ASUS last year released as many as four smartphones on top-end hardware. This is an awesome baby Zenfone 8, interesting not only for its size, the gaming series ROG Phone 5/5S, the most ridiculous Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders and created by the laziest team in the world Zenfone 8 Flip, which we will discuss today. It is almost no different from last year’s Zenfone 7 (not Pro), so for those who are well acquainted with the “seven”, I suggest a speedrun: at the beginning of each section of the review there will be a lazy version telling what has changed compared to last year’s model.
Equipment and design
Lazy version of the review: instead of a large and beautiful box, it is now grey and boring, the same with colours. A transparent case disappeared from the kit, but a cool plastic case with a latch for the camera remained. The fingerprint scanner is finally on the screen (until the 8 series it was in the power button), but it does not work very quickly, and fingerprint registration is generally a torment.
ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip comes in a cardboard box, the grey colour of which emphasizes the dullness of the novelty. But the kit is quite interesting: the smartphone itself, documentation, a SIM needle, a cable with USB-C on both ends, a 30-watt charger with a USB-C port and a hard plastic case with a grooved texture and a latch for fixing the camera.
The last point may need to be clarified: since the Zenfone 8 Flip has a folding camera, there’s a problem with it sometimes getting a little backy. In order not to have backlash, it can be pressed to the body with a latch. And although the latch is just a piece of plastic, the phone somehow magically tracks its position and displays it in the curtain.
The materials of the case are standard, it is glass and aluminium. Glass is glossy, monotonous, mirrored, looks strict, but boring. Dilutes this boredom only with the lock button, which has a blue colour. The body is heavy (230 g), but there are no problems with ergonomics because of this. Unfortunately, despite the impressive size of the device, engineers did not place a 3.5 mm audio jack in the Zenfone 8 Flip, but there was a place for a triple tray. And this is a unique feature: there are no other smartphones on the Snapdragon 888, where you can simultaneously insert microSD and two nano-SIM.
And there is also an LED indicator, which is located at the bottom end and shines so brightly that it can be seen from the next room. The fingerprint scanner sits under the glass, and that’s one of the few differences between the Zenfone 8 Flip and the Zenfone 7, where it was on the end. And I don’t even know how to do it better – poking at the screen, of course, is more convenient, but the speed of the subscreen scanner is much inferior. And the first input is generally a torment, the phone constantly asks to wipe the scanner, so it took me 3-5 minutes to insert a finger.
But what has not changed is a 90-Hz AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels and support for DC Dimming technology. True, the “anti-SHIMilk” works only at a frequency of 60 Hz, and without it, the screen SHIMit mom does not grieve, so your eyes will grieve – either from the flicker of the screen or from 60 Hz in the flagship of 2021. Otherwise, the display is cool, besides, splendid branded chips allow you to fine-tune the colour reproduction. A separate joy is that there are no cutouts and holes in the display thanks to the folding camera. The entire display is at your disposal, and that’s cool.
The sound is stereo, but the “half-torque” – the only multimedia speaker plays in tandem with the conversational one, which, of course, in terms of quality and even more so the volume with it does not go with it in any comparison. Surprisingly, the little Zenfone 8 sounds better. And here is the most common vibration motor, which is 2021 in the top segment is somehow not serious. In 2022, even more so. But they were too lazy to change it, they left a Vibra from Zenfone 7. Maybe Zenfone 9 will fix it?
Lazy version of the review: nothing has changed, out of the box android 11.
The ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip comes with Android 11 out of the box. The update to Android 12 arrived at the end of 2021. The operating system is dressed in the ZenUI shell, which differs little from the “vanilla” Android in appearance, but offers a huge number of additional customization options. You can check out the carousel below the menu, where you can choose which icons are displayed in the status bar and which are not. I haven’t seen that anywhere, to be honest.
At the same time, ZenUI works very quickly and stably, a single style is sustained throughout the shell, there is no advertising in the firmware in any form, and there is very little pre-installed software. In general, I like the proprietary shell of ASUS. Although sometimes it has masterpiece menus like this:
Lazy version of the review: nothing has changed, and where the camera is from the usual seven – that is, without an optical stabilization system (OIS).
ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip is equipped with three cameras combined into a Flip Camera module, which can smoothly rotate 180 degrees, turning from the rear camera to the front camera. Except for ASUS, no one has done this for a long time (although once upon a time Huawei and OPPO had similar models), and this allows the Zenfone 8 Flip to stand out not only with a screen without cutouts but also with a bunch of unusual shooting opportunities – for example, you can turn the camera 90 degrees, put the phone on the table and shoot video.
Back to the characteristics. The triple module consists of a 64-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel wide and an 8-megapixel telephoto with a three-fold optical approximation. All cameras have autofocus, but none have OIS. The camera system with optical stabilization on two modules, which Zenfone 7 Pro sported, in 2021 was put only in smartphones for Snapdragon Insiders, but there it does not rotate. And on the main module, it is in the small Zenfone 8, strange. Let’s see how these modules cope without optical stabilization:
With the daytime shots, the Zenfone 8 Flip is fine. If I wanted, I would find something to complain about in a few shots, but in general, everything is very good. But shooting in low light conditions suffers. Yes, ASUS has made an automatic night mode with a shutter speed of 4 seconds, but in the absence of optical stabilization, it is difficult for it to snatch the details of the subjects. Therefore, the frames turn out to be well lit, with good colour reproduction, but weak detail, or with lubricants. This is especially true of the telephoto – it is three times more sensitive to the trembling of your hands and generally falls at night.
