- The coolest Android phone I’ve seen in 2019 isn’t made by Google, or Samsung, or any of the big names in phones.
- The Zenfone 6 from Asus, now available in the US and Europe, is one of the best smartphone designs in years, and the phone costs only $US500.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Asus Zenfone 6 is one of the coolest smartphones I’ve ever seen. And it costs only $US500.
These days, it’s increasingly rare to find an incredible smartphone that doesn’t cost close to $US1,000. But the Asus Zenfone 6 packs an incredible amount of value and innovation into a relatively affordable package.
Popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee, a.k.a. “MKBHD,” recently got his hands on the Zenfone 6, which finally went on sale in the US this month, and took some gorgeous photos of the new phone with his 8K camera rig. All of the stunning imagery in this post comes from his video, and his channel, which you should definitely subscribe to if you don’t already.
Check out the Asus Zenfone 6, and why it’s the best smartphone design of 2019 so far.
First, the display: The Asus Zenfone 6 rocks a 6.4-inch 1080p LCD edge-to-edge screen.
It really is edge to edge: There are no cut-outs for the selfie camera, which means no notches (looking at you, Apple) and no hole punches (looking at you, Samsung). The display is totally seamless.
You might be wondering: “If the phone doesn’t have a cut-out for the selfie camera, where is it?”
This is the main attraction of the Zenfone 6: The selfie camera is actually the main camera, flipped around.
The Zenfone 6 features a dual-camera system that’s both electronic and motorised: It stays on the back for regular photos, but if you toggle selfie mode, the cameras flip around to face you.
The camera system consists of one 48-megapixel main sensor and one 13-megapixel ultrawide sensor.
It’s a pretty decent rear camera, compared to the top shooters like the Pixel 3, but when the cameras flip around …
… the rear cameras become one of the best selfie cameras on any smartphone, period. Since it has two sensors, it can actually create a real depth of field in your selfies.
This camera might seem like a gimmick, but Asus actually created some really thoughtful experiences around this unique feature.
For example, you can control the placement of the motorised selfie camera to capture any angle, up to a full 180 degrees. The phone’s volume rocker can act as a controller for how much you want the camera to flip up.
In photo mode, the phone’s software also presents a slider that you can swipe up and down to control the placement of the swivelling camera.
Perhaps the coolest feature in this camera system, though, is how it handles panoramas. Just press a single button and the phone automatically rotates its camera system to capture a perfect panorama — no need to move your hand, or yourself, at all.
The panorama feature works really well. You can even get in the panorama if you let the camera flip all the way around.
In video mode, the camera system can also work automatically to track your subjects. Just tap your subject on the screen, and the motorised camera can follow your subject.
You might be thinking, “this camera system seems cool, but it also seems kind of fragile?”
Thankfully, the phone can sense when it’s being dropped, so as to immediately retract the camera back into its safe rear-facing position.
Asus also says the phone is rated for 100,000 opens and closes of the motorised camera, which should definitely last you for a couple of years or so.
The phone’s display is solid, the camera system is one of a kind, and the rest of the Zenfone 6 doesn’t disappoint, either.
The Zenfone 6 runs on a Snapdragon 855 chip, with up to 8 GB of RAM. Asus also cleaned up its phone software this year to provide a pretty clean version of Android.
The phone itself has some heft to it. That’s partly because it’s made of metal and glass, but it’s really because of the massive 5,000 mAH battery inside the the Zenfone 6, which is one of the biggest batteries in any smartphone.
The Zenfone 6 should be one of the best phones for battery life, given the size of the battery and the fact that 1080p LCD screens aren’t as much of a power suck compared to some smartphones with OLED screens or higher refresh rates.
This phone has other quality specs for a mid-range phone: It has 18-watt fast charging, a solid audio system, and a Google Assistant button that can be remapped to a few other specific functions, like taking a screenshot or turning on your phone’s flashlight.
It even has a headphone jack!
In terms of downsides: The Google Assistant button can’t be remapped to <i>any</i> function, the phone has no wireless charging, and there’s no official IP rating for this phone, meaning it should definitely avoid water.
If we had to guess, we’d say the phone’s unique camera system is responsible for the lack of water resistance. So definitely keep water, dust and dirt away from that flipping camera.
The Zenfone 6 is an incredible, innovative package that is also affordable. This is certainly one of the best-looking Android phones you can buy for $US500, and is the best phone we’ve seen in 2019 so far. You can find it on Amazon, B&H, and Asus’ website.
For Marques Brownlee’s take on the Zenfone 6, check out his video below.
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