Conclusion & End Remarks

As we wrap up the review of the ZenFone 7 Pro, we’ve come to make some noteworthy points about ASUS’ new flagship device, most of them positive, but also with some negatives.

Starting off with the design of the phone, the one thing that’s notable about the ZenFone 7 versus the previous generation ZenFone iterations is simply that this year’s model is supersized to a larger form-factor, which might not be to everyone’s taste. Although short of being a beast like the ROG Phone III, at 77.28mm wide and 230g heavy, the ZenFone 7 will dwarf many other phones in the market.

Thankfully due to the rounded back glass panel and frame, the phone still manages to have good ergonomics and doesn’t feel quite as big as it is.

The display on the ZenFone 7 is meant to be a key feature for the phone, but that’s not due to its specs as the 1080p 90Hz panel doesn’t really stand out in any regard, being mostly average across the board. Instead, the lack of a display notch or hole camera cut-out is the phone’s special feature, enabled through the unique flip-camera design. ASUS’s hardware implementation is generally excellent and the whole mechanism feels extremely solid. The positive of such a system is that you’re getting extremely high-quality selfie cameras as you’re essentially using the main cameras of the phone.

Performance of the ZenFone 7 Pro was excellent and in most cases top-notch. In fact, gaming performance was so good that it puts into question why you’d buy the ROG Phone III.

One answer to that question would be battery life. Oddly enough, the ZenFone 7 Pro didn’t fare quite as well in this regard, and actually landed well short of expectations, barely matching other 120Hz devices of the same class. I’m not sure why this is, and we’re still rerunning battery tests right now, but it just seems the phone isn’t as efficient as competitor devices or the ROG Phone III. It’s not a bad performance thanks to the 5000mAh battery, but it’s also not what you expect when you consider its capacity.

ASUS’s camera performance on the ROG Phone III wasn’t too great, and I’m glad to report that the ZenFone 7 does improve upon it by quite a bit. The new sensor has stronger optics, the telephoto module is generally quite competitive, and the new sensor on the ultra-wide has also augmented the picture quality of this module. Nevertheless, ASUS still has a long way to go in terms of software processing, as daylight shots often still have large issues with exposures and HDR processing, making the ZenFone 7 still rather lacklustre here.

Low-light photography was a big surprise, as ASUS’ night mode computational photography mode is seemingly top-notch, not only competing with the best of the best, but many times actually being the top performer in our testing. It’s to be noted that this praise can only be said of the Pro variant, as the regular model’s lack of OIS is likely to make it lag behind by quite a bit.

One big surprise for me was the overall software experience as ASUS’ latest ZenUI software interface seemed quite well designed and keepings things clean and functional, all whilst adding a lot of useful features.

Discussions about availability and pricing of the ZenFone 7 series are quite complicated to make due to the phone currently only being officially announced in Taiwan. There, the phone comes in at TWD 21999 and 27990 for the regular and Pro models, which comes to around USD 750 and 950.

For the Pro model, what I think is missing from the package is a better daylight camera experience. Without that, I don’t think the phone is competitive in its pricing as you can get much better value alternatives such as the OnePlus 8 Pro or the S20+.

The regular variant seems more reasonable in its price, but then again there’s the camera aspect which comes at play, and a OnePlus 8 would again present the better value device.

It’s kind of hard to position the ZenFone 7 and 7 Pro in the market – if they were perfectly performing devices, then those prices could be rationalised, however as a matter of fact, there’s some lacklustre aspects to them. ASUS has to either really up their camera processing game in the coming months with firmware updates, or quickly reduce the pricing to something that’s closer to the $560 mark at which the ZenFone 6 was released last year.

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  • GC2:CS - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    I find the battery lifespan saving max charge limit comparison somewhat dishonest.

    For the same usage you need 500 cycles at 80 and just 400 if you charge to 100. So it is more like 7 and 12% degradation.

    I think limiting charge might be usefull for things like headphones. They just sit for days in their case charged to 100%.

    Also I am quite woried where we are going with battery capacities. Looks like even 4000+ mAh is not a guarantee of great battery life these days.
    Reply
  • CampGareth - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    That's assuming you drop to 0% charge every single time, under that usage you're going to burn through batteries regardless. The state of charge limit is intended more for folks that stay at a high charge percentage. I can't remember the last time my phone dropped below 60%, it's on charge at home and at work so spends a lot of time sitting at 100% charge which degrades the battery faster even when it's idle. Reply
  • imoc - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Not true. Their graph states SoC(State of charge) and charge cycle doesn't mean Any%-80%, a full 100% battery top up counts as one(such as 30-80 two times). Reply
  • close - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    There are a few trends to dislike, small batteries for the consumers attached to the phone (mega SoCs, gazillion Hz screens, all of the Gs, all the time), glass backs especially when not actually needing it, removing the headphone jack even on phones that are clearly big enough to fit one, etc. This phone ticks most of them. Reply
  • SirDragonClaw - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    You need to learn how modern batteries work... Reply
  • huyhung411991 - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    First paragraph in Battery Life section is repeated. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • linuxgeex - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Before I even look at image quality with video recording, I pay attention to the background noise. You should be able to tap the screen, adjust volume up and down, power the screen on and off, and walk in light wind without hearing distracting sounds. This camera failed this basic requirement with flying colours lol. Reply
  • Kangal - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Dunno, it's hard to judge the quality without a reference.
    The photo, video, microphone comparisons should have something like a Sony A7 + Lav, as that's basically professional quality, and it would be much easier to spot where phone's deficiencies lay.

    Bonus points should be made to compare all devices on a quick Auto Mode, but Manual-Professional Adjustment on the Mirrorless. That's the most important comparison. And do it in Good Lighting, Overcast, and Low-light conditions. And do it in Macro, Regular, and Zoom modes.

    Manual Modes are interesting on the new Sony Xperia 1 ii Pro, and LG V60... but are somewhat gimmicky. Phones are meant for quick "point and shoot", for professional quality you can't subsidise a phone with manual mode for a proper DSLR or Mirrorless. It would be like trying to use a hot-hatch to move heavy loads, then complaining, instead of using a pickup truck.
    Reply
  • linuxgeex - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    @Andrei - several of the camera comparison photos are missing and some are backwards. Reply

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