Asus Launches the Zenfone 9, the Android Flagship for People Who Wished Phones Were Smaller

With a 5.9-inch display and a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, the Zenfone 9 is the rarest of things—a compact Android flagship phone.

Asus has launched its flagship phone for 2022, and it’s a device that might suit those who feel that most Android phones are just too big. The Zenfone 9 has a relatively compact 5.9-inch display—smaller than all the leading premium devices of the year—but doesn’t compromise on the specs.

It’ll be sold globally with prices starting at €799, which equates to roughly the same in USD.

Asus Zenfone 9 Specs

Asus is really focussing on the compact nature of the Zenfone 9 and how it can be used with one hand. The 5.9-inch display is notably smaller than other “small” devices which rarely drop below six inches.

However, a quirk of the design means that the smaller screen size does not equate to a significantly smaller body. Due to the Zenfone 9’s slightly larger bezels and chin that you see on many flagships, the device is actually fractionally taller (0.5mm) than the Samsung Galaxy S22 with its 6.1-inch display. Inevitably, it’s also noticeably thicker at 9.1mm compared to 7.6mm. A slightly narrower shape, however, might make it sit in the hand more comfortably.

The remaining specs are top-drawer. That display is Super AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The processor is the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which should make it faster and more power efficient than the S22, and you get your choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

There’s an IP68 rating for protection against dust and water. The battery is a middling 4300mAh with 30W fast charging, and the company promises all-day battery life.

For the cameras, you get a 50MP main shooter with a gimbal stabilizer and a large sensor that’s the same size as on the S22. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide camera that also supports macro mode (enabling the company to dispense with the often pointless third lens) and a 12MP front-facing hole-punch camera.

And for those who don’t believe that cutting-edge tech is automatically better than what came before, there are a couple of neat throwbacks—a 3.5mm headphone jack and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. You even get a charger in the box. There’s no SD card slot, though.

The phone launches with Android 12, beneath Asus’ ZenUI skin. That offers some tweaks for one-handed use and a huge range of customization options, but otherwise retains a largely stock Android appearance. One potential downside is that the phone is only eligible for two full Android updates and three years of security updates, which puts it behind the best of the competition.

Small but Few Compromises

At a first glance, the Asus Zenfone 9 looks to have a lot going for it and could be especially appealing to anyone who wants a more pocketable phone. It’s entering a crowded market, but with few compromises, a unique selling point, and a competitive price point, it might be worth giving this brand that’s less well known for its phones a look.

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