ASUS announces the Zenfone 6 with a 48MP flip camera, no notch, a 5,000 mAh battery

Today, ASUS announced its latest flagship, the Zenfone 6, and it packs some decent specs for its asking price. As you'd expect of any modern flagship, it runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform, and that's coupled with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage.

The standout feature of the Zenfone 6 is its camera setup, which consists of two sensors. One is the Sony IMX 586 - the 48MP camera that's made its way to many of this year's smartphones -, and the other is a 13MP wide-angle lens with a field of view of 126º. That's not particularly impressive on its own, but what makes it interesting is its ability to rotate from the back to the front of the phone, giving you the same camera quality and features as you get on the back. That includes Pro mode, which lets you adjust the focus, exposure, and more manually.

But that's not all there is to the Flip Camera, which is what ASUS calls it. The system can also stop halfway between the rear and front-facing positions, which the company says lets you take pictures of what's in front of you more comfortably, especially if you're looking below your eye level, such as when you're taking pictures of kids or pets. This can also let you put the phone down to take a picture and reduce the need for a tripod.

Further, you can also control the angle of the camera with total freedom up to 180 degrees, which also enables some interesting features for panoramic photos. If you're worried about using this beyond the built-in camera app, it will be possible. Whenever an app calls your camera, an overlay will show up on the screen, letting you control the tilt of the system at will.

ASUS says it designed the Flip Camera system with liquid metal, which is supposedly hard to distort. The rotating mechanism is tested for 100,000 flips, which is roughly equivalent to 28 selfies every day for five years. Like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the phone detects when it's in freefall, and retracts the camera to protect it.

Beyond the camera, the Zenfone 6 also promises great battery life with a big 5,000mAh unit which should be good enough for two days of "non-stop use", but that will obviously depend on what you actually do with your phone. It also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0.

Of course, thanks to the Flip Camera, the Zenfone 6 also doesn't have a notch, and it has a 6.4-inch NanoEdge display with a resolution of 2340x1080, giving it an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It's an IPS panel, so you won't get the same kind of vivid colors you'd get from an AMOLED, and you also don't get an in-display fingerprint reader. On the bright side, it covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, so the color accuracy should be pretty good. It has stereo speakers, which seem to be gaining popularity in flagships this year.

Additionally, ASUS has made some improvements to its ZenUI interface, which should look and feel a lot like stock Android, but with some exclusive capabilities and tweaks. It features Smart Volume, which adjusts your ringtone level to match your environment, improvements to the company's OptiFlex optimization technology, and a dark mode for the UI, so you don't have to wait for Android Q.

If you do want Android Q, ASUS says the phone is compatible with the beta program, and it's promising to update the phone not just to the next version of Android, but to the one coming in 2020. The company also says it's optimized the Android framework, and claims the Zenfone 6 is much faster than other flagships at performing day-to-day tasks such as opening the keyboard, the recent apps view, or hanging up a call.

The Zenfone 6 comes in two colors, Midnight Black and Twilight Silver, and is available in three storage and RAM configurations. The base model has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and costs €499; the 6GB/128GB model costs €559, and the top-end 8GB/256GB version costs €599. That puts it on approximately even terms with the OnePlus 7.

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