Asus’ leaked Zenfone 9 video shows off fun gimmicks like a scroll button and shoulder mount

Asus accidentally released a promo video for its apparently forthcoming Zenfone 9 on its YouTube channel, and the phone has some very interesting quirks and features, to borrow a phrase (via XDA, