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Phone Comparisons: ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G

AH ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G comparison
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This time around, we’re comparing the ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G. Both of these phones have very clean versions of Android, as ASUS simply added some useful features on top of stock Android. The ZenFone 9 is actually a great phone to upgrade to from the Pixel 5a 5G. Those are actually the main reasons we’re comparing these two phones. There are some other reasons too, like the fact they’re both rather compact.

That being said, we’ll first list their specifications side-by-side. Following that, we’ll compare the phones across a number of categories. We’ll compare their designs, displays, performance, battery life, camera performance, and audio. Before we begin, do note that the ZenFone 9 is technically a flagship-grade phone, while the Pixel 5a 5G was a mid-ranger when it launched.

Specs

ASUS ZenFone 9Google Pixel 5a 5G
Screen size5.9-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED display (60-120Hz refresh rate)6.34-inch fullHD+ OLED HDR display (60Hz)
Screen resolution2400 x 10802400 x 1080
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM8GB/16GB (LPDDR5)8GB/12GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable128GB, non-expandable (UFS 2.1)
Rear cameras50MP (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)
12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 119-degree FoV)
Front cameras12MP (f/2.5 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 27.5mm lens, dual pixel PDAF)8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)
Battery4,300mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging (charger included)4,680mAh, non-removable, 18W wired charging
Charger included
Dimensions146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1mm154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm
Weight169 grams183 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecuritySide-facing fingerprint scannerRear-facing fingerprint scanner
OSAndroid 12
ZneUI
Android 11 (upgradable to Android 13)
Price€799$350
BuyASUSAmazon

ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G: Design

From the front, the two devices are quite similar, but those are the only similarities here Both phones have a display camera hole in the top-left corner, and feature flat displays. Both of them have rather thin bezels too, and physical buttons on the right-side, though they’re not in the same order or place. The ZenFone 9 combines a frame made out of metal with a polymer backplate. The Pixel 5a has an aluminum unibody build, but there’s a coating over it, which doesn’t feel like metal.

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Truth be said, both phones are less slippery than the regular metal + glass slabs we usually get these days. The ZenFone 9 has flat sides with chamfered edges, and a mostly flat back. The Pixel 5a’s sides are way more curved in comparison. The ZenFone 9 includes a side-facing fingerprint scanner, it’s built into the power/lock key. The Pixel 5a 5G has a rear-facing fingerprint scanner.

Their backplates also look noticeably different, and also feel different at the same time. The ZenFone 9 has two camera islands on the back, each of them reserved for a single camera sensor. The Pixel 5a 5G also has two cameras on the back, but they’re both a part of the same camera island. The ZenFone 9 is considerably shorter and narrower than the Pixel 5a 5G, and it’s a bit thicker and lighter. Both phones feel really good in the hand, but we prefer the ZenFone 9 build. That phone also feels more premium in the hand.

ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G: Display

The ZenFone 9 includes a 5.9-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. That panel does support HDR10+ content, and it’s flat. It also gets up to 1,100 nits of peak brightness, in case you were wondering. We’re looking at a 20:9 display aspect ratio here, and this display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.

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Google Pixel 5a AM AH 3

The Pixel 5a 5G, on the other hand, has a 6.34-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) 60Hz panel built-in That is a flat OLED display, and it does support HDR content. It also has a 20:9 display aspect ratio, but a lower ppi than the ZenFone 9. This display is protected by the Gorilla Glass 3, by the way, which is, needless to say, not nearly as good as what the ZenFone 9 offers. The Gorilla Glass 3 is kind of prone to microscratches, at least in our experience.

That being said, both of these panels do look good. They show vibrant colors, and have good viewing angles. The ZenFone 9’s panel does look a bit better though, as the colors do seem a bit punchier. That panel also offers a high refresh rate, unlike the 60Hz panel on the Pixel 5a 5G. On top of that, the ZenFone 9’s display does offer better protection, in case you don’t plan on using a screen protector.

