Despite the ZenFone 7 Series launching just 8 months ago, Asus has lifted the lid on the ZenFone 8 Series, and it’s a departure from what we’ve seen up until now.
The ZenFone 8 ditches the flip camera system for a more compact design, offering a smaller form factor that doesn’t compromise on power or performance. While that may come as bad news for fans of Asus’ innovative camera system, Asus is also introducing the ZenFone 8 Flip, a more direct follow-up to the ZenFone 7, to cater for both markets.
Here’s all you need to know about the ZenFone 8 and ZenFone 8 Flip right now, including details on release dates and pricing, along with the key features of the ZenFone 8 Series. And if you want to know what we actually think about them, read our ZenFone 8 Flip review to get our thoughts right now.
When will the ZenFone 8 Series be released?
Asus has confirmed that the ZenFone 8 and 8 Flip will both launch in May, though we don’t have have a specific date this month.
The company has also confirmed the ZenFone 8 and ZenFone 8 Flip are coming to India, though there’s no release date just yet – likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
How much do the ZenFone 8 and ZenFone 8 Flip cost?
The ZenFone 8 will start from £599/€599, and it’ll be available in a variety of configurations from the base 6GB/128GB combination to the high-end 16GB/256GB SKU. Specific RAM and storage options, and thus prices, vary a bit by country.
This model will launch in the US, though a specific price hasn’t been confirmed. According to The Verge, you should expect it to cost somewhere between $599 and $799.
Here’s the specific price breakdown:
6GB/128GB – €599
8GB/128GB – £599/€669 (£539 early bird until 31 May)
8GB/256GB – €729
16GB/256GB – £699/€799
The ZenFone 8 Flip is a little pricier, starting at £699/€799, and it’ll be available in either 8GB/128GB or 8GB/256GB configurations. Here’s the price breakdown we have so far:
8GB/128GB – €799
8GB/256GB – £699
What are the ZenFone 8 specs & features?
With a focus on compact design, the ZenFone 8 is what many referred to pre-launch as the ZenFone 8 ‘Mini’, sporting a 5.9in AMOLED display in dimensions similar to that of the 5.2in ZenFone 3. It may be compact at 148 x 68.5 x 8.9mm and 169g, but Asus has gone to lengths to ‘fix’ the problem with small Android phones, providing a flagship-level experience with high-end internals and long battery life to match.
Let’s start with the display; the ZenFone 8 sports a custom 5.9in Samsung E4 AMOLED panel, offering a 120Hz refresh rate, 1ms touch response with a 240Hz touch sampling rate ideal for responsive movement during mobile gaming sessions, and there’s a built-in fingerprint scanner too. The panel is protected by Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus.
Of course, 5.9in is still a fairly large to some, which is why Asus is introducing a one-handed mode with the ZenFone 8 series. It works in a near-identical way to Apple’s reachability software for iPhones; you swipe down from the bottom of the display to ‘pull’ the top of the display down, allowing you to reach buttons and notifications at the top of the display without having to adjust your grip or use a second hand.
Where Asus’ implementation differs is that it allows you to customise where the display drops to, making it suitable for hands of any size.
Beneath the 5.9in display you’ll find Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 888 5G and up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM – the same as the gaming-focused ROG Phone 5 – but it’s unclear which regions will offer the top-end model right now. There are also variants with a combination of 6- or 8GB of RAM and either 128- or 256GB of UPS 3.1 storage, and in markets where it’s certified, Wi-Fi 6e will come as standard too. Whichever way you spin it, the ZenFone 8 is a capable smartphone.
Despite the compact dimensions, Asus has managed to squeeze a 4,000mAh battery into the ZenFone 8. While the company didn’t mention how long the battery was likely to last, the 30W HyperCharge will get the ZenFone 8 from 0-60% in as little as 25 minutes, and you don’t need an Asus-specific charger to reach max charging speeds either – although you will get a 30W charger in the box.
The decision to make the ZenFone 8 as compact as possible meant Asus had to ditch the popular flip camera module present on recent iterations of ZenFone, reverting to a standard camera offering with a holepunch camera on front and a dual camera setup on the rear. Those that want the flipping camera system will have to opt for the larger 6.67in ZenFone 8 Flip.
The ZenFone 8 sports a capable main 64Mp Sony IMX 686 sensor, offering f/1.8 aperture, 1.6µm pixels, OIS and dual PD autofocus for rapid refocusing. It uses pixel binning tech to output a more detailed 16Mp image by default, but it can also produce a 2x lossless crop zoom when you need to get a little closer to the action. That’s paired with a 12Mp Sony IMX 363 ultrawide that also doubles up as a macro camera when required.
