Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

At its core, the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra can be likened to a stripped-down version of the ROG Phone 8 Pro, where the gaming-centric features have been replaced with an array of AI functionalities. Available in two variants, users can opt for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB, or splurge on the higher-end version with 16GB of RAM and double the storage.

During my testing period with the Zenfone 11 Ultra smartphone, I’ve delved deep into its everyday user experience. Now, let’s dive into my comprehensive review.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra Unlocked Android Phone, US Version, 12GB+256GB,...
  • SUPER BRIGHT DISPLAY – 6.78" FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display (2400x1080) with 2500nits peak brightness for clear...
  • EXTREME 26-HOUR BATTERY LIFE* – 5500 mAh battery capacity for up to 26.4 hours of screen time with 65W...
  • FLAGSHIP PERFORMANCE – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen3 (SM8650) 8-core CPU, ensuring smooth performance for gaming and...
  • FAST MEMORY AND STORAGE – 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for snappy performance.
  • CLEAN AND STABLE TRIPLE CAMERA – 50MP with 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer 3.0 + 32MP 3x telephoto zoom + 13MP...

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra: Video Review

SpecsAsus Zenfone 11 Ultra
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm)
GPUAdreno 750
Memory Internal256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM
Display6.78 inch, LTPO AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 144Hz, HDR10, 1600 nits (HBM), 2500 nits (peak)
Display ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass Victus 2
SoftwareAndroid 14
SIM supportDual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
NFCYes
Bluetooth5.4, A2DP, LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless
SensorsFingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Rear cameras50 MP, f/1.9, (wide), 32 MP, f/2.4, (telephoto), 13 MP, f/2.2, 120˚ (ultrawide)
Front camera32 MP, f/2.5, 22mm (wide), 1/3.2", 0.7µm
Battery5500 mAh, non-removable
Charging65W wired, 15W wireless (Qi), 10W reverse wired
Dust/water resistanceIP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
Size163.8 x 76.8 x 8.9 mm (6.45 x 3.02 x 0.35 in)
Weight224 g (7.90 oz)
ColorsEternal Black, Skyline Blue, Misty Gray, Desert Sand

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra: Design

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra stands tall with its massive 6.78-inch display. Thankfully, the bezels surrounding this screen are quite skinny, making it slightly more hand-friendly compared to some of its competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Although calling it “hand-friendly” might be akin to comparing unpleasant experiences, it’s still a tad more manageable, and those sharp corners won’t dig into your palms. However, with a weight of 224 grams, it’s not exactly featherlight.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

In terms of construction, the Zenfone 11 Ultra boasts a 100% recycled aluminum frame with a matte glass finish on the back. Available in Skyline Blue or Eternal Black in some regions (Misty Gray or Desert Sand elsewhere), the matte finish provides a soft texture that feels delightful against your fingers and remains resistant to smudges and fingerprints. Asus’s signature angular design language is evident here, lending the device a consistent feel with its other products. However, the protruding camera may not be to everyone’s taste, lacking the elegance found in some competing models.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Moving to the connectivity options, the SIM slot for two nano-SIM cards, speakers, headphone jack, and USB-C 3.0 port are located at the bottom left of the metal frame. The USB-C port supports data transfer at 5 GBit/s but does not support image transfer. The power button and volume rocker sit conveniently on the right side of the device, ensuring easy access to essential functions.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Despite lacking a branded glass like Gorilla Glass on the back, Asus claims the glass is toughened, and in real-world tests, it holds up well against scratches and scuffs even without a case. The front display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, offering durability against everyday wear and tear. Additionally, the Zenfone 11 Ultra boasts IP68 water and dust resistance, providing peace of mind against accidental spills or exposure to the elements.

Display

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra has a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 20:9.With a Full HD resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, it achieves a pixel density of 388 pixels per inch, ensuring crisp and sharp visuals for your content consumption needs. The black edges surrounding the display are nearly symmetrical, with a distance of 2.5mm from the frame to the panel, except for the bottom where it extends to 3mm. Thanks to its flat glass design, attaching a screen protector glass should be a hassle-free experience.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

One of the features of the display is its impressive refresh rate capabilities. While it boasts a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hertz, this high refresh rate is primarily utilized in gaming scenarios to deliver smoother gameplay experiences. During regular operation, the refresh rate is intelligently adjusted between 1 – 120 Hertz, courtesy of LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) technology. Users have the flexibility to choose between three modes: 60 Hertz, 120 Hertz, and Auto. LTPO technology conserves power by lowering the refresh rate to as low as 5 Hertz when the display is static, ensuring efficient battery management.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

In terms of brightness, the Zenfone 11 Ultra shines bright with a maximum measured brightness of 2980 lux in automatic mode and 1430 lux in manual mode, making it easily readable even in bright outdoor conditions.

