Product Name:Asus 6z
Okay, we admit, when we saw the price, we thought, “here comes another brand which thinks it can do what OnePlus did with the smartphone industry.” If you have been living under a rock, the OnePlus range of models rewrote the rules of pricing a flagship. And of course, understand the audience. So when we received our unit of the 6z, formerly known as the Zenfone 6, we were under the impression that the 6z might not necessarily get the audience pull. We have used the 5z, and it provided a lot of fun at a mid-range price point. Naturally, we expected the same, if not less, from the Asus 6z.
But then came the whammy! We were surprised with the build quality, the design, and the flip camera, which caused wild hushes and random pointing when whipped out in public. If you looked at the specs, you know this is a flagship. But the Asus 6z is more ambitious than the Asus 5z. This time it’s not contented with the appreciative noise, but instead is looking to match other big brands with its Snapdragon chipset, all metal and glass construction, but at a price at which most manufacturers put forth their mid-range devices.
According to recent market surveys, the smartphone industry has seen an overall decline in the number of sales across the Indian market. It then becomes understandable when companies start offering their flagship-spec level devices at an aggressive price point. Asus has done the same with the 6z. Although, at a starting price of Rs. 31,999, it does cost lesser than similar phones powered by the same processor, which costs twice as much. Plus on the upside, the Asus 6z gets a massive battery to boot, a tonne of RAM, plus you have a cool flip camera with an innovative design.
However, not all is awesome in the 6z planet. There are some minor issues and some bigger issues. But wait, we are not going to tell you everything right now. We have our Asus 6z Review for that.
- Fantastic performance
- The flip camera is a winner
- Value for money at this price
- Yes to expandable storage
- Headphone jack
- A full-size display
- LCD display
- Battery life
- Flip camera means switching to selfie is slower than most phones
- Weight (almost as heavy as a Galaxy Note 9, 190gm vs 200gm)
- No water or dust resistance
Asus 6z Review: Looks, build, design, and display
The Asus 6z looks..well, okay lets first address the ‘flip’ in the room. The first thing you notice about the 6z is the camera module. Of course, we collectively turned into 8-year olds as the camera just woke up to face us and unlock the display, or take a selfie shot. With the flip camera, it meant Asus put in a full-size display without a notch or a punch-hole. However, there have been compromises made. The biggest one here is immediateness or spontaneity. You are going to lose some seconds if you are switching to selfie after shooting using a standard view. The dual-lens module sits at the top side right at the midpoint, which means we cleaned smudges regularly. But once Mr Smudge was done doing the handiwork, the 6z look pretty decent enough.
The front is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6, and the rear is glass as well. The rear panel had the Asus logo along the y-axis and the blue colour matched with the Midnight Black panel. Because the phone is a glass sandwich, it is on the heavier side. The frame is made out of aluminium, and the phone weighs a whopping 190 gms. We called it heavy because our daily driver, a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, weighed around 200 gms. The 6z is heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S10 standard model at 175 gms and is close to the OnePlus 7 Pro which weighs at 205 gms.
There are physical buttons on the right side of the frame. There is the Google Assistant key, volume rockers, and the power button as well. The left side of the frame gets the triple SIM slot, and the lower part gets the Type-C charging port, speaker grille, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, YES!
There are speakers on the top and the bottom of the phone. Audio quality is basic and does not feel extraordinary. Also, we may have covered up the top speaker quite a bit as we went on a shooting spree on Erangel island (while playing PUBG Mobile). But apart from that no issues there. There are no body gaps, not Asus has tried to cut corners with the build. The quality of the way the phone was put together is simply brilliant. The Asus 6z never felt cheap, and also you get a notification LED light.
