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ASUS Zenfone 10 review: A small powerhouse with few compromises

The Asus Zenfone 10 has arrived, and it’s here to demonstrate what the iPhone mini missed. While the iPhone mini had its dedicated fan base, it fell short in various aspects compared to true flagship phones, notably in terms of battery life.

In contrast, the Zenfone 10 proves that good things come in small packages, boasting nearly 13 hours of battery life in default settings. But don’t let its diminutive size fool you; it’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, making it a performance beast. With up to 16GB of RAM, you can run multiple apps without a hitch.

Our reviews always remain independent of the manufacturer and the first time they will see the review is at the same time you’re reading it. Keep reading to find out what we think.

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How do I get it and what will it cost?

ASUS Zenfone 10 comes in two flavours: 256GB and 512GB.

If you’re after the standard 256GB version, it will set you back $1299. Upgrading to the 512GB model will bump this up to $1499.

The device comes in various colours including Midnight Black, Starry Blue, Aurora Green, Eclipse Red and Comet White.

What we think

The latest Zenfone has come a long way, since we reviewed both the Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 9.

Starting with the Zenfone 10’s design, which is undoubtedly the standout feature of this small device. The small form factor and massive camera lenses on the back make it unique and eye-catching. The colourful rear shell, textured plastic back and compact size give it a distinctive and satisfying feel. It also features a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a rarity in today’s smartphones so you can enjoy lossless audio through wired headphones.

The 5.9-inch AMOLED display on the Zenfone 10 is packed with features. It offers a full HD+ resolution and up to a 144Hz refresh rate, although it typically operates at 120Hz. The display delivers crisp and bright visuals with vibrant colours. It compares favourably with other flagship phones in terms of brightness and colour gamut.

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Another area where the Zenfone 10 shines is in the audio department. It includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, spatial sound support and hi-res lossless audio. The audio quality is excellent with clear and distortion-free sound when listening to lossless audio on my music platform of choice, Amazon Music. The AudioWizard in Quick Settings allows you to customise the sound experience according to your preferences.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Zenfone 10 offers remarkable performance. It handles demanding tasks with ease, and even resource-intensive games run smoothly. Benchmarks reveal that it outperforms many flagship devices making it a pocket-sized powerhouse.

Despite its compact size, the Zenfone 10 accommodates a 4300mAh battery, providing exceptional battery life. During my daily use, it lasted for over 12 hours, making it one of the best in terms of battery endurance — but it’s also worth noting that everyone will see different results due to the way we use our smartphones. It supports 30W wired fast charging and 15W wireless charging, ensuring you can quickly recharge when needed.

The Zenfone 10 features a dual-camera setup with a 50MP primary camera and a 13MP ultra-wide camera. While the primary camera delivers good results with realistic colours, the ultra-wide camera falls short with inconsistent colour reproduction. The lack of a telephoto lens is compensated by digital zoom capabilities, up to 8x. The front-facing 32MP camera performs well and brightens up selfies effectively.

The Zenfone 10 runs on Android 13 with additional features from ASUS. Users can choose between the stock Android experience or take advantage of ASUS’s added functionalities, such as the Edge tool and the smart key, enhance usability.

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One final note is that Zenfone 10 does work across all three major telcos in Australia in my testing. This means you’ll get 5G, VoLTE and VoWiFi operating across Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks.

Is the ASUS Zenfone 10 worth it?

It’s a remarkable smartphone that addresses the shortcomings of the iPhone mini. It offers a compact form factor, great battery life, unique smaller design and impressive performance.

While the camera experience isn’t perfect, it’s adequate for most users but isn’t up there with the cheaper Pixel 7a, or even the latest Pixel 8. But if you’re someone who prioritises performance and battery life over top-tier cameras, it’s a good choice — and one you’ll be happy with.

For those in need of a phone in this range, the Google Pixel 7a ($749), Google Pixel 8 ($1199) and even Samsung’s Galaxy S23 FE ($999) are strong alternatives, if you’re willing to give up the smaller package. But each will have their trade-offs as well.



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