Asus Zenfone 9: What we want to see

Asus Zenfone 8 rear against brick

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Asus Zenfone 8 series went a little under the radar last year, but the Zenfone 8 made a name for itself as one of the best small phones of 2021 (if not the best one). 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 has been delayed for months.

What we thought: Asus Zenfone 8 review

So we’d like to see the phone come to market sooner across the board. But 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 lower price if the new phone is merely an iterative upgrade, though (e.g. only a new chipset).

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 this model 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 iPhone SE 2020 and the Pixel 6 have it, so it would be great if Asus offered it with the Zenfone 9.

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 still room for improvement beyond the standard two years of OS updates. After all, the industry has changed in a big way in this regard.

We’ve since seen the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, 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!).

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 we understand if Asus decides against this due to cost concerns.

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 by introducing better hardware (e.g. better sensors and OIS).

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 (save for the Pixel 6).

The company should take an “if it ain’t broke” approach to these two features, keeping them on the Zenfone 9. 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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