On the front, you’ll find a single 12Mp snapper using Sony’s new IMX 663 sensor – the first phone on the market with the sensor – with the same dual PDAF tech as the rear sensor. The autofocus tech allows for clearer facial detail and blurred backgrounds when taking selfies compared to selfie cameras with a fixed focus, which should bring an all-round improvement to the selfies you take.
The ZenFone 8 sports Android 11 running Asus’ ZenUI, but unlike other Android skins, ZenUI is refreshingly close to the stock Android experience. You’ll find a few unique features, like the one-handed mode mentioned earlier, Asus’ Audio Wizard tech, an Advanced Battery Care system to help extend battery life and a System Performance manager to customise the CPU, RAM and even thermal performance of the phone, but these strengthen the overall experience rather than weaken it.
ZenFone 8 specs
148 x 68.5 x 8.9mm
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
6/8/16GB LPDDR5 RAM
5.9in AMOLED display (120Hz, 1ms response time)
64Mp Sony IMX686 main camera with OIS & 12Mp Sony IMX363 ultra-wide on rear
Front-facing 12Mp IMX663 with Dual PDAF
4,000mAh battery with 30W HyperCharge support
Dual stereo speakers with Cirrus Logic amplifier
3.5mm headphone jack
IP65/IP68 water resistant
What are the ZenFone 8 Flip specs & features?
Not keen to completely ditch the flipping camera module that has made previous iterations of ZenFone so popular, Asus also introduced the ZenFone 8 Flip.
Unlike the standard ZenFone 8, the 8 Flip sports the same large dimensions as the 8.6mm thick, 230g ZenFone 7, complete with a 6.67in AMOLED display. It’s not quite as capable as the standard ZenFone 8 though, offering only 90Hz refresh rate and a 200Hz touch sample rate, although it offers the same 1ms response time, HDR10+ support and in-fingerprint display as its smaller counterpart.
That theme of not being quite as good as the standard ZenFone 8 is present in several areas of the ZenFone 8 flip; it sports the same Snapdragon 888 chipset, but it caps out at 8GB of RAM rather than 16GB, and while the ZenFone 8 offers OIS image stabilisation, the ZenFone 8 Flip – the phone with a focus camera performance – only offers EIS.
When questioned on the decision behind this during a press briefing, Asus simply stated that it considers the ZenFone 8 to be the flagship of the two devices. Asus also clarified that the ZenFone 8 Flip is the successor to the EIS-enabled ZenFone 7, not the 7 Pro, when questioned about the lack of OIS.
OIS drama aside, the flip camera module is back with a trio of cameras that can be used on either the back or front, allowing access to high-end rear cameras when taking selfies, chatting in video calls and recording Instagram stories.
The liquid metal housing of the flip module has returned, chosen by Asus for its ability to keep its shape even if it’s bumped and dropped. The module is powered by an upgraded motor mechanism that provides a 50% stronger output and 0.5-degree microstep solutions for better angle control and smoother motion when compared to the ZenFone 7.
Despite concerns that moving parts are prone to failure, Asus claims the ZenFone 8 Flip’s camera module is good for 300,000 flips – the equivalent of 150 flips per day for over five years – and it’ll use the phone’s G-sensor to automatically retract the camera if it detects it’s falling too.
The ZenFone 8 Flip sports the same 64Mp main, 12Mp ultrawide and 8Mp 3x optical zoom as the ZenFone 7, with a variety of photo and video modes that take advantage the moving camera module.
As well as being able to control the angle of the camera module yourself, there’s motion tracking that’ll use the module to follow the subject when it moves out of frame, and an automatic panorama mode uses the flip system to take a shot with smoother motion and better stitching than most alternatives.
When it comes to video, the main sensor is capable of recording both [email protected] and [email protected] video, and there’s also object focus technology that automatically switches the focus to the foreground when holding an object up to the camera, making it a handy system for up-and-coming vloggers and tech reviewers.
The ZenFone 8 Flip is powered by a 5,000mAh battery that should comfortably get you through a day’s usage, and it sports the same 30W USB-C quick charging as the smaller model, although the larger battery capacity means it can’t quite reach the 60% mark in 25 minutes of charging.
It comes running Android 11 with ZenUI, along with all the software improvements present on the ZenFone 8.
ZenFone 8 Flip specs
165.4 x 77.28 x 9.6mm
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
8GB LPDDR5 RAM
6.67in AMOLED display (90Hz, 1ms response time)
Flip camera module: 64Mp Sony IMX686 main camera with EIS, 12Mp Sony IMX363 ultra-wide, 8Mp 3x optical
5,000mAh battery with 30W HyperCharge support
Dual stereo speakers with Cirrus Logic amplifier