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Release date, rumors, price, specs, and feature wishlist

Asus Zenfone 9 SlashLeaks 1

2021’s Asus Zenfone 8 series still stands out against today’s colossal-sized handsets. The series has earned a dedicated following, thanks to its smaller display and compact size, premium build, high-end performance, and a budget-friendly price point. We’re quickly closing in on the handset’s successor — the Asus Zenfone 9.

The last few weeks have seen a smorgasbord of details emerge regarding the phone. So here’s everything we know so far and what we hope to see when the Zenfone 9 finally arrives.

Will there be an Asus Zenfone 9?

Asus Zenfone 8 rear against brick

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Zenfone is a long-running phone series, so it should be no surprise that the company has revealed the compact Zenfone 9 is coming. What isn’t as clear at this point is whether we’ll see another pop-up camera variation like the Zenfone 8 Flip, if Asus will return to the Pro moniker arrangement, or if there’ll be just a single model this time around.

When will the Asus Zenfone 9 release date be?

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 6

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Asus has confirmed that the Zenfone 9 will be revealed on July 28 at 9 AM ET. So how does this launch window compare to previous phones? Well, you can take a look at previous launch dates below.

  • Asus Zenfone 6 — May 16, 2019
  • Asus Zenfone 7 — August 26, 2020
  • Asus Zenfone 8 — May 13, 2021

The big question is whether the Zenfone 9 will be available for purchase shortly after its launch. This has usually been an issue with the Zenfone series.

What we thought: Asus Zenfone 8 review

What features will the Asus Zenfone 9 have?

Asus Zenfone 8 on table

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There’s no word on a Flip model this year, but we’ve got plenty of info regarding the standard Zenfone 9 thanks to a leaked promo video. You can check out all the reported features below.

Design

According to an early rumor based on a sketch spotted in the Android 12 update for the Zenfone 8 Flip, the expectation is that the handset retains a dual rear camera setup from the Zenfone 8. This looks like a 50MP main and 12MP ultrawide setup, which would be slightly different from last year’s specs.

The leaked promo video indeed lines up with the aforementioned sketch, showing a phone with the same compact design and dual rear camera setup. The video even confirms an IP68 rating and 3.5mm port. The Asus clip even notes that the side fingerprint scanner can be swiped to scroll in pages. Check out a few screenshots below.

Unconvincing concept renders suggest that the Flip triple camera module version may also return this year, but we wouldn’t put any stock in this as confirmation. The handset’s design remains up in the air at this point, as does its actual existence.

Features

The aforementioned promo video gives us a ton of info regarding features too. For one, we’ve got a 5.9-inch 120Hz OLED screen, a 4,300mAh battery, a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, and a side fingerprint scanner.

We also have camera details, namely a 50MP IMX766 main camera with “gimbal stabilization.” There’s no word on the secondary rear camera though, but we’re guessing it’s a 12MP ultrawide camera.

One of the earlier rumored talking points with the Zenfone 9 was the introduction of a back tap gesture much like that available on the Google Pixel 6. This will apparently be a double-tap gesture, but we’re not sure what it does or if it’s mappable at this stage.

There’s no word on other details like the selfie camera or charging speed, so we’ll just need to wait for the launch to hear about these features.

What will the Asus Zenfone 8 price be?

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 15

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Last year’s Asus Zenfone 8 and larger Zenfone 8 Flip were reasonably priced, and the series has historically been more on the affordable side of the market. Here’s how the series has stacked up historically:

  • Asus Zenfone 7 — €699 (~$830)
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro — from €799 (~$950)
  • Asus Zenfone 8 — from $629
  • Asus Zenfone 8 Flip — from €799 (~$970)

Asus’ handsets have sat quite happily below the ultra-premium players in the market. As such, we can probably expect a ballpark price to be in the same region, although additions like gimbal stabilization might see the price shift slightly.


Asus Zenfone 9: What we want to see

The Asus Zenfone 8 series went a little under the radar in 2020, but the Zenfone 8 made a name for itself as one of the best small phones of 2021. The Zenfone 8 Flip wasn’t bad either, but was more of an iterative upgrade over the Zenfone 7 series. Still, there’s plenty of room for improvement in both cases, so here’s what we want to see from the Zenfone 9 series in 2022.

A faster, broader release to market

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 18

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

One of the more annoying things about the Zenfone 8 line’s release was the scattershot availability. The standard Zenfone 8 landed in the US a few weeks after launch, but the Flip variant skipped the US entirely. The phone is also available in Europe and the UK, but the Indian release was delayed for months. In fact, the Indian release finally took place in February 2022.

