This big-conceal Android phone has useful features absent from on the present time’s flagships

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The contemporary Asus Zenfone 11 Extremely ditches the emblem’s puny phone identification in opt of conceal performance and energy.
  • That puts the $899 handset in a aggressive market dominated by the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Google.
  • Enviornment of interest features esteem a 3.5mm headphone jack, 144Hz conceal, and additional originate the Zenfone 11 Extremely value serious about for some customers.

I check dozens of smartphones yearly, but none scratches my reviewer’s itch extra than the Asus Zenfone. Stare, while Apple, Google, Samsung, and every varied producer bear been combating it out with elevated-than-ever handsets, Asus has constructed a cult following over the last two years with a Zenfone model that’s pocketable, without bid usable with one hand, and is somewhat priced — veritably around $600-$700.

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Last year’s Zenfone 10 stays my “Most inviting puny phone” pick on ZDNET’s annual tier list, and I originate now not see that altering anytime quickly. That’s on yarn of I’ve spent the week with the Asus Zenfone 11 Extremely which, by title, must always be the successor to the Zenfone 10 but is now not. Of course, it is a ways the general opposite; as an quite plenty of of a 5.9-run conceal, it now flaunts a 6.7-run panel that takes the full lot you bear ever loved about the preceding Zenfone and throws it out the window.

That’s to now not utter that Zenfone 11 Extremely is a downgrade. A more moderen processor, elevated refresh charge conceal, and elevated battery originate it a sizeable enchancment with regards to uncooked performance when in comparison to the Zenfone 10. And one of the considerable most features that I loved about its predecessor are, imagine it or now not, silent most contemporary in this 2024 model. Here’s the breakdown.

Stare at Amazon

So, what’s varied this year besides the size? Instantly, the swap in self-discipline cloth decisions shall be noticeable and felt. Now not like closing year’s textured abet quilt that used to be remarkably grippy, the contemporary Zenfone 11 Extremely has a frosted glass quilt that’s extra old skool and  clear-having a be taught. The change-off, naturally, is the susceptibility of cracking, must you utilize the phone without a case and fall it.

My Misty Grey evaluation unit has shades of brown, gold, and silver.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The be taught and no doubt feel of the Zenfone 11 Extremely, at its contemporary 6.7-run size, is easiest described as generic, with slim, symmetrical bezels, rounded edges, and a camera bump that protrudes as a lot as any varied 2024 flagship. Nonetheless I’m now not complaining; the phone feels immense within the hand, with impartial ample heft to originate it no doubt feel top class without burdening your wrists.

Some extra subtle hardware designs value mentioning consist of the repositioned USB-C cable that rests on the backside left of the phone as an quite plenty of of the center, the IP68 water and grime resistance ranking, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For audiophiles who opt lossless, wired listening, this wants to be music to your ears.

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Whereas the conceal of the Zenfone 11 Extremely only goes as a lot as 1080p — it is no 2K, QHD panel esteem on the equally-priced Galaxy S24 Plus — it does refresh at 144Hz, particularly for gaming. Pair the elevated refresh charge with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and as well you might perchance perchance presumably also very properly be in for a customarily subtle operation when switching between video streaming, scrolling by emails and social media, and playing video games on the Asus phone. 

The Zenfone 11 Extremely has a peak brightness of 2,500 nits, which is rarely the very best on the market but lawful ample.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The handset no doubt shines in capabilities that originate the most of its haptic motors. Each and every click and buzz feels tactile and right, placing the Zenfone’s vibration sensor in step with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. I’m a fan of the constructed-in speakers, too. I veritably play music or cooking videos within the background at any time as soon as I’m within the kitchen, and it is turn into a lawful manner for me to examine exactly how tinny, bass-heavy, and pronounced vocals are at varied quantity ranges. I might perchance perchance presumably set aside the Zenfone 11 Extremely’s sound system up there for one in every of the most inviting I’ve examined.

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The general instrument expertise on the Zenfone 11 Extremely is somewhat satisfying, in particular must you go for the stock Android theming one day of the preliminary setup conceal. None of the customization settings no doubt feel compelled, and I’m a fan of the extra subtle AI features esteem Semantic Search, which draws up relevant settings in step with key phrases you sort in. Whereas on the self-discipline of instrument, I’m much less extremely happy about Asus’ update policy for the Zenfone 11 Extremely, which comes with only two years of working system updates. That’s in comparison to the likes of Google and Samsung who are dedicated to as a lot as seven years of instrument toughen for his or her most contemporary flagship phones.

On the rear are three cameras: 50MP major, 13MP ultrawide, and 32MP telephoto.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

For the cameras, it will attain as no shock that the $899 Zenfone 11 Extremely takes some flattering shots and videos. Speak captured by all three lenses is comparatively consistent in coloration replica and accuracy, though there is a microscopic bias in opposition to hotter tones. That’s now not a noxious ingredient per se; shots of alternative folks, pets, meals, and scenery originate veritably seem extra vivid in hotter hues.

ZDNET’s purchasing for advice

All that size one way or the other lends itself to a better viewing expertise and distinctive battery lifestyles. These two aspects alone originate the Zenfone 11 Extremely a better phone than closing year’s Zenfone 10, as a lot as I hate to admit it. At $899, the Zenfone 11 Extremely is swimming in flagship territory, distancing itself from the likes of OnePlus and Motorola and inching nearer to Google, Samsung, and Apple, all of which present better ticket identification and after-sales toughen. 

That’s why the smaller wins, such because the 3.5mm headphone jack, Asus-optimized instrument, and haptics/sound system matter that a lot extra for the Asus phone. If those features resonate with you, the Zenfone 11 Extremely might perchance perchance presumably even be the sole high-quit phone that provides them in 2024.

And does this spell the quit of puny phones? Now not exactly. I might perchance perchance presumably prefer to mediate that the “Extremely” branding of the Zenfone 11 implies that there shall be non-Extremely model later this year that’s extra in step with the older, smaller Zenfone many customers, at the side of myself, bear turn into a fan of. We’ll appropriate wish to attend and imprint.

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