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Small phones are hard to come by nowadays, with the best options for consumers basically being the regular Samsung Galaxy S23 or one of the smaller iPhone 14 devices. However, the Zenfone 8 started a trend of Asus prioritizing small phones, so last year's Zenfone 9 stayed smaller than both Samsung's and Apple's offerings. Despite rumors to the contrary, the Asus Zenfone 10 retains that smaller 5.9-inch form factor. You won't get any flashy or new features, but you'll get a standard smartphone with a nice design, decent camera, and excellent performance that won't take up a lot of space in your pocket.

Last year, we called the Asus Zenfone 9 the best small phone in any ecosystem, and we're happy to say that the Asus Zenfone 10 now takes that title. It maintains all that was good from last year's model with improvements in the right places to solidify its position as the best option for anybody looking for a small Android smartphone.

About this review: Asus sent us the Zenfone 10 for the purposes of this review and didn't have input into its contents.

Asus Zenfone 10 in black, transparent background showing front and back sides
Source: Asus 
Asus Zenfone 10
Big win in a small package
9 / 10

The Asus Zenfone 10 takes what was great about the previous generation and improves on it without losing what made the phone so wonderful. It's still compact but full of high-end specs and helpful software features to make it to perfect small phone.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
5.9-inch 120Hz (up to 144Hz in game) AMOLED 1080 x 2400
4,300mAh, Wired 30W HyperCharge, Qi Wireless 15W
USB-C and 3.5mm audio jack
Operating System
Android 13
Front camera
32MP RGBW (pixel binning actual output photo: 8MP)
Rear cameras
Main: 50MP 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer 2.0, f/1.9, Wide: 13MP, f/2.2, FOV 120°
5G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
2.68x5.77x0.36 inches (68x146.55x9.14 mm)
Midnight Black, Starry Blue, Aurora Green, Eclipse Red, Comet White
6.07 ounces (172g)
IP Rating
RAM and Storage
8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, 16GB/512GB
  • Compact and comfortable
  • Digital gimbal feature works well in video mode
  • No compromises in performance
  • The camera system is good, but basic
  • 144Hz refresh rate only works in game mode

Asus Zenfone 10: Pricing and availability

The Asus Zenfone 10 will go on sale in many parts of the world, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in Q3 2023. Pricing starts at $700 for the base model with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Bumping up to 256GB of storage will cost $750, and for $800, you'll get 512GB of storage and 16GB RAM. Color choices are Midnight Black, Starry Blue, Aurora Green, Eclipse Red, and Comet White. You can purchase the phone directly through Asus or pick it up at Amazon.

Hardware and design

Squared off but still comfortable


These days, smaller phones often have lower specifications, and that's partially caused by high-end parts requiring more physical space. While many manufacturers are doing things like removing headphone jacks, Asus has somehow managed to pack flagship specifications, a headphone jack, and even wireless charging into the Zenfone 10, a feat of engineering that the company seems particularly proud of.

The Zenfone 10 is all about being used with one hand, and unsurprisingly, I didn't have any issues. My thumb can reach all the way across the phone's screen, and thanks to the swipeable "ZenTouch" button on the right-hand side (which also doubles as a fingerprint sensor), I can pull down the notification shade with ease. Android's one-handed mode also makes it easier to reach elements at the top half of the display, making this a truly easy one-handed experience. The biggest complaint I have is that when using the phone one-handed, I frequently pull down the notification shade with my palm by accident.


The Zenfone 10 is extremely similar to the Zenfone 9 (to the point that some of my cases for the latter fit the 10) and packs a similar polycarbonate plastic back on the back for weight reasons. It's a boxy design like last year, which is a big part of what makes it possible to pack all the components that the company does. For what it's worth, I typically prefer larger phones, but the Zenfone 10 is just large enough that it's still fine for consuming content on and using apps that benefit from larger displays.

