2021 Winners and losers: Asus


Asus has at all times accomplished issues only a bit otherwise within the cell house. Trying again on the firm’s releases for the previous yr reveals a complete of 8 telephones. Even fewer really totally different fashions, in sensible phrases, as soon as we group up the entire totally different ROG Telephone 5 variants and ignore the Snapdragon Insiders demo machine. We are literally taking a look at two “mainstream” flagship telephones and a gaming flagship with a later chipset revision.

If we needed to categorize Asus lately, “boutique” producer type of springs to thoughts. The choice and availability are fairly restricted, and so are the corporate’s gross sales numbers, however what’s there may be of top quality of every cellphone. Asus has efficiently maintained and upheld a sure repute for its smartphones, which in itself is an admirable achievement.

That, nonetheless, doesn’t suggest that the corporate’s 2021 lineup is with out its points. Let’s go over the report card.

Winner: Asus Zenfone 8

We kick issues off with a simple win in our guide. On the subject of a correctly small and pocketable flagship Android cellphone, the Zenfone 8 hardly has any competitors on the market. With its 148 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm, 169-gram physique, it actually makes the vanilla Samsung Galaxy S21 5G look enormous compared. And positive, Sony has the Xperia 5 III, nevertheless it has just a few explicit oddities of its personal and an eye-watering price ticket.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

The Zenfone 8 manages to ship large time and dwell as much as 2021 flagship requirements in most departments. Its highlights embody a superb aluminum and Gorilla Glass construct and IP68 ingress safety. Its 5.9-inch show may be small however packs a hefty punch with fashionable options like 120Hz refresh fee and HDR10+ assist with 1100 nits of peak brightness. You additionally get a pair of wonderful stereo audio system, and Asus even managed to suit a 3.5mm audio jack and a 32-bit DAC for a well-rounded and versatile multimedia expertise.

In all probability essentially the most spectacular bit right here, nonetheless, is the inclusion of a flagship Snapdragon 888 5G chipset and much more so the spectacular approach wherein Asus has managed to maintain it cool. Whereas the small physique of the Zenfone 8 can get fairly toasty within the course of, Asus has managed to maintain the chip performing significantly beneath sustained stress.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

The Zenfone 8’s dual-camera setup might be its weakest half, failing to fairly dwell as much as present flagship {hardware} requirements, although nonetheless delivering strong efficiency. Asus did not even draw back from enabling 8K video seize, which solely comes to point out how assured the engineers are of their cooling resolution. With all that energy and connectivity, it’s also fairly stunning how lengthy the Zenfone 8 lasts on a single cost with its 4,000 mAh battery. A big chunk of that comes all the way down to the very clear and optimized ROM Asus has been chipping with its telephones.

Loser: Asus Zenfone 8 Flip

Let’s simply begin by saying that “loser” may be a bit harsh right here, however we’ve got to stay to our format. The Zenfone 8 Flip is a little bit of a flop when it comes to recognition in comparison with its Zenfone 8 sibling and naturally on the broader smartphone scene as effectively. With a barely excessive launch value that pressured it to rub shoulders with some big-dog opponents whereas additionally providing few upgrades over final yr’s mannequin and no IP68 ranking, the Zenfone 8 Flip was in a little bit of a tricky spot from the get-go. Its distinctive factor – the wonderful rotating most important digital camera – was sadly not sufficient to sway public curiosity.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

That being stated, the Zenfone 8 Flip undoubtedly bought our curiosity. It’s nothing wanting a strong, well-rounded flagship provide. Granted, Asus arguably did not put fairly the identical quantity of effort into another points of the Flip because the vanilla Zenfone 8. It solely will get a 90Hz show, skips the ingress safety and the three.5mm audio jack, to call just a few omissions. Then again, it provides a 3x telephoto digital camera to the combination and in addition tosses in a much bigger 5,000 mAh battery.

The underside line right here – we just like the Zenfone 8 Flip so much. We do, nonetheless, respect how its not including an excessive amount of over its predecessor.

Winner: Asus ROG Telephone 5

Few names are fairly as synonymous with cell gaming as ROG. And that is a well-deserved and hard-earned honor by Asus. There’s really an argument to be made that the Republic of Avid gamers engineers and their arduous work is the most important singular motive for the existence of the trendy gaming smartphone as a product area of interest, and few have accomplished extra to set a benchmark for stated machine all through the years. Even with ongoing stress from competitors and regardless of some questionable selections as of late, we nonetheless keep that no different smartphone delivers fairly the general gaming expertise that the ROG Telephone 5 does.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

It is actually arduous to briefly cowl each side of the ROG Telephone 5 and do it justice. All of it comes all the way down to unbelievable consideration to element. Asus has managed to as soon as once more take what are frequent off-the-shelf elements just like the Snapdragon 888 and spend sufficient time on low-level optimization, cooling, efficiency tweaking and superior software program controls and tuning to squeeze out each final ounce of efficiency from the chip. That very same mentality can also be utilized to different areas important for an excellent general gaming expertise, like enter and output latency optimization on each a {hardware} stage with the wonderful 144Hz 10-bit HDR AMOLED panel in addition to OS optimizations.

