A little over a year after Asus charmed us with the Zenfone 6’s reverse cameras, the company is back with the Zenfone 7 and 7 Pro. Both devices still have rotating camera arrays like last year’s model, as well as the same massive 5,000mAh batteries. But this year there are a bunch of new features, including an additional zoom lens in the array of cameras and a new OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
Asus says the phones are scheduled to launch in some European markets on September 1, but not in the United States. The exact European pricing must be announced on this date. The phone is on sale in Taiwan starting today. In this country, the price of the Zenfone 7 starts at NT $ 21,990 (around $ 749), while the Zenfone 7 Pro costs NT $ 27,990 (around $ 953).
The flip camera array is as eye-catching on the Zenfone 7 as it was on last year’s phone. With just the push of a button, the three camera sensors move from the back of the phone to the front, which means there is no need for a display notch, but also you get the same flexibility with selfie shots as you do with the rear camera.
This year, Asus included three cameras in the table. There’s a 64-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 113-degree field of view, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. That means you get a very useful ultra-wide selfie camera (handy for group selfies) and a zoom that isn’t immediately obvious to use as a selfie camera. On the Zenfone 7 Pro, the wide angle and telephoto cameras come with optical image stabilization, but this is not included on the regular Zenfone 7.
In addition to increasing the number and resolution of individual sensors, Asus claims to have revamped the actual tilt mechanism. More importantly, it’s now rated to survive 200,000 flips instead of the 100,000 that the Zenfone 6 could handle – Asus estimates that it would take the cameras 100 times a day for five years to be turned over to use it. You can also manually select specific angles that you want the cameras to switch to, and Asus also says the whole mechanism is faster and smoother than in the previous model.
There are some notable improvements that Asus has made to the Zenfone 7’s display. First of all, the display now features a 90Hz high refresh rate OLED panel, compared to the 60Hz LCD screen. from last year. This means it should look a lot smoother. Asus also claims that the screen can now reach 700 nits in bright conditions, making it easier to read in the sun, while still benefiting from a little more space at 6.67 inches. However, it still only has 1080p resolution.
The massive 5,000mAh battery returns from last year’s phone and this year supports fast charging up to 30W. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging in sight: Asus said that he wanted to prioritize a bigger battery rather than having to allocate space for the hardware he needed.
There’s also no rear-mounted fingerprint sensor this time around. Instead, there’s one side-mounted that’s built into the phone’s power button, which also performs dual roles as a hotkey, with customizable double-tap-and-hold gestures. Unlike the Zenfone 6, the Zenfone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack, and there’s no IP rating either (it has a large array of flip cameras, after all). Both handsets are available in white or black.
Internally, the Zenfone 7 and 7 Pro are slightly different. The 7 Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Zenfone 7 has a slightly slower Snapdragon 865 with 128GB of storage and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Both support Sub-6GHz 5G (without mmWave), as well as external storage using microSD cards with a capacity of up to 2TB.
We were surprised at how much we liked last year’s Zenfone 6, and from specs it looks like Asus has kept most of what we loved before, while still trying to fix some of the device related issues. Our full review is coming soon.