A powerful device with a portable size, the ASUS Zenfone 10 is a marked step up from the Zenfone 9, and a gorgeous phone in its own right. While it might not win awards for its camera, it fits so easily into your phone and your life, thanks to a sleek compact design and several excellent features. It just might be one of the best Android devices in its price range.
Look, phones just seem to be getting bigger every day. Whether it’s massive pro+ or XL varieties of regular handsets or the dreaded ‘phablet’, the days of actually fitting your mobile into your pocket seem to be dwindling. That’s why I’m so grateful for the ASUS Zenfone 10, the latest flagship device from hardware manufacturer ASUS.
With the catchphrase “mighty on hand,” ASUS is billing the Zenfone 10 as a one-hand-friendly device. The Zenfone line likes to balance comfort and power, and the 10 might just be the company’s crowning achievement. A gorgeous device that fits an enormous amount into a small package, this could be the lightweight phone of your dreams.
So today, in our ASUS Zenfone 10 review, we’re going over our favorite things about this sleek little number, as well as a few drawbacks, so you can decide whether to make the portable powerhouse a permanent resident in your pocket as a replacement for your ASUS Zenfone 9. Is the ASUS Zenfone 10 an Android dream come true? Or does size really matter?
- A gorgeous compact design
- Feels fantastic to hold and use
- Great power for the size
- The screen can struggle to fit some games
- Slow charging
- Cameras could be better
ASUS revealed the ASUS Zenfone 10 on June 29, 2023, with pre-orders available for July 31, 2023. The device is now available in Europe, but we expect it to hit the US and other markets within the next two weeks. The ASUS Zenfone 10 comes in four variants depending on RAM and internal storage, and the prices are below.
|RAM and storage
|8GB and 128GB
|8GB and 256GB
|16GB and 256GB
|16GB and 512GB
Here are the full ASUS Zenfone 10 specs:
|4300 mAh, 30W wired charging and 15W Qi wireless charging
|144hz, 1200 nits, 5.92 inch HDR AMOLED
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|50MP f/1.9 24mm wide lens, a 13MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens, and a front-facing 32MP f/2.5 wide lens.
|146.5 x 68.1 x 9.4mm (5.77 x 2.68 x 0.37 inches)
|Black, white, red, blue, and green
The ASUS Zenfone 10 isn’t the smallest phone out there, but it’s a nice compact one that actually fits in your pocket. And as such, the number of features packed underneath that 5.9” display is quite impressive. ASUS’ latest entry now boasts several amazing new tricks, such as that handy Zentouch sensor over the right-hand lock button and fingerprint sensor.
As well as being able to unlock your phone with the tap of a thumb, you can swipe the Zentouch sensor to expand notifications and scrub through YouTube videos. It’s a neat idea, but in practice, it’s perhaps a touch too fiddly to be useful. Maybe I’ve got whopping great thumbs, but all the features afforded by the Zentouch are generally easier to do on the screen. You might love it, but in my experience, this feature is nice to have but often is more effort than it’s worth.
If you’re looking to upgrade your ASUS Zenfone 9, then good news, the Zenfone 10 now boasts the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, a very welcome and noticeable difference over the Zenfone 9’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Plus, the Zenfone 10 boasts IP68 water resistance which means you can give it a good dunk if you so wish, and it just keeps on ticking. I can’t say I treat my Zenfone like it’s Aquaman, but I have used it on a very rainy day while trying to play Pokémon Go, and I had absolutely no issues with performance.
Further improvements include the new fancy 6-axis hybrid gimbal, a blend of physical gimbal systems in the device, and adaptive EIS software. Essentially, when shooting a video, the ASUS Zenfone 10 captures a wider shot than necessary, and stitches together a stable image that zooms in a bit. This works great in our testing, with the video looking detailed, clear, and free from grain. If you’re looking to be the next Tony Hawk, this might be the answer to your prayers, as I bet it can make a mean skateboarding video.
The ASUS Zenfone 10 also boasts stereo speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack alongside the standard Bluetooth support. The actual device’s sound is really impressive for its size, not coming out tinny or particularly noisy in any tests. This is great news, especially alongside the lovely modular ‘Connex’ case that comes with the Zenfone 10, allowing you to choose between a handy flip-out stand (much like the original Switch’s) or a cardholder.
Those two cameras absolutely dominate the back of the ASUS Zenfone 10, so you’d hope they weren’t there for show. Thankfully, the Zenfone 10 is a good choice for budding photographers, or for anyone simply wanting to capture quick and accurate snaps of their happy moments. However, it might not be the best pick if you’re shopping for the most powerful camera phone on the market.
First up, the lenses are 50MP and 13MP, so they’re able to capture a lot of detail. Next, they are also f/1.9 and f/2.2, respectively, lovely wide-angle lenses capable of capturing a great amount of the scene despite the phone’s modest frame. They also let in plenty of light, with daylight photos appearing vivid and brilliant, while night-time shots generally turn out brighter than comparable models and still feature enough detail that you can make out your mates at the party and everyone else behind them doing silly stuff.
Now, for the price and the size, the Zenfone 10 isn’t offering the best camera on the market. It still struggles a little bit in lower light environments, and it doesn’t quite stack up against devices like the Google Pixel 7, and video performance can’t quite match up to what you find in the iPhone 14 thanks to Apple’s A15 chip.
One neat feature is quick shot, where the ASUS Zenfone 10 quickly grabs a snap. The general camera option isn’t exactly slow, but it gives the phone a second to consider the image, whereas the quick shot feature is clearly there, so you don’t miss a moment of the action. In my experience, these photos still offer amazing clarity, and I struggled to tell them apart in daylight tests.
