The Zenfone 9 is a full-force flagship in a small size, and with remarkably few compromises for it.
The 5.9in display makes this one of the smallest phones on the market, especially on the Android side, and comfortably the smallest with specs this strong.
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and up to 16GB of RAM mark this as a serious performance phone, though cooling problems do leave that power slightly throttled. The 8+ Gen 1 is also partly to thank for the excellent battery life however, which puts other compact smartphones to shame.
The gimbal-stabilised main camera impresses, especially at night, though with a few visual glitches and issues in bright environments it’s clear Asus has some software tuning to do. Some may also miss the variety offered by rivals, especially the lack of a telephoto lens here.
Given the phone is so good, it’s frustrating that Asus is only promising two years of support, so this will only suit those who know they’re on a regular upgrade schedule. The lack of mmWave support will also limit the 5G performance for US buyers. The overall experience is excellent though, with smart software and welcome touches like the IP68 rating and headphone jack.