ASUS Zenfone 8 review: the best compact Android smartphone of 2021
While ASUS’s Zenfone line has been around for many years, it has never been overwhelmingly popular. Many do not even know about its existence, but the ASUS Zenfone 8 smartphone is worth paying attention to.
This time ASUS focused on combining compact design with powerful hardware and high battery life. And the manufacturer succeeded.
Design and appearance
Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger, which many people don’t like. Compact devices are more convenient to use, especially with one hand, although manufacturers often cut other functions when creating them.
One of the main drawbacks of such a smartphone is a weak processor. ASUS Zenfone 8 has no such problem, here we get a powerful chipset and a large battery. This was made possible by reducing the PCB, so it was possible to fit a Snapdragon 888 processor and a 4000 MAH battery inside the case.
Zenfone 8’s front panel lets you differentiate it from any other smartphone. It’s not about the size, but the cut edges, which are always visible when you look at the phone from the front. Added to this is the characteristic border of the selfie camera, which, by the way, works well. The bezels around the display are almost the same, so nothing hurts your eyes. At the top there is a speaker grill, which is part of the stereo system, which we will talk about later. The final element on the front is a fast in-display fingerprint reader.
At the back, everything is smooth, only the Asus Zenfone lettering stands out on the matte panel. Of course, there is also a module with two cameras here. The manufacturer decided not to use a lot of lenses, because most probably won’t use them. The lenses protrude slightly, but do not interfere with everyday use.
The back cover has a 2.5D rounding at the edges, the device lies comfortably in the hands, and the surface is made of aluminum. A nice design element is the blue power button. In general, lately, keys of a different color have become a trend among smartphones – like the orange button on the Pixel 4 or the mint green on the Pixel 4a. Compared to the all-black Zenfone 8, the blue key really stands out.
Based on specs alone, the ASUS Zenfone 8’s screen isn’t the most impressive. But, in reality, it is very colorful.
This is an AMOLED panel from Samsung with a diagonal of 5.9 inches, a resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 20: 9. The refresh rate reaches 120 Hz, and the polling rate of the sensor layer is 240 Hz. Ideal for gaming.
Since the AMOLED matrix manufacturer is Samsung, any shade looks great. The maximum brightness reaches 1100 nits, more than enough for use even on a sunny day.
Zenfone 8 cameras
For many years, cameras were the weak point of ASUS smartphones, but Zenfone 8 broke that stereotype too. The quality of shooting here is not the best among the flagships, but it is very good.
The ASUS Zenfone 8 has two main cameras on the back: the main 64-megapixel lens and the ultra-wide-angle 12 megapixel. The second lens also acts as a macro lens.
The main camera takes great photos if the lighting is okay. Alas, problems begin in the dark. The ASUS smartphone doesn’t have the same good Night Mode as the Pixel 5 or Galaxy S21 . However, many will appreciate the ultra-wide-angle sensor – especially when it comes to macro photography.
Pro mode is also available to us, = for photos and videos. If you are a photographer and know how to adjust your shutter speed with ISO, Zenfone 8 will allow you to take really high quality pictures.
In general, the photos are good, but not flagship. The tonal range is limited, and the results often have distorted contrast. As a result, photos do not look bright and often have poor depth. Software correction is certainly helpful.
At the beginning of the Zenfone line, ASUS made a lot of changes to the ZenUI shell on Android, which many users did not like.
Fortunately, the company has gradually changed this approach – Zenfone 8 runs on almost pure Android. If you are a fan of Pixel smartphones, you will definitely like this model. However, ASUS has added some interesting features of its own. For example, you can tilt the screen down to reach the items at the top, just like on an iPhone. You just need to swipe at the bottom of the screen and it will drop by half.
In ZenUI 8, we also worked on energy saving. Power consumption can be optimized for each application. The appearance of the battery indicator at the top of the screen is also customizable. There are also many interface settings, now it is convenient to customize fonts, colors of different elements, shape of icons and animation speed.
Several features have migrated from the ROG Phone gaming smartphones as well. Home – Game Genie mode, allowing you to block notifications, calls, prevent brightness changes, and more.
Overall, the ASUS Zenfone 8 software has been delivered to the highest standard. The interface is fast and intuitive, which is what good software requires. The only possible problem is updates, ASUS has never been famous for good support for their smartphones. Therefore, it is not known if the Zenfone 8 will migrate to Android 12 while the gadget is running Android 11.