The Zenfone 9 is my favorite phone of the year so far — here’s why

I simply wrapped up our Asus Zenfone 9 assessment and the honeymoon section usually would’ve worn off by this level. Most telephones I assessment return of their containers and both right into a drawer or get returned to the producer. However I do not wish to give the Zenfone 9 again.

In reality, the Zenfone 9 has unseated the Pixel 6 Professional as my favorite Android phone. Its compact body makes it simple to hold round in my home or in any other case; it is received extra energy than I want; and the battery life is virtually twice pretty much as good as the Pixel’s in our testing. 

I like loads about the Zenfone 9, however I’ve three highlights that make the phone stand out to above all others which have come out in 2022 so far. However I do not have a look at this phone with rose-tinted glasses. It has flaws, notably software-related, however I do not assume they honestly take away from what I like about this machine.

The good dimension 

Back view of Asus Zenfone 9

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Whereas I’ve large arms, actually sufficient to dwarf most mice and controllers, I truly desire smaller telephones. I actually take pleasure in the 6.1-inch iPhone or the smaller Galaxy S or the Pixel A. I do not like large slabs which can be tough to make use of one-handed.

The Zenfone 9 wins in my guide since I can use it singlehandedly with out difficulty. Reaching throughout the display screen with my thumb causes no drawback, one thing I can not say for the big iPhone 13 Professional Max I exploit every day. 

I might wish to say the Zenfone 9 is simply the good dimension. The 5.9-inch show is simply sufficiently big to not make me squint to see it (one thing I observed at occasions once I reviewed the iPhone 13 mini). The phone’s physique is massive sufficient to deal with a 4,300 mAh battery and all the {hardware} wanted for the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. There’s even room for a headphone jack.

Per week later and the dimension distinction between the Zenfone 9 and the iPhone 13 Professional Max continues to amuse me.

Surprisingly nice battery life

Asus Zenfone 9 display

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

With a small phone, you’d assume that battery life would not be excellent. Simply look to the iPhone 12 mini from 2020. The iPhone 13 mini fared higher in our testing, however nonetheless beneath the 10-hour common we wish to see from smartphones in our customized battery life check.

The Zenfone 9 checked out all that and laughed. It managed over 13 hours in our testing, incomes a spot on our checklist of the finest phone battery life. Our check entails a phone constantly browsing the internet at 150 nits of brightness. Whereas not good, it is meant to offer you an thought of how lengthy a phone will final in your utilization. 

In my utilization, the Zenfone 9 can go virtually three days with out a cost. Granted, I do not use it as a lot as my iPhone 13 Professional Max since, however nonetheless. I’ve to recharge the Pixel 6 Professional each night time with the identical utilization sample. Throughout my assessment interval, I solely needed to recharge the Zenfone 9 as soon as and that was after some intense gaming and a full run by way of Blade Runner 2049.

Asus appears to have gotten it proper. Normally once I see a phone that will get ridiculously good battery life, I am on the lookout for aggressive background process killing. Emails and Slack pings come by way of with out bother on the Zenfone 9, the former typically earlier than the Gmail web site catches up over on my laptop computer.

Battery life goes a good distance in how I really feel a few phone, and the Zenfone 9’s undoubtedly earns it a prime spot in my thoughts.

The efficiency I want

Asus Zenfone 9 gaming display

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Asus did not skimp on specs for the Zenfone 9. It sports activities a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, the finest processor you will get in an Android phone proper now. Asus paired that chip with both 8GB or 16GB of RAM, making for a tool that may energy by way of any process, even intense gaming, with ease.

In apply, the Zenfone 9 is every thing I may have wished in phrases of efficiency. Whereas most of the CPU energy can be misplaced on loads of individuals, it is the GPU that you’re going to discover. Telephones like the Nothing Phone (1) with its mid-range Snapdragon 778G+ do nice for regular day-to-day duties. Load up a sport, nonetheless, and that is the place it exhibits its mid-range-ness. 

Different flagships is perhaps bigger, however the Zenfone 9 punches effectively above its weight. In reality, it is extra highly effective than different top-tier choices like the Galaxy S22 Extremely, OnePlus 10 Professional, and Pixel 6 Professional. The iPhone 13 sequence nonetheless outclasses it, however the distance between them is so slim {that a} regular individual is unlikely to inform the distinction.

Good issues can certainly are available in small packages.

Zenfone 9: What I do not like


(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Now, do not assume that I am sitting right here simply gushing about the Zenfone 9. Sure, I’ve been up till this level, however the phone is not good. It has two flaws that irk me, each of which might be fastened if Asus wished to.

The first is that the Zenfone 9 will solely see two years of Android updates. In a world the place most different Android phone makers do three or 4, this is unacceptable. I see no motive why the Zenfone 9 cannot go longer.

As for pricing, $799 for a phone is not dangerous, but it surely’s nonetheless loads of cash for phone that successfully hits end-of-life in 2024. Asus may a minimum of provide three years of help.

The second difficulty I’ve is far much less extreme, however I do not like how the Zenfone 9 processes some images. In my testing, I observed overly heat tones in loads of the photos I took. Truthfully, I may solely inform in some circumstances in comparison with the identical shot from the Pixel 6 Professional.

Exterior, it isn’t so dangerous, however indoors, it creates a sickly yellow tinge. The digital camera {hardware} is good, however Asus must work on the post-processing algorithms. The Zenfone 9 is so near being an excellent digital camera phone. Not the finest, thoughts you, however extra than simply adequate prefer it is now.

Zenfone 9 outlook

The Zenfone 9 is so a lot enjoyable to me. I like choosing it up, having fun with how simple it is to make use of one-handed. It has loads going for it, issues I respect like very good battery life and top-tier efficiency. It actually is an incredible phone — and there is even a headphone jack!

Positive, it isn’t good. The cameras aren’t greater than adequate and the software program help timeline is simply terrible. However I feel the Zenfone 9’s strengths overcome these weaknesses… largely. I am unable to recover from the two years of platform updates.

Even so, the Zenfone 9 is nonetheless my favorite phone this year. It outclasses different handsets like the Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Professional, and it comes as near the iPhone 13 as a non-gaming phone has thus far.

Generally, a phone simply hits proper.