Here's everything to improve in ZenUI

Mr.DogeMr.Doge Level 1
edited September 2020 in ZenFone 6

So I made a giant list of everything that bothers me in ZenUI. None of these are high-priority issues and some of them are just feature suggestions. The Zenfone 6 replaced my Oneplus 3 and Oneplus’s software has some very thoughtful features, so I’ll be suggesting some of them that I really liked and miss in ZenUI. The software is not bad at all, it’s just not perfect.

Also I’m sorry if I’m not always clear, I’m not a native English speaker.

Here’s the list sorted in different categories:

Part 1: Sound

-         There are only 15 volume steps, so it is often either too loud or not loud enough. Bluetooth headphones seem to be able to access twice more steps with the onboard buttons (I have to change the volume 2 times for it to change in the volume bar), however these steps don’t sound proportional, it feels one increases the volume by 10% and the next by 20%. OxygenOS has 30 steps since android 9 so this is a downgrade to me.

-         The volume bar is too short, it takes maybe 1/10th of the screen, and making it 2 times longer would make it more usable without taking too much space still.

-         No quick toggle to switch between 2 outputs (headphones and speaker for example), and the ringtone and notification volumes are only accessible by opening a new settings window (unlike Xiaomi’s MIUI where you can display the 3 sliders without opening the settings). However, this seems to be solved in stock android 10 so I’m not too worried.

Part 2: Camera

-         Cannot switch between regular and wide angle cameras by zooming and unzooming, I have to click the button, and I can’t use the wide angle in 3rd party apps.

-         Zooming and unzooming is really slow when pinching, I have to lift my fingers 4 times to reach 8x. Making it 2 times faster would be good.

-         Can’t have normal HDR always on. It’s either no HDR, auto HDR or HDR++, which often looks unnatural. There should be a 4th option to always have the “normal HDR”.

-         Photos, although they look good on a small display, seriously lack detail and sharpness when displayed on a computer. It makes it impossible to have sharp desktop wallpapers. In comparison , The Oneplus 7 with the same sensor is noticeably sharper, especially on text, and the Huawei P30 pro in 10mpx mode is even sharper. This proves it can be solved with software. (Or maybe it’s the lens but I don’t think it makes a big difference) The downgrade was very visible coming from the 16mpx of the Oneplus 3.

Part 3: Gallery app

-         It asks confirmation before deleting something and there’s no way to disable that. But there’s also a “recently deleted” in case I made a mistake so deleting pictures takes a lot of time for nothing.

-         Deleting something takes a lot of time (nearly a second for a photo and several for a video) during which I can’t do anything, while it could be done in the background. It’s maybe because I use a SD card, but It’s a fast U3 one (sandisk extreme 128gb).

-         Slow motion videos are SUPER long to process! And I never use the editor because I always want the full slow-mo. I would like to skip the editing part and having the phone save the final clip instantly (maybe with a few seconds of process but not minutes).

-         When viewing an image in full screen, I can’t swipe down to see the mosaic like in google photos, I must click the back button. Very minor but still annoying.

-         The “photos” tab at the bottom left shows the pictures taken by the camera but also all the pictures from the other folders. I would like to only see the pictures I have taken on the main screen, and have the rest in the “albums” tab.

Part 4: Screen

-         The screen has a green tint (compared to most other displays) and there’s no way to change it because there’s only a slider to change temperature from blue to red. The solution would be to put a color wheel like in Huawei’s EMUI.

-         Minimum brightness is still too bright in pitch dark. Going lower may make for a terrible contrast, I don’t care when I’m setting an alarm at 2 AM!

-         Night mode is too weak. Even at max setting, the screen looks cold at night. Also night mode makes a very pink-ish hue compared to most other devices that are more orange, which is a bit weird.

-         No way to wake un the display by lifting it (like on oneplus phones) to show the time and notifications, but the equivalent already exists when I receive notifications, so it should not be too hard to implement.

-         Offscreen gestures (like drawing W) can only open apps. In Oneplus’s OxygenOS, you can control your music by drawing <, || and > . I miss this feature TERRIBLY when I listen to music on a Bluetooth speaker because I must wake up the display and click on the tiny buttons of the music player. Please just copy Oneplus for that one, it’s extremely useful.

Part 5: Hardware related

-         The fingerprint scanner is fast when it works, but it is surprisingly unreliable (80-90% only while these things have been out for years) and sensitive to humidity. I don’t know if this can be solved with software, but if it isn’t, making the next one with glass or ceramic may solve the problem. (Oneplus 3 has ceramic FP scanner and around 95% reliability)

-         There’s no proper battery saving mode, the present ones only change network settings. True battery saving would be disabling CPU cores, maybe reducing framerate and other hardware stuff, but more than pausing network activities in sleep.

-         Touching the smart key when the screen is off turns it on, even if it’s in my pocket with the pocket mode setting turned on. This is annoying when switching sound modes because I risk clicking the screen accidentally. The feedback should be given with vibrations, for example one for sound, two for vibration and none for silent.

