Is there still room for a smartphone with a sub-6-inch screen at a time when large screen smartphones have become the industry standard? Asus, however, believes that many of us would prefer the convenience of one-handed navigation. The Asus 8Z is the iPhone mini of the Android world, with a 5.9-inch screen and top-of-the-line specs. I have to confess that I’ve been a fan of the iPhone mini and the only dampener has been battery life, especially on days when I’m on travel mode. The good news is that battery life is not an issue you will face with the 8Z, but does it tick the right boxes for you?

Pint-Sized Appeal

You’re likely to experience a sense of wow and surprise when you unbox the Asus 8Z. It’s elegantly designed with a premium matte finish built with aluminium. It doesn’t just feel good in your hand but it is also the perfect size if you want to reach the top corner of the device. The 8z is still thicker than some of its other smaller screen rivals — like the iPhone 13 mini (with a 5.4-inch display) and the all-new Samsung Galaxy S22 — in a sense it still feels a little bulky for its overall footprint. That’s also because it packs a larger 4000mAh battery. The other comforting design element is the 3.5mm headphone jack, a feature that’s fast disappearing on premium smartphones. You will also notice a fluorescent blue key on the right spine; this ‘smart key’ allows you to add two customisable actions.

asus 8z side key

Flagship Class Specs

Videos look good on the 5.9-inch (2400×1080 pixels) display, an AMOLED panel from Samsung that packs an impressive 445 pixels per inch and peaks at 1100 nits. The display features a 120Hz refresh rate that adds to the ultra-smooth scrolling experience, whether you’re gaming or exploring Insta feeds. The dual stereo speakers add to its immersive appeal as a video screen. But if you prefer smaller phones, you’re likely to reserve your binge watching sessions for a tab or your TV.

The Asus 8Z is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It’s enough firepower even for gamers; the 8Z clocked an impressive score of 2447 (multi-core) in our Geekbench benchmark test. Battery life is decent. The 4000mAh battery lasted a whole day in our tests, even with camera usage and about an hour of video playback. There’s a 30W charger that can power up your device in little over an hour.

Camera and Android User Experience

Asus has steered away from any camera gimmicks with a ‘straight shooter’ (pun intended). The rear cam combines a 64MP Sony IMX 686 sensor with a 12MP ultra-wide camera. Images and videos are quite impressive, lowlight images were quite sharp.

asus 8z

The camera also scored on its ultra-wide images. The 12MP selfie cam also made a great impression in our tests. The rear cam misses out on a telephoto lens that quite a few devices offer at this price point. Aside from the camera, we also enjoyed the near ‘Stock Android’ experience of Asus’ ZenUI minus any bloatware.

Bottomline

So, does a small smartphone still make sense in 2022? The short answer is yes. The longer answer would depend on your use-case scenarios. The Asus 8Z sits the same price zone as affordable flagships like the OnePlus 9RT and it misses out on some premium flagship features like wireless charging. It does, however, focus on the features that really matter and also has some ‘nice to have’ features like an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. But most of all, it makes a case for a smaller screen smartphone with the simple joys of one-handed navigation.

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