The race to a borderless screen is forcing handset manufacturers to experiment with new technologies. While most smartphones these days have a notch display, some have also added pop-up selfie cameras. Recently, Samsung introduced a perforated display for its flagship S10 lineup. But Asus has taken a unique approach, as the Zenfone 6 has a motorized flipping module, allowing the rear camera to double as a front camera.
Yes, there is no front camera at all. In selfie mode, the rear camera (48MP Sony IMX586 main camera along with a 13MP 125-degree ultra-wide secondary camera) flips up to a maximum of 180 degrees for capturing selfies. The stepper motor assisted camera allowed me to adjust the angle of the module just by swiping up and down on the camera switch icon in the app. Asus says this can come in handy when taking photos of tall buildings like the Eiffel Tower. What impressed me the most, however, were the panoramic photos taken with the phone. While capturing a panorama, the camera module moved automatically and the phone did not need to be moved; and it worked well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas. The implementation has been well thought out.
This technology sounds nice, but seems to work smoothly. Asus claims that this module is made of ‘liquid metal’ and is sturdy.
The Zenfone 6 has a nice look and feel. The 6.4-inch bezel-less display is clear and protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 6. Asus has used Gorilla Glass 3 on the back and the rest of the chassis is metal. This is not a slim phone, thanks to its motorized camera module and 5000 mAh battery on board. Other than the standards including rear fingerprint scanner, there’s a Smart Key that can be pressed once for Google Assistant, twice for personal updates and held down to use Walkie-Talkie style Google Assistant.
The Zenfone 6 is not on the Android One program, but the UI comes very close to it. Fortunately, Asus has done away with most of the bloatware and unnecessary applications that would hinder the experience in the past. The user interface is very close to Android with only a handful of pre-installed applications.
The Zenfone 6 is Asus’ flagship smartphone powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The company tries to offer the best of everything with this device – including display, camera, performance and battery. We have yet to test the claims.
This ‘First Look’ is based on the limited time we spent with the Asus Zenfone 6. An extensive review will follow shortly.
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