Asus Zenfone 10 review

Asus Zenfone 10 review: pint-sized powerhouse

8.7

Small in stature yet big on features, the Asus Zenfone 10 stands tall amongst its Android rivals.

While there are plenty of great flagship Android smartphones on the market, they can often be quite a handful – literally – so tall and wide that they’re difficult to hold comfortably in one hand. The Asus Zenfone range has always bucked that trend, with the new Zenfone 10 following in the footsteps of last year’s slender Asus Zenfone 9.

Mostly sticking with its tried and true formula, the Asus Zenfone 10 is another serious contender in the Android field. It bumps up the price by $100, which makes it a slightly harder sell when inflation is biting and people are tightening their belts.

Asus Zenfone 10 review

Asus Zenfone 10 first impressions

At first glance, there’s very little to separate the Zenfone 10 from its predecessor. Its height and width are identical, yet it’s 3mm thicker and 3 gm heavier. The added thickness and straight edges of the aluminium frame do make it feel a little chunky in your hand – it’s not drab but it’s certainly not a fashion icon.

The back remains a composite polymer with a textured, soft finish – which feels comfortable to the touch but doesn’t look as premium as glass or aluminium. On the back, you’ll also find a large dual camera housing and accompanying text, text which is scaled down from the Zenfone 9 so it looks a bit more subtle and elegant.

Zenfone 10 on desk
The ZenTouch power button accesses a range of useability features.

Along the right edge of the handset, you’ll find a volume rocker near the top and a power button in the middle which doubles as a fingerprint reader. It’s actually more practical to use your thumb (assuming you’re right-handed), at which point the power button sits a little low for my liking but would probably suit those with smaller hands.

The smaller screen also makes it easier to reach things with your thumb, without over-balancing the phone and losing your grip.

Interestingly, the Android set-up process also draws your attention to Android’s one-handed mode, which moves things to the bottom of the screen so they’re easier to reach. You can also enable the Asus Smart Key swipe feature, which lets you swipe your thumb over the power button to drag down the quick settings and notification shade.

Asus actually dubs the power button the “ZenTouch” key because there are so many ways to customise it from accessing shortcuts to scrolling through web pages.

Across the top edge, the handset retains an old-school 3.5mm audio jack, while across the bottom edge of the phone, you’ll find a USB-C port along with a nano-SIM slot. There’s no microSD slot for expanding the storage.

Unlock the phone and you’re presented with a bright, crisp 2400×1080 pixel AMOLED display, unchanged from the Zenfone 9. It features a few optimisations to improve the colour accuracy and support HDR10+, plus it supports refresh rates up to 144Hz (up from the Zenfone 9’s 120Hz).

That said, the 144Hz refresh rate can only be enabled in ‘Game Genie’ mode while playing mobile games. Realistically, if gaming is a high priority then you might place more importance on a larger screen.

Asus Zenfone 10 specifications

Display size5.9 inches, 20:9 aspect ratio
Display resolution2400×1080 pixel 
Display technologyAMOLED, 1100 nits peak brightness
Bands2G, 3G, 4G, 5G sub 6
SIMNANO SIM/NANO SIM, support DSDS 5G+5G
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
CPUSM8550 Octa-core CPU 3.2 Ghz
GPUQualcomm Adreno 740
Rear cameras50 MP Sony IMX766 – 1/1.56″ sensor, 1.0µm pixel size
Quad Bayer technology – 12.5 MP, 2.0 µm large effective pixel size
6-Axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabiliser 2.0
F1.9 aperture
2×2 OCL PDAF
Single LED flash
23.8 mm equivalent focal length in 35 mm film camera
Ultrawide Camera 13 MP sensor
120 ̊ field of view, 12.5 mm equivalent focal length in 35 mm film camera
Front camera32 MP sensor (Uses pixel binning to output 8MP image and the equivalent pixel size is 1.4µm pixel size)
RGBW Technology
RAM8GB or 16GB LPDDR5X
Onboard storage256GB of 512GB UFS4.0
microSD slotNo
ChargingUSB-C
up to 30W, PD3.0 PPS / Direct Charge / QC4.0 adapter
30W USB power adapter supplied
15W wireless charging
Battery4300 mAh
Wi-FiWiFi: 802.11 be/ax/ac/a/b/g/n, 2×2 MIMO
Supports Tri-band 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz/ 6 GHz WiFi, WiFi Direct
BluetoothBluetooth 5.3 (HFP + A2DP + AVRCP + HID + PAN + OPP), supports LDAC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless
Operating systemAndroid 13
SecurityFingerprint reader, Face Unlock
RuggednessIP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
Dimensions146.5 x 68.1 x 9.4 mm
Weight172 gm
ColoursMidnight Black, Comet White, Eclipse Red, Aurora Green, Starry Blue
Pricefrom $1,299 RRP
WarrantyOne year
Official websiteAsus Australia

