The Asus Zenfone 9 is a compact phone with a gimbal-like camera

The Zenfone 9, like final yr’s 8, is that uncommon Android phone that prioritizes compact measurement moderately than maximizing display or battery measurement. Be nonetheless my coronary heart! But the brand new story this yr is the phone’s camera and stabilization system: moderately than simply shifting a single lens factor to compensate for camera shake, the complete predominant camera — lens, sensor, all of it — strikes. It’s a distinctive strategy to preventing a few of cell pictures’s greatest enemies: low gentle and shaky video footage.

The Zenfone 9 is small however mighty and continues the 8’s custom of together with top-tier specs in a compact phone. The display is a 5.9-inch 1080p OLED with easy 120Hz refresh fee, and the phone makes use of a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset — Qualcomm’s very newest and best. The base mannequin consists of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the phone is IP68 licensed.


One-handed usability is a main precedence for the Zenfone 9.

There’s a 4,300mAh battery that helps 30W quick charging and an adapter included within the field, however wi-fi charging is not supported. The phone’s again panel is a textured composite plastic, though the body is sturdy aluminum, and the entrance panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. And there’s a headphone jack! How considerate.

There are simply two rear cameras on the Zenfone 9’s again panel, which is simply wonderful: no extra macro or depth sensors right here. The predominant camera’s 50-megapixel sensor and f/1.9 lens are the celebs of the present with what Asus calls a 6-axis hybrid gimbal OIS/EIS stabilizer. Below that, there’s a 12-megapixel ultrawide that does double responsibility as a macro camera, plus a 12-megapixel selfie camera across the entrance.

The predominant camera’s stabilizer compensates for motion on the x- and y-axis (facet to facet and up and down) but additionally makes use of info from the gyro sensor to right for sudden z-axis actions ahead and backward. Asus says this makes the camera able to compensating for 3 levels of movement, in comparison with one diploma within the Zenfone 8, which makes use of conventional OIS. Better compensation for shake signifies that the camera ought to have the ability to use slower shutter speeds and seize extra gentle in low-light conditions, leading to higher element and colours. It’s a extra strong system than the same old OIS and even the sensor-based stabilization Apple makes use of on among the iPhone 13’s cameras.


50-megapixel predominant camera on high, 12-megapixel ultrawide on the underside

Including this type of stabilization required a re-thinking of how the camera unit connects to the processor. The cable connecting the 2 needed to be shorter and organized in an S-shape moderately than a folded configuration. The ribbon itself is softer, too, to use much less inertia on the camera module. That’s all tucked away contained in the phone out of sight, after all, however the outcomes are seen on the floor: with the camera in video mode, you may really see the whole camera bundle shifting round below the fastened, massive outer lens factor. Seriously, it is wild.

The Zenfone 9 can be bought unlocked within the US, however the value is nonetheless TBD; in Europe, it is going to price €799, which is about… $800 USD (sorry about your forex, European mates). It can be accessible first in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elements of Europe.

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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