Tech Updates

Asus’ Zenfone 8z is a ray of hope for fans of compact phones

We might not see an iPhone mini this year — and that’s a big blow to fans of compact form factors in phones.

Luckily though, we don’t have to give up all hope for ‘mini’ models as Asus has FINALLY launched the Zenfone 8z (Zenfone 8 in global markets) in India. It launched in global markets around May last year. I can say given the country was going through a devastating second wave of COVID-19, the company missing the initial launch window makes sense. But it had many months after that to release the device.

I used the 5.9-inch device for months, was mighty was mighty impressed, and wanted to publish the review by the end of 2021. Heck, it would’ve made this list as my favorite phone of the year, but Asus India had other plans.

Now I can finally share my thoughts about the phone. And while it’s no longer a new kid on the block, it’s still worth a look thanks to its combination of solid specs and compact build.

Before we look at it in detail, here’s the device’s star-studded spec sheet:


Asus Zenfone 8z Specifications
Screen 5.9-inch FHD+ OLED
Refresh rate 120Hz(adaptive)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (Last year’s flagship processor)
Rear camera 64-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture + 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture
Front camera 12-megapixel with f/2.5 aperture
Internal storage 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 (for faster read and write speeds to open apps and access content quickly)
Battery 4,000mAh
Charging 30W fast charging
Software ZenUI 8 based on Android 11
Security In-screen fingerprint sensor; face unlock

How compact is this phone?

As screen sizes on phones have increasingly expanded in the last few years, it’s hard to call a device ‘small’. You can probably get away with calling the iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 13 mini small, but things get murky beyond that form factor.

Asus says that the Zenfone 8 (148 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm) is a compact phone, which is agreeable. But keep in mind that it’s almost the same size as the iPhone 12 (146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm). It fits into the pockets of my jeans easily… but I’ll admit I might have bigger pants pockets than most users.

The Zenfone 8 has a rounded aluminum frame that helps in gripping and operating the phone with one hand. The matte glass back gives holding the phone a satisfying feel. Because of these two materials, the phone is closer to the iPhone 12’s weight (169 grams v 164 grams).

Bonus stuff

There are minor design perks with the Zenfone 8; they don’t make the phone exceedingly great, but they sure are nice to have.

First, any phone that has dual speakers get more points from me. It makes for a more enjoyable experience while watching videos and attending phone calls on speaker mode.

Second, there’s a headphone jack! While it’s easy to get get a pair of wireless earbuds now, having a 3.5mm jack makes it easier to gift this phone to people who are used to it.