ASUS ZenFone 8 Review: People's Choice

By: Alex Chub | 07.07.2021, 19:17
ASUS ZenFone 8 Review: People's Choice

ASUS ZenFone 8 is perhaps the most unexpected flagship of this year. At a time when most current flagships have already exceeded 6.5 inches diagonally, ASUS has taken a different path. And made a great flagship smartphone with top " hardware " in a relatively compact body, which is really convenient to use with one hand. In addition to the flagship processor, the smartphone has an excellent AMOLED display with refresh rate of 120 Hz, protection against dust and water under the IP68 standard, loud, high-quality stereo sound and a standard headphone jack. The main camera includes "only" two modules, but they do shoot great.

Although there are a couple of concerns about the smartphone, too. Namely: sensible heating and trotting at prolonged maximum loads. And for some people the lack of a slot for microSD may be critical. Despite this, the smartphone makes a very pleasant impression when used.

ASUS ZenFone 8 ASUS ZenFone 8
One of the smallest flagship smartphones on the market. Equipped with a 5.9-inch SuperAMOLED FullHD + screen with refresh rate of 120 Hz and a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. Powered by a 4000 mAh battery, 30W fast charging is supported. Highly recommended!
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Pros:

  • Maximum productivity
  • Excellent AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Сompact size, convenient shape and IP68 water protection
  • Сool main camera
  • Loud stereo speakers and 3.5 mm jack
  • Fast and convenient ZenUI 8 shell

Cons:

  • Significant heating and throttling at maximum loads
  • No microSD slot

What's in the Box?

The compact ASUS ZenFone 8 comes in a stylish box in a calm gray color with the number 8. In the kit you will find a smartphone, a 30W power supply, a Type-C to Type-C cable, a tray eject tool, documentation and a proprietary protective bumper. It is made of black textured plastic.

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Additionally, there are more secure variants of the SolidSuit from Rhinoshield. Having them, the smartphone (theoretically) will withstand a drop from a height of 3.5 meters.

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Specifications ASUS ZenFone 8
Display AMOLED, 5.9 inches, 2400x1080 (aspect ratio 20: 9), 446 ppi, Gorilla Glass Victus, 12 0 Hz, HDR10 +
Body dimensions: 148x68.5x8.9 mm, weight: 169 g
CPU 64-bit 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 1x Kryo 680, 2.84 GHz, 3x Kryo 680  2.42 GHz, 4x Kryo 680  1.8 GHz, Adreno 660 graphics
RAM 8/16 GB LPDDR5
Flash memory 128/256 GB UFS 3.1
Camera Primary: 64 MP, f / 1.8, 1 / 1.73 ", 0.8μm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultra Wide Angle: 12 MP,  f / 2.2, 112°, Dual Pixel PDAF;  Video: 8K @ 24; Front: 12 MP , f / 2.5, 28 mm EGF, 1 / 2.93 ", 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF
Wireless technology Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / 6e  (dual band, 2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.2 LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive,  LDAC, NFC
GPS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS,  GALILEO, BDS, QZSS, NavIC
Battery 4000 mAh, non-removable; fast charging 30W
Operating system Android 11 + ZenUI 8
Sim card 2хNanoSIM
Extras optical fingerprint scanner in the screen, stereo sound, IP68 protection

Design

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Unlike ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip, the design of ZenFone 8 is more "familiar", if you do not take into account the dimensions. The smartphone is very compact, if you compare it to the current Android smartphones. And, in fact, the only one of its kind compact actual flagship. The last time such a smartphone came out back in 2019 represented by the Samsung Galaxy S10e. ASUS ZenFone 8 has a 5.9-inch screen, the dimensions of the smartphone are 148x65.8x8.9 mm, and weight - 169 g. The rest is the same as usual: almost the entire front panel is a screen with a hole for the front camera in the upper left corner. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. In the upper part there is a thin speaker grid, which also acts as an additional speaker for stereo sound playback.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Review: People's Choice-9

Metal frame with traditional plastic inserts for antennas. On the top there is an additional microphone and a standard headphone jack. Not the ideal place for it, but it's better this way than without it at all.

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There are many interesting things on the lower edge. In addition to the standard set of Type-C, external speaker and microphone, the SIM card tray and LED notification indicator are also here.

