ASUS launched the 6Z, the company’s latest flagship smartphone and the successor of 5Z in India last week. It has no-notch design, has improved dual rear cameras, is powered by Snapdragon 855 SoC and has a huge 5000mAh battery. On-paper specifications look good for the starting price of Rs. 31,999, but how good is the phone? Let us dive into the review to find out.
We recently unboxed the smartphone, check out the video below.
- ASUS 6Z smartphone with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage in Midnight Black color
- 2-pin fast charger (5V-2A/9V-2A )
- USB Type-C cable
- ASUS ZenEar Pro Hi-Res earphone with microphone
- SIM Ejector pin
- Transparent case
- Documentation (user guide, warranty card)
Display, Design, and Hardware
The 6Z has a 6.4-inch (2340 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ IPS LCD All-Screen NanoEdge with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and about 84% screen-to-body ratio with ultra narrow bezels, even though the company officially lists it as 92%. It supports 96% NTSC color gamut, DCI-P3 and HDR10, so the screen looks bright with good color reproduction. It also has good viewing angles and the sunlight legibility is good as well since it has 600 nits outdoor readable brightness. The company could have gone with an AMOLED display, but there are no complaints since there are no issues with the screen. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
The earpiece is present on the top edge, and the tiny bezel below that houses the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors as well as notification LED that glows in green and red colors. It has gyroscope and magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer for VR headsets. Even though the phone uses on-screen buttons, there is a small chin below the display.
It has night light that filters the blue light so the screen has a yellowish tint and an option to adjust the screen color mode. You can easily hide the navigation bar and choose gestures instead.
On the right side there is a customizable smart key in addition to power button and volume rockers. On the left there is a dedicated dual SIM and a microSD card slot arranged in a single tray. It is rare to see this since most flagships don’t come with a microSD slot or have a hybrid SIM slot. It has dual speakers, one on the front and the other on the bottom, NXP smart amplifiers that deliver powerful, crisp and detail-packed sound and the company doesn’t miss out the 3.5mm audio jack.
The customizable smart key on the right side with small ridges can be mapped to launch Google Assistant or several other things such as toggle sound mode, open the camera, take a screen shot by pressing once (even works when the screen is off), twice or press and hold. You can also disable the smart key completely.
The phone has a 3D Curved Glass Back with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The glass back is not slippery to hold, but attracts fingerprints and smudges easily. It weighs 195 grams, mainly due to the huge 5000mAh battery and measures 159.1 x 75.4 x 9.2 mm, making it slightly bigger and bulkier than the other flagships with a 6.4-inch screen. The metal frame gives it a premium look.
This is the first smartphone to feature a motorized flip-up camera which is made from Liquid Metal is lighter than stainless steel and is 4x stronger. It will close automatically if you drop the phone, and the company at the launch said that it has tested it with up to 100,000 flips. Gaps between the flip camera attract dust easily, so you will have to clean the phone frequently.
Since it is a motorized camera, it gives a warning not to flip the camera with force and it might not work properly. The phone also has some flip camera features such as camera toolbar that shows a navigation bar or navigation gesture hint on the bottom when 3rd party apps access camera or flashlight so that you can control the camera angle. There is also an option to rotate the camera preview of 3rd party apps right-side-up when the camera is flipped to front or back camera in portrait mode. Camera retraction lets you knock twice to retract the camera when the camera is loose.
It is recommended to use the bundled cast to prevent smudges on the back.
The phone packs a 48-megapixel primary camera with 1/2″ Sony IMX586 sensor with 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.79 aperture lens that uses Quad Bayer technology for 12MP effective images, along with a 13-megapixel f/2.4 aperture 125-degree ultra-wide lens so that you can use it as both front and rear cameras, and the motorized flip mechanism can be used in 90-degree position.
The camera UI is simple with settings, HDR toggle, resolution (4:3, 16:9 or 1:1) option, flash toggle and filters (Grayscale, Warm, Hipster, Retro, Faded, Nostalgic, Vibrant and Blush), on the bottom there is an option to select normal and wide angle cameras, below that there are several camera options such as Timelapse, Slo-Mo (HD at 480 FPS, FHD at 120 or 240 fps), Motion tracking that can track and object and moves the camera accordingly, Video, Photo, Portrait, Pano to shoot 180-degree Panorama shots, Night mode and Pro mode (to adjust white balance, Exposure, ISO (up to 3200) and Shutter speed (1/100 to 16 seconds)). Below that there is Image preview, shutter button and flip to front camera, which can also be moved vertically to adjust the camera angle. The phone also supports Camera2 API by default so Google Camera ports for advanced editing including RAW capture will work without an unlocked bootloader.
Coming to the image quality, day light shots are good, and it is recommended to use the HDR+ auto settings since the HDR images are better. There is also HDR++ option, but it takes some time to take multiple images and process them to offer a single image. The camera can focus quickly, thanks to Laser auto focus. Macro shots are good, and the wide-angle camera is useful in daylight, but it is not good in poor lighting conditions. It uses software to blur the background for portrait shots, which is decent. Low-light images are decent, but it has noise, loses details and images are over exposed when light is bright, however the night mode is better. There is also a 48MP option that can be enabled from the settings, but this doesn’t support HDR+ and effects. The flip camera is useful for selfie, especially the wide-angle camera.