The display is another major point of the 6z. We don’t know if you noticed, but there’s no notch. Nope. None. Zilch. The 6.4-inch LCD panel looks vast, and it is. The 92 per cent screen-to-body ratio is just way too real. Gaming gave us the real deal, full-screen capability performing at full fps. Landscape games looked too good, with a good amount of detail. The display looked sharp considering the display panel gets Full HD+. However, its no OLED so there are no perfect or darker blacks in the display panel. The display is an IPS LCD panel which integrates a blue light filter alongside support for HDR10-compliant content. Additionally, the display also gets Widevine L1 support for streaming high-quality content from popular OTT websites.
The brightness is also low as we regularly saw ourselves increasing the brightness now and then. We understand Asus wanted to keep the power costs low and hence, the LCD panel. The display did the job, but looking at the display in sunlight rendered it invisible with us than looking at the brightness toggle and increasing it steadily. The display colours are spot on and accurate. The brightness level is at 466 nits which did not necessarily blind us, but we were hoping it did.
All-in-all, the build quality was the first rate. But then the 6z has a flip camera. The entire camera housing is connected to a customised 13-piece gear system and also has some 32 signal cables and 17 power cables runnings across through a 2mm opening on the module. How strong is the flip mechanism? We have no idea. Asus says the flip camera has been tested to around 100,000 times which it claims is about five years of intensive use, assuming the camera flip opened and closed 28 times a day. Good luck keeping a face unlock system then. Oh, wait, we did.
Asus 6z Review: Software and performance
As Jussi Nevanlinna from Qualcomm had rhapsodised about the 855 during the 6z launch. The Snapdragon 855 at the moment, powers a bunch of the fastest phones on the planet. Let’s say, benchmark listings’ top positions are filled with phones running on this chipset, apart from the iPhones of course. The Snapdragon 855 chipset is manufactured using the 7nm process and is considered to be around 45 per cent faster in CPU performance, and about 20 per cent faster in GPU performance than the previous generation.
The Snapdragon 855, paired to a hefty 8GB of RAM translates to absolutely zero lags. There was a dedicated AI Boost gaming mode, which we rarely used. The AI Boost gives an extra push when playing high-graphics games like PUBG Mobile, which functioned without any lags or frame drops, by the way. We did subject the Asus 6z to benchmark tests and it scored a respectable multi-core score of 10837 and a single-core score of 3500. The 6z scored a whopping 359470 in AnTuTu benchmark test.
The Snapdragon 855 chip and the 8GB RAM, coupled to a redesigned ZenUI 6.0 which brought us close to a full stock Android experience, meant we spent a lot of time glued to the 6z. Social media and internet browsing, calls, messaging, or any form of tasks you throw at the 6z, it gobbles it up in no time. The interface is so smooth; you could almost hear the phone mutter ‘meh’ as you throw tasks at it, or play PUBG Mobile at the highest settings.
But the Asus 6z is flying dangerously close to the Sun with its no lag or frame rate disruptions, which affects the temperature around the chip. Intense gaming sessions turned the 6z into a hot plate, but the phone still showed no signs of struggle.
The ZenUI has received its fair share of criticism earlier, considering the major complaints with the OS was bloatware, and add to it was its unappealing design. But the ZenUI 6, with its redesign, has bought the experience closer to that of a stock Android. The UI feels close to stock, but there are still Asus elements in the UI but better ones. There are enhancements like one-handed mode, a screen recorder with gaming tools built in, several quick launch gestures, and more.
Asus has additionally put its optimisations, which brings in lower load times. On top of that, Asus has also joined the Android Beta Programme, which means users will get a chance to experience the upcoming Android Q and Android R before they make a public debut.
Asus 6z Review: Camera
The camera is probably one of the best features on the Asus 6z. The primary camera is the secondary camera, and vice versa since there are no selfie cameras, technically. The camera quality of the Asus 6z was concise and detailed with the right amount of colour thrown in. However, the images still looked impressive when taken during the daytime.
The camera module is a twin-lens system which gets a sizeable Sony IMX586 as the primary sensor on the 48-megapixel shooter. The sensor is also found on the Honor View 20, Xiaomi Mi 9, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7, and the recently unveiled Motorola One Vision.