Features

Asus hasn’t held back when speccing up the Zenfone 10 so it can stand toe-to-toe with flagship rivals. It ships running Android 13, with the promise of two OS updates and four years of security updates – which is an improvement from Asus but still far from best in class.

Under the bonnet, it packs a top-shelf Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, accompanied by 8 or 16 GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of storage. While it’s great to have so much power at your fingertips, you could argue that it’s overkill and opting for a bit less grunt might have allowed Asus to keep the price down or make improvements in other areas.

Along with a shedload of grunt, the Qualcomm power plant also brings support for Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless Bluetooth format – should you get your hands on a pair of compatible earbuds like the NuraTrue Pro.

Asus Zenfone 10 colours
Bucking the big phone trend, the Asus Zenfone 10 is a good fit for any hand.

Along with size and performance, multimedia is certainly one of the Asus Zenfone 10’s key selling points. It features dual stereo speakers, with Qualcomm WSA8835 smart amplifiers for louder, deeper and less distorted sound. Meanwhile, high-end audio fans will also appreciate that it delivers Hi-Res 192k Hz / 24-bit audio via the 3.5mm headphone jack so you can make the most of high-end headphones.

Meanwhile, the camera array is respectable but a bit more middle-of-the-road than some of the handset’s other features. You’ve got the same 50 MP Sony IMX766 main shooter as the Zenfone 9, but the 12 MP ultrawide is slightly higher-res and wider than last year’s model. 

On the plus side, you benefit from an upgraded 6-Axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabiliser designed to take the shake out of your photos and videos. As a trade-off, you miss out on features like a dedicated micro and telephoto lens which you’ll find on many rivals.

The bigger improvement comes with the front-facing selfie camera, which has leapt from 12 MP to 32 MP while delivering improved low-light performance thanks to an RGBW sensor and 1.4 μm pixels.

When it comes to power, the Zenfone 10 retains the 9’s 4300 mAh battery, which should be good for around a day and a half. Support for wireless charging is a welcome addition, but some people will be frustrated that the Quick Charge 4.0 wired charging is limited to 30W when we’ve come to expect more these days.

Quality

It’s little surprise that the Asus Zenfone 10 makes light work of the GeekBench 6 benchmarks. By default, when the handset detects benchmarks running it engages high-performance mode, delivering very impressive CPU scores of 2028 single-core, 5711 multi-core, and an OpenCL graphics score of 8812. Dial the power setting back down to everyday dynamic and it still delivers a very respectable 1775, 4870 and 8939.

As you’d expect, all that grunt ensures that apps run silky smooth and the handset makes light work of multitasking and runs high-performance games. 

When it comes to the camera, the overall picture quality is middle-of-the-road and not on par with what you tend to get with premium handsets. Colours can be a little oversaturated and the cameras can struggle a bit with difficult lighting – if you’re not careful, you end up with a shot that’s muted or overblown.

Who is the Asus Zenfone 10 for?

If you want a compact Android handset without sacrificing performance then the Asus Zenfone 10 is hard to beat. But the balance of price and features is not quite perfect: a few tweaks could improve the value proposition. If you’re looking for a great allrounder then you’ll need to weigh it up against the likes of the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S range.

One key question to consider is whether you really need all of that grunt, when a few features like the camera quality and charging speeds lag behind what you might expect at this price point.

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Asus Zenfone 10
An Android powerhouse that still fits in your hand, the Asus Zenfone 10 stands tall as a small handset.
Features
8.5
Value for money
8.5
Performance
9
Ease of use
9
Design
8.5
Positives
Compact
Powerful
High-end audio features
Negatives
No telephoto lens
Middle of the road photo quality
Faster fast-charging would be nice
8.7