For color enthusiasts, the device offers four color calibration profiles and a customizable mode, allowing users to fine-tune the color temperature to their preference. Additionally, a terminable blue light filter is available to reduce eye strain, along with options to adjust text size and display size to enhance readability.

While there’s no traditional notification LED, the Zenfone 11 Ultra compensates with its always-on display (AOD), which can be fully configured to display pertinent information at a glance. Furthermore, for multimedia enthusiasts, the device is Widevine L1 certified, supporting streaming in HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG formats, ensuring an immersive viewing experience with compatible content.

Performance

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra, powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, promises exceptional computing power that will remain relevant for years to come, much like its gaming-oriented counterpart, the ROG Phone 8 Pro. Manufactured using a cutting-edge 4nm process, the octa-core processor features a potent Cortex-X4 Prime core clocked at 3.3GHz, accompanied by 3x Cortex-A720 cores at 3.15GHz, 2x Cortex-A720 cores at 2.96GHz, and 2x Cortex -A520 cores at 2.26GHz. Complementing this powerful CPU configuration is the Adreno 750 GPU, ensuring smooth graphics performance.

The Zenfone 11 Ultra offers ample memory options, with configurations of up to 16GB LPDDR5x RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 system memory. This high-speed storage solution delivers impressive read and write speeds exceeding 3.5 GBit/s, ensuring swift access to data and applications.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

In benchmark tests, the Zenfone 11 Ultra sits at the top of the charts, closely trailing the ROG Phone 8 Pro. Notably, the Zenfone 11 Ultra exhibits superior thermal performance compared to its gaming-focused counterpart, particularly in synthetic benchmarks. However, achieving higher scores may necessitate allowing the device to reach higher temperatures, with the frame reaching up to 47°C during stress tests.

While the Zenfone 11 Ultra may not be marketed as a gaming phone and lacks the specialized hardware of the ROG Phone 8 Pro, it still offers robust gaming capabilities thanks to its powerful chipset and software optimizations. The device includes access to Asus’s gaming ecosystem, providing gamers with the best possible gaming experience and in-game assistance. With its formidable performance and ample headroom for future 3D games, the Zenfone 11 Ultra ensures a smooth and immersive gaming experience for years to come.

OS

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra arrives as a flagship offering, boasting the ZenUI based on Android 14 out of the box. Asus pledges a commitment of 2 years of system updates and 4 years of security updates for the Zenfone 11 Ultra.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

ZenUI, Asus’s customized version of Android, provides users with a familiar yet enhanced user experience. While the design remains close to stock Android, Asus incorporates numerous extensions and features across menus and functions.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

With the integration of artificial intelligence capabilities powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, Asus introduces offline functions that remain permanently free for users. These features include Transcription, Call Translation, Wallpaper creation, AI Noise Canceling, and Global Search, among others.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

The Transcription feature, available in the Sound Recorder app, converts speech into text and can summarize text if desired, while Call Translation provides real-time translation directly on the device. Additionally, users can create custom wallpapers based on specified styles and themes, and benefit from AI Noise Canceling during calls. The Global Search functionality enables users to quickly search for content across various apps and documents on the device.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra: Camera

The camera system of the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra, while not revolutionary, offers a solid array of features and capabilities suitable for a flagship device. Let’s delve into the specifications and performance in detail:

Main Camera: Featuring a 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor with an f/1.9 aperture and 1/1.56″ sensor size, the main camera is equipped with 6-axis OIS stabilization, ensuring smoother videos and improved low-light performance. The images output at 12.5MP exhibit high detail and dynamic range, though shooting in 50MP mode is not recommended due to decreased brightness and dynamics.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Ultra Wide Angle Camera: With a 13MP OmniVision OV13B sensor and f/2.2 aperture, the ultra-wide-angle camera provides a 120° recording range, capturing expansive landscapes with vibrant colors and high contrast.

Telephoto Camera: A new addition to the Zenfone lineup, the 32MP OmniVision ov32c telephoto camera offers 3x optical zoom, delivering sharp and detailed images with a different color representation compared to the main and ultra-wide-angle cameras.

Front Camera: The 32MP OmniVision ov8856 front camera boasts an f/2.5 aperture and 1/3.2″ sensor size, featuring an “RGBW sensor” for improved low-light selfies. While skin tones may appear slightly warmer, the selfies are serviceable for everyday use.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Camera Features: The Zenfone 11 Ultra’s camera app offers several shooting modes, including “Light Trail” for creative night shots, portrait video, and an extensive Pro mode for both photos and videos. The device also supports 8K video recording at 24fps, with excellent autofocus performance and stabilization features such as the “6-axis gimbal” and “Hyper Steady” EIS stabilization.

