ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip Review: The Flip Camera Returns

The ASUS ZenFone lineup is finally back in the Philippines after a few years of hiatus due to the restructuring of the company. Leading the pack is the ASUS ZenFon 8 Flip. It receives a couple of significant upgrades like updated internals while deviating from today’s high-end blueprint by using a motorized flip-up camera that acts as both front and rear shooters.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Screen 6.67-inch Samsung AMOLED, 2400 x 1080, 90Hz, 1000nits, 110% DCI-P3, Gorilla Glass 6
RAM 8GB LPDDR5
OS Android 11, ZenUI 8
Cameras 64MP f/1.8 IMX686, PDAF, Dual LED Flash; 12MP f/2.2 Ultrawide IMX363, 4cm Macro Shot; 8MP f/2.4 Telephoto, Up to 12x Zoom
Storage 128GB, 256GB UFS 3.1
Network Dual-SIM, 5G
Connectivity Dual-Band WiFi 802.11ax, 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.2, aptX Adaptive, WiFi Direct, NFC, USB Type-C
Battery 5,000mAh, QuickCharge 4.0 and PD Charging
Others In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Colors Galactic Black, Glacier Silver

Unboxing

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

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The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip arrives in a matte gray box with an abstract number 8 embossed at the front. Encased inside is the smartphone itself and its set of accessories like a 30W charger, USB Type-C to Type-C cable, and a hardcase, as well as documentation for the smartphone.

Not much out of the norm here but we are rather disappointed that ASUS has left out the complementary pair of earphones. As one of their top-end offerings, we expected the complete package to come with the device.

Screen and Audio

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip packs a 6.67-inch 2400 x 1080 Samsung OLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz and protected by Gorilla Glass 6. Its screen is also rated at 1000nits peak and 110% DCI-P3 coverage.

All the specifications of its screen results to a spectacular viewing experience. The display itself is rather large and since there are no punch-hole or notches on the panel, content can freely be watched with the whole screen. Colors are punchy and well-reproduced while blacks are deep due to its AMOLED screen.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

The 8 Flip’s screen is decently responsive with a 200Hz touch sampling rate. The 90Hz refresh rate also helps the smartphone to become more fluid than 60Hz devices in the market. Both features also help in gaming with better flow and responsive finger prompts.

ASUS is porting the AI Noise Reduction usually found on their notebooks and motherboards to the ZenFone 8 series. Its microphones now offer a better experience that filters out some of the background noise like wind. It’s not perfect but its good enough to allow a pleasant hearing experience either on video or on the other end of a phone call.

Swedish HiFi company Dirac has been tapped once more by ASUS to co-develop the 8 Flip’s stereo speakers. The smartphone packs a quite decent stereo speakers that can produce incredibly loud audio with a somewhat proper soundstage for its size. Higher frequencies do tend to get drowned by other noises but the mids good and the bass is properly strong.

Design and Aesthetics

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip is a rather large and thick smartphone but that does not mean its unwieldy or ugly. Bezels are kept to a minimum at all sides and the lack of any notches gives a more seamless feel than other smartphones in the market.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

Its rear is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and offers a slightly slippery feel due to the glass. It does not immediately attract smudges or fingerprints while use but it will collect dust in the long run. Fortunately, its overall build feels solid in the hand with a good heft without being weighty.

The left-hand side houses its triple-cut SIM tray that can be equipped with two 5G-compatible SIM cards and a microSD card. The volume rocker and power button are all clustered at the right-hand side and have good resistance and tactility. The power button also acts as a “Smart Key” which can be bound to other tasks such as Google Assistant, WiFi toggle, Flashlight, and more.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

At the bottom are its USB Type-C that supports 30W charging and the grilles for its bottom speakers. ASUS is bringing back the notification light that other smartphones have shed. A nice touch for a missed feature on other devices.

Software

Running on the ZenFone 8 Flip is the Android 11-based ZenUI. ASUS has basically ported their OS and have modernized it without adding to much unnecessary stuff. Pretty much everything that’s standard on the Android platform are present such as Dark Mode, One-Handed Mode, Gestures, and Multi-Window Support.

