Asus 8z Review: A compact phone with lots of ZING!
We all have been treated with powerful performance-oriented smartphones - from Xiaomi 11T Pro to iQOO 9, though all of them have one similarity - ‘big displays'! But, that left a huge void for the ones who are in search of a smartphone that is both handy to use and powerful. Though there are a few options from iPhone ‘minis' to the latest iPhone SE 3, people who prefer flagship Android phones in a miniature display size smartphone are left with barely a few options. For them, the Asus 8z seems to fit the bill perfectly.
Featuring last year's flagship Snapdragon 888 chip, a 120Hz AMOLED display, and promising cameras, this is by all means a tempting flagship killer — that too stuffed into a compact body. That compact design means the Asus 8z has to make do with just a 5.9-inch display, which is substantially smaller than the other Android flagship smartphones. At the same time, it is much bigger than the iPhone 13 Mini. Not too big and not too small then!
Is the Asus 8z then a good buy in India in early 2022, a full year after it saw its global launch? Read the full review to find out.
Asus 8z Design
The spotlight feature of the Asus 8z is its ‘compact' design. From taking it out of the box for the first time to daily rigorous usage, the Asus 8z feels comfortable with its comparatively smaller size than the current trend which goes up to even 6.9-inches! Its miniature design of 5.9-inch is perfect to adapt to my palm. At the first glance, it broadly looked like the iPhone 12 Mini with the same dual-camera placement along with the flashlight. But there is certainly a difference (more than the logo obviously!) of the camera module.
The Aluminium frame with a frosted matte finish gives the smartphone a premium look that doesn't attract smudges and fingerprints. And I liked it, without going towards the lustrous rear panel, it just goes simple - but premium. And its curvy edges provide a better grip. Moreover, the shiny blue-coloured power button, as well as volume controls, are placed such that it can be easily managed via one hand.
Asus 8z Display
After getting adapted to 6-inch+ sized smartphones, the viewing experience slightly feels different for a 5.9-inch display. But that's just because of the size, rest with its full HD+ AMOLED display that reaches 1100 nits of peak brightness delivers a bright and sharp viewing experience for full HD videos, photos, and gaming. Even under the sunlight, the display manages to bring vivid colours to use your smartphone for basic purposes such as reading, texting and calling. The display is one of the key strengths of the Asus 8z which comes with up to 120Hz of refresh rate and an in-display fingerprint sensor to unlock the smartphone.
Asus 8z Performance
It is small in size, but not in performance! Asus 8z comes with the power-packed Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G connectivity under the hood, that performs well without any slowdowns in every sort of task. Though I had to face a few unexpected shutdowns with the Asus 8z, but I can't say about it overall, as it can be a unit issue too. Besides that, Asus 8z manages to perform without any hiccups even during high-end graphics game titles such as Call of Duty, BGMI. But at the cost of a Snapdragon 888 processor, you have to deal with a hot device! Even with 20-30 minutes of gaming experience, 8z's temperature surges high, but still, it doesn't affect the performance of the phone.
The software experience of 8z, which runs on Android 12 with Asus ZenUI, also provides a clean and bloatware-free experience. That means no unnecessary notifications (besides your own downloaded apps!) Well, I can't move on without mentioning its audio quality, which delivers loud, clear, and immersive stereo sound - enough to fill my room with pleasant (or can be rock!) music even at the maximum volume. For this, it comes with dual stereo speakers with Dirac HD Sound and a traditional 3.5mm audio jack to connect your wired earphones. Oh.. plus, its bright-blue power button is worth mentioning, which works as a shortcut key that can be customised with two apps or functions.
Asus 8z Cameras
Asus 8z brings a dual-camera setup with Sony sensors at the back - one with a 64MP primary camera with OIS and another with a 12MP ultrawide camera. The major change that this mini-sized Asus smartphone saw from its predecessor Asus 6z in India is its flip-camera mechanism. This time Asus kept it simple. You will miss out on a separate telephoto lens too but the main camera fills the void with its up to 4cm macro shots support. Overall with the 64MP camera, I am impressed with its output which delivers detailed and true to its colour images without any boosted saturation in daylight. Even indoors, it manages to bring bright and sharp photos, though I faced a few issues with the exposure but that doesn't overpower the image quality. Its portrait mode does a pretty good job too while determining fine edges and providing customization over the bokeh.
In low-light photography, the Asus 8z camera takes some awesome photos - not too exposed or under-exposed - without disturbing any details or colours. Plus, you won't find any colour noise, which results in pretty decent photos in moderately low light situations. While its selfie camera is something that disappoints me even at this price range. With over-smoothening and lack of details, the end results of the selfies emerged with a washout-out feel. Even the skin tone seems a bit dusty in colour.
But again after a let-down with the selfie camera, Asus shoots a high picture quality video recording experience with up to 8k resolution. It comes with motion-tracking, customisable slo-mo recording, time-lapse and Pro-video recording modes which allows you to handle the video according to need.
Asus 8z Battery
For heavy phone users like me, Asus 8z's battery won't go hand in hand with you for the whole day! Its compact design has to settle for less with a 4000mAh battery, which can last for a day with the normal usage during office hours from taking calls, listening to songs, and moderate use of social media. On weekends, when you plan for a movie or an hour of a gaming session, the Asus 8z will drain out to zero within a half-day. And frustration adds up with the one hour thirty minutes of charging that it takes from null to full with its 30W charger.
Verdict: Buy it, or not?
Undoubtedly, Asus 8z emerges as a fresh option in Android smartphones for someone who is looking for a compact device without leaving the performance factor behind it. With its rich viewing experience, good rear camera output along with its strong and comfortable build quality, the Asus 8z has impressive output but with some flaws. As nothing is perfect! The average battery life and slow charging are just some factors that one can't neglect, especially when you know that you need to pay Rs. 42,999. Hence, keeping its miniature factor aside for a while, there are a lot of better options for your consideration at the same price range.
If you are looking for better camera performance, then there is Oppo 7 Pro with an even larger battery life under Rs. 40,000, but have to settle with a 90Hz display. Well, with the almost same price, the iQOO 9 adds the fast charging option to the table. And with a bit higher prices, the Xiaomi 11T Pro and Moto Edge 30 Pro can be a good option with a more powerful battery, better camera, and quick charging.
But if a compact smartphone is what all you need, then the latest iPhone SE 3 (2022) shouldn't be missed out of your consideration within the same budget. With Apple's flagship A15 Bionic chipset, iPhone SE 3 offers a better camera and upgraded battery life. Well, consider it only if the retro look of the iPhone 8 doesn't bother you in 2022! While, with a bit of more investment, the iPhone 13 mini or even iPhone 12 mini are still one of the best options for a compact smartphone.
Having said that, Asus 8z doesn't lag behind the iPhone SE 3 in terms of its premium look, rich display, which brings a fresh air of compact smartphones for Android users.
- Compact size
- Great display
- Good rear cameras
- Loud and stereo sound
- Average battery life
- Slow charging
- Heating issues
Display5.9-inches AMOLED screen
Battery4000mAh, 30W wired charging
Rear Cameras64MP + 12MP
OSAndroid 12, ZenUI
ChipsetSnapdragon 888 5G