Asus impressed us a lot with the ZenFone 5Z (Review) last year, which marked the company’s return to the premium smartphone space. With competitive pricing, top-tier specifications, and great construction quality, the ZenFone 5Z was extremely well positioned to take OnePlus 6 (Review) on, and it has made many appearances on our lists of recommended phones since its launch. Now, the company is ready with an update called the 6Z, timed to hit the market just shortly after the OnePlus 7 (Review).
The new Asus 6Z budget flagship phone drops the ZenFone name thanks to a recent legal dispute with the company behind Zen Mobiles in India, but in all other ways this phone is exactly the same as the Asus ZenFone 6 which has been launched internationally already and has been teased here for over a month. In the interest of full disclosure, the unit we’re reviewing is one that Asus provided us before the court order was issued, so the software still has the old name in some spots.
While the last-minute name change is unfortunate for Asus, we’re still getting a well-priced phone with some seriously powerful hardware and a rotating camera system that not only eliminates the screen notch, but also aims to give users the best possible quality for selfies. Will this take on pop-up cameras give Asus the edge it needs to dominate the budget flagship market? Check out our full review to find out.
Asus 6Z design
For a phone with a 6.4-inch screen, 5000mAh battery and mechanical camera module, the Asus 6Z is pretty slick. It doesn’t feel bulky, though maybe we’re just getting too used to oversized phones. The curved Gorilla Glass rear is not too slippery and feels pretty reassuring in the hand.
The front of this phone is completely minimalist, with really nothing other than the screen to be seen. The chin is very slightly thicker than the rest of the borders, but that’s only visible when the screen is on. If you look very closely, you’ll see a slim earpiece at the top, and Asus has even managed to hide a tiny status LED next to it.
Of course the main attraction is the flip-up camera module. There are two cameras with a dual-LED flash and laser autofocus sensor between them. When you tap a button in the camera app or trigger face recognition, the module will flip up so the cameras face forwards. The mechanism is a bit loud and it takes over a second to flip fully. You can also rotate the module manually and have it open at any angle, but more on that in the camera section below.