The demand for compact-sized smartphones is still great, especially in the flagship segment.

When ASUS launched the Zenfone 8 last year, it embarks on the return of compact flagship smartphones. This is the spiritual continuation of Sony's Xperia Compact lineup that marries flagship-grade hardware and a compact body. Today, ASUS is still keeping the promise with the official unveiling of the Zenfone 9.

At first glance, it doesn't look much different than last year's Zenfone 8. Dig a little deeper and you noticed that the Zenfone 9 has a smaller body dimension and a totally different rear camera island than the Zenfone 8. The new model also gains a thicker body to accommodate a larger battery and Gorilla Glass Victus screen protection. Furthermore, the fingerprint scanner has gone physical and moved to the right side of the screen, unlike the Zenfone 8's under-display optical fingerprint scanner. Other than those differences, microSD card support is still absent while the 3.5mm audio jack, IP65/68 water/dust resistance, and 120Hz screen refresh rate with HDR10+ support remain unchanged.

Speaking of the camera, the rear main camera now has a larger 1/1.56" Sony IMX776 50MP sensor with 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer. The rear ultrawide and front camera carries over the Zenfone 8's 1/2.55" Sony IMX363 12MP sensor and 1/2.93" Sony IMX663 12MP sensor, both with Dual PDAF capability, respectively.

Powering the Zenfone 9 is Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 internal storage. ASUS has revamped the cooling system by implementing a new high-tech vapour chamber with an advanced heat spreader that uses copper, graphite sheets, and thermal paste. There will be two choices of RAM and internal storage between 8GB or 16GB and 128GB or 256GB respectively. The battery is now rated at 4,300mAh and offers up to 30W of wired charging. It will run Android 12 OS out of the box with a promise of two major OS updates.

Audio-wise, it has dual Stereo speakers with HD Sound input from Dirac. The 3.5mm audio jack offers Hi-Res Audio capable of up to 192kHz and 24-bit. There are also two microphones with OZO Audio Noise Reduction Technology.

Photo: ASUS Global

Four colours will be available ranging from Midnight Black, Moonlight White, Sunset Red, and Starry Blue. Prices will start at $699 in the USA and €799 in Europe. No words on official availability for Malaysia, so keep an eye out for it.

Are you interested in ASUS's latest offering? Are you a big fan of compact smartphones? Let us know in the comment section down below.


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