Asus ZenFone 6 is official: motorized camera, Snapdragon 855, $499

Asus ZenFone 6 is official: motorized camera, Snapdragon 855, $499
Aiming to take on the OnePlus 7 and Xiaomi Mi 9, Asus has just announced its latest smartphone – the ZenFone 6 – which offers flagship performance and a decent design without the typically-high price tag. In fact, the ZenFone 6 starts at just $499 and will be available to purchase in the US and across Europe. You can read our first-hand impressions of the ZenFone 6 over here.

Notchless display and rotating rear cameras

Like many other brands these days, Asus is hopping on the notchless bandwagon this year and has fitted the ZenFone 6 with a large 6.4-inch edge-to-edge LCD display covered in Gorilla Glass 6. This boasts an extra-tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio and allows for an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 92%. For comparison, the Galaxy S10+ settles for a shorter 19:9 display and an 88.9% screen-to-body ratio.

Such a large panel creates an impressive look and allows for a more immersive experience when consuming media. It does, however, come with one major drawback – there’s no room for the front-facing camera. Thankfully, Asus has found a solution.

Rather than skipping the selfie functionality altogether or selecting a slider design, the ZenFone 6 arrives equipped with a motorized module over on the rear which houses two cameras. When required, this rotates 180-degrees and allows the rear cameras to be used as selfie snappers. According to Asus, the motorized part can survive 100,000 open-close cycles (the equivalent to 28 flips per day for 5 years) and includes a variety of sensors that block rotations if placed inside a pocket or bag. Also, in the case of an accidental drop, the camera module will automatically close.

Regarding the actual camera specifications, the Asus ZenFone 6 includes a main 48-megapixel sensor and a secondary 13-megapixel camera paired with an ultra-wide-angle lens. As standard, the ZenFone 6 combines 4 pixel into 1 when shooting photos, thus creating a 12-megapixel image with more detail and better colors. However, the option to shoot 48-megapixel photos is available, although this does disable the HDR+ feature.

The camera on the ZenFone 6 also supports 4K video recording at 60fps paired with electronic image stabilization (EIS). Full-HD slow-mo video at both 240fps and 120fps is supported, as is HD slow-mo at 480fps. Accompanying this will also be a new function Asus calls Super Night Mode that should drastically improve low-light photography results.

The Snapdragon 855, a humongous battery, and stock Android!

As you'd expect from a flagship Android smartphone this year, the Asus ZenFone 6 is powered by Qualcomm's high-end Snapdragon 855, the same chip found inside the Galaxy S10 and LG G8 ThinQ. This is paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard, but if this isn't enough, separate variants with 128GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage will be available. In all cases, microSD cards of up to 2TB are supported. 

The Asus ZenFone 6 ships with stock Android 9 Pie straight out of the box. It is, however, compatible with the Android Q Beta program and, as an added bonus, an update to Android Q is also being promised.

Aside from all of this, the ZenFone 6 features a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and dedicated "smart key" that defaults to Google Assistant, but can be remapped to open the camera app, take a screenshot, activate Do Not Disturb mode, and much more. Lastly, the ZenFone 6 supports 4G LTE networks and dual-SIM. Additionally, for the power users out there, a huge 5,000mAh battery has been included along with support for 18W fast charging.

Asus ZenFone 6 pricing, release date, and availability

The Asus ZenFone 6 with 64GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM retails at €499 and $499 in Europe and the US respectively. Regarding the 6/128GB and 8/256GB offerings, these cost €559 and €599 in Europe respectively. US pricing for these two variants hasn't yet been announced, but they will presumably retail at $559 and $599. 

The flagship device can be purchased starting today through the Asus eShop and shipments are set to begin on May 25th in Europe, As for the US release, this is yet to be detailed. The smartphone is available in both Midnight Black and Twilight Silver.

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