The evolution of smartphones in the past few years has been marked by the loss of uniqueness of design – most smartphones today look almost the same, at least from the front. Perhaps, the industry has hit an impasse, and we might have to wait for a while to see a radically innovative design. So, the focus of major technical innovations today in the smartphone industry is the camera, which has now become a necessary aspect of modern life.
Today, the market offers all kinds of options. You have pop-up cameras, hole-punch cameras (cameras integrated into the display of the phone), notch camera setups, and, finally, the standard camera setups, which you can find in budget phones. Taking a step further, the ASUS 6z now introduces a different kind of camera setup, which sits at the back of the phone, but when you activate selfie mode, it flips up in a half somersault or a handstand like movement, turns 180 degrees, and gets ready to shoot selfies. And the best thing is that you can stop the camera during its flip to capture images at different angles.
The ASUS 6z’s camera addresses the dual problem of display notches and low-resolution front-facing cameras. The motorised flip-up camera module is driven by a custom precision stepper motor that flips the module by a full 180 degrees to make it ready for capturing selfies. The rotation of the camera is controllable, giving users the ability to take shots at different angles.
The ASUS 6z is available in 6GB / 64GB, 6GB / 128GB, and the 8GB / 256GB variants and is priced at Rs 31,999, Rs 34,999, and Rs 39,999, respectively. The phone that we tested was a 6GB / 128GB variant.
Design and display
The ASUS 6z eliminates the top bezel, thanks to the rotating camera. Thus, instead of a notch or a hole-punch at the top of your phone, the front of the ASUS 6z is simply a big expanse of the screen, which is pretty great to look at. The display, however, retains a thin bezel at the bottom.
For a near-borderless viewing experience, the ASUS 6z sports a 6.4-inch NanoEdge slim-bezel display with a 92 per cent screen-to-body ratio. The no-notch design makes any visual task an enjoyable experience, whether it is browsing the web or watching movies. A cinema-grade 100 per cent DCI-P3 colour gamut ensures rich, lifelike colours, and up to 600nits brightness of the display makes reading comfortable and easy, even outdoors. To protect the display, the phone features Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
The ASUS 6z features a motorised flip-up dual-camera module that acts as both front and rear cameras. It means no more compromising on selfie cameras, for you can now use the high-res rear camera for selfies. The primary camera features a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor, and for the secondary camera, there is a 13MP ultra-wide camera.
The flip camera module is made of what ASUS calls liquid metal (amorphous alloy) – a material that is 20 per cent lighter than stainless steel but has four times the strength. For added protection, a G sensor in the module detects the rate of acceleration, allowing the module to automatically return to a safe position if the phone is dropped. The stepper motor rotates the camera module by up to 180-degrees between the rear and the front position. In the free-angle mode, the flip camera can be positioned at any angle, giving the user the freedom to frame their subjects from different angles without changing their position.
Another interesting feature of the flip camera is that it allows for horizontal and vertical panorama shots without having to move the phone – the rotating camera takes care of everything. There’s also a video motion-tracking mode that allows the camera to move to keep a subject in the frame.
The flip camera can capture horizontal and vertical panorama shots without moving the phone
The 6z’s camera offers a fantastic photography experience – it captures sharp images that have a great dynamic range. The selfies taken with the ASUS 6z are detailed with pleasant colours and skin tones.
Modes such as slow-motion, time-lapse, auto panorama, night and pro are also supported by the camera, along with video recording of up to 4K 60 frames per second with EIS.
While the smartphone is available at a mid-range price, its specs are on a par with the specs of most Android flagships. The phone features Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB of RAM, a 5,000mAh battery, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Overall, it has enough juice to tackle even the most demanding tasks, such as running graphic-intensive games and photo editing.
The 6z features five-magnet stereo speakers driven by NXP smart amplifiers, which ensure that you get loud sound without damaging the speakers. The phone also supports Hi-Res audio files encoded at up to 24-bit/192KHz sample rates.
The 6z runs the new ASUS UI. ASUS calls it an ‘enhanced’ version of stock Android. The ASUS UI is better than Asus’s previous attempts to offer custom Android versions. There’s also a dedicated ‘smart key’ for Google Assistant, but it can be reconfigured to activate another feature, like do-not-disturb mode, capturing a screenshot or opening the camera. There is also a new Dark Mode colour scheme that helps reduce eye strain in low light environments. The redesigned interface offers smooth animations without any hiccups.
The new physical Smart Key on the side of ASUS 6z can be customised to initiate popular actions, including Google Assistant. It supports the single press, double press and press-and-hold modes, which can be assigned to different actions.
The ASUS UI also supports Dual Apps feature, which allows you to create dual accounts for popular apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
At a mid-range price, the 6z offers a great camera, a powerful processor, a long-lasting battery, and a decent display. While the motorised camera module might not be for everyone, does the job well, and besides, now you don’t worry about low-res selfies.
Versatile camera, design
No water resistance, a bit heavy
Price: Rs 34,999