From thick bezels on all four sides of the screen to a completely bezel-free display, this evolution has happened rather quickly. While it started with a notch display, there are devices with pop-up camera modules and even laser-cut hole within the display. Asus thought out-of-the-box and has completely done away with the front camera module. In fact, the dual rear camera setup handles selfies too. To achieve this, instead of housing the camera in the phone's chassis, Asus opted for a motorised mechanism made of liquid metal that flips open at 180 degrees for selfies and even when used for face unlock.
The Asuz 6z had 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 is not a sleek phone thanks to the motorised camera module and the 5000 mAh battery onboard. Other than regulars, including fingerprint scanner at the rear, there is a Smart Key on the right panel 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 volume control has been placed on the right edge between the Smart key and the power button. SIM tray is on the left panel while the Type-C charging port, speaker grill and the audio port are at the bottom.
The only camera setup on the Asus 6z is the one with a 48MP Sony IMX586 main sensor along with a 13MP 125 degree ultrawide sensor. But, images are captured at 12MP resolution by default as it uses four pixels as one for capturing more light. All images shot on this phone, including selfies, are captured using this camera module itself. As soon as I hit the camera switch icon for the selfie, the camera flips open at 180 degrees. It is a stepper motor-assisted camera. I could adjust the camera module's angle just by swiping up and down on the camera switch icon in the app. This comes handy when capturing images of tall buildings such as the Eiffel Tower. What impressed me the most was capturing panorama shots. While capturing a panorama, instead of moving the phone, the camera module moved automatically. It worked well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas. However, the coverage is not as good as that for panoramas shot on iPhone. The images shot using the dual camera set-up were pretty impressive in the daylight but there was some noise when used indoors or in low-light surroundings. Other than the regular photo mode and selife mode, the 6z has motion tracking, slo-mo, time lapse and night mode onboard.
When using the 6z for capturing selfies, I was sceptical about damaging the module in case of accidental drops. Thankfully, a fall detection mechanism has been embedded into the 6z that instantly brings the camera back to its default position even when it senses a slight drop.
Clean UI, performance
The Asuz 6z 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 used to hamper the experience in the past. The only set of pre-installed apps apart from the Google apps and services are Asus Data Transfer, Facebook, Instagram and Gallery, to name a few.
This might be a budget flagship but has got the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor onboard. My review unit had 256GB of internal storage with 8GB of RAM. The performance was top-notch. Be it browsing the web, playing games, streaming videos, handling emails and documentation or using the innovative flip camera, there was no sign of a lag or a slowdown. The fingerprint scanner at the rear is quick to unlock and so is the face unlock where the camera flips, unlocks the phone and goes back to its position.
Owing to the motorised camera module, the battery is bound to drain quickly. Asus has considered the same while designing this phone and has added a 5000 mAh battery onboard. This easily lasted me over a day with still 30 per cent juice on a single charge.
Asus 6z is known as Zenfone 6 in international markets. It had to rename the device to 6z after Delhi High Court restricted the company from using 'Zen' or 'Zenfone' or similar marks on its products in India.
The new flagship from Taiwan-based Asus is quite a compelling device. It has got just the right set of high-end specifications backed by an impressive performance. It gives a tough fight to the much popular OnePlus 7 and is one of the most aggressively priced mid-budget flagship devices.