Check out some samples below (Click the image to view the full resolution sample).
It can record videos at 4k resolution at up to 60 fps and the wide-angle camera can also record 4k videos, but only at 30 fps. Video quality is good, and the audio is crisp. Since it has a flip camera, it doesn’t have OIS and comes only with EIS.
Check out the complete set of camera samples here.
Software, UI and Apps
The phone runs on Android 9.0 (Pie) with ZenUI 6.0 on top, which is almost stock. It comes with Android Security patch for April, 2019 update. At the launch the company promised that it will get Android Q and Android R updates, but it might take a lot of time looking at the company’s track record in pushing software updates and security updates.
It has gestures such as lift to check phone, flip down to mute, life the phone to answer calls automatically, double tap to turn off or wake up the screen, swipe to wake up and draw letters on dark screen to launch. OptiFlex feature accelerates app launches, reduces and reloads and saves power on standby says the company. It also has one hand mode, pocket mode and glove mode. The phone also has a built-in screen recorder with option to record internal audio.
We have 6GB of RAM with 128GB storage version. Out of 6GB RAM, you get 5.8GB of usable RAM, out of which 3.3GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 128GB of internal storage you get 113GB of usable storage. Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Facebook, Instagram and Facebok Messenger apps that can be uninstalled.
Fingerprint Sensor and Face Unlock
Unlike most recent flagships that have an in-display fingerprint sensor, this has a fingerprint sensor on the back. It is quick to unlock the phone as soon as you place your finger on the sensor and offers haptic feedback as well if detects a wrong fingerprint. It unlocks the phone even when the screen is off, so you don’t need to unlock the phone for the fingerprint recognition to work. You can add up to 5 fingerprints and you can also use your fingerprint to authorize Google Play purchases. It also has Face unlock which is also quick to unlock the phone, but it is not as fast as the fingerprint since the flip camera takes a second to lift up, and is also not as secure.
Music Player, FM Radio and Media playback
Google Play Music is the default music player for playback, and there is an audio wizard in the settings to adjust the equalizer options. It also has support for FM Radio (Which we were able to launch . The 5-magnet speaker is present on the bottom and the earpiece also doubles up as another speaker, still the audio is not exceptionally loud if you are in crowded places. Audio quality through the bundled Hi-Res earphones tuned by 1MORE is good. It comes with Widevine L1 support out of the box so that you can enjoy HD content on Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other streaming apps.
It supports 4G VoLTE as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. Other connectivity options include WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS (Dual bands, L1+L5). It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.
Performance and Benchmarks
It is powered by an Octa-Core Snapdragon 855 7nm Mobile Platform with that has a tri-cluster architecture with 1 x Kryo 485 Prime CPU (A76-based) at up to 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 485 Performance CPUs (A76-based) at up to 2.42GHz and 4x Kryo 485 Efficiency CPUs (A55-based) at up to 1.80GHz and has Adreno 640 GPU, 6GB LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. On a day to day usage, the performance was smooth and commendable, since we didn’t find any lag or hang. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.
The SoC is powerful enough to play some graphics demanding games including PUBG Mobile, COD Mobile, and others, however we did face occasional lags when playing PUBG Mobile. We did not face any heating issues, but the phone feels a bit warm on intensive gaming. Game Genie with a lot of settings improves the gaming experience. Check out the PUBG Mobile gaming review below.
It is powered by 5000mAh (typical) battery under the hood. It can last for 1.5 or even close to 2 days even with heavy use, and it should last more than 2 days with casual use. Power Master in battery settings lets you choose balance, power saving and super saving modes, battery saving options to detect battery-draining apps so that you can close them, and more.
In our One Charge rating, the 6Z scored 19 hours 43 minutes, which is brilliant. It comes with Quick Charge 4.0 support and comes bundled with 18W fast charger in the box which takes about 45 minutes to charge to 50% and less than 2 hours to charge the phone fully.
Overall, the ASUS 6Z is a good successor to the 5Z at a starting price of Rs. 31,999 for 6GB RAM with 64GB storage version, but the 128GB storage version at Rs. 34,999 is Rs. 3000 more. It is also Rs. 2000 more than the OnePlus 7 128GB model. If you are looking for a flagship smartphone with a good battery life, no-notch screen, smooth performance and a good selfie camera, this is definitely a good choice for the price. If you can spend more for the AMOLED screen, in-screen fingerprint scanner and a splash-resistant body and don’t care about the 3.5mm audio jack or the notch screen, the OnePlus 7 is better. The ASUS 6Z goes on sale starting today, June 26th at 12 noon exclusively on Flipkart. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.
- Brilliant battery life
- Good display
- Motorized flip camera is useful
- Customizable Smart Key
- Dedicated dual SIM and microSD card slots
- Average low-light camera performance
- Might be huge and heavy for some
Photography by Siraj