As part of the new flagship line, as well as changing its approach to smartphone-building. While last year’s smartphones, the ZenFone 7 and the ZenFone 7 Pro, were practically identical twins, the new ZenFone 8 and the ZenFone 8 Flip are fundamentally different in both designs and technical characteristics. The first seeks to fill the gap of the full-fledged mini-flagship on Android. The second continues the trend of the Taiwanese manufacturer to stand out the original turning mechanism of the triple camera.
In this review, let’s focus on the ZenFone 8 Flip. It has received far fewer updates than the ZenFone 8 but still impresses with the fairly adequate price and chips offered for this money. Yes, the old AMOLED screen with a 90Hz update frequency shows no 3.5 mm headphone jack and water protection. Still, at the same time, there is a software-free interface without shells, flagship iron, and an unusual camera that works both as a main and as a front-facing one. Perhaps it is more than meets the eye. Let’s figure out what the ZenFone 8 Flip is.
Specifications of ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip:
- Display: 6.67 inches, Super AMOLED, 2400×1080 (Full HD), 20:9, 90 Hz, HDR10, Gorilla Glass 6.
- Processor: eight-core Snapdragon 888 (5 nm), Adreno 660.
- Internal memory: 256GB (UFS 3.1), MicroSD (up to 2TB).
- Main Camera: 64MP (Sony IMX686 sensor, f/1.8, 1/1.73,” 0.8 microns, phase autofocus) q 8MP (Telephoto OmniVision OV08A, f/2.4, 3-fold optical approximation, phase autofocus) – 12 MEGAPIXEL (super-wide-angle sensor Sony IMX363, 112, f/2.2, 1/2.55″, 1.4 microns, dual Pixel autofocus phase, gyrostabilization, 8K video recording, auto panorama, double LED flash.
- Battery: 5000 mAh⋅h, USB Power Delivery 30 W.
- Operating system: Android 11, ZenUI 8.
- Communication: Wi-Fi 1/2/3/4/5/6e, 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, NFC.
- Other: fingerprint scanner under the screen, stereo speakers, USB Type-C 2.0, Dual SIM.
- Dimensions:165×77.3×9.6 mm, weight – 230 g.
Unpack 8 Flip: what was put in the box
The ZenFone 8 Flip comes in a stylish grey box with a few gifts inside. The charger includes a 30-watt power adapter and a state-of-the-art USB Type-C cable on both sides. ASUS has also added a branded case to the kit. It is made of solid plastic with a nice pattern and has a built-in fuse to protect the camera from accidental openings. From our experience, we can say that the fresh accessory for the ZenFone 8 Flip, in general, is not bad and much better than most cheap transparent covers. However, the smartphone in it becomes less tenacious and bulkier. It is worth considering such disadvantages if the device is used actively.
ASUS notes that the case locking element helps keep the camera closed even if there are strong vibrations. For example, when riding a bike.
Design and Ergonomics: ZenFone 8 Flip has flaws
Against the background of the previous generation, the ZenFone 8 Flip has hardly changed. The smartphone is still relatively heavy and even large. Constructively here, everything is like the rest: a regular glass sandwich, the back panel slippery with large bends on the sides. The chassis is made of aluminum with an anodized finish. It stands out nicely in the overall design of the ZenFone 8 Flip. The front panel uses Gorilla Glass 6 and Gorilla Glass 3 at the back.
Let’s move on to the main feature of the ZenFone 8 Flip. We didn’t see any changes in the flip camera in terms of design. The electric motor emits the same sound when the module is opened and closed. There are additional system sounds, but none of them sounds as cool as the actual sound of the motor. The turning part is made of liquid metal, a more durable and lighter material (compared to standard aluminum alloys). The camera edges are noticeably sharp, and the block sticks out much more than the average in modern flagships.
The main innovation of the rotary camera ZenFone 8 Flip was the improved engine. It can automatically determine the angle of the turn (up to 0.5 degrees) with the help of an integrated angle sensor. In addition, ASUS announces a 50% strengthening of the output shaft, which has increased the overall durability of the flip system. The camera will withstand at least 300,000 openings or about 5 years of standard operation at 150 half-turn-arounds per day. In the event of a fall, the G-sensor will detect a free flight, and the smartphone will know that the camera must be closed urgently. It will close before it lands.
