Asus ZenFone 6
The ZenFone 6 is a 2019 Android-based smartphone manufactured, released, and marketed by Asus. It is the only release in Asus' sixth-generation ZenFone lineup, directly succeeding the ZenFone 5Z. Asus chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the ZenFone 6 on 16 May 2019 in Valencia, Spain. The ZenFone 6 was first released in Spain the following day.
|Manufacturer||AsusTek Computer Inc.|
|Compatible networks||2G, 3G, 4G, 4G LTE|
|First released||Valencia, Spain|
16 May 2019
|Availability by region|
|Predecessor||ZenFone 5Q, ZenFone 5, ZenFone 5Z|
|Successor||ZenFone 7, ZenFone 7 Pro|
|Dimensions||H: 159.1 mm (6.26 in), W: 75.44 mm (2.970 in), D: 8.4 mm (0.33 in) to 9.1 mm (0.36 in)|
|Mass||190 g (6.7 oz)|
|System on chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|CPU||Kryo 485 (1×2.84 GHz, 3×2.42 GHz, 4×1.78 GHz)|
|GPU||Adreno 640 (672 MHz)|
|Modem||Dual SIM, Snapdragon X24 LTE|
|Memory||6 GB/8 GB LPDDR4X RAM, 12 GB (Edition 30)|
|Storage||UFS 2.1 64/128/256 GB, 512 GB (Edition 30)|
|Removable storage||MicroSDXC up to 2 TB|
|Battery||3.8 V 19 Wh (5,000 mAh) non-removable lithium polymer battery|
|Data inputs||Multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, Accelerometer, gyroscope (supports ARCore), magnetometer, ambient light sensor, dual microphones, hall sensor, laser autofocus, rear fingerprint scanner, GPS/GLONASS/BDS/GALILEO/QZSS navigation, FM radio|
|Display||6.4 in (160 mm) rounded LED-backlit IPS LCD, 19.5:9 1080×2340 px, 403 ppi (159 px/cm), 600 nits, HDR10 1200:1 CR, 60 Hz, 100% DCI-P3/96% NTSC|
|Front camera||Motorised flip-up rear camera|
|Sound||192 kHz/24-bit Hi-Res audio, DTS:X Ultra 1.0 7.1-channel virtual surround, dual NXP TFA9874 amplifiers, Stereo speakers, 3.5 mm jack, USB Audio Device digital audio via USB-C, aptX HD/SBC Bluetooth A2DP, ERM vibration motor|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0 Type-C, Wi-Fi 5 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct/hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0 EDR, NFC|
|Other||Gorilla Glass 6 display, Gorilla Glass 3 back, liquid metal camera housing, aluminium frame|
|SAR||Head: 1.43 W/kg, Body: 1.56 W/kg, Hotspot: 1.35 W/kg|
|Hearing aid compatibility||M4, T4|
The ZenFone 6 features a larger 6.4-inch (160 mm) display, a faster processor and upgraded cameras versus the prior generation's flagship ZenFone 5Z. A signature feature is that the flip-up main camera module doubles as a front-facing camera. It is the first mobile device released by Asus after the late 2018 restructuring of their smartphone division. The ZenFone 6 was released as the "Asus 6Z" for the Indian market.
Despite positive reviews, the ZenFone 6 lacked broad appeal, attracting a niche market of power users and technology enthusiasts instead. Supply issues resulting in delays and stock shortages also interfered with its success. As of 2020[update], Asus has not released specific sales figures for the device, only noting that ZenFone has "created excellent sales".
There were alleged leaks of the ZenFone 6 prior to its being teased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC Barcelona), none of which ended up materialising. In October 2018, an alleged leak of a prototype with a semicircle off-centre cutout for the front-facing camera was circulated. In February 2019, another alleged leak showed a more conventional design featuring thicker bezels and an iridescent back. Both leaks featured a conventional vertical triple-camera array on the rear.
In late 2018, Asus's smartphone division undertook an NT$6 billion restructuring effort to focus on "power users and gamers" following the success of the gamer-focused ROG Phone, with the new shift in direction formalised in a resolution by Asus' board of directors on 13 December 2018. Asus announced then-CEO Jerry Shen's departure from Asus, effective 1 January 2019, in tandem with the restructuring.
At the 2019 MWC Barcelona, held in February, Asus announced a launch date of 16 May 2019for the phone. They also teased its design in a promotional image featuring a silhouette of the phone's bezel with no visible cameras. Initially, there were misunderstandings over the launch date, the result of a two-page spread in the magazine Mobile World Daily given to journalists, with an incorrect launch date of 14 May 2019 advertised.
In early May 2019, another alleged leak of the ZenFone 6 appeared. It featured a form factor similar to the final release, with a similarly mounted rear dual-camera module, but with a mechanical slider, a retractable front camera mechanism similar to the one used in the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3, in place of the flip mechanism in the final design.
On 14 May 2019, two days prior to the official unveiling of the ZenFone 6, accurate renderings and specifications of the device were leaked by Taiwanese outlet Sogi.
On 28 May 2019, the Delhi High Court issued an interim order restraining Asus from selling smartphones, tablets, or accessories branded "Zen" or "ZenFone" in violation of Telecare Network India's Zen Mobile trademark. This led Asus to rebrand the phone as the "Asus 6Z" for the Indian market.
The initial international release of the ZenFone 6 experienced inventory shortages and delays stemming mainly from supply constraints in many regions caused by the novel use of liquid metal for the camera module casing. Some model configurations were sold out on the day of release in the United States.
