The Zenfone 9, like last year’s 8, is the rare Android phone that prefers compact size instead of maxing out screen or battery size. be still my heart! But the new story this year is the phone’s camera and stabilization system: instead of just moving a single lens element to compensate for camera shake, full main camera — the lens, the sensor, it all — moves. It’s a unique way to fight some of mobile photography’s biggest enemies: low light and shaky video footage.
The Zenfone 9 is small but powerful and continues the 8’s tradition of incorporating top-tier specs into a compact phone. The screen is a 5.9-inch 1080p OLED with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, and the phone uses the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset – Qualcomm’s latest and greatest. The base model includes 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the phone is IP68 certified.
One-handed usability is a major priority for the Zenfone 9.
There’s a 4,300mAh battery that supports 30W fast charging and an adapter is included in the box, but wireless charging isn’t supported. The back panel of the phone is a textured composite plastic, though the frame is sturdy aluminum, and the front panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. And there is a headphone jack! how thoughtful.
There are only two rear cameras on the back panel of the Zenfone 9, which is fine: there’s no additional macro or depth sensor here. The main camera’s 50-megapixel sensor and f/1.9 lens are the stars of the show, with what Asus calls the 6-axis hybrid gimbal OIS/EIS stabilizer. Below that, there’s a 12-megapixel ultrawide that does double duty as a macro camera, as well as a 12-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
The main camera’s stabilizer compensates for motion on the x- and y-axis (sideways and up and down), but also uses gyro sensor information to correct for sudden z-axis movements forward and backward. uses. Asus says this enables the camera to compensate for three degrees of motion, compared to one degree in the Zenfone 8 that uses traditional OIS. Better compensation for shake means the camera should be able to use slower shutter speeds and capture more light in low light situations, resulting in better details and colors. It’s a more robust system than the usual OIS or even sensor-based stabilization that Apple uses on some of the iPhone 13’s cameras.
50-megapixel main camera on the top, 12-megapixel ultrawide on the bottom
Incorporating such stabilization requires a re-thinking of how the camera unit connects to the processor. The cables connecting the two should be short and arranged in an S-shape rather than a twisted configuration. The ribbon itself is also soft enough to exert less inertia on the camera module. It’s all hidden inside the phone, of course, but the results are visible on the surface: With the camera in video mode, you can actually see the entire camera package rotating beneath the fixed, large outer lens element. Seriously, this is wild.
The Zenfone 9 will be sold unlocked in the US, but the price is still TBD; In Europe, it will cost €799, which is about… $800 USD (sorry for your currency, European friend). It will first be available in Taiwan, Hong Kong and parts of Europe.
Photography by Alison Johnson / The Verge