Asus 8z review: A ‘mini’ phone for the Android world with practical appeal

The ASUS 8Z presents an Android alternative with the same appeal as the iPhone 12 Mini that doesn’t skimp on features and hardware specs that matter.
Asus 8z
Asus 8z

If you lived in a gadget world envisioned by Steve Jobs, you would use a small screen smartphone to do ‘smartphone things’ and an iPad to catch videos or flip through graphic novels or gaming. That world has changed as big screen smartphones have made small-screen tabs almost redundant – the iPad mini is the only small-screen tab that is still relevant. Smartphones have become ‘convergence devices’. The iPhone 12 mini proved that there are still many consumers who prefer the convenience of one-handed navigation and a lightweight smartphone. The ASUS 8Z presents an Android alternative with the same appeal that doesn’t skimp on features and hardware specs that matter. 

It's the relatively small footprint of the ASUS 8Z that is likely to be the first thing you notice when you unbox this phone. It weighs under 170 gm and features a 5.9-inch display. It’s a much larger display than the iPhone 13 mini and slightly smaller than the iPhone 13 or the Samsung Galaxy S22 that weigh around the same. We think 5.8 to 6.1 inches is the sweet spot for smartphone displays that find the balance between a ‘workable’ display and the practicality of one-handed navigation. 

We dig the premium aluminium build and the matte finish that played out well in the Obsidian Black colour option that we checked out. The 8Z is also available in Horizon Silver. It’s a tad thick though — one explanation is the 4000 mAh battery that is more formidable than the battery under the hood of the S22 or the iPhone 13 duo. Battery life is impressive for a device this size – we got through a day in our tests with camera usage and an hour of video playback. A 30W fast charger in the box sweetens the deal.

The 8Z scores on the features that matter to most users. It lands in the same affordable flagship price range as devices like the OnePlus 9RT and it holds its own. Colours are punchy on the the 5.9-inch (2400 x 1080 pixels) Samsung AMOLED display. It features a 120 Hz refresh rate, packs an impressive 445 pixels display and peaks at 1100 nits. The display is backed by  dual stereo speakers. The device is mighty quick too; at its heart is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of Internal storage. It should work for most users including those who use their smartphones for intense gaming during the weekend. Our Geekbench benchmark test result (2447/multi-core) validates this.

The camera sticks to the same ‘no-nonsense’ approach. There are no gimmicks here. The dual rear cam combines a 12MP ultra-wide lens with a 64MP Sony IMX 686 primary sensor. A 12MP selfie cam completes the camera package. This is one of the better smartphone cameras at this price point with good results in low light; we were also impressed with low light performance and ultra-wide images. There’s no telephoto lens for zoom photography that quite a few similar priced rivals offer. 

If there’s one reason we’d recommend the ASUS 8Z is its practical appeal. That’s an all-encompassing term that sums up our overall experience with this device. It starts with the sheer convenience of one-handed navigation and multiple thoughtful design elements that include a 3.5mm headphone jack, a fluorescent blue ‘smart key’ that allows you to add two customisable actions. The device misses out on wireless charging but comes with IP68 certification for Dust and water resistance. ASUS’ ZenUI offers a near ‘Stock Android’ user experience without bloatware. The ASUS 8Z is a compelling proposition if you prefer a small screen smartphone and if your smartphone screen is not your primary video consumption device.  

The ASUS 8Z costs Rs 42,999 and comes in Horizon Silver and Obsidian Black. 

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