Speaking of the display, it is a 5.92-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel that has a pretty good range of colors and vibrancy. While I don't have the official brightness rating, in the direct summer sun, images were visible and text was legible. Could it stand to be a bit brighter? Sure, but I think it does a fine job. Even better though is the refresh rate of the screen. You can toggle it to adjust automatically between 60 and 120Hz or lock it to 60, 90, or 120Hz. The display can go up to 144Hz, but that only happens during gaming.

What I especially love about this phone is that it unashamedly uses a plastic back that actually looks good. Last year, you could get the Zenfone 9 in black, red, or blue, but this year, the Zenfone 10 comes in the same color options but with the new additions of white and green. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of green phones, but I can stomach the Zenfone 10's version, and you do get a black plastic shell case in the box (although I'd rather the case be either clear or at least match the color of the phone).

Asus Zenfone 10 in a tree showing power and volume buttons

Something else that I love is that Asus has done away with some of the random words and lettering on the back, though there is a new Zenfone logo on the bottom right of the phone. Meanwhile, the cameras are just as prominent as last year's, with two large circular cameras, one thicker than the other.

As for the rest of the phone, the aluminum sides are chamfered in order to not dig into your hands, something I greatly appreciate. That's my biggest frustration with my iPhone since it can be uncomfortable to grip with one hand. That isn't the case here. The Zenfone 10 is a major win when it comes to design, as it's a lot bolder than what other manufacturers are doing currently.


Small, yet powerful

Back of the Asus Zenfone 10

The Asus Zenfone 10 is, like all other Asus devices, a powerful performer. It has the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. It's the best of the best in a small form factor, and it packs every bit of a punch as you would expect.

Out of the box on its standard performance mode, which like most Snapdragon-powered devices, doesn't use the full capabilities of the chipset. However, enabling high-performance mode will enable its full capabilities. Because of this, we ran our tests on both settings.

Benchmarks: 3DMark, Geekbench, and Androbench

Standard mode:

In standard mode, the Asus Zenfone 10 is a formidable contender and gets close to the performance of other devices, though it's noticeably behind in some key areas. In normal usage, you won't notice a difference, but in intense workloads, you're looking at a reduced CPU and GPU capability. But it's not noticeable unless you're playing games.

High-performance mode:

However, you can put the Zenfone 10 on high-performance mode, and it'll be on par with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, a chipset that's supposed to be the fastest in the Android world. Asus' tweaks have made the smallest flagship Android phone one of the fastest in the business, and it shows here.

App speed test

We created an in-house app launch speed test script using Android’s ActivityManager shell interface to measure how long it takes for the main activity of nine applications — Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Messages, Google Photos, Google Play Store, Slack, Twitter, and YouTube — to launch from a cold start (when not in memory). I modified this test for the Asus Zenfone 10. We launched these nine activities for 20 iterations (and killed each app between launches) to reduce the variance.

All apps launched very quickly, and the phone is a joy to use. I had no issues flicking between apps and didn't notice stuttering or other problems.

AsusZenfone9_ app speed test

With all that power, the Zenfone needs a hefty battery to keep from going dead after a couple of hours — and thankfully, it does. Asus somehow managed to stuff a 4,300mAh cell into this compact device capable of 30W wired charging and up to 15W wirelessly. I wasn't provided any battery estimates from the OEM, but in testing, the phone had no issues getting through a day and, depending on your usage, you could likely get close to two.


A take on stock Android

Asus Zenfone 10 in a tree showing the back of the phone

Asus has always been big on letting you customize your smartphone, to the point that there are two modes for most changes: "Stock Android" or "Asus Optimized." These two modes can be chosen from your settings, and when setting up your device, you can choose one or the other. It changes how your notifications look, your volume panel, and your power menu.

While I prefer most of the Asus' optimizations, I prefer stock Android for the volume slider behavior. By default, all of your volumes are linked in Asus Optimized, though you can unlink them if you wish. However, I prefer to keep them all unlinked and adjust them all manually, so I don't miss phone calls when I turn down my media volume.

If you prefer your notifications to look like a Google Pixel, you can adjust them to be just like stock Android, or you can go with Asus' way (mirroring older Android versions) to show more quick tiles and notifications at a time.