Similarly, the ZenFone 7 Pro, the frame in the ZenFone 8 Flip, is not exactly the flagship class. But, again, the design can be counted as bonus points for a large and clean display without any cutouts. The classic microphone is placed at the top. The sensors are hidden under the screen. A thick chin catches the eye from below – perhaps the only element that spoils the impression a little. There’s still an LED for notifications – a convenient thing and a rarity today.
Control keys have a good, clickable impact. They are conveniently located within reach of the thumb. The same applies to the fingerprint scanner. The latter moved from the side face to the screen, where it is the place. There are no problems with finger recognition. The height of the fingerprint is optimal for the size of the smartphone. In general, the ZenFone 8 Flip feels sturdy in hand because of the premium materials, in circulation the new flagship – insecure, slippery, thick, and heavy. The rotary camera has inadvertently increased the weight and tilts the body forward, breaking the comfort of grip and lying in hand. The rear window also collects many prints (at least in a light color version).
Tests ZenFone 8 Flip: display, autonomy, charging
The display. ASUS reported at the presentation that the screen of the ZenFone 8 Flip covers 110% of the color space of DCI-P3, the value of dE (delta E or color difference) is less than 1, and the average brightness reaches 700 kd/m2 (maximum – up to 1,000 kd/m2). In addition, the panel supports the HDR10 standard, the 200 Hz touch layer sampling rate, and the response time is 1 ms. Our tests were able to confirm these characteristics for the most part.
In manual mode, the maximum brightness of the screen is kept at 518 kd/m2. In automatic mode, the peak result was 735 kd/m2, which is a good indicator. The brightness of 1,000 kd/m2 with the help of our equipment could not be confirmed. The most accurate preset for the display from the standard settings of the ZenUI was Standard: it is as close as possible to the declared Delta E with a value of 2.6, which is in any case excellent.
From remarkable: during the tests, it turned out that the ZenFone 8 Flip is constantly working at 90 Hz, even if you do not interact with the screen or be on the home desktop. The good news is that video apps like YouTube and Netflix drop the frequency to 60 Hz. If you watch the video on a regular player, it is also 60 Hz.
Autonomy. Despite the more modern processor and Super AMOLED screen, autonomy has not gone too far from the ZenFone 7 Pro. In fact, the ZenFone 8 Flip is a few minutes or hours behind its predecessor in some tests.
The time to watch the video increased by almost 2 hours. Web surfing time was reduced by half an hour. The time of conversation in 3G networks has increased significantly – by 10 hours. The 8 Flip showed 98 hours (an hour less than the ZenFone 7 Pro). The presented results demonstrate the level of autonomy at an increased frequency of 90 Hz updates.
Charging and battery care. The ZenFone 8 Flip didn’t do a good job of charging. The flagship lags behind the competition in charging speed for the first 30 minutes and significantly loses full charging time. The 30 W power adapter runs using USB Power Delivery 3.0 technology. For comparison, the lower power adapter (25 W) in the Samsung Galaxy S21 with the same fast charging protocol charges the smartphone faster for almost half an hour. It is worth considering the difference in battery capacity by 500 mAh⋅h.
Of the pluses: ASUS has provided a couple of functions for battery care – limited charging at a slow pace and planned to charge. The user can also set their own charging limit to extend their lifespan. For example, if you want, the smartphone will always charge only up to 80%. Incredibly convenient, given that such features are more common among laptops brand.
Software and Performance: Clean Android 11 and ZenUI 8
It expands the usual boundaries of smartphone control. There are five system modes for performance and energy-saving in the firmware. Each can be configured to your liking: you can adjust temperature thresholds, processor performance, graphics accelerator, and RAM, reduce sensor sampling frequency, and control 5G data transmission. ASUS says it adjusts settings based on user activity.
Separately, it is worth noting the OptiFlex function. The memory management system analyzes which apps to leave open in the background. OptiFlex decides what you need and what is unnecessary to the user at the moment. The unused applications will close automatically. The most interesting thing is that ASUS technology works together with the native Android function Adaptive Battery (detects the expendable charge of the application) and considers the data from there.
