What is the Asus Zenfone 6?
The Asus Zenfone 6 is the largest phone in the new Zenfone line-up. It has a 6-inch screen but is set to sell for under £250 SIM-free, if we don't get done over when the the phone comes here from the US.
We think the Zenfone 5 is the sweet spot in the new range, but this should prove one of the cheapest ways to get a 6-inch phone.
Asus Zenfone 6 – Design
Like any 6-inch phone, the Asus Zenfone 6 is very large. It's a real handful, which is one of the main reasons to consider another phone in the Zenfone range instead of this one.
Build is much the same as the other Zenfone mobiles. Its rear is plastic, and comes in red and gold and well as the more standard black or white. Common to many larger phones, it's slimmer than its Zenfone brothers at 9.9mm thick.
It weighs 200g, which is about the norm for a phone of this size. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 weighs 199g, for example.
The bit of Zenfone series visual flair is the area of shiny concentric circles below the screen. It's just there for the look, as the soft key virtual buttons sit just above this bit.
Asus Zenfone 6 – Screen and Specs
The key way the Zenfone keeps its price down is by using a lower-resolution screen than some of its rivals. Despite being six inches across, the phone has a 720p display, rather than a Full HD one.
Unlike the Zenfone 5, you can tell this deficiency, but it's a relatively minor issue. Texts looks a little bit softer than it would on a 1080p screen. Otherwise the IPS display provides decent image quality for a low-cost phone with good viewing angles and OK colour reproduction.
Like all the Zenfone mobiles, the Zenfone 6 uses an Intel Atom processor. It's the same one used in the Zenfone 5, a 2GHz dual-core Z2580 chip. This is a chip first seen in the Lenovo K900 back in 2013, and rarely used since, but it provides good performance for a phone this cheap. Asus claimed that it outperforms almost every Android phone out there, but such claims should be treated with a pinch of salt as Intel Atom performance versus things like Qualcomm chips varies a lot between benchmarks.
Asus Zenfone 6 – Software
The version of the Zenfone 6 we played with ran a largely vanilla version of Android 4.3. However, by the time the phone launched it'll run ZenUI, Asus's new Android interface.
As well as a new look and extra features, it could come with some performance issues like other third-party interfaces. We'll look into this once the phone is released.
Asus Zenfone 6 – Cameras
Across the board, the Zenfone 6 is similar to the Zenfone 5, but it does have a superior camera. Its main sensor is a 13-megapixel model rather than an 8-megapixel one.
One of the main software features of the new Zenfone phones is the software's ability to downgrade the camera's resolution to improve low-light performance. This involves virtually grouping together sensor pixels to create virtual, larger sensor pixels. We'll wait for our review sample to see if it really works, though.
The Asus Zenfone 6 also has an LED flash and a 2-megapixel front camera.
As with any 6-inch phone, the Asus Zenfone 6 comes into some slight handling problems thanks to its size. We imagine many of you would be better off with a Zenfone 5. However, if it's priced right in the UK this will be easily the cheapest 6-inch phone from a known brand.