Asus Zenfone 10 vs Apple iPhone 14: iPhone mini substitutes?

Asus Zenfone 10 vs Apple iPhone 14: iPhone mini substitutes?


Ever since Apple killed the iPhone mini, there has been a gaping hole in the compact flagship smartphone niche. People who prefer iPhones and iOS in general have only two compact options: the iPhone SE lineup, which is not a real flagship, and the vanilla iPhone 14. Android fans, on the other hand, have to settle for the vanilla Galaxy most of the time. There's a new emerging force in the compact Android flagship space, and this force is called Asus.

The Taiwanese company has been perfecting the compact idea for three generations now, and it's mature enough to stand face-to-face with the iPhones and the Galaxies. Today we're going to compare the iPhone 14 and the Zenfone 10, two compact flagships that suit the needs of two different ecosystems. Here we go.

Zenfone 10 vs iPhone 14 in a nutshell:
  • Android vs iOS
  • 5.9-inch up to 144Hz display on the Zenfone vs 6.1-inch 60Hz on the iPhone
  • The Zenfone 10 has a bigger battery (4,300 mAh vs 3,279 mAh on the iPhone)
  • Faster charging speeds on the Zenfone (30W vs 20W on the iPhone)
  • The iPhone is a bit wider and heavier, while the Zenfone is thicker
  • Capacitive fingerprint scanner vs 3D Face Unlock
  • The Zenfone 10 has more RAM

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

There's a conceptual design difference between the Zenfone 10 and the iPhone 14. The former relies on a very interesting non-glass back that has a papery feel to it and slightly protrudes from the chassis, while the latter has the same (not getting old) glass sandwich design.

The iPhone 14 is three grams heavier than the Zenfone 10, but you probably won't feel such a difference. One thing that you will definitely feel is the wider iPhone; these couple of millimeters do make a difference, and the Zenfone 10 is more comfortable to operate with one hand.

Another interesting angle concerns the case situation. In our opinion, you can use the Zenfone 10 without a case; the non-glass back will survive falls and bumps, although it scratches much more easily than glass.

In the retail box of the iPhone 14, you'll find a Lightning cable and some paperwork. The situation is much more generous with the Zenfone 10. There's a 30W Hypercharge brick inside, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a protective back cover.

When it comes to colors, both phones come in some really fresh hues. You can find detailed information below.

Apple iPhone 14 colors:
  • Midnight
  • Purple Starlight
  • (Product) RED
  • Blue
  • Yellow

Asus Zenfone 10 colors:
  • Midnight Black
  • Starry Blue
  • Comet White
  • Eclipse Red
  • Aurora Green

The Zenfone 10 comes with more or less the same panel as its predecessor, a 5.9-inch Samsung-made AMOLED with a peak brightness of 1,100 nits and refresh rates up to 144 Hz. The iPhone 14, on the other hand, uses a more traditional 60Hz refresh rate on its 6.1-inch OLED panel that can go a tad brighter, according to the specs, at 1,200 nits.

Our measurements confirmed that fact: the iPhone 14 display does get a bit brighter, and it's also noticeable in real-life scenarios and under direct sunlight. The Zenfone 10 is much smoother, even though its panel is not an LTPO, and can switch between 60, 90, 120, and 144 (only in games) refresh rates.

Display Measurements:

The Zenfone 10 relies on a capacitive fingerprint scanner mounted on the side of the phone, while the iPhone 14 comes with 3D Face Unlock. Both work flawlessly; the capacitive scanner on the Zenfone is one of the best we've ever tested, and we all know how good 3D Face Unlock is on iPhones, so no complaints here.

Performance and Software

It's always hard to compare Android and iOS devices when it comes to raw performance and synthetic benchmarks. Not only is the hardware architecture different, but the way both platforms handle apps—app optimization and management—are also different.

The Zenfone 10 comes with the latest Qualcomm has to offer, namely the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, while the iPhone 14 features a slightly older A15 Bionic chipset (taken from the iPhone 13 Pro). The benchmark scores are quite close, but the more important thing is that both of these phones work like true flagships in real-life scenarios. You won't notice any lag or stutter, and performance shouldn't be a deciding factor when choosing between these two.

Performance Benchmarks:
Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Asus Zenfone 101684
Apple iPhone 142122
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Asus Zenfone 105221
Apple iPhone 144876
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Asus Zenfone 103753
Apple iPhone 143018
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Asus Zenfone 102610
Apple iPhone 142115

The software situation is even more complicated; the Zenfone 10 comes with Android 13 out of the box and will soon get the next version, Android 14. The iPhone 14 ships with iOS 16.x, and again this fall, the phone is slated to receive the big iOS 17 update.

The most notable difference here is the software support cycle. If you decide to go with the iPhone 14, you'll get five major iOS updates, while with the Zenfone, you'll have to settle for just two, meaning that Android 15 will be as far as you'll be able to go.


When it comes to the camera system, both the iPhone 14 and the Zenfone 10 come with a dual setup on the back—just a wide and ultrawide cameras with no trace of telephoto. Now, the Zenphone uses a 5MP sensor and, through pixel binning, outputs 12MP shots, while the iPhone 14 opts for a more traditional 12MP sensor with a wider aperture.

But we all know how important computational photography algorithms are nowadays, so we have to just snap some photos and comment on the results. Here we go.

Recommended Stories
Main Camera - Day

The 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor under the main lens of the Zenfone 10 has apparently received some new software algorithms because photos taken with the main camera look super vibrant, to the point that colors look a bit unnatural. This is strange because last year's model used the same sensor and produced very realistic shots. What's more, in bright daylight, the Zenfone tends to overexpose and burn some parts of the image (take a look at the orange flowers, for example).

