The Asus 6z, globally known as the Zenfone 6, is a midrange offering from Taiwanese electronics maker Asus. The phone stands true to its tagline ‘defy ordinary’, at least in terms of design. Like most current-generation midrange smartphones, the phone boasts an obstruction-free front profile. However, it is not the display but its motorised flip-camera module accommodating the phone’s dual-camera set-up that adds novelty to the overall design language and makes it look different from others.
Besides boasting a unique design, the phone also has a segment-first 5,000 mAh battery with 18W fast-charge support. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-chip (SoC), the phone is a power-packed performer in its segment. Let’s take a look at how the phone fares on key parameters:
The Asus 6z is big, heavy and bulky, yet it does not feel out of proportion. Though it has a regular glass-metal sandwich design with Gorilla Glass on the front and back, its flip-camera module adds to the aesthetics. The phone’s overall design resembles the ROG phone, albeit without the flashy elements like exhaust vents and LED insignia.
The phone’s front looks similar to most current-generation midrange phones with an obstruction-free profile. Its screen covers the entire front, leaving negligible bezels on the top and sides, and a moderate one at the bottom. The screen is covered with Gorilla Glass 6 for protection from accidental drops and scratches. The screen does not have a notch or punch-hole; the front-side hardware – earpiece, notifications LED and sensors – are all accommodated below the thin bezel area at the top.
Like the front, the back is also made of Gorilla Glass, but of the third generation. However, the back profile does not look uniform due to the flip-camera module and the capacitive fingerprint sensor's placement. The flip-camera module is made of liquid metal, which seems sturdy but does not match the phone’s glass build. It rests inside a cut-out area on the top that accumulates dirt over time and requires regular cleaning.
The phone has a 6.41-inch in-plane switch (IPS) liquid crystal display (LCD) of a fullHD+ resolution. The panel is bright and sharp, and its supports 100 per cent DCI-P3 wide colour gamut. Though the display panel is one of the best in the IPS LCD segment, it is no match to the AMOLED panel, which renders deep blacks and has better contrast and viewing angles.
The phone has a Widevine L1 certification, but for some reason it fails to stream content in high definition. The issue is persistent with commonly used over-the-top platforms, including Amazon Prime Videos and Netflix.
This must be a software glitch, and a future update might address this bug.
The Asus 6z has one dual-camera set-up for both the front and rear. It features a 48-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.79 aperture and a 13MP ultra-wide lens of 125-degree field of view. Both cameras are part of the flip module that supports 180-degree movement – controlled and automatic.
The Asus 6z’s camera has more than just performance. Unlike the conventional separate modules for the front and rear cameras and the currently-in-trend motorised pop-up mechanism, the phone’s flip module allows you to play around the camera in more than one way. While it can turn 180 degrees to become a selfie camera, its movements can also be controlled. This way, it provides much more flexibility when compared with conventional camera modules.
Interestingly, the flip-camera mechanism makes it easy to take panorama shots without moving the phone in different directions. It also has a motion tracking video recording mode, in which the subject remains at the centre; the camera module tracks the subject’s movement and it moves with it in the same direction to keep it at the centre of the frame. Unfortunately, for both panorama and motion tracking, the module supports only right-to-left movement.
In terms of performance, the 48MP primary sensor is a potent one and the 13MP ultra-wide lens adds versatility to the combination. In day light, the primary sensor takes detailed shots with good colours, dynamic range and exposure. The ultra-wide lens is also a capable one, but it shows some noise and distortion in the output. In low light, however, both the sensors struggle and the phone’s native ‘Super Night mode’ also does not make much of a difference.
Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-chip (SoC), mated with up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The phone boots Android Pie operating system-based ZenUI 6.0, which is a huge improvement over the previous iterations. The user interface looks close to the stock Android and has all the goodies that come as part of the Android Pie OS – dark mode, one key navigation, and more.
Performance is sleek and the phone handles day-to-day tasks and heavy-duty operations without any trouble. The ZenUI 6.0 with stock Android Pie-like user interface is easy to use and manage.
Priced at Rs 31,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant, the Asus 6z is a well-packaged product in the midrange segment. Consider this smartphone for its unique motorised flip-camera module, sturdy build, easy-to-use operating system and all-round performance. But the phone’s multimedia handling capability falls short when compared with other smartphones in the segment. This, however, might be improved through a software upgrade in future; until then, it is not the best for multimedia enthusiasts who like streaming videos on the go.