From thick bezels on all four sides of the screen to a completely bezel-free display, this evolution has happened quite quickly. Although it started with a notch display, there are devices with pop-up camera modules and even a laser-cut hole in the display. Asus thought out-of-the-box and has completely abolished the front camera module. In fact, the dual rear camera can also handle selfies. To achieve this, Asus has opted for a motorized liquid metal mechanism that flips open 180 degrees for selfies and even when used for face unlock, rather than housing the camera in the phone’s chassis.
The Asuz 6z had 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 the motorized camera module and the 5000 mAh battery on board. Unlike the regular one, which includes a fingerprint scanner on the back, there’s a Smart Key on the right panel that can be pressed once for Google Assistant, twice for personal updates and held down to use the Walkie-Talkie style Google Assistant. The volume control is located on the right edge between the smart key and the power button. The SIM tray is on the left panel, while the Type-C charging port, speaker grill and audio port are on the bottom.
The only camera setup on the Asus 6z is the one with a 48MP Sony IMX586 main sensor along with a 13MP 125-degree ultra-wide sensor. But images are captured at 12MP resolution by default, as it uses four pixels as one to capture more light. All photos taken with this phone, including selfies, are captured using this camera module itself. As soon as I press the camera switch icon for the selfie, the camera flips open 180 degrees. It is a stepper motor camera. I was able to adjust the angle of the camera module by just swiping up and down on the camera switch icon in the app. This is useful when capturing images of tall buildings such as the Eiffel Tower. What impressed me the most was taking panoramic photos. While capturing a panorama, the camera module moved automatically instead of moving the phone. It worked well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas. However, the coverage isn’t as good as that for panoramas shot with the iPhone. The photos taken with the dual camera setup were quite impressive in daylight, but there was some noise when used indoors or in a low-light environment. Other than the normal photo mode and selife mode, the 6z has motion tracking, slo-mo, time-lapse and night mode on board.
When using the 6z for selfies, I was skeptical about damaging the module in case of accidental drop. Fortunately, there’s a fall-detection mechanism built into the 6z that instantly returns the camera to its default position, even if it detects a slight fall.
Clean UI, Performance
The Asuz 6z 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 hindered the experience in the past. The only set of pre-installed apps, aside from the Google apps and services, are Asus Data Transfer, Facebook, Instagram, and Gallery, just to name a few.
This may be a budget flagship, but it has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor on board. My review unit had 256 GB of internal storage with 8 GB of RAM. The performance was top notch. Whether surfing the web, playing games, streaming videos, handling emails and documentation, or using the innovative flip camera, there was no sign of lag or lag. The fingerprint scanner on the back is quick to unlock and so is the face unlock where the camera flips, unlocks the phone and returns to its position.
The motorized camera module drains the battery quickly. Asus has considered the same when designing this phone and has added a 5000 mAh battery on board. This easily lasted over a day with still 30 percent juice on a single charge.
Asus 6z is known as Zenfone 6 in international markets. It had to rename the device to 6z after the Delhi Supreme Court banned the company from using ‘Zen’ or ‘Zenfone’ or similar brands on its products in India.
The new flagship from Taiwan-based Asus is quite an attractive device. It has just the right set of high-end specs, backed up by impressive performance. It puts up an uphill battle against the much-popular OnePlus 7 and is one of the most aggressively priced mid-budget flagship devices.
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