-         Pocket mode doesn’t disable the fingerprint scanner.

-         Some smart key personalization options are not available for each input, for example flashlight is only available for double click.

Part 6: UI

-         The home gesture often lags (the animation stutters) and the app does not “retract” in the correct icon (youtube goes into the browser icon for example). However, this may have been solved in the 193 update, it’s just a bit too early to tell.

-         The animation when going back is not the stock android animation and it looks less smooth and natural. Please leave the stock one.

-         Since the 193 update, rotating from landscape to portrait has a glitch (see the video where I’m rotating the gallery app) where it blinks for 0.1sec with the portrait window before doing the animation. It’s very hard to explain but I hope the video helps.

-         The contact app only shows names, not profile pictures, so it takes way longer to find a contact than on my previous phone.

-         When using split screen, the navigation goes back to the 3-button layout even if it is set to gesture navigation.

-         There’s no way to access the list of WIFI and Bluetooth devices available inside the quick settings, unlike previous ZenUI versions (see screenshot)

-         In landscape mode, the notification tray is so tall I can only see one half of notification at a time. It should be wider and shorter. Also the quick settings (dragging down a second time) only shows one row of icons in landscape, while it could easily display two.

-         Notifications often don’t disappear when I click on them. It takes me to the app normally but when I drag down the notification menu it is still here, and in that case if I swipe it away it will leave a rectangle the same size as the deleted notification until I leave the notification shade.

-         The notification LED is not personalizable in color and is not usable while charging.

-         The airplane mode icon often must be clicked 2 times to be disabled.

-         It’s an android-wide problem, but there’s no way to disable network (not just data) without disabling WIFI and Bluetooth. It would be nice to have another option that leaves Bluetooth and WIFI in order to not disconnect Bluetooth devices.

-         The shortcut to open the camera with the screen off (double clicking the volume button) interferes with the volume when music is playing. It would be better on the power button.

-         The stock launcher does not support individually set icons from 3rd party icon packs.

-         The interface for setting the time of an alarm is way less intuitive than the one of the google clock.

-         Suggestions inspired by Oneplus: being able to replace the google feed in the launcher with a widget panel (it’s called shelf on OxygenOS ) and being able to personalize the theme color (currently stuck with blue).


That’s it. If someone at Asus reads this, I would be happy to further describe the issues, because some of them are really hard to explain with worlds. With all these things fixed, ZenUI would be truly perfect! I’m really looking forward to the android 10 release, but please don’t rush it. Better late than full of bugs.

Bottom note: if you think some of these suggestions may not appeal to most people, remember that you can make it an option so everyone is happy, and please don’t remove the 3-zone gesture navigation when upgrading to android 10, it’s so much better than google’s new navigation system.

PS: I was totally ready to pay 50€ more for an OLED screen. Please make that happen for the next Zenfone!


  • icon pack is supported by asus launcher..

  • Google feed is more useful is guess.. also android 10 has default accent color support...

  • Yes but it is not possible to change each icon individually, that's what i meant.

    Google feed is also accessible by clicking on the desktop icon so I feel like it's a waste of space.

    Thanks for your answer.

  • Wow, this is the mother of longest lists of suggestions that I've ever seen ?

    I'm impressed by your enthusiasm and the cheer number of questions but I'm pretty sure you would have removed many of them if you had waited with publishing it until you had read more posts in this forum and used the phone for an even longer period.

    Unfortunately I don't have time to reply ever singe request but I can say that a lot of our design comes directly from Stock Android.

    Part 1: Sound

    ZenUI is an "enhanced" version of Stock Android just like OxygenOS. Some changes, we feel are important enough to change and other we might let be even though we agree that they could be made better. The reason for this is that every change we make, will increase the risk of bugs and future updates will take longer to release.

    So even though I agree with some of your sound suggestions, we're not going to touch this part. It's up to Google to improve this part.

    Part 2: Camera

    Regarding the camera. The time it takes to switch between the two cameras is too long to be used with zooming. People would find it more frustrating than useful if they accidentally switch camera.

    3rd party apps are welcome to use our wide angle camera but there's nothing we can do from our end without a huge risk of creating bugs. This has been discussed before and the short answer is that it won't happen.

    We want the zoom to be as precise as it is. You can slide the shutter button sideways if you want to zoom it all the way in one go without compromising on smoothness.

    Regarding the HDR. I believe that if we named our HDR options to off, auto and HDR on, then there would be less confusion. The most important thing is the end result and if you take two pictures with HDR auto (when HDR+ is detected) and HDR++, you will notice that the end result is quite similar. I believe the difference you experience is no HDR, VS HDR++.

    Software is a VERY big part of the final result. This is why Google has been able to deliver flagship performance with an inferior camera. Our performance is much better now compared to when we launched ZenFone 6 and it will become even better with time.

