Asus was forced to deny rumors last year that it was killing off its Zenfone series – and its previous claim that the speculation was "not true" appears to be correct, as the first leaks for the Asus Zenfone 11 have now surfaced.
If you're in the market for a small but powerful smartphone, that's potentially good news. The Zenfone, which traditionally has a 5.9-inch screen, is one of the last remaining contenders for our guide to the best small phones – particularly now that the iPhone mini appears to be dead.
The Zenfone 11 specs, spotted in the Google Play Console's developer code by 9to5Google, don't reveal a huge amount about the phone other than its likely existence. The specs appear to include a 1080p display, 16GB RAM, and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor.
That suggests it won't be a huge performance upgrade on the Asus Zenfone 10, which also had a 1080p display and offered 8GB/16GB RAM options. That top-end processor, though, would make it powerful for its size – perhaps even unnecessarily powerful, as we argued in our Asus Zenfone 10 review.
One other potential design tweak, as shown by the image attached to the listing, is that the Zenfone 11 may switch to a centered hole punch design for its selfie camera, rather than its traditional corner-mounted cutout. That would see it match the design of Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro and make selfies a little more intuitive.
Unfortunately, there's no rumored release date for the Zenfone 11 yet, other than the unlikely inclusion of February 25 in the leaked listing. With the Zenfone 10 only arriving in June 2023, an equivalent release this year looks more likely.
Is a minor update enough?
In many ways, it's good to see signs of continued life in the Asus Zenfone series – while most manufacturers have moved to 6.1-inch or 6.2-inch screens as their smallest offerings, the Zenfone is one of the few that offers a 5.9-inch display and pocketable dimensions.
While we don't know for sure that the Zenfone 11 will continue to have a 5.9-inch screen, it'd be a huge surprise if it dispensed with that unique selling point. But what's slightly more concerning is that it appears to be another iterative upgrade, based on the leaked specs so far.
We called the Asus Zenfone 10 "the definition of an iterative upgrade" that didn't fix "many of the issues and dubious choices of the Zenfone 9", so we're hoping that some further leaks hint at bigger changes like an upgrade to its middling cameras.
For now, it looks like Apple is content to offer the iPhone SE as its spiritual equivalent of the iPhone mini. But while the SE is relatively affordable, it's now extremely dated in terms of specs – so the Zenfone 11 could be our only hope for a small-ish phone that's built to last for more than a few years.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.