Beginning on 22 July 2019, Asus rolled out an over-the-air update to software update version .167, which caused some users' devices to crash, reboot, or get stuck in a "bootloop". An Asus representative attributed this behaviour to a hardware issue, saying the update triggers a motherboard malfunction, with the only solution being a motherboard replacement under existing warranty.
The release of the ZenFone 6 was followed by Asus' ROG Phone II, announced in July 2019 and released in September 2019 with upgraded specs targeting the high-end gaming market. The ZenFone supports Google's Android 9 Pie and Android 10 both with ZenUI 6, Asus's customised Android front end.
On 26 August 2020, Asus launched the ZenFone 7 series in a Mandarin online press conference from their Taiwan headquarters. The ZenFone 7 series consists of the ZenFone 7 and ZenFone 7 Pro, retaining the hallmark flip camera form factor of the ZenFone 6 with the addition of a 3x telephoto camera, Sony IMX686 main sensor, 8K video recording capabilities, improved actuation mechanism, and optical image stabilisation exclusive to the Pro model. The ZenFone 7 series features a 6.67-inch 90 Hz AMOLED display with 200 Hz touch sampling and a 5G-capable Snapdragon 865 system on a chip, with the higher-clocked Snapdragon 865 Plus on the Pro model. Other changes include the removal of the headphone jack, ZenUI 7, 30W fast charging, combined side-mounted fingerprint scanner–power button–smart key, UFS 3.1 storage, three-microphone array utilising Nokia’s OZO Audio processing, and a larger and heavier overall form factor. The ZenFone 7 and 7 Pro are priced starting at NT$21,990 and NT$27,990, respectively. The ZenFone 7 series will not be available in North America because of a lack of 5G band support.
There are two standard color options—Midnight Black , a glossy black; and Twilight Silver , a glossy silver-blue gradient.
The flip-camera module is unique to the ZenFone 6, with the only similar implementation being the Samsung Galaxy A80, which has a combination sliding-rotating main camera. A micro stepper motor and a magnetically linked reduction gearbox power the automatic flip mechanism, resulting in two-degree microsteps. The magnetically linked gearbox prevents direct external actuation of the stepper motor, thus reducing the risk of damage to the stepper motor and internal mechanisms. The camera module casing is constructed of liquid metal, an amorphous metallic alloy similar to Liquidmetal, for its toughness, weight, high yield strength, and anti-wearing characteristics needed in a mechanical component subject to repeated stress.
The 6.4-inch IPS LCD display is marketed as a "NanoEdge display" for the reduced bezel size. The Corning Gorilla Glass 6 used on the display is curved using Nano Molding Technology. The back panel is formed from Gorilla Glass 3, and features a capacitive fingerprint sensor.
On one edge, the ZenFone 6 features a function-customisable "Smart Key" with tactile indents, a volume rocker, and a power button, outlined in blue on the black models.
The ZenFone 6 is powered by Qualcomm's 2019 flagship Snapdragon 855 system on a chip at stock clock speeds. Configurations start with 6 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64 GB of UFS 2.1 storage, up to 12 GB and 512 GB, respectively, for the 30th Anniversary Edition.
The device utilises a double-layer stacked motherboard design, which has also been used in Apple's iPhone lineup since the 2017 iPhone X. The motherboard's printed circuit board (PCB) also makes use of Anylayer interconnect technology, resulting in a reduced footprint. Asus says the space saved is what enabled them to fit a large 5000 mAh battery in the chassis.
The ZenFone 6 was debuted alongside ZenUI 6, a new version of Asus' customisations on the Android operating system, initially based on Android 9. The ZenFone 6 has software features specific to the flip camera, including an object-tracking video mode, and an auto-panorama mode, as well as manual camera angle controls. ZenUI 6 featured increased focus on single-handed operability, an overhauled notifications menu, dark mode, and reduced stock applications, among other changes. Reviewers also noted that ZenUI 6 provided an experience closer to that of stock Android. Reviewers have also praised the relatively frequent software updates. Android 10 was released for the device in November 2019, while Android 11 was rolled out in December 2020.
On 27 May 2019 during a special press event at Computex, Asus chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the Asus ZenFone Edition 30 to commemorate Asus' 30th anniversary. The phone features an exclusive back design, and upgraded storage and RAM to 512 GB and 12 GB respectively. The Edition 30 comes in Matte Black with a radial finish, and features a stylised 30th anniversary A with a matte black Asus logo, while all other hardware and software features remain identical to the regular models. It is the only model to come with an extended 30-month warranty by default, and was limited to 3,000 units.
The ZenFone 6 enjoyed positive reviews from media outlets, and was praised for its value proposition, long battery life, near-stock Android, edge-to-edge display, and general build quality for the price point. Asus says the device "has been well evaluated and created excellent sales". The ZenFone 6 is one of the 2019 flagships retaining the headphone jack.
The flip camera had concerns raised over the long-term durability of the mechanism, especially given its novel design. Asus rates the mechanism for up to 100,000 actuations. Reviewers praised the versatility of the flip camera concept, although some considered it to be gimmicky. The flip camera enabled the ZenFone 6 to be one of the best selfie cameras of 2019, with a DxOMark selfie score of 98, the highest yet at the time of review. The phone received a DxOMark camera score of 104, the highest for an Asus device.
Critics noted the phone lacked several features relative to other high-end flagships, including an OLED display, optical image stabilisation, high-speed fast charging, wireless charging, and water resistance. Reports have also noted the lack of advertising and mainstream appeal in western markets. As of August 2020[update], the ZenFone 6 sold over 100,000 units in its native market of Taiwan.
In February 2020, eight months past the phone's release, online publication Digital Trends reaffirmed their recommendation of the ZenFone 6 as "one of [their] top smartphone recommendations" for the price of US$500, taking into account phones released in the meantime.
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