Asus Zenfone 10, the test

Compact and without compromising on performance

The Asus Zenfone 10 is one of the smallest modern cell phones on the market. The strong point of the phone is its dimensions, 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.4 mm for a weight of just 155 g. A smartphone that is finally comfortable to keep in your pocket. The real protagonist is the 5.92-inch OLED screen with high refresh rate. The frequency reaches 120Hz for daily use, with excellent visual performance. The Zenfone 10 maintains a resolution of 1080x2400px with a 20:9 aspect ratio. What really sets this model apart is the improved refresh rate, which can reach 144Hz while gaming. One curious detail concerns the color modes, grouped under the “Splendid” option – it might require a bit of research if you’re new to the Zenfone world. The color gamut offered is wide and versatile, suitable for both sRGB enthusiasts and filmmakers. As for streaming tests, while the Zenfone 10 supports HDR10 and HDR10+, it lacks Dolby Vision capability. However, the experience is smooth and pleasant, leaving us fully satisfied.

Starting from the refresh rate, Asus seems to have made gaming a priority. The Game Genie feature offers impressive flexibility, allowing you to customize your gaming experience and, surprisingly, apply high settings to other apps as well. Performance is excellent, thanks also to the second generation Snapdragon 8 processor. Despite its small size, it is as powerful as the ROG 7, especially in the version with 16GB of RAM. Zenfone 10 runs Android 13, however Asus has always aimed to offer numerous additional software features, while maintaining minimally invasive Android customization. The system preferences menu offers a convenient control center for customizing some key UI elements. When you first start your phone you have the option to choose between the default Android interface or the ‘Asus Optimized’ one. The proposed settings include several customizations including opening folders in the lower half of the screen and the search bar at the bottom of the app drawer. One of the highlights of the Zen UI is the “Smart key”, which allows you to assign different actions to the power button/fingerprint reader. The introduction of the “Back tapping” function on the Zenfone 9 allowed you to perform certain actions such as taking a screenshot, while on the Zenfone 10 the ability to set a triple tap was added.

Zenfone 10 offers a highly customizable “One-Handed” mode, which facilitates one-handed use of the phone. Phone performance varies depending on the mode used. In the CPU throttling test, in “High performance” mode, the Zenfone 10 showed high initial performance, before stabilizing around 80% of peak, dropping to 60% after around 40 minutes of testing. In “Dynamic” mode, performance was different, with a smaller initial peak and a reduction to 60% after just 15 minutes, remaining constant for the rest of the test.

To support the excellent performance we noticed that, although the battery capacity remains unchanged at 4,300mAh, there have been some notable improvements in battery life. Thanks to the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, the Zenfone 10 outperforms its predecessor in almost all durability tests. While standby mode has seen a slight dip, overall, the overall runtime has seen a slight increase over the previous model. Zenfones have shipped with the same 30W adapter for several generations. During our tests, the power meter reached just over 24W, which is close to the stated charging capacity. The Zenfone 10 showed a slightly different charging curve compared to the 9: it takes longer to reach 100%, but ramps up more quickly in the initial stages. In general, both the 60% reached at half an hour and the 1:21h for a full charge are average results compared to the Zenfone’s rivals, in line with the Galaxy S23’s numbers. However, the big news is represented by wireless charging. .

Among the many proprietary features of Asus’ Android interface are charging settings designed to extend battery life over time. One of these is “Steady” charging, which charges the battery at a constant rate, unlike the classic approach which is faster at the beginning and slows down at the end. There are two levels: the basic runs at 18W, while the “Ultra Steady” drops to 10W using the supplied 30W adapter (reducing further to 12W and 9W with an 18W PD charger). There is also scheduled charging, which ensures that the battery remains at 100% as little as possible by completing the final stages of charging just before the alarm rings or a pre-set time. Alternatively, it is possible to set a charging limit of 80% or 90% to avoid keeping the battery always at 100%, which is not an ideal condition for Lithium-Ion batteries.

The photographic sector of the Zenfone 10 offers a combination of quality, versatility and functionality that makes it suitable for both photography enthusiasts and professionals. The ability to record in 8K is a significant plus, while the stabilization and HDR functions ensure high quality video in any condition. The Asus Zenfone 10 features a 50MP main wide-angle camera with an aperture of f/1.9. The 24mm lens, with a 1/1.56″ sensor and 1.0µm pixels, ensures detailed and sharp shots. The presence of a multi-directional PDAF system coupled with OIS gimbal stabilization guarantees fast focusing and stable images even on the move. Alongside the main camera is a 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens. This lens offers a 120° field of view, perfect for capturing panoramas or group shots. With an aperture of f/2.2 and a sensor of 1 /3.06″, produces bright images although the 1.12µm pixels may not be the largest on the market. For selfies and video calls, the Zenfone 10 relies on a 32 MP front camera with f/2.5 aperture. Despite the 1/3.2″ sensor size and 0.7µm pixels, you can expect good quality selfies thanks to its high resolution.

In terms of video capabilities, the Zenfone’s rear camera can record videos in 8K at 24fps, ensuring excellent image quality. If 8K is not essential for the user, there are recording options in 4K at 30 or 60fps and in 1080p at 30 or 60fps. Thanks to the gyro-EIS and the HDR function, the videos are stabilized and with an excellent dynamic range. The front camera, although not having the same video performance as the rear one, is still capable of recording video in 1080p at 30fps. As for the audio sector, the Zenfone 10 has stereo speakers with one downward-facing unit and one upward-facing unit. The bottom speaker measures 11x15mm, smaller than the previous model. The top unit remains unchanged at 10x12mm. The collaboration with Dirac continues and the Swedish researchers have focused on improved bass perception. In terms of volume, the Zenfone 10 is on par with the previous generation.

Zenfone 10 presents itself as a complete and well-balanced device. The charging system, although not the fastest, offers a series of features designed for battery longevity, which will be particularly appreciated by those who intend to keep the phone for several years. The user experience, guaranteed by the combination of Android 13 and Zen UI, is customizable and full of additional features, without however excessively weighing down the interface. From a performance perspective, the device offers several modes that affect thermal management and efficiency, allowing the user to choose between high performance and longer battery life. This balance between power and efficiency is also reflected in the photographic sector. The 50 MP rear camera, supported by OIS gimbal stabilization, ensures quality shots, while the 8K video recording option places the Zenfone among the flagship devices in the sector. In conclusion, the Zenfone 10 is a solid device (IP68 certified) that offers a wide range of features, both for general users and tech enthusiasts. Whether it’s photography, gaming, or just browsing, this smartphone can meet the needs of a wide variety of users.