The iPhone 14, on the other hand, does a great job at keeping colors natural, with the usual warm tonality most iPhones have. Details are good on both phones, but when it comes to exposure, the iPhone 14 produces more balanced shots that look subjectively more detailed and have a wider dynamic range.

Main Camera - Low-light

In low-light conditions the Zenfone 10 performs better, thanks to its higher resolution sensor. Photos are much more detailed and crisp, focus is good, and dynamic range is pretty decent as well. There's a strange greenish tint to the images, though, and some of them turn out too bright but overall, it's a win for the Asus.

The iPhone 14 struggles with its 12MP sensor, and night shots display a clear loss of detail with a soft and sometimes outright blurry quality to them. Bright lights create a halo effect and make details even harder to resolve around them.

Zoom Quality

Both the Zenfone 10 and the iPhone 14 lack a dedicated telephoto camera, and it shows. There are no winners here; the digital zoom samples look like something taken decades ago when phone cameras were low-res and tiny.

If we absolutely had to choose between the two, we'd pick the Zenfone 10, as it's doing a better job at low magnification levels. But neither of these phones is a Galaxy Ultra killer.

Portrait Mode

Portrait mode is good on both the Zenfone 10 and the iPhone 14, with the former displaying a big improvement over its predecessor. There's more color saturation again on the Zenfone 10, while the iPhone 14 keeps colors more neutral with a warmer tonality to the overall picture.

In some situations, the Zenfone 10 manages to output a wider dynamic range and more realistic photos, but it really depends on the lighting, as in some cases the Zenfone 10 underexposes the images. The bokeh is pretty convincing on both phones, and the Asus impresses in 2X Portrait mode.

Ultra-wide Camera

The ultrawide camera on the Zenfone 10 has an even wider field of view compared to its predecessor. This comes with some tradeoffs, though. There's a loss of detail toward the edges of the images, and the focus is not so good as well. Dynamic range suffers, and in general, the optical distortion algorithms aren't doing the best job here.

The iPhone 14, on the other hand, manages ultrawide shots pretty well. Not only are images more consistent when it comes to exposure and focus, but the colors are much more realistic as well. In comparison, the Zenfone 10 blows saturation through the roof, creating artifacts in the process.


The Zenfone 10 comes with a new selfie camera, which is pretty much the only meaningful hardware upgrade in this department. The results are quite pleasing, and the phone is now on par with many other flagships and also with the iPhone 14.

Selfies are detailed, balanced, and have a good dynamic range. The only difference is that the iPhone 14 has a warmer tone and a bit brighter image overall, but both phones can shoot some really amazing pictures with their front cameras.

Video Quality

The Zenfone 10 features the same impressive 6-axis gimbal stabilization system we all know and love from its predecessor. It's a great tool if you shoot dynamic videos that involve running, biking, or pretty much anything extreme and shaky.

Video Thumbnail

When it comes to the video quality itself, it's very good on both phones, and in good lighting conditions, the Zenfone 10 even pulls ahead in resolved detail. During low-light video recording, the Zenfone 10 somewhat struggled with bright objects, burning the highlights, while the iPhone 14 managed these tricky shots a bit better.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Both the Zenfone 10 and the iPhone 14 feature stereo configurations. The iPhone lineup has been notoriously good when it comes to audio representation on the main speakers, and the iPhone 14 is no exception. Despite its compact size, the audio is loud and clear, with surprisingly good bass response.

The Zenfone 10 is no slouch either; there is some clever magic going on. Asus collaborated with French audio experts Dirac to fine-tune the phone's audio and also add specific frequencies to subjectively make you hear more bass. And it works great; the sound is boomy and bassy without being muddy.

The Zenfone 10 has one advantage in the form of a 3.5mm headphone jack. Some people swear by it, and it's definitely a helpful addition but not a game changer, in our opinion. Haptics are good on both phones: short, snappy, and distinct.

Battery Life and Charging

There's a big difference in battery capacity on paper between the Zenfone 10 and the iPhone 14. The former comes with a hefty (for its size) 4,300 mAh cell, while the latter "only" manages 3,279 mAh.

Unsurprisingly, these numbers translate rather well into test results. The Zenfone 10 is one of the longest-lasting phones we've tested, with more than 27 hours of continuous browising. The Zenfone also outperforms the iPhone when it comes to video streaming, and in gaming, the results are similar, but bear in mind that the Zenfone does gaming at 144 Hz, while the iPhone can't do more than 60 Hz.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Asus Zenfone 1014h 30 min
Apple iPhone 148h 35 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Asus Zenfone 1027h 28 min
Apple iPhone 1415h 23 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Asus Zenfone 1010h 33 min
Apple iPhone 146h 44 min

Charging speeds are very similar between these two, both phones charge to 50% in around 30 minutes and take around 80–90 minutes to fully charge.

Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
Asus Zenfone 101h 24 min
Apple iPhone 141h 28 min

Summary and Final Verdict

So, which one should you buy, then? Even though neither of these phones is a real iPhone mini substitute, both offer a flagship experience in a very compact form factor. Their retail prices are also very similar, so the dilemma gets even more complicated.

On paper, the Zenfone 10 is the obvious choice; it has a bigger battery (which translates into longer battery life in our tests), a display capable of 144Hz, a smaller and lighter chassis, and a rather distinct design.

On the other hand, the thing with iPhones is that they do offer a very smooth, and you can call it a flagship," user experience, despite missing some specs, at least on paper. One big advantage is that this flagship experience will last for five long years, while the Zenfone 10 will only get two years of major Android updates. At the end of the day, you'll be happy with either of these phones, so there's no wrong answer here.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless