Here's everything to improve in ZenUI
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!