So we’d really like to see the Zenfone 9 come to market sooner across the board. After all, the Zenfone 8 launched in India when the new generation of flagship phones was already available. Furthermore, wider availability would be great as well.

Keep the Zenfone 9 price the same or go slightly lower

Asus Zenfone 8 resting on rug

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The best thing about the Zenfone 8, aside from its size, was the price, coming in at just $629. This was a fantastic price for a water-resistant flagship phone, making it only slightly more expensive than the aggressively priced, but quite large, Pixel 6.

Asus should maintain this price with the Zenfone 9, as it was well-priced to begin with. We wouldn’t be opposed to a slightly lower price if the new phone is merely an iterative upgrade, but it sounds like the device will be a more substantial release.

Read more: The best high-end phones that won’t break the bank

As for the Zenfone 8 Flip, it started at a pricey €799 (~$913). We can somewhat understand a higher price given the more complex design and additions like a telephoto camera and a bigger battery. But the standard Zenfone still offered exclusive features like better Gorilla Glass, a higher refresh rate, a headphone jack, and water resistance. So a lower price tag would be welcome for the Flip too unless it receives some major upgrades.

Bring wireless charging

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 9

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

One notable premium feature missing from the Zenfone 8 phones was wireless charging, which has become a fixture on premium-priced devices over the years. This absence was particularly glaring on the Zenfone 8 Flip given its price, so we hope to see the Zenfone 9 get Qi charging at the very least.

Related: The best phones with wireless charging

We understand why the feature was missing on the standard Zenfone, given its compact size and the space that wireless charging components can take up inside a phone. Nevertheless, both the compact iPhone SE 2022 and the Pixel 6 have it, so it would be great if Asus offered it with the Zenfone 9. In saying so, there’s been no mention of wireless charging for the Zenfone 9 thus far.

At least three years of OS updates

Asus Zenfone 8 against brick

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Asus isn’t terrible for software updates, as it’s been somewhat brisk with the Android 12 release. In saying so, there’s plenty of room for improvement beyond the standard two years of OS updates. After all, the industry has changed dramatically in the last couple of years when it comes to software support.

We’ve since seen the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Nokia, and OnePlus all offer three years or more of OS updates in some capacity. Some of these policies seem to be more about PR than others and thus only focus on a select few devices. We’d like to see Asus pull through and commit to at least three years of OS upgrades to the Zenfone 9 family (and retroactively to the Zenfone 8 series too!).

We aren’t confident that this will happen though, as the far more expensive Asus ROG Phone 6 is still stuck on two years of OS updates and a mere two years of security patches. That’s a real shame.

Improve the cameras

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 10

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

The Zenfone 8 series wasn’t exactly class-leading when it came to photography. More specifically, we thought the Zenfone 8 (which has a 64MP main and 12MP ultrawide lens) took good but not excellent photos via the main shooter. We also thought the ultrawide camera was disappointing.

Read more: The best camera phones you can get

Our impressions weren’t better for the Flip phone, save for the presence of an 8MP 3x telephoto camera. We’d ideally like to see the telephoto camera come to the standard phone too, but leaked promo material suggests this isn’t happening.

At the very least, though, we’d like to see Asus improve the main and ultrawide image quality on both phones. Whether that’s through better imaging algorithms, harnessing Qualcomm’s latest imaging tech, or introducing better hardware (e.g. better sensors and OIS). Thankfully, the standard phone is coming with gimbal stabilization tech, suggesting that recorded videos should be smoother.

Keep the headphone jack and IP68 rating

Asus Zenfone 8 right profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Two major features Asus added to the Zenfone 8 were the headphone jack and IP68 rating, with the former being a rarity on flagships these days and the latter being uncommon at the ~$600 price point.

The company should take an “if it ain’t broke” approach to these two features, keeping them on the Zenfone 9. This indeed seems to be the case according to promo materials. We’d also welcome the return of the headphone jack on the Flip version.

An IP68 rating might be difficult or impossible to achieve on the Zenfone 9 Flip though, but splash resistance would be a welcome addition nevertheless. After all, if Samsung can bring water resistance to its foldables, you’d think some form of IP rating would be possible on the Zenfone 9 Flip even with its fancy rotating camera.

What would you like to see from the Zenfone 9 series?

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