Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra

Asus is targeting customers with a taste for bigger screens, but are they compromising too much?

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Okay, let's address the elephant in the room right away; even though this is specifically an "Ultra" variant, there are indications that Asus will be competing more directly with the core smartphone giants, the flagships of the market, by utilising larger screens, even though one of the aspects that many seemed to love about the original Zenfone line was that you could get flagship features in a smaller form factor.

But here it is, the Zenfone 11 Ultra, Asus' big play against the established giants, and while it's worth shedding a tear for what may be the last compact flagship, this phone heralds a new era, and Asus is already off to a great start.

Let's start pragmatically and establish that we get dual SIM, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the display and an aluminium frame, IP68 certification, a 5500mAh battery, 65W wired charger and 15W wireless charging. There's a stereo speaker and headphone jack, a reliable under-display fingerprint reader, WIFI 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. In other words, it's all here, all the features you'd expect from a flagship in 2024.

This is an ad:
Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra

Furthermore, Asus has taken a bit of inspiration from their successful ROG Phone line, and by that I'm referring to a series of angular lines that cut through the frosted glass back and really make the phone stand out. The distinct camera "island" also seems to be inspired by the one we've seen several times on the ROG Phone, and that's no criticism. It's all tastefully implemented and put together, and oozes confidence.

Under the hood, no expense has been spared either. Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Adreno 750 GPU, up to 16GB RAM, up to 512GB UFS 4.0 storage - these are all top-of-the-line components, and usually result in a sky-high asking price. The price is also higher, you'll have to pay around £900 for the top model with 16GB of RAM, but in direct comparison, it is more aggressively priced than, for example, the Pixel 8 Pro, which starts at £850 for 128GB of space and 12GB of RAM, and perhaps in particular a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, which with 256GB of space will set you back around £1,249.

So more expensive than ever before, yes, but Asus knows that pricing is one of the points where they can poke at the established status quo, and they certainly do. The display is an LTPO AMOLED panel in 1080x2400 and 144Hz. It's capable of 2500 NITS peak, measures 6.78 inches and is flanked by a tiny, insignificant hole punch that houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Some might point to the 1080p resolution as being underwhelming, and indeed it's the Zenfone 11 Ultra's main weakness, but trust us when we say it's not something you'll notice in practice, and thanks to excellent colour calibration, nice brightness and silky smooth refresh rate, this is one of the better displays on the market.

This is an ad:
Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra

Fortunately, Asus has also focused on offering a solid camera system. Forget the fear of a stupid 2-megapixel macro lens. Here you get a 50 megapixel 24mm wide with gimbal OIS, a 32-megapixel telephoto lens that admittedly only offers 3x optical zoom, and finally a 120 degree 13-megapixel ultrawide. It offers 8K recording at 24fps, or 720p/480fps with gyro-EIS for timelapses and the like.

Are there any complaints? Yes, there are. If you want to dance with the big boys, it's granular reviews of the product's features you have to accept, and here, again, "just" 1080p, "just" 3x optical zoom and the fact that they've dropped the polymer-based fabric-like back from the Zenfone line in favour of frosted glass means that Asus has lost a bit of the identity that separated Zenfones from the rest of the field.

That said, the images are pretty good, though not Pixel, Samsung, or iPhone-level, the performance is excellent, Asus' Android incorporation is utterly clean, and the display is pretty fantastic, even at the lower resolution. With all that in mind, Asus continues to produce rock-solid smartphones.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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