[Review] Built for Vloggers and Selfie Enthusiasts: The ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip

ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip


The ASUS Zenfone series has just made a comeback in Malaysia, where it has been absent for a couple of years. This round, they've launched the compact flagship Zenfone 8 as well as a sister model called the Zenfone Flip 8, which I'll be reviewing today.

Unlike other phones with 'Flip' in its name, the ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip does not feature a foldable body. In this case, the 'Flip' in its name refers to the flippable camera module that allows one to use the main camera setup on the rear as a selfie cam as well.

Apart from its defining feature, the Zenfone 8 Flip is in many ways a flagship as well, although it does fall short of the mark just a little compared to some other devices on the market nowadays.

So, what exactly does the Zenfone 8 Flip offer that makes it a compelling choice alongside its non-flip sibling? Let's find out.

First impressions

Just by looking at the box, you can tell that ASUS has forgone the recent trend of ditching charger. Indeed, inside you'll find a 30W charger, the corresponding USB-C to USB-C cable, the usual paperwork and SIM card ejector, as well as a phone case. I really appreciate that ASUS is providing something a little nicer than the usual TPU casing, especially since it would probably be difficult to find aftermarket cases to accommodate the Flip 8's unusual design.

The Flip 8 is available in Galactic Black and Glacier Silver, both of which are boring yet safe colours - I wish there would have been a more adventurous 'hero' colour available. In any case, the Glacier Silver unit I received began to grow on me after a while, especially with the blue power button providing a nice accent on the side.

The back is glossy and a bit of a fingerprint magnet, while the sides have a matte finish. It's not particularly easy to keep a good grip on it due to its texture and large size, while the flip-out camera module makes it top-heavy and slightly off-balance in the hand. Either way, you'll be wanting to keep a cover on at all times - not just for general protection, but also to protect the camera module.

When subject to rapid and abrupt motions, the camera has a tendency to flip out from its resting position just a little before immediately retracting. While this is to be expected and doesn't pose a huge issue, you're still better off ensuring that it is safely retracted while in transit. The Active Case provided by ASUS in the box, as well as the bundled Rhinoshield case available to early birds, both keep the flip camera secure; the former via a small plastic latch, and the latter via a sliding shield.

Another good reason to always have a case on is the fact that the back is only protected by the older Gorilla Glass 3, not Gorilla Glass 6 like the front or Gorilla Glass Victus like the Zenfone 8.

On the right side of the phone, you'll find the power button and volume rocker, while the left side remains bare except for the SIM card slot. On the bottom, you'll find the USB-C port, microphone, speaker grille, as well as the notification light, which is becoming less common nowadays. Up top is the aforementioned flip-out camera as well as another speaker. Right below the camera bump on the back is another microphone that supports the Mic Focus feature.

If you're worried about how durable the flip camera is, ASUS claims that the liquid metal mechanism can last up to 300,000 flips - that's 150 flips per day for more than 5 years! That's plenty, since most of us tend to swap out our phones every few years or so anyway.

All in all, the design is simple and sleek, with the signature flip camera helping it stand out from the competition.

Looks great, sounds great

The display boasts rather slim bezels, with the chin being the thickest, followed by the forehead. Even if they aren't really slim enough to be considered flagship caliber, it's still a gorgeous sight to behold, thanks to the lack of a camera notch or punch-hole that's becoming more common nowadays.

The FHD+ AMOLED display is vibrant with great contrast. The screen is also pretty bright and I had no visibility issues outdoors. While the 90Hz refresh rate isn't as speedy as some other flagships that boast 120Hz or even 144Hz refresh rates, it's still a noticeable and welcome upgrade from 60Hz. You can lock it at either 90Hz or 60Hz, or select auto mode to let the device decide. A lower refresh rate means you'll get more battery life out of it, but the fluidity of the higher refresh rate is just too good to pass up. If you're a mobile gamer, you'll also be glad to know that it has a speedy 200Hz sampling rate for more responsive gameplay.

The fingerprint sensor is located beneath the screen - it's speedy most of the time, but seems to have trouble occasionally, especially when the screen has some dirt on it. You can also use facial recognition, but that's hardly feasible nowadays since we're masked up most of the time, and I usually keep the camera latch on so it's much faster to simply use fingerprint recognition. If you DO insist on using facial recognition however, you'll still have to swipe the screen to indicate you want to unlock it, after which the camera will automatically pop up to check you out before automatically retracting after it recogni