June 19, 2019
6 GB + 64 GB- Rs 31,999
6 GB + 128 GB- Rs 34,999
8 GB + 256 GB- Rs 39,999
159.1 x 75.44 x 9.1mm
2340 x 1080 px
Gorilla Glass 6
8 x Kryo 485
Up to 1TB
Android 9 Pie
AI Scene Detection
2160p @ 60fps
18 W Fast Charging
850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 19
TD-LTE: Bands 38, 39, 41, 46
FDD-LTE: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 26, 28
USB Type C
3.5mm Headphone Jack
18W Fast Charging
Taiwanese electronics giant Asus launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Asus 6Z in India on the 19th of June. The device was first launched in Valencia Spain on the 16th of May. It succeeds the ZenFone 5Z which was announced last year and boasts of notable improvements in design, camera and the performance department over its predecessor. The device offers top tier specifications and goes up against some of the best devices in the segment like the OnePlus 7. But is the Asus 6Z the new flagship killer in town or is just an underwhelming offering by the company?
Build Quality & Design
The 6Z has a glass sandwich design with a metal chassis for reinforcement. The front of the smartphone is dominated by a large display with 92 percent screen to body ratio. As the front is nothing but the display, there is nothing to see here, apart from the earpiece at the top. To our surprise, Asus has accommodated a tiny LED notification light on top of the display which is becoming a rarity these days.
The right side of the device makes room for the volume rocker, the power and a dedicated Google assistant button while the left side of the device is occupied the dual SIM + microSD card slot. The bottom of the Asus 6Z accommodates the USB Type C port, 3.5 mm audio jack and the loudspeaker grille while the top of the device houses the flip camera that can be used as both front camera and rear camera.
We reviewed the Midnight Black coloured variant of the Asus 6Z which looks and feels premium. The back of the smartphone houses the vertical dual camera setup with the flash. The fingerprint scanner and the company logo is also present on the rear of the device. Overall, the device is solidly built and the design while nothing new, feels fresh. However, we recommend using a case as it can easily slip out of your palm owing to the glass back. Also, the case will prevent the fingerprints which the device easily attracts.
The Asus 6Z is a solidly built device, with a heavy yet reassuring feel in the hand. We tried to manually dislodge the camera mechanism but it did not budge. This implies what lengths the company has gone to in making sure the camera lasts a long time. One thing to note though, the Flip Camera mechanism is only rated for 1,00,000 uses. But it is a result of standardised testing done in a lab, so in real life, the longevity of the mechanism may vary depending on the user.
The Asus 6Z has a 6.3 inch LCD display which has a resolution of 2340 x 1080px. Unlike most modern smartphones, the device has no obstructions like a notch or a punch hole cutout. This makes for an impressive 92 percent screen to body ratio on the handset, which feels immersive to watch multimedia content on. One issue we have with the display is the maximum brightness. The panel does not offer great brightness levels outdoors. This impacts the legibility and users will have to squint to make out any content on the device.
In terms of quality, the display on the Asus 6Z offers good sharpness, excellent colour reproduction and good contrasts. Unfortunately, as it uses an LCD panel, there are no deep blacks or impeccable viewing angles like in OLED displays. No fret though, as the LCD panel itself is of good quality and should be great for day to day usage.
Hardware & Performance
The Asus 6Z is kitted with the latest and greatest from Qualcomm, the 7nm Snapdragon 855 SoC. The chipset is comprised of an Octa-core CPU and the Adreno 640 GPU. It is coupled with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage options. In terms of hardware alone, the smartphone is right up there with the heavyweight champions of this year. The device, along with impressive specs, has a few software tricks up its sleeve. It offers a feature called GameGenie, which will free up RAM and lets users stream content on YouTube and Twitch, turn on do not disturb mode etc. without leaving the game.
With high-end specifications, the Asus 6Z performs admirably in day to day tasks. It is also an excellent performance while gaming. Playing games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9 and Shadow Fight, the smartphone selected the highest settings. We did not notice any major frame drops while playing the games and the performance was smooth and consistent. However, the device does get a little warm on the back in a 30-minute session of PUBG Mobile.
Using benchmarking applications like Antutu and Geekbench on the Asus 6Z does not tell a different story either. While testing the Antutu benchmark, we got an impressive score of 3,74,021 which is on par with the competition. In Geekbench, the device registered a single core score of 3,448 points and a multi-core score of 10,509 points. As is evident from the numbers, the handset will go through everything thrown at it without breaking a sweat.
Software, UI & Multimedia
The Asus 6Z runs the company’s custom UI version 6 by the company on top of Android 9 Pie. The previous generations of the software were disregarded for the excessive bloat and diverting from Stock Android. It seems like the company has taken a note of that. The smartphone’s UI is almost stock, with minimal bloatware and fast animations, which make it a joy to use.
