Cellphone Reviews

Asus Zenfone 9 long-term review

And not just intrinsically – if the screen is the main point of interaction with the device, why would you want less of it? But also because everyone on the Internet (and especially on YouTube) seems to love them, and yet – sales numbers for the petite handsets out there generally vary from unimpressive at best to downright catastrophic. Just ask Apple about the iPhone 13 mini, see how that conversation goes.

The small smartphone should, in theory, at least make sense for people with small hands. But, anecdotally speaking, most of those people we’ve encountered still have ‘regular’ size devices, at the cost of struggling to use them one-handed, if that’s even possible at all.

This is the setting in which Asus threw the Zenfone 9 in the game last year. It’s one of the smallest smartphones launched in 2022, along with Samsung’s similarly sized Galaxy S22, and its size is definitely trying to be one of its main selling points – that’s why we’re going on about it so much. But it’s not just a small smartphone, it’s a small flagship smartphone, and again, while it’s not alone in that regard, this field is definitely anything but crowded.
On paper, it’s every small smartphone lover’s dream. The diminutive size comes with no compromises in performance, and while there’s one less camera on offer than you might expect, the specs for the ones that are there seem solid too. Ditto the battery capacity for the size.

Asus Zenfone 9

Things that sound great on paper don’t always adequately translate that greatness into real life, so we were curious to see what the case would be for the Zenfone 9. Away from our labs, in the real world, how would it do as our one and only smartphone, used for an extended period of time? Let’s find out together in the forthcoming pages of this long-term review.
The Zenfone 9 is striking thanks to its diminutive size. We got more comments about it from acquaintances than we normally do when sporting a new phone, even when we rock the best of the best flagship devices. And all of the comments were relating to size. “Wow, that’s a small phone” is probably the thing we heard .We can’t really say if the size is a plus or a minus here, since that’s a matter of personal preference. Logically speaking, as we laid out in the introduction, given that the display is the main interaction point with the smartphone, you’d theoretically want the most screen area you can get – but obviously, that can’t scale indefinitely, otherwise, we’d all carry TVs around with us.

And then there’s the ‘hand size’ discussion, which should be had too, as if your hands are small, you will struggle to use any ‘normal’ handset one-handed, or simply won’t be able to at all. Some people have no issue going two-handed, others, however, do, so again – it’s all a matter of personal preference.

the most. And it is small, compared to what qualifies as ‘normal’ size these days.

At 68.1mm wide, it’s narrower than pretty much any other flagship smartphone out there, including Samsung’s otherwise similarly sized Galaxy S22. It’s only half a mm taller than that model, and marginally thicker, but perhaps the measurement that best translates into actual one-hand usability is width, hence why we started with it. For comparison’s sake, note that ‘normal’ size devices all hover around the 72-76mm mark. A few mm may not seem like much on paper, but the difference in use is very obvious.
There are also those who just think phones should be smaller than they are, regardless of hand size or any such considerations. If you’re one of them, we hope you bought a Zenfone 9 or a Galaxy S22 to prove your point and support your idea – the proverbial ‘putting your money where your mouth is’, as they say. If not, then sales numbers for smaller devices will continue to disappoint, and at some point, these will be gone from the market entirely. You don’t want that, do you?

We assume you don’t, and neither do we. It’s always great to have a different thing in for review, and phones have been getting pretty same-y recently. The Zenfone 9, thanks to its size, isn’t like every other device out there, and that’s refreshing. It’s also different when it comes to the rear’s finishing.

Materials, case
You’d expect to find some sort of glass on the back panel since this is a flagship in specs, but you’d be wrong. Asus went with matte plastic instead, which might sound controversial in theory. Once you hold a Zenfone 9, we venture to guess that you’ll love the idea. The plastic has this paper-like texture, for lack of a better descriptor, which makes it feel unlike any other plastic back we’ve ever touched. In a good way, that is.
While some may scoff at the use of such a “non-premium” material, it feels great to the touch, and has the added benefit of not being slippery and not showing fingerprints (with the exception of the black version, for some reason). What more could you want? Oh, yeah, and it obviously won’t shatter when you drop the phone either. If people weren’t obsessed with the ‘premiumness’ of glass, logic would dictate this would be viewed more positively, since it has more advantages. Alas, we don’t live in a logical world, so some people will inevitably get stuck on “plastic=cheap” and never let that go.

Even so, we assume a case will go on top of Asus’ experimental back for most people, so you’ll only have to deal with the textured plastic for a short amount of time. There’s a case in the box, but it’s weirdly plasticky (in a bad way) feeling and rather slippery – both things that the ‘naked’ phone isn’t, at least in this reviewer’s opinion.

Source: gsmarena

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Connie Ferguson

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