The same can be done with the power menu, where you can use a stock power menu or Asus' power menu. They are basically the same, though, with a different style and some options moved around.

Otherwise, Asus' own ZenUI is very lightweight and doesn't feel overburdened in terms of features. What you see is very much what you get, with a few useful settings that you can modify. I'm particularly a fan of animation settings being with your regular device settings, a tweak done through developer options on most other phones.


Great for most situations

Asus Zenfone 10 close up of the rear cameras

Stop me if you've heard this before, but small phones have to make compromises due to size constraints, and one area where that happens most frequently is the cameras. That's both true and not for the Zenfone 10. Asus went with a dual-camera setup on the back with a 50MP main sensor with a 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer 2.0 and a 13MP wide-angle lens that has a 120-degree field of view. The front-facing camera has a 32MP RGBW sensor that pixel bins to an 8MP final photo.

The big feature here though is the new stabilization system, which did a great job of keeping videos and photos steady. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processing power and fast memory really help to take in the information the sensors are gathering and output clear photos and shake-free video. In addition to the 6-axis gimbal stabilizer, Asus is employing Adaptive EIS, which takes three FOV and automatically adjusts to combine into a very steady video.

The big feature here though is the new stabilization system, which did a great job of keeping videos and photos steady.

Unfortunately, the overall system is a bit underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, the Zenfone 10 can take some good photos, but it starts to struggle if you want to get close to your subject. There is a toggle to go from 1x to 2x, but that doesn't change much. While that photo will look just fine, you won't see a major change in perspective. The Zenfone 10 does have an 8x digital zoom, but it gets pretty pixelated at that range. I think having the wide-angle lens is nice, and that may be preferred for some, but I think the ability to get closer to a subject and take a high-quality image is more useful.

Here are some image sample in different lighting conditions that includes both moving and steady subject.

Here are some zoom images at 0.6x, 1x, 2x, and 8x:

That all said, the Asus Zenfone 10 did surprise me in low-light situations. With the Night Mode disabled, the camera took dark shots as expected. But when enabled, Night Mode made a significant difference, and the images came out looking far better than we would have anticipated. The only caveat was that if using the wide-angle lens, the image didn't get nearly as many improvements as I saw in the primary lens.

For the front-facing camera, the change to a 32MP sensor uses pixel binning to output a final image of 8MP. By utilizing this technology and opting for an RGBW sensor, the Zenfone 10 takes improved photos than the previous model. The 'W' in RGBW stands for white, which brings more accurate white tones instead of trying to recreate that shade through combinations of the red, green, and blue pixels.

Asus-Zenfone10-photo-sample (10)

Asus Zenfone 10: Should you buy it?

Asus Zenfone 10 in a tree showing the back of the phone

You should buy the Asus Zenfone 10 if:

  • You want a compact smartphone
  • You don't want to compromise on performance
  • You want to take good photos.

You shouldn't buy the Asus Zenfone 10 if:

  • You want a camera that can zoom in more than 4x without looking bad
  • You want a display that takes full advantage of its potential

As I said earlier, small phones aren't really a thing anymore. These days if you want a phone that easily fits into your pocket, you'll need to go with one of the best foldable phones around, like that Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 or the new Motorola Razr+. Finding a phone that is both powerful and has capable cameras with a display under six inches is a tough task. But the Asus Zenfone 10 does a great job of filling that gap by checking nearly every box when it comes to a modern smartphone.

It's not a flash device by any means, but it offers great build quality, a range of fun and subdued colors, and a clean Android experience that provides options without being cluttered. The camera system could be a bit more robust, but it's great in most situations. Considering that you can easily get a full day of use from the Zenfone 10 without compromising on specs in performance or the display is an impressive feat and one that I hope those longing for the days of a phone that is easy to hold and use will discover.

Asus Zenfone 10 in black, transparent background showing front and back sides
Source: Asus 
Asus Zenfone 10
Big win in a small package
9 / 10

The Asus Zenfone 10 takes what was great about the previous generation and improves on it without losing what made the phone so wonderful. It's still compact but full of high-end specs and helpful software features to make it to perfect small phone.