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Asus Zenfone 7 Pro's camera is flipping cool, and so is the massive battery

The Zenfone 7 Pro has a standout feature that we've rarely seen before -- a camera that physically flips over the top of the display.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

It's no secret that phone-makers have been experimenting with hiding their front-facing cameras in an effort to deliver an uninterrupted display.  Last year saw Samsung launch a family of A80 phones with reversible pop-up cameras. Oppo's Find X had a motorized pop-up selfie camera and OnePlus followed quickly behind with its own OnePlus 7 Pro. Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Asus was also on board: Its Zenfone 6 had a camera module that flipped from the back to the front (and vice versa) and eliminated the front camera altogether. 

Asus is continuing that trend this year with the Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro. These phones both feature a show-stealing camera that flips over the top with a click of a button. This allows you to use the phone's three powerful cameras, normally reserved for the back, to take high-resolution photos from the front of the phone.

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The phones also have 5G, the most cutting-edge processor available and massive batteries with fast-charging technology. Asus has also bumped up prices significantly along with these upgrades. In Taiwan, the phones start at 21,999 and 27,990 Taiwanese dollars, or approximately $750 and $950. (For context, when the Zenfone 6 launched last year it started at only $499.) The Zenfone 7 series will also go on sale in Europe next month, but Asus unfortunately doesn't currently have plans to release the phones in the US. International prices aren't yet available but $750 converts to about £570 or AU$1,040.


The Zenfone's motorized flip camera is here to stay.


Zenfone 7 Pro's camera module

The Zenfone 7 Pro has three cameras: A 64-megapixel sensor that uses Sony's IMX 686 flagship sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens. The telephoto lens is new to the 7 Pro and it can zoom up to 12x. Asus also upgraded the flip camera's motor to one that it says is smoother, more durable and more versatile due to the addition of a new angle sensor. I'll discuss camera performance, post sample photos and give my thoughts on this reversible camera in my review next week, so check back for all those details.

Zenfone 7 Pro is big and clunky, but the 90Hz is nice

The Zenfone 7 Pro is large, chunky and one of the heaviest phones I've ever used. Most of the time I had to use both hands to navigate it. The Zenfone 7 Pro features a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with speedy 90Hz refresh rates. Most phones have a 60Hz display, which means the screen refreshes 60 times a second. With the faster screen, the animations look smoother, while text and images are crisper. I'm a big fan of the notchless display and love the unobstructed experience that the Zenfone offers.


Zenfone 7 Pro's battery and performance so far

At the heart of the Zenfone 7 Pro is the new Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which is supposed to be 10% faster than the 865 processor found on most  premium Android phones. The phone also has 8GB or 12GB of RAM (depending on the model) and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. So far, I've been happy with the performance. But again, check back for my full review next week to see the actual benchmark results when I compare it to other phones with the 865 chipset. 

The Zenfone 7 Pro's massive 5,000-mAh battery is the same size as the Zenfone 6. It's also the same capacity as the high-end Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery. Though the capacity didn't increase with the new iteration, Asus did add more battery-care features and a faster 30W charger, which is quoted to juice up the battery in 93 minutes. I will test this claim out myself, but that's much faster (on paper at least) than the 153 minutes needed to recharge the Zenfone 6's battery. 

Zenfone 7 vs. Zenfone 7 Pro

Asus Zenfone 7 Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
Display size 6.67-inch AMOLED; FHD 6.67-inch AMOLED; FHD
Dimensions (Inches) 6.49x3.04x0.37 inches 6.49x3.04x0.37 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 165.08x77.28x9.6 mm 165.08x77.28x9.6 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 8.11 oz; 230g 8.11 oz; 230g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10
Camera 64-megapixel (main camera), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), and (telephoto) 64-megapixel (main camera), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), and (telephoto)
Front-facing camera None None
Video capture 8K 8K
Processor Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G
Storage 128GB 256GB
Expandable storage up to 2TB microSD card up to 2TB microSD card
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Side Side
Headphone jack No No
Special features Flip camera, 5G enabled, 90Hz refresh rate, 30-watt charging Flip camera, 5G enabled, 30-watt charging, 90 Hz refresh rate,
Price at launch (USD) About $750 (converted from 21,999 NTD) About $950 ( converted from 27,990 NTD)