As part of the new flagship ZenFone 8 line, ASUS is changing its approach to smartphone building. While last year’s ZenFone 7 and ZenFone 7 Pro were virtually twins, the new ASUS ZenFone 8 and ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip are fundamentally different in design and specifications. The former aims to fill the gap of a full-fledged mini-flagship on Android, while the latter continues the Taiwanese manufacturer’s tendency to stand out with the original triple camera rotary mechanism.
For this review, we will focus on the ZenFone 8 Flip. It has received far fewer updates compared to the ZenFone 8, but it still impresses with a fairly adequate price and features that are offered for the money. Yes, the old AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 90 Hz, there is no 3.5 mm headphone jack and protection against water, but at the same time – a software-enhanced interface without shells, flagship hardware and an unusual camera that works both as the main one and and as frontal. Perhaps this is more than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at what ZenFone 8 Flip is.
ASUS is the only manufacturer to continue to develop this extraordinary flip design. We look at the new flagship of the series.
- Design and ergonomics: the ZenFone 8 Flip has drawbacks
- Tests: display, autonomy, charging
- Software and performance: pure Android 11 and ZenUI 8
- Triple flip camera: high quality, with flaws
- Verdict, pros and cons. Alternatives
ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip comes in a stylish gray box with a few gifts inside. The charger includes a 30W power adapter and a modern USB Type-C cable on both sides. ASUS has also added a branded case to the kit. It is made of nicely patterned hard plastic and has a built-in fuse to protect the camera from accidental opening. From our experience we can say that the new accessory for ZenFone 8 Flip is generally not bad and much better than most cheap transparent cases, however, the smartphone becomes less clingy and more bulky in it. It is worth considering such disadvantages if the device is actively used.
ASUS notes that the case’s retaining element helps keep the camera closed even when exposed to strong vibrations. For example, when riding a bike.
Compared to the previous generation ZenFone 8, the Flip has barely changed. The smartphone is still relatively heavy and even bulky. Structurally, everything here is like the rest: an ordinary glass sandwich, the back panel is slippery with large curves on the sides. The chassis is made of aluminum with an anodized finish, and it stands out nicely in the ZenFone 8 Flip’s overall design. The front panel uses Gorilla Glass 6, the back is Gorilla Glass 3.
Let’s move on to the main feature of the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip. We did not see any changes in the flip-camera in terms of design. The electric motor emits the same sound when opening and closing the module. There are additional system sounds, but none of them sound as cool as the actual motor sound. The turning part itself is made of liquid metal, a stronger and lighter material (in comparison with standard aluminum alloys). The edges of the camera are noticeably sharp and the block sticks out much more than the average in modern flagships.
The most important innovation of the ZenFone 8 Flip’s PTZ camera is an improved motor. Now it can automatically detect the angle of rotation (up to 0.5 degrees) using the integrated angle sensor. In addition, ASUS claims 50% stronger output shaft, which increases the overall durability of the flip system. The camera will withstand at least 300,000 openings and closings or about 5 years of standard operation at 150 half-revolutions per day. In the event of a fall, the G-sensor will detect a free flight and the smartphone will understand that the camera needs to be closed urgently. It will close before landing.
Similar to the ZenFone 7 Pro, the bezels in the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip are not exactly flagship class. But again, the design can be credited with bonus points for a large and clean display without implementing any cutouts. The classic microphone is located at the top, the sensors are hidden under the screen. A thick chin catches the eye from below – perhaps the only embarrassing moment that slightly spoils the experience of the ZenFone 8 Flip. By the way, there is also an LED for notifications – a handy thing and a rarity today.
The control keys have good, clickable feedback. They are conveniently located within the reach of your thumb, the same applies to the fingerprint scanner. The latter moved from the side edge under the screen, where it belongs. There are no problems with finger recognition, the height of the fingerprint is optimal for the size of the smartphone. Overall, the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip feels solid in the hand due to its premium materials, while the new flagship is shaky, slippery, thick and heavy in handling. The swivel camera has seriously increased the weight and tilts the body forward, breaking the comfort of the grip and lying in the hand. The rear glass also collects a lot of prints (at least in the light color variant).
Display. ASUS announced at the presentation that the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip screen covers 110% of the DCI-P3 color space, the dE value (delta E or color difference) is less than 1, and the average brightness reaches 700 cd / m² (maximum – up to 1,000 cd / m²). Additionally, the panel supports the HDR10 + standard, the sampling rate of the sensor layer is 200 Hz, the response time is 1 ms. Our tests were able to confirm these characteristics for the most part.
In manual mode, the maximum screen brightness is kept at 518 cd / m². In automatic mode, the peak result was 735 cd / m², which is a good indicator. The brightness of 1,000 cd / m² could not be confirmed with our equipment. The most accurate preset for the display from the standard ZenUI settings is Standard: it is as close as possible to the declared delta E with a value of 2.6, that is, in any case, it is excellent.
Noteworthy: during the tests, it turned out that the ZenFone 8 Flip constantly operates at a frequency of 90 Hz, even if you are not interacting with the screen or are just on your home desktop. The good news is that video streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix drop down to 60Hz. If you watch the video in a regular player, then it is also 60 Hz.
Autonomy. Despite a more modern processor and the same Super AMOLED screen, battery life hasn’t gone too far from the ZenFone 7 Pro. In fact, the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip even lags behind its predecessor by a few minutes or hours in some tests.
Video viewing time increased by almost 2 hours. Web surfing time was reduced by half an hour. Talk time in 3G networks has grown significantly – by 10 hours. In a comprehensive test, the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip achieved 98 hours (an hour behind the ZenFone 7 Pro). The presented results demonstrate the level of autonomy at an increased refresh rate of 90 Hz.
Charging and caring for the battery. The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip did not perform well in the charging test. The flagship lags behind competitors in charging speed in the first 30 minutes and significantly loses in terms of full charging time. The 30W power adapter uses USB Power Delivery 3.0 technology. For comparison, the lower power adapter (25W) in the Samsung Galaxy S21 + with the same fast charging protocol charges the smartphone faster by almost half an hour. Here it is worth considering the difference in the capacity of the 500 mAh batteries.
Pros: ASUS has provided a couple of functions for battery care – limited charging at a slow pace and scheduled charging. The user can also set their own charging limit to extend its service life. For example, if desired, the smartphone will always be charged only up to 80%. Incredibly convenient, considering that such features are more common among the brand’s laptops.
ZenUI 8 pushes the boundaries of smartphone control. ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip comes pre-installed with five system modes for performance and power saving. Each of them can be customized to your liking: you can adjust temperature thresholds, processor, graphics accelerator and RAM performance, lower the sensor sampling rate, and monitor 5G data transmission. The dynamic mode, on the other hand, is given entirely to artificial intelligence. ASUS says it adjusts the settings based on user activity.
We should also mention the OptiFlex function. The memory management system analyzes which applications should be left open in the background. OptiFlex decides what is needed and what is unnecessary for the user at the moment, unused applications will be closed automatically. The most interesting thing is that ASUS technology works in conjunction with the native Android-function Adaptive Battery (detects applications consuming power) and takes into account data from there.
Experimenting enthusiasts will love ZenUI 8 features such as customizing icon styles and quick settings, changing fonts, and choosing the system accent color. ASUS even brought the animation speed menu, usually found in the “For Developers” section, into the main screen settings. Among others: smart ringtone (adjusts the ringer volume depending on the environment and increases it if it is too noisy), Smart Key (assigning an action or launching a specific application to the power key) and Game Genie (game mode with a temperature block, navigation lock and tracking in real time).
The only commercially available ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage (expandable with a microSD card up to 2TB). ASUS notes that the smartphone supports NTFS file system, so you can also connect external hard drives.
Photos in pixel binning mode (16MP resolution) in daytime conditions are excellent, with high detail and correct color reproduction. The dynamic range is wide enough to maintain a balance between highlights and shadows. The camera will correctly expose in very bright scenes in direct sunlight. The picture and colors are bright in an amicable way, the algorithms do not overdo it.
But even the slightest lack of light leads to noise and loss of detail.
Shooting in full 64MP resolution is available and the photos look solid. In good light, the camera perfectly captures the details of the scene. Compared to the ZenFone 7 Pro, the cameras are identical. ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip shoots more vividly and reproduces colors a little more accurately.