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The SIM slot, unfortunately, does not allow any form of MicroSD installation. Only two SIM cards. But a configuration with 256GB of internal storage should be enough.

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The left end is empty. The volume and power buttons are on the right, in their usual places. There were no questions about their location, it is convenient to use both right and left hands. Although this is largely due to the small size of the smartphone. As in the Flip model, the producer decided to highlight the power button in a bright blue color.

The back cover is glass, made of matte Gorilla Glass 3. Thanks to the matte coating, fingerprints and other traces of use are not visible and the smartphone retains a very presentable appearance. The main camera is made in the usual form: a black rectangle with rounded corners. The location is a bit unusual: shifted slightly from the top edge of the smartphone.

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The camera itself includes two modules, a flash and a microphone. The module practically does not protrude above the body of the smartphone.

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ASUS ZenFone 8 does not super-original, but looks nice. In terms of the quality of materials everything is in order. There is an important bonus in the form of protection against dust and water according to the IP68 standard: they promise that the smartphone will withstand submersion in water to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. But the most important pros of the design is its very convenient size and shape: You can really be use ASUS ZenFone 8 with one hand without any difficulties and the risk of dropping it.

Screen

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The 5.9-inch screen of ASUS ZenFone 8 has a FullHD + resolution (2400x1080). The aspect ratio is 20:9 and the pixel density is about 449 ppi. The  Samsung SuperAMOLED matrix is ​​used with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and a sensor response time of 1 ms. There is support and HDR10 HDR10 + standards, peak brightness - 1100 cd / m 2, and the color gamut is 112% DCI-P3 color space. The settings have everything you need: switching the refresh rate (120, 90, 60 Hz or automatic mode), dark theme, adjusting the scale of interface elements, font, Always on Display, Splendid and DC Dimming color modes (only works at 60 Hz). It is noteworthy that the smartphone has a range of performance modes. And at the maximum, a frequency of 120 Hz is forcibly used. Other modes become unavailable.

The Always on Display function is there, but the range of dials is rather modest.

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The screen in ASUS ZenFone 8 is visually very good. The picture is rich and clear due to the relatively high pixel density. In the summer sun, the picture remains readable, so everything is in order with the brightness too. The "Natural" mode with manual maximum brightness amounted to 434,709 cd/m². The color gamut is significantly wider than sRGB, as promised. In terms of color rendering, there is a noticeable overabundance of blue, the color temperature fluctuates in the range 8500-9000K (with a reference value of 6500K).

In the "Cinematic" mode,  the maximum brightness is slightly lower: 429,937 cd/m². The color gamut is visually slightly narrower than the "Natural" mode, but the display of colors is more natural, much closer to the reference values. There is a bias towards cold shades, but not significant:

The main difference between "Standard" and "Cinema" is the color gamut, which is close to sRGB. Other indicators are virtually identical, the maximum brightness - 438,389 cd/m²: 

Comparison with other models:

Device name The brightness of the white area,
cd / m 2
Brightness black field
cd / m 2
Contrast
ASUS ZenFone 8 438.389 0
ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip 492.471 0
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra 498.377 0
ASUS ROG Phone 5 482.347 0
Samsung Galaxy S21 + 437.906 0
Samsung Galaxy S21 432.854 0
Sony Xperia 1 394.97 0
Huawei P30 Pro 447.247 0

How to Unlock?

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ASUS ZenFone 8 uses an optical type sub-screen fingerprint scanner. After a number of updates arrived, it works accurately and very quickly. In terms of speed, it is comparable to traditional capacitive ones. During the use of the smartphone, almost no errors were observed. Face recognition is implemented as standard, via front camera. In sufficient light it works quickly.

Performance, Memory, Sound and Battery Life

Inside ASUS ZenFone 8 is one of the most powerful processors at the moment. Flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. Just in case, let's remind its configuration: 1xKryo 680 at 2.84 GHz, 3хKryo 680 2.42 GHz and 4хKryo 680 at 1.8 GHz graphics accelerator Adreno 660. Versions with 8/128 GB, 8/256 GB and 16/256 GB are available RAM and internal memory, respectively. We've had a top-end configuration in our editorial office. Used fast LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 drive. In synthetic tests, the smartphone is no surprise: the smartphone demonstrates very high results.

