Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Asus’s leaked Zenfone 9 video shows fun gimmicks like a scroll key and shoulder mount

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Shreya Christina
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Asus accidentally leaked a promo video for the apparently upcoming Zenfone 9 on its YouTube channel, and the phone has some very interesting quirks and features, to borrow a sentence (through XDATechGoing† Perhaps the most interesting (at least for the folks who might take or leave a headphone jack) is what Asus has done with the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which the video labels as the “smart key”: it shows a creepy CGI hand. swipe to scroll through a web page by sliding his finger along the side of the phone.

It’s not exactly unusual to have some sort of gesture built into the fingerprint reader — phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip/Fold 3 let you bring down the notification shade with a similar swipe. (And those phones are far from the first to do it; I remember that feature on my Pixel 2.) But using them to actually browse content feels like a fun throwback to the era when phones had physical dials or rollerballs. to scroll. Will Asus’ version calling it “ZenTouch” be an RSI disaster or a gimmick that you use once before turning it off forever? Perhaps. But will it feel like hell that one time you try? I bet you do.

Aside from the nice side button, the Zenfone 9 seems like a very interesting gadget. According to Twitter user SnoopyTech (which has had some pinpoint leaks before), the phone sports a 5.9-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and is powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip Asus has in its gaming-focused ROG Phone 6 posted. say the phone will cost between $800 and $900, roughly $850 to $950 US. That’s a lot higher than the $699 starting price for the previous-generation Zenfone 8, which my colleague Allison Johnson called “fantastic” in her review.

Image with four telephones, one red, one white, one blue and one black.  The slogan is

Moreover, it is available in nice colors.
Image: SnoopyTech

We’ll have to wait for an official announcement and hands-on to see if that price increase is justified (or even correct), but the video at least hints at some improvements that could justify the extra cost. The battery has gotten a bit bigger compared to the Zenphone 8, which had a 4000 mAh cell that offered a “just okay” runtime. The video also says that the phone’s dual cameras have been “majorly upgraded” and reveals that the main one has a “6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer”. It then goes on to show that feature is used with a really wacky accessory, the smart backpack mount, which looks like it’s trying to mimic a piece of gear professional videographers use to hoist heavy cameras all day — but for a phone.

Quick question: what??
Gif: SnoopyTech

Aside from accessories (there’s also a seemingly modular phone case that you can connect a kickstand/wallet to), this preview really gets me excited to see the Zenfone 9 officially unveiled. Sure, it’s not the Android-powered iPhone Mini clone that some people want, but it looks like it will continue the Zenfone tradition as a compact but high-quality Android phone with a few nice features to keep it interesting. And a headphone jack — I can’t get enough of the headphone jack.

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