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ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G: Performance

ASUS’ handset is fueled by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. That is still one of the best processors in the market. In addition to that, ASUS included up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.1 flash storage too. The Pixel 5a 5G, on the flip side, is fueled by the Snapdragon 765G SoC. That was a mid-range SoC when the phone launched, but it’s quite dated at this point. Google also included UFS 2.1 flash storage here.

The Pixel 5a 5G still does perform really well, but it cannot compare to the ZenFone 9, in any way. The ZenFone 9 simply flies through everything, regardless of whether it’s a less intensive task, such as opening and closing apps, or something more intense such as image or video editing, or even gaming. It’s noticeably faster in direct comparison, though as I said, the Pixel 5a 5G still holds its own.

Yes, you can game on the Pixel 5a 5G, but don’t expect the most demanding titles to be buttery smooth. The ZenFone 9, on the other hand, can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. That goes for even the most demanding titles out there, such as Genshin Impact. That is also not surprising considering the sheer hardware power ASUS squeezed in here.

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ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G: Battery

The ZenFone 9 includes a 4,300mAh battery, while the Pixel 5a 5G has a 4,680mAh battery on the inside. Some of you may immediately scoff at these battery sizes, as they’re under 5,000mAh, but do note that these phones don’t have tablet-sized displays. They also include processors that are really good with power consumption. In fact, these two phones provide much better battery life than many phones who are notably larger than them.

The ZenFone 9 probably has the best battery life out of mainstream phones with displays smaller than 6 inches. It doesn’t have much competition in the flagship segment, having that size in mind. The phone can get up to 8 hours of screen-on-time, if you’re not a gamer. I’ve been able to reach 8 hours of screen-on-time constantly, actually. The Pixel 5a 5G, on the flip side, can even go beyond that. We’ve managed to reach the 9 hours of screen-on-time mark during our testing. So, both phones offer excellent battery life, though do note that your mileage may vary, depending on your usage, signal, and so on.

When charging is concerned, the ZenFone 9 takes the cake. It supports 30W wired charging, and 5W reverse wired charging. The Pixel 5a 5G offers only 18W wired charging. The good news is that both phones do come with chargers, so you won’t have to buy them separately. You likely won’t have to charge either of these devices during the day, so it’s not as important how fast they charge.

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ASUS ZenFone 9 vs Google Pixel 5a 5G: Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 9 includes a 50-megapixel main camera, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide unit. The Pixel 5a 5G has a 12.2-megapixel main camera, and a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera. The results from these two phones are different, but they both provide good photos. The Pixel 5a 5G pictures have that recognizable, contrasty Pixel look. The ZenFone 9 actually also tends to provide quite contrasty images, but different ones.

AH ASUS ZenFone 9 KL image 10

The ZenFone 9 has a tendency to offer a bit more saturation in shots, while it also relies more on sharpening compared to the Pixel 5a 5G. In most cases, we do prefer images from the Pixel 5a 5G, but the ZenFone 9 does win from time to time. Both phones do a really good job in low light, while their ultrawide cameras are also quite good. The ZenFone 9’s ultrawide camera actually keeps up with the main one when it comes to color profile. It does offer a lesser FoV than the Pixel 5a’s, though.

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In the video recording department, the ZenFone 9 is the winner. Its footage is more stable, and it’s generally better overall. The company’s gimbal OIS which is included in the camera definitely helps in that department. Overall, both phones are really good, though we did prefer the Pixel 5a 5G for pictures, and the ZenFone 9 for video.

Audio

Both of these devices feature stereo speakers. Those speakers do get loud enough, and manage to keep distortion to a minimum. We prefer the output from the ZenFone 9 speakers, though as the sound does sound a bit clearer, and richer.

The ZenFone 9 also has an audio jack, which is something you won’t find on the Pixel 5a 5G. You’ll have to resort to a Type-C port at the bottom, if you want a wired audio connection. If you prefer a wireless connection, the ZenFone 9 offers Bluetooth 5.2, while the Pixel 5a 5G has Bluetooth 5.0 support.

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