Posted on Fri 11 November 2022

new phone minireview

Being a mini-review of the Asus Zenfone 9.

(It’s mini because the phone is the smallest current flagship.)

Previous phone: OnePlus 7Pro, a 6.7” screen with rounded edges and an enormous battery life. This one has a 5.9” flat screen. Flat is much better. The manufacturers decided that rounded edges were “premium”, so they put it on the highest end phones… making them less usable and more prone to weird glare and distortion.

How much smaller is it? Let’s ignore the crude physical dimensions and go with this: at a comfortable reading width, the OnePlus shows 35 lines of book text, and the Asus shows 30 lines of the same text. I guess I’ll be flipping pages 14% more often.

In exchange, the Asus is much lighter and much more comfortable to hold one-handed… and I have big hands. Not NBA big, but proportionate to my height, which is still somewhere in the 99th percentile.

It’s fast, but all flagship phones are fast, even the ones that are three years old. It has cameras, but all the phones have cameras. Unless you are a camera person, it will be enough.

It is reported to have excellent battery life. It claims to be waterproof (IP68), but I note that the warranty specifically disclaims water damage. Hmph. And it has a headphone jack, which is awesome. When did it become awesome? About five years ago, when flagship phones stopped having them because you were expected to buy expensive low-quality wireless earbugs which would then need to be recharged and someday become more toxic waste.

Feature that I miss from the OnePlus that nobody is selling this year: instead of having a stupid cut-out hole in the screen for the front camera, the OnePlus had a motorized drawer for the front camera. I tested it about fifty times and used it about three times. Much nicer. Bring that back, along with the physical three-way switch for mute/stun/kill.

Overall, I think I’m content. But I also think that if I were more budget constrained, I would be pretty happy with one of Motorola’s near-flagships instead.

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