TheNFAPost Podcast

Bengaluru, NFAPost: The Zenfone 6z is the next-gen flagship king in the mid-range segment from Asus. The handset includes a 6.4in Gorilla Glass-reinforced Full HD+ IPS LCD display paired with a capacitive touchscreen that runs at a native resolution of 1080×2340 pixels with a density of 403ppi (pixels per inch).

Design

  • Glossy back-panel cover and shiny Power button add up to the phone’s aesthetic looks and feel.
  • Flippable Camera Module (aka motorized flip-up camera) with dual LED flash and laser auto-focus comes in a neat and compact design.
  • Hidden status LED sits on top, just beside the earpiece receiver.
  • There is a quick button to activate Google Assistant, which sits just above the volume button on the left-side panel of the Zenfone 6z. The button can be reconfigured or remapped to invoke other useful functions of the handset.

Tip #1: Use the pinch-to-zoom feature on the home screen to unlock hidden settings for home screen, widgets, wallpapers and preferences.

Tip #2: Preferences setting gives you the power to lock specific apps or hide certain apps altogether from other users by choosing either or all of Pattern, PIN, Fingerprint or Facial unlocking options.

Configuration

Processor and Memory

Zenfone 6z is powered by Qualcomm’s fastest 7nm processor, the Snapdragon 855. The processor features an octa-core setup with one Kryo 485 core clocked at 2.84GHz and three Kryo 485 cores clocked at 2.42GHz.

Additionally, the handset packs four low-powered Kryo 485 cores clocked at 1.78GHz and an Adreno 640 GPU which is rated to perform slightly faster than its predecessor (Adreno 630).

The Zenfone 6z will be selling in just two memory configurations: 6GB RAM and 8GB RAM. The 6GB RAM variant will be clubbed with 64GB and 128GB storage models of the handset while the 8GB RAM variant will be available only with the 256GB storage variant of the Zenfone 6z.

MicroSD Storage Expansion Slot 

The handset also features a dedicated 1TB microSD slot for storage expansion. The Zenfone 6z is available in three storage variations of microSD cards including 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Battery

The Zenfone 6z is powered by a massive 5000mAh Li-Po battery which is rated to deliver up to 624 hours of stand-by time and up to 33 hours of talk time on 3G.

Performance

Battery Charging Performance

Full battery charging (from zero) took around 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete which is at par with the standards set by the latest quick-charging technology.

Battery Backup Performance

Zenfone 6z’s 5000mAh battery is really massive and offers enough juice to run your device for one full week on standby mode with minimal use. And it will easily last for 2 to 3 days under normal use on a single charge.

Our normal use conditions include browsing the internet for a couple of hours, watching streaming video songs via YouTube (with mobile data) for an hour, making necessary calls, running benchmarks, browsing social media apps (Facebook and WhatsApp) and testing the device’s key features including the camera.

Tip #3: The in-house AI Boost feature could drain the battery a bit faster than you think. We recommend disabling it unless you need a performance boost at the expense of reduced battery-backup time.

Performance Benchmark

Zenfone 6z’s Performance is comparable to OnePlus 6T and Xiaomi Mi 9 in Basemark OS II and Basemark X benchmarks, according to GSM Arena.

Processor Benchmark

The report adds Snapdragon 855 is 46% faster than its predecessor (Snapdragon 845) in Geekbench single-core and 29% faster in Geekbench multi-core CPU tests.

GPU Benchmark

Furthermore, the handset’s GPU performance scores a 19% bonus over the Snapdragon 845 in the 3D Mark test.

AnTuTu Gaming Benchmark

We tested the gaming prowess of the Zenfone 6z and were quite amazed with its potential to render smooth frame rates at 1080p resolution on most occasions. We noticed a few lags in graphics texture intensive tests as the frames got stuck for a couple of seconds intermittently.

The Zenfone 6z is built for mid-range mobile gaming at medium to high details while running at 1080p resolution. We do not recommend trying anything higher than 1080p or using Ultra settings as this could cause serious frame rate drops and make the game unplayable.

The Zenfone 6z, however, is a serious contender for the title of ‘mid-range flagship king’ as it manages to beat 98% of users with similar hardware configuration in the AnTuTu tests.

AnTuTu Using AI Boost

Our Zenfone 6z demo unit has scored 379815 points in the AnTuTu benchmark test (with AI Boost), which is the overall score from CPU, GPU, User Experience (UX) and Memory tests.

Our 6z secured the top position beating the OnePlus 7 pro (at the second position – 371610) and the Mi 9 (at the third position – 369572).

AnTuTu Without AI Boost

The Zenfone 6z managed to score only 361842 points in AnTuTu with the AI Boost turned off. Consequently, the lack of AI Boost crashed its overall score and ranking as it could beat only 91% of the users with similar hardware configuration in the tests.