A major improvement over the ASUS Zenfone 9 comes in the form of the 10’s front-facing camera, which is now a 32MP f/2.5 wide lens. Selfies don’t have astounding image quality, but it’s lovely and detailed when video calling or grabbing a quick snap of your smiling mug next to a cute animal. There is quite a notch for the selfie camera at the top left of the device, but ASUS has tucked it away nicely and kept it impressively small.
Here’s one area that I am particularly impressed with, as the ASUS Zenfone 10 feels like a professional and gorgeous device that almost anyone will be happy to hold. We’re testing out the green color variant, and it’s a soft and almost mottled texture that feels good to carry. Despite this, the entire device is smooth and nicely rounded at the edges, fitting very comfortably in the hand.
Furthermore, at 172 grams the ASUS Zenfone 10 feels fantastic to hold in one hand for social media scrolling sessions, and in both hands is barely noticeable. It’s not quite a feather, as it still feels like it’s made of quality metal, and I doubt you’ll want to drop it, but after testing much heavier phones, the ASUS Zenfone 10 feels great in longer gaming sessions and feels fantastic when thrown in your pocket before a day of adventuring (buying loo roll).
With such good cameras, it would be a bit of a waste to include a dull display, so thankfully, the ASUS Zenfone 10 boasts a brilliant AMOLED screen with HDR support, which means videos on that screen don’t lose any luster when compared to bigger devices. The aforementioned stand means watching Netflix or YouTube is a breeze, and videos offer deep blacks and gorgeous color clarity.
If you’re prone to traveling, the Zenfone 10 is a really nice way to watch videos, and that’s where I’m also especially thankful for the 3.5mm headphone jack. Plus, checking back over your photos and videos, it’s easy to make out color, detail, and all the lovely little bits those mammoth cameras pick up.
One area for concern with the ASUS Zenfone 10 is gaming, as the 5.9” screen might be a tad too small if you’re buying this device mainly to crank out hours on Genshin Impact. However, the brightness and clarity offered by that AMOLED screen mean I really enjoy playing some of my favorite mobile games on such a portable device.
Colorful games like Mario Kart Tour look so expressive here, as do any titles that can take advantage of the Zenfone 10’s HDR screen. Titles like Pokémon Go look gorgeous and excel, especially thanks to the Zenfone 10’s focus on one-handed play. Now, you might struggle to see everything in more cluttered HUDs if you’re playing games like PUBG Mobile or COD Mobile, but there is a gyro sensor to help with that.
The ASUS Zenfone 10 features an admirable 4300mAh battery, which in our tests means that the phone can last for days at a time while idle and easily a couple of days of standard use. If you fire up a demanding game or push performance settings in the Game Genie menu, then you can expect about six or seven hours of pure gaming juice, but if you’re dipping in and out while going about your day, there’s very little chance of draining the Zenfone 10 before bedtime.
It also features Qi wireless charging, and 30W wired charging, which are nice touches. It’s not quite the superfast charging of some other flagship devices, but generally, your Zenfone 10 is back in business after a couple of hours. The Qi wireless charging only comes in at 15W, so it’s more useful for popping the device on a wireless stand while you work or a similar setup.
One big difference between the ASUS Zenfone 10 and the previous iteration, the ASUS Zenfone 9, is the move to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, giving both your regular OS and gaming activity a nice little boost. The Zenfone 10 performs fantastically no matter what game we chuck at it, and most performance dips can be sorted with a quick fiddle in the dedicated Game Genie settings.
The ASUS Zenfone 10 also offers up to 144hz refresh rate, which, when combined with that AMOLED display refresh rate, means games like Genshin Impact look brilliant, respond perfectly, and feel great to play. There is very little this device can’t handle, and while it’s not quite the absolute powerhouse of something like the Redmagic 8S Pro, this is an everyday phone that runs beautifully in regular tasks and can also play almost any game you want to test.
After weeks of testing, I’m absolutely in love with the form factor of the ASUS Zenfone 10. It feels fantastic to hold in hand while doing everyday tasks and is light and compact enough that whipping it out for gaming sessions is a pleasure. It isn’t quite the best in class when it comes to performance or cameras, but for the price point, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a phone that fits in your pocket but still packs a punch.
The gorgeous design makes it an easy choice for adults and professionals, and the beaming 1200 nits display and 440 pixel density mean that the smaller screen doesn’t come at the cost of image quality. Things might get a bit tricky in games with a lot of clutter, but it’s a rare occurrence that anything is difficult to see or locate.
If you’re looking for a mid-range to flagship phone that actually fits in your pocket and your life, the ASUS Zenfone 10 is a powerhouse that also sneaks in a lot of neat features. Other phones do certain elements better, but the sleek, consistent, and comfortably portable package of the ASUS Zenfone 10 means it’s slotted snugly into our pockets and our hearts.
Here are some other choices you might prefer.
If you’re looking for a bigger phone or something with better camera quality, maybe consider upgrading to the iPhone 14. You can decide on the screen size, but either way, you get a crisp and clear image quality that performs incredibly well in any light.
Plus, you get access to Apple Arcade, an Apple suite of software, and the promise of years of OS support. Currently, ASUS is only promising two years of software support, so if you want to keep a phone until at least the PS6, then maybe choose a pick with a bit more longevity.
Redmagic 8S Pro
If you are all about mobile gaming, the Redmagic 8S Pro is a beast of a smart device, boasting a huge and blindingly bright display, as well as one of the best chips in the world thanks to Redmagic’s overclocked Snapdragon Gen 2 chip. It might not be the perfect pick for everyday use, but if you spend more time grinding your dailies in Genshin than you do texting your pals, then the Redmagic 8S Pro is the phone for you.