The powerful new ASUS smartphone is here. The ZenFone 10 was announced quite recently and we were here to compare it to its predecessor. In this article, we nicely compare the ASUS ZenFone 10 against the ASUS ZenFone 9. The ZenFone 9 launched pretty much exactly a year ago at this point, and its successor brings a few improvements to the table, while keeping essentially the same design.
The ZenFone 10 features a more powerful chip, which is also more energy efficient. It offers wireless charging, unlike its predecessor, and an improved camera setup. First let’s list the specs of both smartphones, and then we’ll move on to compare their designs, displays, performance, battery life, cameras, and audio performance. With that said, let’s get started, shall we?
|ASUS ZenFone 10||ASUS ZenFone 9|
|Screen size||5.9-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED display (up to 144Hz refresh rate, 1,100nit max brightness)||5.9-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED display (60-120Hz refresh rate, 1,100nit max brightness)|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1|
|RAM||8GB/16GB (LPDDR5X)||8GB/16GB (LPDDR5)|
|Warehousing||128GB/256GB/512GB (UFS 4.0), non-expandable||128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||50 MP (f/1.9 aperture, 24mm wide-angle lens, 1.0um pixel size, gimbal OIS, PDAF)
13MP (f/2.2 aperture, FoV 120 degrees, pixel size 1.12um)
|50 MP (f/1.9 aperture, 24mm wide-angle lens, 1.0um pixel size, gimbal OIS, PDAF)
12 MP (f/2.2 aperture, 113 degree field of view, 1.4um pixel size, 14.4mm lens)
|Front cameras||32MP (f/2.5 aperture, 0.7um pixel size)||12MP (f/2.5 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 27.5mm lens, dual pixel PDAF)|
|Drums||4,300mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging
|4,300mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging
|Dimensions||146.5 x 68.1 x 9.4mm||146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1mm|
|Weight||172 grams||169 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Safety||Side fingerprint scanner||Side fingerprint scanner|
|Operating system||Android 13
|Android 12 (upgradable)
|Acquire||Available Q3 2023||ASUS|
ASUS ZenFone 10 vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Design
If you take a quick look at both of these smartphones, you will basically see no difference. Not only do they look nearly the same, but they’re nearly identical in size. The ZenFone 10 is 0.3mm thicker, but that’s about it as far as differences in bulk are concerned. However, you will notice the difference when you pay attention to the lettering and markings on the back. Aside, and a few different color variations, they’re basically the same.
Both phones have a flat display with a hole for the display camera in the upper left corner. Unfortunately the bezels of the two phones are not uniform, but they are quite thin. The sides are flat, while the back plate is made of soft-touch plastic, which feels good, not like plastic. It’s somewhere between plastic and OnePlus sandstone finish, that’s the best way to describe it. Note that there are some differences in the softness between the colors, and this applies to both models.
Both smartphones have a fingerprint scanner on the right side. That button doubles as a power/lock key and a customizable touch panel. The backplate on both devices protrudes at the back, making the phone more pleasant to use. It doesn’t curve into the frame, but towards the rear. Both devices have two camera islands on the back, each of which has a single camera inside.
They’re exactly the same in terms of height and width, while the ZenFone 10 is a hair thicker, which you won’t notice. The ZenFone 10 is also 3 grams heavier, which is also something you won’t even notice. You’re getting IP68 certification on both devices here, and both offer an audio jack on the top as well. The ZenFone 10 and 9 are grippy and feel great in the hand. They’re also great for one-handed use and feel different from most phones out there.
ASUS ZenFone 10 vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Display
These two smartphones both have a 5.9-inch FullHD+ (2400 x 1080) display. In both cases it is a flat Super AMOLED panel and supports HDR10+ content. Maximum brightness is also the same at 1,100 nits. We were looking at a 20:9 display aspect ratio in both cases and ASUS decided to use Gorilla Glass Victus to protect both panels. Note that the ZenFone 10 supports a 144Hz refresh rate, compared to the ZenFone 9’s 120Hz, so they’re not quite identical.
It’s worth noting that the phone won’t use a 144Hz refresh rate unless you’re playing a game. So in almost every way, these two panels are the same. They are good displays, though. Colors are vivid, viewing angles are great, and blacks are deep. Touch response is also good, as both displays are well optimised. You can also change them further through the settings.
