The Asus Zenfone 9 is a compact cellphone with a gimbal-like digital camera


The Zenfone 9, like final 12 months’s 8, is that uncommon Android cellphone that prioritizes compact measurement fairly than maximizing display screen or battery measurement. Be nonetheless my coronary heart! However the brand new story this 12 months is the cellphone’s digital camera and stabilization system: fairly than simply transferring a single lens factor to compensate for digital camera shake, the complete fundamental digital camera — lens, sensor, all of it — strikes. It’s a singular strategy to preventing a few of cell images’s greatest enemies: low gentle and shaky video footage.

The Zenfone 9 is small however mighty and continues the 8’s custom of together with top-tier specs in a compact cellphone. The display screen is a 5.9-inch 1080p OLED with easy 120Hz refresh charge, and the cellphone makes use of a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset — Qualcomm’s very newest and biggest. The bottom mannequin consists of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the cellphone is IP68 licensed.

Asus Zenfone 9 on home screen

One-handed usability is a significant precedence for the Zenfone 9.

There’s a 4,300mAh battery that helps 30W quick charging and an adapter included within the field, however wi-fi charging is just not supported. The cellphone’s again panel is a textured composite plastic, although the body is sturdy aluminum, and the entrance panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. And there’s a headphone jack! How considerate.

There are simply two rear cameras on the Zenfone 9’s again panel, which is simply nice: no extra macro or depth sensors right here. The primary digital camera’s 50-megapixel sensor and f/1.9 lens are the celebs of the present with what Asus calls a 6-axis hybrid gimbal OIS/EIS stabilizer. Under that, there’s a 12-megapixel ultrawide that does double obligation as a macro digital camera, plus a 12-megapixel selfie digital camera round entrance.

The primary digital camera’s stabilizer compensates for motion on the x- and y-axis (aspect to aspect and up and down) but additionally makes use of info from the gyro sensor to appropriate for sudden z-axis actions ahead and backward. Asus says this makes the digital camera able to compensating for 3 levels of movement, in comparison with one diploma within the Zenfone 8, which makes use of conventional OIS. Higher compensation for shake signifies that the digital camera ought to be capable of use slower shutter speeds and seize extra gentle in low-light conditions, leading to higher element and colours. It’s a extra sturdy system than the standard OIS and even the sensor-based stabilization Apple makes use of on a number of the iPhone 13’s cameras.

Asus Zenfone 9 lying on a table with rear panel facing up

50-megapixel fundamental digital camera on high, 12-megapixel ultrawide on the underside

Together with this sort of stabilization required a re-thinking of how the digital camera unit connects to the processor. The cable connecting the 2 needed to be shorter and organized in an S-shape fairly than a folded configuration. The ribbon itself is softer, too, to use much less inertia on the digital camera module. That’s all tucked away contained in the cellphone out of view, after all, however the outcomes are seen on the floor: with the digital camera in video mode, you’ll be able to truly see your complete digital camera package deal transferring round beneath the fastened, giant outer lens factor. Significantly, it’s wild.

The Zenfone 9 shall be bought unlocked within the US, however the value continues to be TBD; in Europe, it’s going to value €799, which is about… $800 USD (sorry about your foreign money, European buddies). It will likely be accessible first in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elements of Europe.

Pictures by Allison Johnson / The Verge


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