Fans of the Zenui 8 will love such features as customization of icons and quick settings, change of font, and choice of the system’s accent color. ASUS even brought the animation speed menu, usually found in the Developers section, to the main settings of the screen. Among other things: smart ringtone (adjusts the volume of the call depending on the environment and increases it if it is too noisy), Smart Key (assigning action or launching a certain application to the power key), and Game Genie (game mode with temperature block, blocking navigation and real-time tracking).
The only available model, the ZenFone 8 Flip, is with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage (you can extend the MicroSD card to 2TB). ASUS notes that the smartphone supports the NTFS file system, so you can also connect external hard drives.
Triple flip camera: quality at an altitude, with flaws
Photos in pixel binning mode (with a resolution of 16 megapixels) in daytime conditions come out excellent, with great detail and correct color transmission. The dynamic range is wide enough to maintain a balance between glare and shadows. The camera correctly displays the exposure in very bright scenes with direct sunlight. Picture and colors in a good bright, algorithms do not overdo it. But even the slightest lack of light leads to noise and loss of detail.
The full 64MP shot is available, and the photos look good. In good light, the camera perfectly conveys the details of the scene. If you compare it with the ZenFone 7 Pro, the cameras are identical. The ZenFone 8 Flip shoots more brightly and slightly more accurately convey the colors.
A telephoto lens. HDR pulls photos from the telephoto lens, including color transmission, but the sensor lacks resolution. Sharpness and detail are not impressive, although, in the room, the picture becomes only a little noisier – serious deterioration is not noticed.
Super-wide angle camera. The 12-megapixel 8 Flip sensors can’t be called top-of-the-box, but the photos are comparable to the ultra-wide-angle cameras in the competition’s flagships. Detail, dynamic range, and color reproduction do not particularly suffer, except that somewhere in the photos lacks sharpness in distant or small objects.
Night filming. The night mode in the ZenFone 8 Flip camera app provides average quality. Smartphone has become noticeably cooler to shoot at night. The camera can cope with dynamic range, exposure, and shadows in low lighting conditions. But the common disadvantages have not gone away – the picture is often noisy and with low contrast. Depending on the aging mode (4 or 6 seconds), light sources, glare, and small objects can be washed down by aggressive noise cancellation or captured clearly.
The 6-second exposure for balanced night photos is ideal on the ZenFone 8 Flip: test photos surprised the lightness of the scene, the normal balance of white and excellent indicators of detail, sharpness, contrast, and dynamic range.
Portrait mode. Photos with artificial portrait blur are taken at a resolution of 16 MEGAPIXEL. The mode works flawlessly in any conditions, from a bright sunny day, rooms with a background in clothing color and ending with places with interruption of shadows. Color reproduction is as realistic as possible, the face remains clear in the frame, and the contour of the effect side is flat everywhere.
Verdict, pros, and cons of the ZenFone 8 Flip. Alternatives
The ZenFone 8 Flip offers twice as much memory, the newest processor, a good fingerprint scanner, and now costs 800 euros. The problem is that otherwise – the autonomy, the quality of the triple camera, and the experience of use – the smartphone is essentially the same as the ZenFone 7 Pro. It has not lost its bright personality in the form of flip design, but the advantages of other flagships it lacks.
The list of the closest competitors Asus ZenFone 8 Flip includes Samsung Galaxy S21 (120 Hz, higher autonomy, protection from water and dust), Xiaomi Mi 11 (brighter screen 120 Hz, flagship iron, cheaper by 50 euros), and OnePlus 9 Pro (120 Hz LTPO, quadcopter with Hasselblad optics, speed-charging, dust, and dust).
- The build quality and mechanism of the flip camera
- Good AMOLED screen 90 Hz;
- Stereo speakers with Dirac algorithms;
- 256GB base storage and MicroSD support
- Unusual camera with decent quality;
- Gorgeous selfies;
- With useful additions.
- Minor updates on the background of the ZenFone 7 Pro;
- Not very fast charging;
- High price at the start – in the higher price segment, smartphones have more flagship characteristics and IP68.