But with the cooling of the smartphone, things are not very good. In the stress test in the maximum performance mode, the smartphone heats up very noticeably, the processor throttles and at the end of the test the performance drops to 77%. There is heat during normal use, but it is only observed during long gaming sessions.

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The smartphone has a Game Genie game utility with a standard set of features (disabling notifications, calls, optimizing the system, blocking brightness, recording video), to which a few more things have been added that may come in handy. On-screen sight, macro recording and overlay with real-time metrics, including an FPS counter. Everything is in order in games: NFS No Limits, Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile demonstrate stable 60 FPS at maximum graphics settings. Shadowgun Legends - Ranges from 90 to 120 FPS.

Wireless interfaces: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.2 LE ( aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC codecs are supported ), there is NFC for contactless payment. Global positioning systems GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, QZSS, NavIC. There is stereo sound with two Cirrus Logic CS35L45 amplifiers. And, it should be said, ASUS ZenFone 8 sounds significantly louder than you would expect from such a compact smartphone. At the same time, everything is also in perfect order with the quality. The ZenFone 8 also produces very decent sound in the headphones, there is support for recordings up to 384 kHz / 32-bit. The Audio Wizard utility is provided for configuration.

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The smartphone is equipped with a 4000 mAh battery, fast charging with 30W Power Delivery 3.0 is supported. Not the fastest option, but the battery is quite modest by today's standards. A full charge from the native power supply takes about 1.2 hours, wireless charging is not supported. In terms of battery life, the smartphone is far from a record holder. In normal use (120Hz screen, about 20 minutes of calls, instant messengers, social networks, mail, and about 1.5 hours of music via Bluetooth), the smartphone lasts up to 11 pm. Yes, theoretically it is possible to slightly increase the operating time by using energy-saving modes or other performance modes. And set the screen refresh rate to 60 Hz. But this will not significantly change the picture: it is unlikely to get a day and a half. On the other hand, there is no crime in this either. ASUS ZenFone 8 never turned off unexpectedly.

Interface

ASUS ZenFone 8 uses Android 11 with ZenUI 8. We recently reviewed it in our ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip review. The interface is very close to stock Android, but offers more customization options (right down to icons). But in general, everything is very familiar. There are different options for navigating the system, modes with and without a separate application menu, additional gestures and so on. The interface is very fast, logical and user-friendly.

Useful stock apps:

Cameras

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The rear camera of the smartphone includes two modules. The main one is a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 64 with a physical size of 1 / 1.7 ", a pixel size of 0.8 µm. Aperture f / 1.8, 26.6 EGF. There is a Dual Pixel phase autofocus and optical stabilization. The second module is an ultra-wide sensor with a Sony IMX363 12 megapixel size 1 / 2.55 ". The aperture is f / 2.2, there is also phase detection autofocus. The viewing angle is 112˚. Unfortunately, there is no telephoto module. Front camera - 12 MP, f / 2.5, 28 mm EGF, 1 / 2.93 ", 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF.  The camera application is convenient and intuitive. Customizable carousel of shooting modes, all basic settings are displayed on the screen (HDR, flash, aspect ratio , resolution) .There are manual modes of photo and video shooting.The maximum video resolution is 8K.

The main camera ASUS ZenFone 8 shoots well in almost any conditions. In good lighting, pictures are taken with excellent detail, correct white balance and natural color reproduction. The night shooting mode also works very well. The detailing, albeit a little drops, but not significantly. In difficult cases, processing algorithms add a slightly unnatural "yellowness". 

The ultra-wide angle is slightly inferior in both detail and color rendition to the main camera. Which is predicted. But you can get good pictures. And not only in the daytime.

3 things to know about the ASUS ZenFone 8

  • ASUS ZenFone 8 is one of the smallest flagship smartphones on the market.
  • The body of the smartphone is protected from dust and water according to IP68 standard.
  • The display has a diagonal of 5.9 inches, a resolution of 2400x1080, a refresh rate of  120 Hz, support for HDR10 + and DC Dimming (only at 60 Hz).

ASUS ZenFone 8 ASUS ZenFone 8
One of the smallest flagship smartphones on the market. Equipped with a 5.9-inch SuperAMOLED FullHD + screen with refresh rate of 120 Hz and a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. Powered by a 4000 mAh battery, 30W fast charging is supported. Highly recommended!
Check Price

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