That is all wrapped inside an immediately recognizeable gaming exterior and a premium shell, full with much more {hardware} for an additional gaming edge, just like the industry-leading AirTrigger 5 and Ultrasonic buttons, in addition to the proprietary aspect connector and the slew of equipment up on provide, just like the AeroActive Cooler 5.

Loser: Asus ROG Telephone 5’s accent ecosystem

Whereas general, the ROG Telephone 5 stays an extremely spectacular and feature-rich machine and the very best gaming cellphone on the market, its ecosystem took a step again.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

The ROG Telephone 5 represents a a lot larger design change than the older ROG Telephone 3 was to the ROG Telephone II. Fairly actually, because the ROG Telephone 5 has grown its footprint simply sufficient to interrupt compatibility with a complete slew of pre-existing ROG Telephone equipment. Glorious and unmatched, even when admittedly very area of interest and exuberant devices just like the TwinView Dock 3 and the Cell Desktop Dock are now not supported by the ROG Telephone 5.

To be honest, Asus by no means really promised to maintain its equipment compatibilitble for ever and if it was to do this it could restrict its innovation. But, the transfer takes away among the spectacular achievements of the ROG accent ecosystem.

Whereas on the subject of design, we even have points with the brand new aspect connector. What was as soon as a really safe and durable Kind-C derived connector is now a a lot flimsier resolution on the ROG Telephone 5. The truth is, we even managed to wreck considered one of our AeroActive Cooler 5 models in the course of the evaluation.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

And talking of the AeroActive Cooler 5, not solely is it extra finicky to work with than earlier iterations, however it’s also now not included within the field with the bottom ROG Telephone 5 and must be bought individually.

Loser: ROG Telephone 5 complicated mannequin lineup

Asus has been scuffling with naming, variants and SKUs for its merchandise as a complete. A few of you may do not forget that Zenfone fashions of previous actually required customers to know a full mannequin quantity, very like they’d on a laptop computer simply to make certain what model to get. This has been plaguing the ROG Telephone line as effectively albeit to a lesser extent.

And Asus one way or the other made it even worse with the ROG Telephone 5 household. The unique ROG Telephone 5 lineup has three fashions – the vanilla is available in 8GB/128GB, 12GB/256GB, and 16GB/256GB configurations relying on the area. And the Professional and the Final editions add some design modifications and much more souped-up storage variations. There is no such thing as a longer a Strix “lesser” mannequin both.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

And issues simply bought that extra complicated with the introduction of the ROG Telephone 5s and 5s Professional. Each gadgets swap the Snapdragon 888 for an 888+ and provide upgraded, industry-leading 360Hz contact sampling charges on their shows. The vanilla ROG Telephone 5s relies on the vanilla ROG Telephone 5, so it has an RGB emblem on the again and skips on the PMOLED ROG imaginative and prescient show and the additional rear contact inputs that the Professional and Final editions used to have.

This vanilla ROG Telephone 5s additionally is available in the identical RAM and storage configurations as its predecessor, as much as 16GB/256GB. Curiously, it could possibly solely be had in a Storm White shade, which was beforehand a ROG Telephone 5 Final unique.

You possibly can clearly see how this will get complicated quick. Fortunately or maybe not, relying on the way you see it, Asus type of phased out its unique ROG Telephone 5 fashions in favor of the 5s ones as provides have been exhausted.

On the fence: Asus ROG Telephone 5s

Getting a ROG Telephone 5s with a shiny new Snapdragon 888+ as a substitute of the unique mannequin with its Snapdragon 888 for a similar retail value may sound like an excellent deal on paper, however in actuality, that wasn’t actually the case. You possibly can verify our ROG Telephone 5s Professional in-depth evaluation for a deeper evaluation on precisely what the difficulty is, nevertheless it mainly boils all the way down to the truth that the Snapdragon 888+ runs very popular, much more so than the common Snapdragon 888 and even the industry-leading cooling system on the ROG Telephone 5 shouldn’t be fairly in a position to sustain with it.

2021 Winners and Losers: Asus

On the finish of the day, you find yourself with a cellphone that runs hotter and, as a result of thermal switch design, feels hotter to the contact, with out a lot precise profit when it comes to efficiency. We undoubtedly get why Asus felt the necessity and stress to do a chipset swap on the ROG Telephone 5s to the hot-ticket Snapdragon 888+. Not doing so would have regarded dangerous when it comes to PR. You possibly can’t declare to be top-dog with out the most recent and best {hardware}.

Nonetheless, all issues thought of, even when we will not blame Asus an excessive amount of for the ROG Telephone 5s, the very fact stays that the product in the end got here out worse off.

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