The race to have a bezel-free display is pushing handset manufacturers to experiment with new technologies. While the majority of the smartphones today boast a notch display, some have added pop-up selfie cameras too. Recently, Samsung introduced a punch hole display for its flagship S10 lineup. But Asus has adopted a unique approach as the Zenfone 6 has a motorised flipping module, which allows the rear camera setup to be used as the front camera as well.
Yes, there isn't a front camera at all. In selfie mode, the rear camera setup (48MP Sony IMX586 main camera along with a 13MP 125 degree ultrawide secondary camera) flips up to a maximum of up to 180 degree for capturing selfies. Thanks to the stepper motor assisted camera, just by swiping up and down the camera switch icon in the app, I was able to adjust the module's angle. Asus says this could come in handy while capturing images of tall buildings such as Eiffel Tower. However, what me impressed me the most were panorama shots captured by the phone. While capturing a panorama, the camera module moved automatically and there was no need to move the phone; and it worked well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas. The implementation has been well thought.
This technology sounds fancy but seems to work smoothly. Asus claims that this module has been made of 'liquid metal' and is sturdy.
The Zenfone 6 has a nice look and feel. The 6.4-inch bezel-less screen is bright and is protected using Corning Gorilla Glass 6. Asus has used the Gorilla Glass 3 at the rear and the rest of the chassis has been made of metal. This isn't a sleek phone, thanks to the motorised camera module and the 5000 mAh battery onboard. Other than the regulars including fingerprint scanner at the rear, there is a Smart Key that can be pressed once for Google Assistant, twice for personal updates and press and hold for using Google Assistant in Walkie-Talkie style.
The Zenfone 6 is not on Android One program yet the user interface is very close to it. Thankfully, Asus has done away with most of the bloatware and unnecessary applications that would hamper the experience in the past. The user interface is very close to stock Android with only a handful of pre-installed applications.
The Zenfone 6 is Asus' flagship smartphone powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The company is trying to offer the best of everything with this device - including display, camera, performance and battery. We are yet to test the claims.
This 'First Look' is on the basis of limited time we had spent with the Asus Zenfone 6. A detailed review will follow soon.