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Home Reviews Asus Zenfone 7 Pro hands-on: Refining the flip

Asus Zenfone 7 Pro hands-on: Refining the flip

Last year, Asus released the Zenfone 6 with a fresh take on an all-screen design. It had a flip camera that allowed the user to flip the main cameras around into selfie mode. It was a unique and bold approach, but we liked it. It’s now 2020 and the team at Asus has released a successor, or rather successors, in the Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro. Has Asus done enough to keep the flip-camera relevant? We’ll find out in our upcoming Asus Zenfone 7 Pro review. For now, here’s our hands-on experience with the Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro.

Read more: All the details about the Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro

There are now two models

Asus Zenfone 7 laying on a table at an angle

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Like many others in the space, Asus has opted to extend and complicate its lineup with multiple variants of the phone. The Zenfone 7 differs from the Pro in that it drops optical image stabilization on the cameras, has half the storage and less RAM, and sports the Snapdragon 865, vs the Snapdragon 865 Plus chip found in the Pro.

Related: What is image stabilization? OIS, EIS, and HIS explained

The regular model will come in cheaper than the Pro model to make up for this drop in specifications. It’s strange that Asus split the Zenfone into two models, because both versions are close across the board. That said, this strategy seems to be the norm in 2020.

Refining the flip camera design

Asus Zenfone 7 flip camera extended for selfie mode

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The flip camera is back, but now with an added third lens. This makes the module substantially bigger than the first version. Asus has refined the mechanism and claims that the new motor has 2.2x the torque of the original motor. The system has been rated for up to 200,000 flips, which is double the Zenfone 6’s 100,000 flip rating.

The Zenfone 7 series comes with a triple flip camera. Yes, you can shoot 8K selfie videos.

The new flip camera houses three different focal lengths — wide, ultrawide, and telephoto. The main camera is a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor with an optically-stabilized f/1.8 lens. The ultrawide is a 12MP Sony IMX363 sensor with a 113-degree field of view. The last is an 8MP 3x telephoto camera. Asus says that it wanted to keep the flip camera mechanism slim and so it couldn’t put a larger zoom lens into its design.

Asus Zenfone 7 triple flip camera close up

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Of course, because these cameras are in the flip mechanism, you can use the main rear cameras to take selfies. Rear cameras usually have larger sensors and so they tend to take better photos. Since you can take selfies with these cameras, the Zenfone 7 series will likely take some of the best selfies in the game. And yes, you can shoot 8K selfie videos.

Continue reading: Maybe don’t buy into the 8K video recording hype yet

What’s it like?

Asus Zenfone 7 rear hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

​I’ve spent the past couple of days with the Zenfone 7 Pro and straight out of the gate the phone feels hefty. It comes in at 230g, which is heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and even the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. Stick one of the included cases on it and you’re going to need big pockets for this device.

The Zenfone 7 Pro is hefty. It’s not the prettiest smartphone about, either.

The series-6,000 aluminum rails feel heavy duty and tough, matching the device’s weight. The surrounding chamfers break up the design and give off a feeling of quality. The rear is covered in Gorilla Glass 3 and the front in Gorilla Glass 6. The buttons do feel a little loose, which takes away from the otherwise well-built Zenfone 7 Pro.

Holding the Asus Zenfone 7 in the hand

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Up front, the 6.67-inch Full HD+ 90Hz AMOLED panel is surrounded by some fairly thick bezels. However, the display is uninterrupted thanks to that flip camera mechanism. The panel seems to get fairly bright and is responsive thanks to the 200Hz touch sampling rate. The viewing angles look solid, but we’ll put the device through our full display-testing suite for our upcoming Zenfone 7 review.

Continue reading: 90Hz smartphone display test: Can users really feel the difference?

The back has the cameras up at the top and some Asus branding further down. On the bottom is the speaker, the USB-C port, and a microphone. On the top is the flip camera mechanism. On the left side is the dual-SIM and microSD card slot. On the right is the volume rocker and power button/fingerprint scanner combo.

Asus Zenfone 7 home screen cropped

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Overall, the Zenfone 7 Pro looks and feels a little dated. The bezels are a little thick and the heft is off putting. Sure, it feels well made, but at almost 10mm thick, it’s not stylish by any means.

Software bliss?

Asus Zenfone 7 home screen dock icons

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Zenfone 7 series is running ZenUI 7 atop of Android 10. The software skin looks and feels very much like stock Android, but with a sprinkling of useful features to enhance the user experience. Out of the box, ZenUI feels light and fluid. There are five extra pre-installed apps: Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Asus Data Transfer, and Gallery.

ZenUI 7 is ‘stock plus’

Asus has included some charging optimization features to prolong battery life. Asus’ camera app integrates the flip camera mechanism. This “stock plus” theme debuted with the Zenfone 6 and has been refined for the Zenfone 7.

Asus Zenfone 7 specs

Display 6.67-inch AMOLED
FHD+
HDR10+
90Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
6.67-inch AMOLED
FHD+
HDR10+
90Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 650 Qualcomm Adreno 650
RAM 6GB / 8GB
LPDDR5
8GB
LPDDR5
Storage 128GB
UFS 3.1
Expandable with microSD card (up to 2TB)
256GB
UFS 3.1
Expandable with microSD card (up to 2TB)
Battery 5,000mAh battery
30W wired charging
5,000mAh battery
30W wired charging
Cameras Primary:
64MP Sony IMX686 sensor with EIS
f/1.8 aperture
0.8μm pixels
Dual LED flash
8K/30fps video

Secondary:
12MP ultra-wide sensor (IMX363)

Tertiary: 8MP 3x telephoto with EIS

Primary:
64MP Sony IMX686 sensor with OIS
f/1.8 aperture
0.8μm pixels
Dual LED flash
8K/30fps video

Secondary:
12MP ultra-wide sensor (IMX363)

Tertiary: 8MP 3x telephoto with OIS

Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
NFC
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
NFC
SIM Dual nano-SIM
MicroSD card (up to 2TB)
Dual nano-SIM
MicroSD card (up to 2TB)
Operating System Android 10 Android 10
Audio Stereo speakers
No 3.5mm port
Stereo speakers
No 3.5mm port
Dimensions 165.08 x 77.28 x 9.6mm
230g
165.08 x 77.28 x 9.6mm
230g
Colors Aurora Black
Pastel White
Aurora Black
Pastel White

The Zenfone 7 series’ specs put it squarely in the flagship category. It’s got top-tier chipsets and plenty of RAM, as well as large batteries and good camera hardware. Based on the spec, this would put the Zenfone 7 in competition with the OnePlus 8 and the Zenfone 7 Pro against the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Related: OnePlus 8 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

Price, release date, availability

Asus Zenfone 7 triple flip camera

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Asus is launching the phone in Taiwan today with an international launch coming soon. We only have Taiwan pricing right now, but we will update this post with the international pricing when that becomes available.

  • Asus Zenfone 7: 6GB/128GB — 21,999 TWD (~$750)
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro: 8GB/256GB — 27,990 TWD (~$950)

This pricing puts both devices in competition with their respective OnePlus competition — the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. Spec for spec, the Asus Zenfone 7 series is competitive.

Overall, the Asus Zenfone 7 series feels like a solid refinement of last year’s model. Nothing major has changed. We get updated internals, a quicker screen, and three cameras. It’s looking good for the Zenfone 7 so far, but the review is still to come.

What do you think about the Asus Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for our upcoming Zenfone 7 Pro review!

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