Telephoto lens. HDR pulls out photos from a telephoto lens, including color rendition, but the sensor lacks resolution. Sharpness and detail are not impressive, although the picture becomes only slightly noisier indoors – no serious deterioration is noticed.
Ultra wide-angle camera. The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip’s 12-megapixel sensor isn’t a top-end sensor, but its photos are comparable to the ultra-wide-angle cameras in competing flagships. Detail, dynamic range and color rendition are not particularly affected, except that somewhere in the photographs there is not enough sharpness for distant or small objects.
Night shooting. Night mode in the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip’s camera app offers average quality. The smartphone has become noticeably cooler to shoot at night, the camera is able to cope with dynamic range, exposure and shadows in low light conditions. But the common downsides have not gone away – the picture is often noisy and with low contrast. Depending on the exposure mode (4 or 6 seconds), light sources, glare and small objects can be blurred by aggressive noise reduction or captured clearly.
On the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip, a 6-second shutter speed is ideal for balanced night photos, with test photos surprising with the brightness of the scene, normal white balance and excellent details, sharpness, contrast and dynamic range.
Portrait mode. Photos with artificial portrait blur are shot at 16 megapixels. The mode works flawlessly in any conditions, from a bright sunny day, rooms with a background in the color of clothes and ending with places with cut shadows. The color reproduction is as realistic as possible, the face remains clear in the frame and the outline of the bokeh effect is even everywhere.
The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip offers double the memory, the latest Qualcomm processor, a good sub-screen fingerprint scanner and now costs €800. The problem is that otherwise – autonomy, triple camera quality and user experience – the smartphone is essentially the same as the ZenFone 7 Pro. It hasn’t lost its flip-style personality, but it lacks the advantages of other flagships.
The list of ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip’s closest competitors includes the Samsung Galaxy S21 + (120Hz, better battery life, water and dust resistance), Xiaomi Mi 11 (brighter 120Hz screen, flagship hardware, 50€ cheaper) and OnePlus 9 Pro ( 120Hz LTPO, Quad camera with Hasselblad optics, high-speed charging, water and dust resistant).
- build quality and flip camera mechanism;
- good AMOLED screen 90 Hz;
- Stereo speakers with Dirac algorithms;
- 256GB base storage and microSD support;
- unusual camera with decent quality;
- great selfies;
- ZenUI interface with useful add-ons.
- minor updates to the ZenFone 7 Pro;
- not very fast charging;
- high price at the start – in the higher price segment there are smartphones with more flagship characteristics and IP68.
|Network||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE / 5G|
|Launch||Announced||2021, May 12|
|Status||Available. Released 2021, May 13|
|Body||Dimensions||165 x 77.3 x 9.6 mm (6.50 x 3.04 x 0.38 in)|
|Weight||230 g (8.11 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), glass back (Gorilla Glass 3), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Display||Type||Super AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+, 700 nits (HBM), 1000 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.67 inches, 107.4 cm2 (~84.2% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~395 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 6|
|Platform||OS||Android 11, ZenUI 8|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680)|
|Memory||Card slot||microSDXC (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM|
|Main Camera||Triple||64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF|
8 MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), PDAF, 3x optical zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 112˚, 14mm (ultrawide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF
|Features||Dual-LED flash, HDR, auto panorama (motorized rotation)|
|Video||8K@30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@480fps; gyro-EIS, HDR|
|Selfie camera||Triple||Motorized flip-up main camera module|
|Features||Dual-LED flash, HDR, auto panorama (motorized rotation)|
|Video||8K@30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@480fps; gyro-EIS, HDR|
|Sound||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|Comms||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive|
|GPS||Yes, with dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC, BDS (tri-band)|
|USB||USB Type-C 2.0|
|Features||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Battery||Type||Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 30W|
USB Power Delivery 3.0
|Misc||Colors||Galactic Black, Glacier Silver|
|Price||About 800 EUR|
|Tests||Performance||AnTuTu: 675851 (v8) | 797848(v9)|
GeekBench: 3673 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 62fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-26.8 LUFS (Good)|
|Battery life||Endurance rating 98h|