Asus ZenFone 6 review

A clever camera is just the start

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The Asus ZenFone 6 may seem just as odd as the Asus ROG Phone at first. It has an ambitious motorized camera likely to win ‘cool tech gadget’ and ‘most likely to get damaged one day’ prizes.

Its appeal is wider than the ROG Phone's, though. The ZenFone 6’s very reasonable price makes it one of the best phones to offer high-end specs at a lower price, like those of Honor and OnePlus.

We think the OnePlus 7 looks nicer though. And the Honor 20 Pro has a more versatile set of cameras for gigs and holidays.

This might be the better choice for those looking for something a little geeky and unusual. The flip camera is not as slick and safely designed as the OnePlus 7 Pro’s, but it can follow subjects, act as a stand, and lets you shoot better selfie video.

Important core parts of the experience are aced too, such as battery life and the look of the software. It’s a custom interface, but you might guess it was Google’s own before looking closer.

Asus ZenFone 6 review

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Who's this for?

The Asus ZenFone 6 is for the follower of tech who might otherwise be tempted by a OnePlus 7, but wants something a little more dynamic and unusual.

Should you buy it?

If you were considering an Honor or Huawei phone but are now put off by the ‘political situation’ they are tied up in, the Asus ZenFone 6 is a much safer bet. Just think twice if you’re a bit clumsy, as we’re not sure how much abuse the camera will actually take.

Check out these three alternatives:

OnePlus 7

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Not convinced by the Asus’s flip camera? The OnePlus 7 is your first place to head. It’s a less ambitious phone. OnePlus kept the design of the 6T but upgraded the chipset to the Snapdragon 855 and switched to the same 48MP camera as the ZenFone 6.

Its battery life isn’t quite as good, you only get a secondary depth camera, not a wide one, and it has a teardrop notch. However, we do prefer to the look of the OnePlus 7, and it has a higher-contrast OLED screen rather than an LCD.

Read our hands-on OnePlus 7 review

Honor 20 Pro

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

If it wasn’t for the concerns about the future of Honor phones, following Google cutting ties with Huawei, the Honor 20 Pro would be a real rival to the ZenFone 6.

Its quad rear cameras are significantly more versatile than the ZenFone 6’s for travel and street photography, and the phone is smaller, making it easier to handle.

The Kirin chipset isn’t as powerful as the ZenFone 6’s, though, and it has a punch-hole screen that may annoy if you want to fill out the display with a streamed movie.

Read our hands-on Honor 20 Pro review

Google Pixel 3a XL

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

What do you get from the ‘official’ Android phone at the same price? Some parts of the Pixel 3a XL are significantly lower end. The chipset belongs to the league below, its body is plastic rather than glass or metal, and its surrounds look huge next to the Asus’s. 

However, its 12MP photos are actually often more detailed than the 12MP ones the ZenFone produces. And here you get ‘real’ stock Android, not a close approximation. The Pixel will get quicker updates to new versions of Android too.

Read our hands-on Google Pixel 3a XL review

First reviewed: May 2019

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.