and NVMe storage. Having said that, the ZenFone 9 packs in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.1 flash storage.
All that results in an excellent performance on both phones. They’re both immensely smooth, and we did not encounter any lag whatsoever. The ZenFone 9 is probably one of the smoothest Android smartphones in the market now, and it easily competes with the iPhone 14 Pro in that regard. Using both phones is a treat in everyday usage, and even if you play games. They can handle pretty much anything out there. They do get quite warm during gaming sessions, though, but nothing out of the ordinary. You don’t have to worry about performance here, not at all.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Battery
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro features a 3,200mAh battery. The ZenFone 9 comes with a 4,300mAh battery pack. iOS and Android handle battery consumption differently, all I’ll say is that these battery capacities are more than enough for both phones. In fact, both of these smartphones offer truly excellent battery life.
The ZenFone 9 was able to provide us with over 7 hours of screen-on-time, and it still had plenty of juice left. In fact, you can probably pull out over 8 hours of screen-on-time with this phone on a daily basis, as long as you’re not a gamer. The iPhone 14 Pro doesn’t seem to be far from such numbers either, at least based on initial info. Truth be said, it seems like it flies a bit below that level, but not by much. Your mileage may, of course, vary, as there are many factors to consider when it comes to battery life.
When the charging is concerned, well, the ZenFone 9 has the upper hand in the speed department, but the iPhone 14 Pro is more versatile. The phone supports 23W wired, 15W MagSafe wireless, and 7.5W Qi wireless charging. The ZenFone 9 offers only 30W wired charging, it doesn’t support wireless charging at all. Do note that the ZenFone 9 does pack in a charger, though, unlike the iPhone 14 Pro.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Cameras
The iPhone 14 Pro includes a 48-megapixel main camera, backed by a 12-megapixel ultrawide, and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera. It also includes a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner on the back. The ZenFone 9, on the flip side, has a 50-megapixel main camera, backed by a 12-megapixel ultrawide unit. That’s it, it has two cameras on the back. Having said that, both smartphones are compelling in the camera department, but they do provide vastly different results.
The ZenFone 9 has a tendency to provide more vivid images. Those shots usually have a lot of saturation, and in some situations, a bit too much. The phone also tends to sharpen things up a bit too much, but that’s the iPhone 14 Pro’s issue as well. Speaking of which, the iPhone 14 Pro also has a tendency to blow out the highlights in some scenarios. Those are issues that can be fixed via an update, though, of course. Both phones keep an excellent color balance between its cameras.
In low light, both phones are excellent, though images from the iPhone 14 Pro do seem to have a slight advantage in such scenarios. Both phones can provide truly stable video output, but the iPhone 14 Pro is better in the video department overall. It’s not a secret that iPhones have been excellent in that department for years, and the iPhone 14 Pro only continues in those footsteps.
If you’re one to use an audio jack on your phones, you’ll be glad to know that the ZenFone 9 has one. Despite its relatively small footprint, ASUS managed to include it. The iPhone 14 Pro does not have one, though, nor does it have a Type-C USB port. You’ll need to use the Lightning port if you’d like to connect your headphones via a wire. If you opt to go wireless, the iPhone 14 Pro offers Bluetooth 5.3, while the ZenFone 9 has Bluetooth 5.2.
Both smartphones come with stereo speakers. We never expect a lot of out of speakers in compact phones, but both of these devices actually deliver in that department. The speakers are not only loud, but they’re quite sharp as well. They do balance the sound really well, with sharp vocals, and even some bass.