    Part 3: Gallery app

    In gallery you can easily delete several pictures in one go. If you want to view image by image, then you can zoom out and delete by swiping. In the image overview you can hold one picture to select it and after that you can select several pictures with one tap per picture. You can also pinch out to see even more pictures. You can hold your finger on one picture and then drag it across several pictures to select a whole series of pictures.

    Your request to save final slo-mo files would require the phone to do this in the background because they don't magically end up as slow motion. Your clip with 120-480fps needs to be trans coded to 30fps. It's very demanding and could make your phone slow if done in the background and then you wouldn't understand why your phone is so slow.

    Part 4: Screen

    If you think you screen is too green, then set your color mode to customized. Now you have the same option as a color wheel even though the interface uses sliders.

    There's a lift to check phone option in the display settings just like in oxygenOS

    I really like your suggestion about music gestures. I will make sure to pass this on to our developers.

    Part 5: Hardware related

    Fingerprint reliability can be increased by creating several profiles for the same finger and the hardware is what it is. Our fp reader isn't any worse than the one used in Oneplus 3. My guess is that you managed to set up a better profile for your finger in that phone. Only ultrasonic fingerprint sensors work well with humidity.

    Our super saving mode could be more aggressive but the extra time you get by throttling the cpu only matters if you use your phone and you shouldn't use your phone when you have it in super saving mode. Limiting or disabling network on the other hand, makes a difference even in standby.

    You screen will wake up with pocket mode but you won't be able to press anything as the proximity sensor makes the pocket mode active as long as it's covered. No need to worry about using the smart key or fingerprint sensor.

    Part 6: UI

    Most of these comments are either bugs or design that will be fixed in Q so no need for me to comment. The parts that won't change must be fixed by Google.

    To access the settings for every quick button, you need to long press them. This was changed by Google in Android Pie.

    I thank you for all your feedback and welcome you to make a new and hopefully a lot shorter list when Android Q has been released

  • Thanks a lot for your answer. I appreciate the effort you took to respond precisely. I still have a few comments, I don't want to be annoying but I think they deserve to be precised.

    Sound : I understand and hope Google will make a better interface

    Camera : Regarding HDR, I agree with you but still don't really like HDR++ because it often brightens the image unnaturally and takes longer to take the photo.

    Gallery : Thanks for your tip! It's exactly what I was searching for. Regarding slow-mo, I understand, and I was saying that because my Oneplus 3 (at least before android 9) was able to process slow-mos in a few seconds, so I still think it's possible.

    Screen : I tried customized color mode and I can tell the tint slider has no impact on how whites look like. I'm no developer, sure, but I don't think a color wheel is that hard to implement.

    Hardware : I don't really agree when you say that you shouldn't use the phone in battery saving mode, for me the point is being able to do what I have to do for longer. No big deal though because the battery is excellent.

    Pocket mode does not disable the fingerprint scanner, I just tried. I still would appreciate more vibration feedback for the smart key.

    UI : Regarding the quick settings, it is still possible to access the bluetooth and wifi lists on the zenfone 5/5z even though it runs Pie. So maybe you could get this on ZenUI 6 because it is so practical.

    By the way, the screen flicker when rotating has been fixed in 194. Very cool!

    Thanks again, and don't worry, I'm planning on doing the same thing for android 10 and I, too, hope it will be a lot shorter ?

  • Camera: I understand your point but our devs only want to have three options and they find that auto HDR feature works in 9 times out of 10 so currently they don't see any need for forced enable of HDR+.

    Gallery: OnePlus 3 had a slow motion of 720p at 120fps. Our slow motion needs to process 4 times as much data. It's not just the cpu power but the storage performance. Maybe it's possible to enable this for 1080p at 120fps but then people will ask why we haven't enabled it for 240 & 480 fps.

    Screen: ok, those sliders only change the hue of colors, not 100% white and blacks. I understand now what you want and I will forward this request to our developers.

    Hardware: I get your point but changing those parameters won't result in much longer battery life but the user experience will be much worse which is why we find it's not worth it

    I talked to a developer about pocket mode and he confirmed that it will be disabled when using the fingerprint reader (so I was wrong) because this is seen an active choice by the user. You will know when you have your finger on the fingerprint reader (you can actively choose not to have your finger there). Not like when accidently pressing a button from the outside of your pants. A lot of users want to wake their phone while the phone is still in their pocket. If we change it so that it is unlocked but doesn't allow touch input, then this methodology will impact ROG Phone II as well and a lot of users want to be able to hold the top of the phone while unlocking the phone using the indisplay fingerprint reader.

    UI: We don't want it to work like that. We choose to go the same path as Google.

  • Thank you, I really appreciate this dedication. Now I understand your views and I'm looking forward for good changes on Google's and Asus's sides. ?

  • @Mr.Doge

    I'm looking forward for your next review of ZenUI / A10 :)

    But please postpone it after the next update (maybe this week) which should rectify many issues.

  • Thanks i'll try to make another post but unfortunately android 10 didn't make much difference so it's gonna be way shorter ?

  • Switch between wide and normal camera during video

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