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One of the last small-ish Android phones looks like it’s going the way of the iPhone Mini

As phone sizes trended upward, one small device stood its ground year after year: the Asus Zenfone. That appears to be changing soon, and if you’re a card-carrying member of the small phone fan club like me, then it’s only appropriate to take a moment to observe its passing.

Asus, to its credit, isn’t keeping us waiting in suspense. The company posted a teaser for the Zenfone 11 Ultra that leaves little to the imagination: an animated graphic showing its display growing in size with text that reads, “Expand your vision.”

Animation showing the new phone’s display expanding.
Image: Asus

A formal announcement is timed for March 14th, while a handful of other teaser clips tout its “ultra size” and long-lasting battery life. It doesn’t exactly keep you guessing.

A man holding a phone with the words “A Bigger Experience”
Image: Asus

The past few generations of Zenfone, including the most recent Zenfone 9 and Zenfone 10, maintained a 5.9-inch screen — downright petite next to the 6.6- and 6.7-inch screens on many flagship Android phones. Those past couple of Zenfones also happened to be delightful little devices, with top-shelf processors and thoughtful touches like an honest-to-goodness headphone jack. In this economy!

But like so many good things, it seemed destined to come to an end. There were rumors that Asus would quit the mainstream phone game altogether to focus on its laptops and gaming devices, which the company denied. And then, there’s the reality of the market: small phones are a hard sell. Even Apple couldn’t make the iPhone Mini a thing, and if there’s anything Apple knows how to do, it’s sell phones.

But there’s one more reality that the Zenfone never quite squared with: it’s not actually that small. Sure, it’s small by modern Android phone standards. But pound for pound, the Zenfone 10 actually measures only a little smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S24. The Zenfone is a couple of millimeters narrower and just half a millimeter shorter than the S24 — meanwhile, the Galaxy S24’s 6.2-inch screen is appreciably bigger.

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A couple of millimeters does make a bit of a difference when you hold your phone with one hand and you just need to tap that icon all the way in the corner of the screen. But is it worth settling for a smaller display? Maybe for a small phone diehard like me — Apple will have to pry my iPhone 13 Mini out of my cold, dead hands. But for the rest of the population? Probably not. And it seems like Asus is ready to give up the fight and join the big phone ranks after all.

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