Last month I got an early preview at the Asus 6Z, the company’s answer to the OnePlus 7, which is now available in India. Starting at Rs 31,990 and climbing to Rs 39,999, Asus has managed to make a device that signals a new generation of smartphones with all-screen designs and outlandish camera setups. This phone doesn’t have a regular selfie camera; instead, whenever you take a selfie, the rear camera flips around the top of the device. The theatre of all this is pretty fascinating.
Sure, the flip camera is one of the highlights of the Asus 6Z, but the rest of the features are equally impressive. I have been using the Asus 6Z for a couple of weeks now, and here is what I think about the flagship smartphone.
Asus 6Z specifications: 6.4-inch FHD+ LCD display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor | 6GB/8GB RAM | 128GB/256GB storage | 48MP, f/1.79 + 13MP ultra wide (125 degree) dual flip cameras | 5,000mAh battery | Android Pie with ZenUI 6
Asus 6Z price in India: Rs 31,999 to Rs 39,999
Asus 6Z review: Design, display
The 6Z has a curved rear that blends into metal chassis, while the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protects the front. The phone does remind one of the ROG Phone, but I am glad to see that Asus is finally done with the concentric circle design.
I showed the Asus 6Z to a few of my non-techie friends. Most of them told me that the phone felt thicker and heavier, which is true. I believe the reason behind the phone’s 9.1mm thickness and 190 grams weight is the mechanical camera module and the 5000mAh battery. Aside from that my overall impression about the 6Z’s design was fairly positive.
The phone looks quite different from the competition. Asus has given a 6.4-inch display with no notch, or punch hole, and really slim bezels and reduced chin. Flip the back, and you will notice the blue Asus logo and a fingerprint scanner. To my surprise, the 6Z also comes with stereo speakers and a headphone jack. There is no water resistance here because of the many moving parts.
The Asus 6Z doesn’t have a super-sharp AMOLED screen, but it does still have a really bright and colourful IPS LCD display. The 6.4-inch panel occupies the entire front of the phone. This gives the phone a 92 per cent screen-to-body ratio, which offers an immersive experience when playing games or watching movies. My biggest complaint with the 6Z’s display is that it isn’t bright when viewed outside in the sunlight. I literally struggled to read emails, which means the display is not perfect for outdoor use. Also, I found the automatic brightness control inconsistent whenever I stepped out in the sun.
Asus 6Z review: Flip-up camera
As the Asus 6Z doesn’t have a selfie camera, the phone take selfies using the rear cameras. This solution is different from a pop-up design — but other companies have also tried using the rear camera for selfies before. Open the camera app and the dual rear-facing lenses can be used in a regular fashion. Switch to selfie mode and the camera housing flips over to the top of the phone. This changes everything.
You get a Sony IMX586 48MP main lens and a secondary 13MP wide angle shooter. It’s so much fun using the motorised flip camera system. You can actually control the placement of the motorised camera to capture any angle, up to a full 180 degrees. Open the camera app, and then instead of tapping the selfie button on the right, tap and hold it. Now, simply slide your finger up and down to adjust the position of the camera and change the speed of the module.
I also liked the automated panorama feature. Yes, the Asus 6z can take automatic panoramas. All you need is to press a button and the phone will take the best panorama by slowly moving the camera a full 180 degrees. There’s no need to move your hand at all. There’s motion tracking as well. In video mode, it can automatically track your subjects. Just tab your subject on the screen, and the camera can follow it.
Image quality from the wide and regular lens is excellent with great detail retention, sharp focus, natural colors, and no noticeable grains. I was also impressed by the Asus 6z’s ability to take night shots. However, compared to the likes of P30 Pro, Galaxy S10+, Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XS Max, I still think that the 6Z can’t deliver the same kind of images as you get on the more expensive models.
I know a lot of people will be worried about the durability of the mechanical camera. During the course of the testing, I didn’t encounter any issues using the flip-up camera. However, I do worry about the long-term reliability of this, or any, mechanical camera module, even though Asus claims its solution can withstand at least 100,000 open-close cycles (that’s 28 flips per day for 5 years).
Asus 6Z review: Performance, battery
Like the OnePlus 7 Pro and Oppo Reno 10x, Asus 6Z uses the latest Snapdragon 855 processor. The review unit came with 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Given the phone uses the top-notch chipset, I got consistent user experience, with no slow-down or lag, even when multitasking.
I did notice that the phone could get a little warm after playing games like Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 9.
The ZenFone 6 runs on Android 9 Pie with the latest Asus ZenUI 6 on top. This is a bit toned down version, although it does include a number of tweaks. For instance, Asus adds a range of its own apps including a file manager, weather app, second recorder and gallery, among others.
But where the 6z shines is battery life. The phone’s 5,000mAh battery lasted close to two days on a single charge which is impressive. If you are a heavy gamer, I presume battery will discharge much faster. But again, it depends on how you use the smartphone. QuickCharge 4.0 (18W) is there, but there’s no support for wireless charging.
Call quality through the Airtel network is excellent. The Asus 6Z doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner under the screen like the OnePlus 7 and Galaxy S10, but it has one built on the rear. I found it fast and reliable.
Asus 6Z review: Conclusion
If you want a new premium phone and you are not interested in getting the OnePlus 7, get the Asus 6Z. I haven’t tested the standard OnePlus 7 yet, but I think that the 6Z is a better buy. People will love the Asus 6Z because it offers something new, fresh which others don’t.