The thing is, both panels could be brighter. 1,100 nits is probably enough, in general, but other high-end phones have gone way beyond that. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, this may bother you. After using the ZenFone 9 for quite a long time, however, I haven’t encountered any problems, even during the summer. Then again I haven’t used the display much being in direct sunlight so to each their own. Overall though, both of these displays are quite good.
ASUS ZenFone 10 vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Performance
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powers the ASUS ZenFone 10. This is Qualcomm’s latest and greatest SoC. ASUS also included up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM inside this phone, along with UFS 4.0 flash storage. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is found inside the ZenFone 9, while that device also offers up to 16GB of RAM, but LPDDR5 RAM, not LPDDR5X. UFS 3.1 flash storage is included inside the ZenFone 9.
The ZenFone 9 offered outstanding performance, and still does, and the same goes for the ZenFone 10. Truth be told, in most cases, we can’t even differentiate between the two. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is still a really powerful processor. You may notice a difference while playing, however, if you have a tendency to play the more graphically intense games from the Play Store. Overall, though, both of these phones deliver outstanding performance at the flagship level.
ASUS ZenFone 10 vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Battery
Inside both of these smartphones is a 4,300mAh battery. The ZenFone 9 offered really good battery life and even managed to surprise us. It’s stayed that way since launch, and the ZenFone 10 builds on that. The ZenFone 10 offers better battery life than its predecessor, and certainly the best battery life in a smartphone with a sub-6 display, although it can easily compete with much larger phones. ASUS has done a fantastic job with battery life here.
Exceeding 8 hours of screen-on-time with ASUS ZenFone 9 isn’t a problem, well, at least it wasn’t for us. At times, the phone might even stretch its feet for up to 9 hours. The ZenFone 10 flies above that, as we were able to record over 9-10 hours of screen-on-time and even managed to hit 11 hours a couple of times. There aren’t many smartphones that can tell for themselves, especially not the flagship ones. There is not a single other compact phone out there that can reach this level, at least not one as powerful as the ZenFone 10.
One thing to note is that your mileage may vary, of course. Your usage will be different, as will installed apps, signal, and so on. Now, regarding the charging. Both devices support 30W wired charging and come with a charger in the box. ZenFone 10 also supports 15W wireless charging and 5W reverse wired charging. ZenFone 9 only supports 5W reverse wired charging, no wireless charging.
ASUS ZenFone 10 vs ASUS ZenFone 9: Cameras
Both of these phones have the same main camera, a 50-megapixel camera, which includes Sony’s IMX766 sensor. Here you also get an f/1.9 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, multi-directional PDAF, and gimbal OIS support. That sensor isn’t the best or the latest, but the ZenFone 9 performed well, and the ZenFone 10 builds on that. It comes with a new version of OIS gimbal, to make things even less shaky, and this is really noticeable when shooting video. The ZenFone 10 will provide one of the most stable video recordings on any smartphone, if not the most stable.
ASUS also relies on software to enhance the images on the ZenFone 10, as it has come up with some new tricks to achieve this. We’ll talk about images later. There’s another camera on the back of every phone that we need to talk about. A 13 megapixel ultrawide camera (f/2.2 aperture, 120 degrees FoV, 1.12um pixel size) on the ZenFone 10 and a 12 megapixel ultrawide camera (f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size, 113 degrees FoV, Dual Pixel PDAF) on ZenFone 9. Note that ASUS, for whatever reason, has not included autofocus on the ultrawide camera for the ZenFone 10.
Photos from the ZenFone 10 end up looking brighter and a little richer at the same time. Sharpness is also less noticeable than on the ZenFone 9. The phone seems to have some issues with autofocus at the moment, but ASUS is likely to fix that soon. The ZenFone 9 has a tendency to deliver images that look a little too sharp in comparison, but it still does a good job. Both perform well in low light, but they can’t compare to the best camera smartphones out there.
The ultrawide cameras do a good job, but the lack of autofocus on the ZenFone 10 is staggering. This presents some problems when shooting relatively close objects, as getting the focus right can be a problem. Video shooting is great on both, but the ZenFone 10 is much better in this regard.
Both devices include a set of stereo speakers. Those speakers actually provide a convincing volume considering how small these phones are, and they’re actually pretty close in that regard. The sound quality is also good and well balanced.
You’ll also find an audio jack on both smartphones, which is always nice to see. If you prefer to go wireless, however, you’ll be happy to know that the ZenFone 10 supports Bluetooth 5.3, while the ZenFone 9 supports Bluetooth 5.2.
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June 30, 2023
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