The Asus 6Z supports the basic Android navigation gestures which are bundled with Android 9 Pie. These let users go back with the dedicated back button on the left, a single tap on the centre pill takes you home and a swipe up on it brings out the multitasking menu. Dragging the pill to the right lets users scroll across various applications open in the background.
In terms of sound quality, the Asus 6Z has a single bottom firing speaker which has decent sound output. One downside of the setup is how easy it is to block the speaker grille while holding the device in landscape mode. Audio output via the Bluetooth is great which provides for a good listening experience.
The major attraction on the Asus 6Z is its unique Flip Camera mechanism. It uses a special motor made of liquid metal to rotate the camera setup 180 degrees. As a result of which, there is no selfie camera on the device as it uses the main camera for taking front facing images and videos. This serves as an advantage for the smartphone as the high-resolution sensors on the back have a lot to offer.
In terms of optics, the Asus 6Z has a dual camera setup, comprised of a 48MP primary sensor and a 13MP secondary wide angle sensor. The primary sensor is the ubiquitous Sony IMX 586 sensor also found in handsets like the OnePlus 7 Pro. The camera app bundled with the smartphone is easy to use and has most of the controls laid out on the bottom for easy access with one hand.
In terms of quality, the 48MP primary camera takes great photos. The quality and details are top notch with excellent contrasts. The post-processing adds a little too much saturation but it may fit the taste of some people. An added advantage with the camera is the wide-angle camera, which allows it to fit a lot more in the frame. Like most modern smartphones, there is also a dedicated night mode. This takes a while to take the image but increases the exposure. Images clicked in this mode have better detail but it is no match for Pixel’s Night Sight.
As the flip mechanism allows for the camera to take front facing shots too, selfies on the Asus 6Z are excellent. The images are as good (because it is the same camera, duh!) which makes for a really fun experience. Portrait mode provides great subject separation and video output is one of the best out there. While the smartphone does not have Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), it uses Electronic Image Stabilisation which churns out stable footage. In terms of Video recording, the device can record in 4K resolution at up to 60fps.
There are also some neat tricks that you can do with the Flip Camera on the smartphone. The camera can be placed at a custom angle from 0 to 180 degrees. To do this, there are two options, one via dragging the selfie camera icon up or down or by toggling the volume rockers. It also allows for an auto panorama mode, which as the name suggests taking automatic panoramas with you in it. There is also a neat motion tracking feature, but it is a little slow and doesn’t work every time.
Side Note: While the camera on the Asus 6Z is commendable and offers many features, the housing becomes too hot to touch after a few minutes of usage. The use of moving parts on the smartphone may affect its life in the longer run.
Battery and Connectivity
The Asus 6Z is powered by a mammoth 5000mAh battery which can be charged using the bottom mounted USB Type-C port. The battery life of the device is great, with us getting a screen on time of about seven hours on medium usage. The massive battery, combined with stock Android provides the smartphone with acceptable battery life.
In terms of connectivity, the Asus 6Z has WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0 and also supports 4G VoLTE. The smartphone faced no problems in latching on to Wi-Fi networks and performed as expected. Call quality on the device was excellent, with the earpiece producing loud, crisp audio. The handset was able to perform equivalent to its rivals when it is about network and connectivity.
The Asus 6Z has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and supports the ever popular face unlock technology. In our usage, we found the fingerprint scanner to be quick in unlocking the smartphone. As the biometric sensor is placed on the rear, it is inaccessible when placed on a flat surface. For those occasions, face unlock usually serves as a handy feature. Although as the smartphone uses a flip mechanism, this is also useless while laying flat on a table. Face unlock also takes a good second to work, as the machine needs to work fully and retract after detecting your face.
The dedicated Google Assistant button is one of the key highlights of the Asus 6Z. Like mentioned above, the button can be pressed to summon the digital voice assistant. With the smartphone, three individual functions have been mapped to the button. Pressing it once will bring up the Google Assistant which can be used to input commands. Clicking the button twice brings up the Assistant dashboard to glance through updates, while a long press on the button turns on the microphone until the key is pressed. This function works like a walkie talkie and is a good addition for quick or longer commands.
The Asus 6Z is a worthy flagship that offers everything you can ask for in a smartphone. It has a big, beautiful display, great software, capable cameras and a solid design. However, there are a few caveats to it, like not enough brightness outdoors and the use of mechanical parts, which may affect the longevity of the device. While the parts feel well built and will not wear off anytime soon, there is still a percentage of uncertainty with moving parts. But, if we ignore all of that and focus on the present, then the smartphone does give the OnePlus 7, even the 7 Pro a run for its money.
If you are in a market for a smartphone under Rs. 40,000, the Asus 6Z will not disappoint you. It is truly the newest Flagship Killer in town. However, there are also excellent options such as the aforementioned OnePlus 7, Nubia Red Magic 3 and the Black Shark 2. The latter two of which are gamer oriented and will also offer a lot more if you are into mobile gaming.
Super Fast Performance
Outdoor Display Brightness