Mobile Technology

Asus reveals flagship compact Zenfone 8 and cam-twisting Zenfone 8 Flip

Asus reveals flagship compact ...
The Asus Zenfone 8 is smaller than your average flagship
The Asus Zenfone 8 is smaller than your average flagship
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The Asus Zenfone 8 is smaller than your average flagship
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The Asus Zenfone 8 is smaller than your average flagship
Both Zenfone 8 handsets are powered by the Snapdragon 888
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Both Zenfone 8 handsets are powered by the Snapdragon 888
The Zenfone 8 Flip keeps the flip camera of last year's models
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The Zenfone 8 Flip keeps the flip camera of last year's models
The flip camera means no need for a notch on the front of the Zenfone 8 Flip
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The flip camera means no need for a notch on the front of the Zenfone 8 Flip
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Asus might be better known for its laptops, but it has two new smartphones to show off – and they both offer something a little different from the norm. The Zenfone 8 packs flagship specs in a compact package, while the Zenfone 8 Flip sports the same nifty double-duty camera of the Zenfone 7.

The Zenfone 8 looks fairly standard as phones go, but it sports a 5.9-in, 2,400 x 1,800-pixel AMOLED screen, which is one of the smallest on the market at the moment. It beats the 5.4-in display of the iPhone 12 mini, but it's more compact than most of the competition. Asus says it was aiming for "perfect pocketability", and if you've been bemoaning the lack of choice when it comes to smaller Android phones, this should be a welcome arrival.

Other than the size, the Zenfone 8 is very much a flagship: it's powered by the Snapdragon 888, the top-tier processor for Android phones this year, and that comes along with up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of internal storage. There's 5G support, and a 4,000-mAh capacity battery packed inside.

The rear camera on the Zenfone 8 is a dual-lens 64-MP + 12-MP snapper with an ultrawide mode but no telephoto zoom, and you get a single-lens 12-MP selfie camera around the front, housed in a punch hole notch. There are a few missing features compared with the very best handsets on the market, however, including wireless charging and waterproofing.

The Zenfone 8 Flip keeps the flip camera of last year's models
The Zenfone 8 Flip keeps the flip camera of last year's models

Also making its debut today is the Asus Zenfone 8 Flip, which is likely to attract most of the attention: it features the same flip camera that its Zenfone 7 predecessor had, so the rear camera flips up above the phone to act as a selfie camera when necessary. It's a neat trick, and it means no need for a notch on the front display.

That display is a 6.67-in, 2,400 x 1,800-pixel AMOLED panel, so it's substantially bigger than the one on the standard Zenfone 8. On the Flip handset there's an extra 8-MP camera lens offering 3x optical zoom, which means quite a step up in terms of photo and video capabilities as well.

Rounding out the rest of the specs on the Zenfone 8 Flip, we've got a Snapdragon 888 processor, 8 GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of internal storage, and a battery with a 5,000-mAh capacity (which should help with that extra screen size). As on the standard model, you don't get an IP rating for water protection or wireless charging.

Price-wise, these phones fit in the gap between the mid-range and the really high-end flagships – an increasingly crowded space. The Zenfone 8 costs €599 (about US$725) and up, while the ZenFone 8 Flip will set you back from €799 (about $965). At the moment, Asus says only the compact Zenfone 8 is going to be officially available in the US.

Product pages: Asus Zenfone 8, Asus Zenfone 8 Flip

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1 comment
NMBill
The lack of wireless charging seems a deal breaker, especially for a phone that wants to break in to the top tier.