There are several modes which we used, like Portrait and RAW capture. The modes mostly worked well in standard or selfie mode. However, some modes like Super Night, only applied when it was in the main housing position and not as a selfie though, bummer.
The other lens system is a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor which offers an impressive 125-degree field of view. The sensor also provides software-based distortion correction. The secondary sensor also works as a depth control sensor for portrait shots.
Daytime images looked pretty decent and let’s be real. Any mediocre camera with heaps of light will always output clear photos, and to this, the Asus 6z was no stranger. The images looked well with accurate colours, sharp details, and a decent amount of depth. However, macro or close-up shots caused unusual blurring at the edges of the image frame with the centre of the frame, and the subject remained in focus. There is also a certain amount of randomness in this behaviour as we did not see the same issue crop every time we tried a close-up shot. So, there was no consistency, which is okay. However, as soon as you try moving towards high-contrast shots, the Asus 6z can be seen struggling with its dynamic range.
Asus 6z Camera Sample 1
Asus 6z Camera Sample 2
Asus 6z Camera Sample 3
Asus 6z Camera Sample 4
Shots with dark areas or high contrast settings looked as if they had been boosted artificially in the images. This resulted in images coming out under-exposed with dark tones which looked fully black, or overexposure, which boosted bright areas to flat white, and made the images look washed out. The ultra-wide lens did allow more dramatic shots, but the sensor has not been fully leveraged, and it shows. The images were taken in the ultra-wide angle mode sometimes showed up with noise present on the dark areas of the image, even if the shot was taken in optimum lighting conditions.
Another issue we noticed was that the wide-angle sensor struggled like crazy in low light conditions. So, wide-angle shots and night time are not a good idea if you are planning to use the photo outside of social media platforms.
Speaking of night conditions, there is a night mode on offer as well. However, taking a clear shot using the night mode requires masterful training from the Ancient One at the secret compound of Kamar-Taj. In all seriousness, you are most likely to cause an image blur or handshake issues, which makes it seem like standard low light shots are much better.
Asus 6z Review: Battery
The Asus 6z packs a massive 5000mAh battery. During the 6z launch, Asus had stated that they prefer better longevity than fast or wireless charging capabilities. We, however, believe otherwise. We feel there needs to be a balance between how big a battery is and form of fast charging for better utility and convenience.
The Asus 6z is capable of Quick Charge 4+ support with a standard 18W fast charger in the box. Charging from single digit numbers to 100 per cent took close to just over 2 hours. However, the backup for a 5000mAh battery is surprisingly average. A full charge would usually last us about a day and a smidge. However, this was similar to what the Galaxy S10 or the OnePlus 7 offers, even though they have smaller batteries.
Asus 6z Review Ratings
Asus 6z Review: Price and verdict
The Asus 6z has been launched at a starting price of Rs. 31,999 for the 6GB/64GB variant. The Asus 6z will be sold in three variants of inbuilt storage, and two RAM variants. The other variants of the Asus 6z are 6GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB which are available for Rs. 34,999 and Rs. 39,999 respectively.
The Asus 6z brings several new features to the table like the Snapdragon 855, a flip camera, oodles of RAM and a new glass-covered design. Starting at Rs. 31,999, the Asus 6z undercuts the OnePlus 7 by Rs. 1,000. Both the phones arrive with 6GB of RAM and similar core specs, and the Asus 6z also gets a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is also the Google Pixel 3a, but it is priced at Rs. 39,999, and also gets a better camera. But the Asus 6z is no doubt, more versatile with its customisable buttons, a glass build, and a bigger battery.
The Asus 6z may not get wireless charging or IP certification but essentially gets a headphone jack, expandable storage, notification LED light, and quick action toggle buttons. The features sit on a strong base of Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB of RAM. At the price point, the device is sure shot an excellent buy.