One of the “family” features of ASUS Flip-cameras is shooting panoramas using flip rotation. Well, that is, you hold the phone still, and the camera turns and shoots a panorama. It works, and the result is very interesting, except that it lacks detail. The test panorama has a resolution of only 11.5 megapixels, although the panorama is several glued photos and its resolution should be much greater than that of a conventional frame.
The smartphone can write video in quality up to 4320p@30fps, but with a bunch of reservations. Firstly, 8K is available only on the main camera, the width is limited to 2160p@60fps. Secondly, in 4K you can not switch between cameras in the course of shooting – only in 1080p@60fps. Thirdly, the telephoto can shoot in quality not higher than 1080p@30fps, that is, in the minimum resolution you can switch between all three cameras. The main problem with video is the lack of OIS. Working alone, EIS may compensate for the shaking, but at the cost of such a strong double vision that the result is just so-so. At the same time, you can not disable EIS, you can only enable even stronger stabilization of HyperSteady.
Performance & Benchmarks
Lazy version of the review: the chipset has been replaced, now it is the Snapdragon 888, which, of course, is more powerful than the 865 at the start, but oh-oh-oh as it heats up and throttles, so you will not feel its advantages. Autonomy fixed with updates.
The hardware basis of the ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. Very powerful, but very hot and voracious. We will talk about autonomy a little below, but for now about power and heating. The results in the benchmarks you can see in the video review, and the conclusion is simple: the stability that the Snapdragon 865/865+ gave in the implementation of ASUS, is not even close. However, throttling is still less than some other smartphones based on the “three eights”.
Due to what? What pleases – not at the expense of reducing the brightness of the screen, there is simply no such cooling mechanism here. What is not pleasing is due to very strong heating. Eugene, just leaving the phone on the table with Genshin Impact, made it heat up to 60-62 degrees (rear panel temperature). With a plastic case, this would still be tolerable, but it is simply impossible to hold a glass-metal sandwich of this temperature in your hands. However, Genshin Impact is almost the most terrible test for modern smartphones, and in most other tasks, the Snapdragon 888, although it warms up, not so much. The question remains – how long will the motherboard last at such temperature differences?
The battery capacity of the Zenfone 8 Flip is 5000 mAh. On the first versions of the software, with one of which we shot a video review, the smartphone was discharged very quickly – it lost one and a half per cent per minute in games and could be discharged in a couple of days in standby mode from 2-2.5 hours of the screen for all time. But with one of the updates, ASUS has pumped up the autonomy of the smartphone well, and now it is acceptable – an average of about 5 hours of the screen per day with 90 Hz turned on. For two hours of video, the smartphone was discharged by 14%, and for an hour in the game – by 18%; these are fairly standard indicators for smartphones with powerful hardware.
The complete 30-watt charging quickly charges the smartphone by half (in 29 minutes) and even by 75% (in 50 minutes), but then turns on the mode “I am very afraid of blowing up the battery”, and a full charge takes more than an hour and a half (at the end, each per cent takes 3-4 minutes). So, if you need to quickly recharge the smartphone – this is please, but the mark of 100% will have to wait a long time. Wireless charging according to the strange Asus tradition is not supported.
There are only two versions by memory: 8 + 128 GB and 8 + 256 GB. Since there is a slot for a memory card, the price of an error if you take 128 GB and suddenly they will not be enough, is small. On wireless communications, of course, complete order: 5G, all existing navigation systems, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC. There are no problems with the quality of cellular communication, except that when I first turned on the Zenfone 8 Flip did not pick up the APN (I have Yota, there may be no problems with other operators), and for quite a long time I could not get into why my mobile Internet does not work. But then I remembered about APN, entered the settings from memory and everything came to life. I can’t remember the last time I encountered this; I think it was in some budget on the MT6739.
Lazy version of the review: Zenfone 8 Flip did not get any significant improvements compared to Zenfone 7, so if you can find an old model – take it, because it will be cheaper. Better yet, take the Zenfone 7 Pro, if you find it, the camera is better there.
The Zenfone 8 Flip is a great smartphone. The screen without cutouts and holes, good materials, top stuffing, a bunch of unusual photo capabilities and an excellent ZenUI shell. But still, smartphones are developing, albeit not very quickly, and this smartphone is stuck in 2020. So if the Zenfone 5Z/6/7 could be safely recommended for purchase, now I have to ask: will ASUS chips be more important to you than the chips of competitors? And if so, why not buy the Zenfone 7/7 Pro? Let’s see what ASUS will show in the next generation. I hope it won’t be a copy-paste with the Zenfone 7 Pro, as Vibro, sound, and charge speed needs to be tightened up somehow.