The few improvements that ASUS has decided to implement include a more user-friendly UI like battery UI, low brightness DC dimming, more Always-On Display settings, customizable styles, faster animation speeds, and global color schemes.

Game Genie also makes an appearance on the Flip despite not being an ROG-branded device. It still offers the same utilities like notification settings, RAM purging, refresh rate switching, navigation lock, and system monitoring.

Camera

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

The ZenFone 8 Flip gets its name from its motorized camera platform that flips around to act as both its rear and front cameras. ASUS has made a couple of improvements on the mechanism such as an angle sensor for more precise control, lighter but tougher components, and a new motor module.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

The brand says that the motor can handle up to 300,000 flips or 150 flips per day for 5 years as well as up to 35kg of force before breaking. You can even control its angle manually or through the camera app for additional creative options while shooting.

Three cameras are placed on the flip platform: a Sony IMX686-powered 64MP f/1.8 main lens, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide with a Sony IMX363 sensor that doubles as a macro lens, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens capable of 3x zoom and up to 12x total zoom.

Its main 64MP f/1.8 main camera captures excellent photos especially in good lighting conditions. Colors are punchy and well-saturated and details look sharp regardless of their position in the shot. Pictures taken on low-light conditions are still good but there is a slight drop in detail when examined up close but it should still be good for social media posts.

The 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide snapper does lose a bit in the detail department compared to the main camera but still offer a decent showing. Colors are well-reproduced and there’s also good dynamic range that capture satisfactory contrast. There’s also minimal distortion at the edges thanks to proper correction. Its macro capabilities are also sufficient but nothing too special in particular.

Performance of the 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens mimics that of the two previous cameras and only losing on detail to the decreased pixel count. Colors and dynamic range reproduction are still decent and the 3x native zoom reduces any kind of loss of detail compared to optical zoom.

Performance and Benchmarks

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

Powering the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip is the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G complemented by 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The smartphone pretty much delivers a flagship-class experience on all fronts thanks to the high-end internals it has received.

Benchmarks are pretty much moot but don’t expect numbers on par with the ASUS ROG Phone 5 as the flip does not have any of the more exotic cooling system that its ROG counterpart has obtained.

The ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip can also pump out excellent numbers in gaming. Most of the games on our roster are mainstream titles and the device can easily sustain a steady 60fps on all of them. Hopefully, more games can reach 90Hz on the flip to take advantage of its fast screen.

Battery Life

Inside the ZenFone 8 Flip’s chassis is a 5,000mAh battery to power the device throughout the day. Using the smartphone with a medium workload consisting of work, replying to emails, enjoying music, watching videos, and the occasional bout of Call of Duty Mobile will leave with a bit of juice left at the end of the day.

Running PCMark Work 2.0 with medium brightness and volume with 90Hz refresh rate yielded just above 13 hours of usage. You can also extend the battery life by turning off its HFR mode via its display settings.

Charging is a bit of a disappointment with the device. It is rated for around 30W with support for QuickCharge 4.0 and PD Charging but it lags against similarly-priced competition. All in all, the ZenFone 8’s 5,000mAh reserve can be filled from zero to full in around an hour and 30 minutes.

Conclusion

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

We truly believed that ASUS will be moving on from the motorized platform. To be fair with the brand, however, the new camera setup on the 8 Flip can deliver astounding photos and it gets even better when you think that you can get the same experience in selfies. We just don’t like the idea adding another potential point of failure to a device that is used daily and is prone to drops. Which is why perhaps the motorized camera platform did not catch on in the first place.

Regardless of our (or your) stance with its motorized camera platform, its undeniable that the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip delivers a good performance across the board with its fast and punchy display, solid build quality, loud speakers, and terrific cameras. We do wish that its charging performance could have been a bit faster since its 30W charging is a bit pedestrian compared to other flagships in the market.

ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip

Priced at PhP 39,995 in the Philippines, the ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip has all the trappings of a competent high-end smartphone but its design will not revolutionize the high-end smartphone industry. Overall, the device will offer a complete and excellent experience for its price point.