Asus accidentally leaked a promo video for the apparently upcoming Zenfone 9 on its YouTube channel, and the phone has some very interesting quirks and features, to borrow a sentence (through XDA† TechGoing† Perhaps the most interesting (at least for the folks who might take or leave a headphone jack) is what Asus has done with the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which the video labels as the “smart key”: it shows a creepy CGI hand. swipe to scroll through a web page by sliding his finger along the side of the phone.
It’s not exactly unusual to have some sort of gesture built into the fingerprint reader — phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip/Fold 3 let you bring down the notification shade with a similar swipe. (And those phones are far from the first to do it; I remember that feature on my Pixel 2.) But using them to actually browse content feels like a fun throwback to the era when phones had physical dials or rollerballs. to scroll. Will Asus’ version calling it “ZenTouch” be an RSI disaster or a gimmick that you use once before turning it off forever? Perhaps. But will it feel like hell that one time you try? I bet you do.
ASUS Zenfone 9
Snapdragon 8+ Gen1
– 5.9-inch 120Hz screen
– 4300 mAh dual battery
– Sony IMX766 main rear camera – ZenTouch
– 3.5mm audio port
– IP68 level waterproof
– Red, Black, Blue
— SnoopyTech (@_snoopytech_) July 7, 2022
Aside from the nice side button, the Zenfone 9 seems like a very interesting gadget. According to Twitter user SnoopyTech (which has had some pinpoint leaks before), the phone sports a 5.9-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and is powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip Asus has in its gaming-focused ROG Phone 6 posted. say the phone will cost between $800 and $900, roughly $850 to $950 US. That’s a lot higher than the $699 starting price for the previous-generation Zenfone 8, which my colleague Allison Johnson called “fantastic” in her review.
We’ll have to wait for an official announcement and hands-on to see if that price increase is justified (or even correct), but the video at least hints at some improvements that could justify the extra cost. The battery has gotten a bit bigger compared to the Zenphone 8, which had a 4000 mAh cell that offered a “just okay” runtime. The video also says that the phone’s dual cameras have been “majorly upgraded” and reveals that the main one has a “6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer”. It then goes on to show that feature is used with a really wacky accessory, the smart backpack mount, which looks like it’s trying to mimic a piece of gear professional videographers use to hoist heavy cameras all day — but for a phone.
Aside from accessories (there’s also a seemingly modular phone case that you can connect a kickstand/wallet to), this preview really gets me excited to see the Zenfone 9 officially unveiled. Sure, it’s not the Android-powered iPhone Mini clone that some people want, but it looks like it will continue the Zenfone tradition as a compact but high-quality Android phone with a few nice features to keep it interesting. And a headphone jack — I can’t get enough of the headphone jack.