Unfortunately I am returning this great phone because of software and support
The Zenfone is an amazing piece of hardware! It has a great size, camera hardware, battery life, screen, high-end soc, hardware fingerprint scanner. Everything you can wish for in a compact package.
Only in the software department Asus is completely dropping the ball, it's worse than 90% of Android phone manufacturers out there.
- It's 2022, only 2 years of updates is unacceptable. Google is doing everything to make it easier for manufacturers to implement longer support periods. It's even the most voted idea on this forum: https://zentalk.asus.com/en/categories/ideas?sort=top Why even ask for idea's when you are not going to do anything with it.
- Communication and support, how is it possible there has been no reply from someone from Asus in this subforum for over a week. Is there no community manager? It's one of the biggest releases from Asus this year, where is the focus? Even tech journalists don't get replies or have to wait for weeks to get some answers.
- Security updates coming in 3-6+ months after they are released? It should be 1-2 months max. Or security updates being completely on hold when a new Android release is coming. This is Asus, not some unknown AliExpress brand.
- Where is the Android 13 release schedule? Which devices will receive an update?
When updates are still this difficult for Asus even with relatively clean Android builds, why not remove more proprietary software from the Android builds?
- Why is there double battery management? Android has great battery management build in.
- Why is there something like Optiflex? Android has great memory management, users interfering with this will more likely decrease performance/battery life.
- Clock/Dialer/Calculator/Gallery/File manager? Google has better versions.
- Mobile manager? The play store is full of similar garbage.
- Smart volume control? Android already has great volume controls.
- Focus on the software that really matters, camera software, tuning of the colors, launcher, drivers etc.
I have been using the phone for a week now and noticed there is a long list of issues to be solved to make this phone a great experience. For example:
- AF on the selfie camera sounds nice but there is a reason most manufacturers (including Apple) don't use it. It makes the selfie camera useless in low light indoor conditions because you are constantly out of focus. Combine this with an already weak camera in low light and video calling is a very bad experience indoors.
- When using night mode, the white balance is way too green.
- The touch areas of the buttons of the "classic" navigation bar are too small.
- The dynamic refresh rate gives very contradictory results. It is almost always 90hz except when, for example, you open a browser app, then it is 60hz. Why is it not just like the Pixels always 60hz and 90hz/120hz at touch or request of the app. This is even build in default Android since version 11.
- There are differences in colors and brightness when the device switches to 90hz. 60hz and 120hz are fine.
- The main camera is very inconsistent, multiple shots in a row can give very different results. There is also too much processing going on.
I also checked the subforums for older Asus phones and I see allot of valuable feedback by users being completely ignored and software issues which still remain 2 years after the launch.
Long story short, Hardware 9/10, Software 4/10.
As most of this is also mentioned in reviews and on other websites I hope Asus makes some improvements and maybe I will be back for the Zenfone 10!
With great software support and maybe 2 Zenfone models (like 5.9 inch and 6.5 inch). Asus could become a great alternative for Pixels and iPhones.