Official announcement of The Asus ZenFone 6 has been made. We know that the previous one, the ZenFone 5 was basically just a boring iPhone X clone, but by eliminating the top bezel entirely thanks to a completely wild rotating camera, this new phone is thinking way out of the box.
At least from a design perspective, instead of chasing Apple or Samsung it seems to be determined to carve out its own niche in the phone space as the whole phone also represents a shift in direction for Asus. The whole front of the ZenFone 6 is just a seamless expanse of screen instead of an unsightly black bar or weird hole-punch dot at the top of your phone, which is pretty great to look at, although there is still a small bezel on the bottom.
Moreover, the price is the same as of less powerful ZenFone 5: the base model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage starts at $499.
At first, the flipping camera may seem bizarre, especially with the wacky sound effects that Asus has set by default. But you don’t have to worry, you can easily turn it off, although the motor itself gives off its own whirring noise, but it’s actually a smart solution to the bezel issue.
A 48-megapixel main camera and a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, these two lenses are offered by Asus, thanks to the flip system, as they can be used both for group selfies and wide-angle shots. A ton of engineering has been put by Asus into the camera. It can work as either a front-facing or rear camera as needed because it uses a customized stepper motor to rotate the lenses around 180 degrees. For improved durability, the camera housing is made out of liquid metal. However, given the number of moving parts here, there is still some concern that things could go wrong eventually. Thank fully, an automated system has been installed by Asus that will rotate the lens back if it detects that you’ve dropped the phone, but you should still probably avoid doing that.
The rotating camera also involves some clever additions. By just holding the phone and letting the camera rotate around, you can take panorama shots either vertical or horizontal. There is a motion-tracking mode for video that allows the camera to move to keep a subject in the frame.
You can also adjust the angle of the camera manually, letting you shoot with the lens at any point on the arc of rotation.
Three configurations are probably sell by Asus, of the ZenFone 6 model, starting at a 6 GB RAM/ 64 GB storage option for €499 (about $557). Two higher-specced options are also promised by the company, topping out at 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.
The specs are on par with most Android flagships, despite the mid range price, there’s a Snapdragon 855 processor, a Gorilla Glass 6 and aluminum body, a massive 5,000 mAh battery, and the aforementioned bezel-less display and flipping cameras. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is also there. Wireless charging or water resistance are the two big absences , which seem to have been cut to hit that low price point.
Asus has mercifully cut down most of its own customization, on the software side, for what it calls an “enhanced” version of stock Android, which is surely much better than Asus’ attempts over the years. A dedicated “smart key” that defaults to Google Assistant is also there, but can be remapped to activate do not disturb mode, take a screen shot, open the camera, and more.
An exact release date or price for the ZenFone 6 in the US has yet to be announced by Asus, but it should arrive sometime in the coming weeks. Between the creative design, high-end specs, and low price point, it could be a pretty interesting addition to the Android marketplace when it does.