Without the AI Boost, the Zenfone 6z took a massive hit and slipped down to the sixth position in the overall rankings. OnePlus 7 Pro, MI 9, MI BlackShark 2, Redmi K20 Pro and OnePlus 7 secured the top five rankings in that order.

Music Playback, Audio & Video Quality

The Zenfone 6z delivers optimum bass and treble control with 1080p video songs being streamed via YouTube. There is zero lag or stutter while playing the streaming videos on my 15 Mbps fibernet connection.

The 6z is an excellent choice for music enthusiasts and movie buffs as the audio clarity is spot on, especially with the stock headphones.

However, the built-in stereo speakers fail to deliver optimum bass and treble quality as it sounds a bit tinny, especially with louder notes like the drumbeats or percussion instruments.

We recommend using the headphones over the integrated speaker system or connect some dedicated speaker system with better treble and bass control while listening to music.

Camera Module

The Zenfone 6z ships with a 90 degree flippable dual LED camera on the rear panel, which is its biggest selling point. The camera can be flipped forwards for taking selfies and backwards for regular photos.

Primary camera packs a whopping 48MP sensor from Sony with electronic image stabilisation feature to minimise blurring effect while capturing a moving subject or shooting stills with a shaky camera. The secondary camera comes with a 13MP sensor coupled with an ultrawide angle support for the lens.

Retract Camera

Retract Camera feature allows you to manually knock the flip module twice to retract it back into the groove when the camera app is closed.

The flippable aka retractable camera is activated when you tap the Rotate Camera icon inside the camera app. Tapping it twice will retract it back into the groove on the rear panel.

Alternatively, you can trigger 90-degree-flip rotation of camera module by holding the Rotate Camera button and dragging it upwards or downwards (vertically).

Camera Modes

The built-in camera app supports portrait, panorama, night and pro mode to suit the varying needs of the user as per changing light conditions and fine details of the subject being captured.

The Pro mode gives you real-time control over ISO settings depending on the angle of focus, light-conditions and distance of the object being captured. In contrast, the panorama mode helps you to stitch a series of images into 360-degree content in a wide-angle view.

There is also a wide-angle mode available for each of the four camera modes, which offers darker shots in comparison to the normal mode.

Besides, the portrait mode also supports Depth Effect for a layered feel of the image being captured. The subject will take the foreground while out of focus objects are layered into the background to boost the clarity of the image being focused.

Price and Availability

The Zenfone 6z is currently available via Flipkart for Rs. 31,999 with an exclusive discount of Rs. 4,000 on the MRP. It seems the sale is currently exclusive for Flipkart in the sub-continent as the handset is not yet available for purchase via Amazon India.

Pros

1. Bezel-less phone with extra screen space

2. Value-Added Accessories – Transparent custom body cover & spare headphone ear-pads

3. Built-in 2-pin & 3-pin power adaptor slide-in connector

4. Runs Google’s latest Android OS (Android 9.0 Pie Update) out-of-the-box

5. Powered by Qualcomm’s fastest 7nm mobile processor – Snapdragon 855

6.  Supports 4K UHD video recording @60fps on primary camera, besides 4K UHD @30fps on secondary camera

7. Snapdragon 855 officially supports enhanced machine learning and number crunching capabilities

8. Flippable or rotating camera module offers great flexibility for capturing amazing stills and portraits for photography enthusiasts and professionals alike

Cons

1. Lacks Physical Navigation Keys (uses onscreen virtual keys) like Home, Back/Return, and Recent Items for Split Screen View

2. Charging cable’s length is too short

3. Slightly bulkier and heavier (at 190g) than its rivals in the 6.4in category like the Xiaomi Mi 9 (173g) and OnePlus 6T (185g)

4. Glossy back panel and front panel are prone to fingerprint smudges, which require frequent cleaning to keep in good shape.

5. The handset only supports up to 2K or Full HD Plus (FHD+) video playback on its built-in display (though the Snapdragon 855 chipset officially supports 8K video playback on capable displays)

6. The stock in-ear headphones are awkwardly designed as they feel a bit over-sized for smaller ears. It keeps popping out or cause ear discomfort while trying to adjust the position. Besides, the ear-phone covers are also very flimsy and prone to break if you are not careful.

Verdict

Asus Zenfone 6z is a serious contender for the title of ‘Mid-range Flagship King’ as it delivers top-notch performance across various tests including camera, audio & video, battery endurance and processor benchmarks.

The Zenfone 6z offers amazing value for money with a plethora of multimedia features such as flawless 4k video recording, seamless 1080p video streaming, flippable or rotating camera for better selfies, and fantastic music playback performance with the stock headphones.

The 6z is simply unbeatable at Rs. 31,999 as there are only a handful of phones that offer closer features or performance in the given price range.

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