Performance: In real-world usage, the Zenfone 11 Ultra delivers impressive results across various shooting scenarios. Night mode captures bright and detailed shots with good dynamic range, though shadows may appear overly pronounced due to increased contrast. The Free Form lens ensures high detail retention and minimal distortion, particularly in underwater shots.

Portrait Mode: Portraits taken with the main camera exhibit clean subject separation and adjustable blur levels, though skin tones may appear overexposed and somewhat unnatural, especially in bright sunlight.

Video Recording: The device supports various video recording resolutions, with smooth autofocus and stabilization. “Portrait videos” offer a stylish bokeh effect, while audio recording benefits from three selectable audio effects: 3D, wind noise reduction, and Audio HDR.

Overall, while the camera innovations may not be groundbreaking, the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra’s camera system delivers reliable performance and a versatile shooting experience suitable for discerning users.

Connectivity

The Zenfone 11 Ultra ensures seamless connectivity with its comprehensive coverage of 4G and 5G frequencies. Its dual nano SIM slots accommodate users who require multiple lines. While lacking eSIM support, its robust reception capabilities guarantee consistent connectivity. Notably, VoLTE and VoWiFi support enable crystal-clear telephony, complemented by AI noise cancellation that effectively filters out unwanted background noise, ensuring pristine call quality even in challenging environments.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

With stereo sound emanating from both top and bottom speakers, the Zenfone 11 Ultra delivers immersive audio experiences. The integration of Dirac Audio technology, coupled with an array of profiles and an equalizer, allows users to fine-tune their audio preferences. “Dirac Virtuo” enhances spatial sound with headphones, while Bluetooth 5.4 with AptX Adaptive & Lossless and LDAC support ensures high-fidelity wireless audio transmission. Analog headphone enthusiasts will appreciate the device’s ability to drive headphones at 384 kHz.

The Zenfone 11 Ultra embraces cutting-edge wireless standards, featuring WiFi 7 for enhanced connectivity and data throughput. NFC functionality facilitates convenient mobile payments, adding a layer of convenience to everyday transactions.

Battery Life 

Equipped with a sizable 5500mAh battery, the Zenfone 11 Ultra offers impressive longevity, capable of lasting two full days under typical usage scenarios.

Rapid charging capabilities, with a maximum of 65 watts via USB-C, ensure minimal downtime. Achieving an 80% charge in just 30 minutes and a full charge in a mere 40 minutes, the device excels in keeping up with the demands of modern users.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Review: Bright, powerful and long battery life

Additionally, wireless charging support at 15 watts provides added flexibility for replenishing the battery.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra: Conclusion

The practical evaluation of the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra was a delightful experience, with few shortcomings apart from its camera performance. Asus distinguishes its flagship offerings with unique features not found in its competitors, such as innovative software functionalities, extensive customization options, and the inclusion of a headphone jack.

Noteworthy highlights of the Zenfone 11 Ultra include its stunning 144Hz AMOLED display, delivering smooth and responsive visuals, exceptional performance powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, impressive battery longevity, and immersive stereo speakers. However, despite these strengths, the camera capabilities of the Zenfone 11 Ultra fall short compared to other flagship devices available at a similar price point.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra Unlocked Android Phone, US Version, 12GB+256GB,...
  • SUPER BRIGHT DISPLAY – 6.78" FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display (2400x1080) with 2500nits peak brightness for clear...
  • EXTREME 26-HOUR BATTERY LIFE* – 5500 mAh battery capacity for up to 26.4 hours of screen time with 65W...
  • FLAGSHIP PERFORMANCE – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen3 (SM8650) 8-core CPU, ensuring smooth performance for gaming and...
  • FAST MEMORY AND STORAGE – 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for snappy performance.
  • CLEAN AND STABLE TRIPLE CAMERA – 50MP with 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer 3.0 + 32MP 3x telephoto zoom + 13MP...

When considering premium smartphones in the sub-$1000 category, the Zenfone 11 Ultra emerges as a compelling alternative to offerings like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus (not the Ultra model) and Google’s Pixel 8 Pro. However, if prioritizing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset is a must, prospective buyers may find comparable advantages in the Pixel 8 Pro, including its sleek stock Android experience and excellent battery life. Notably, the Pixel 8 Pro surpasses the Zenfone 11 Ultra in camera technology, making it a preferable choice for photography enthusiasts.

Ultimately, the choice between the Zenfone 11 Ultra and competing devices like the Pixel 8 Pro depends on individual preferences and priorities, with each offering its own set of strengths and trade-offs.

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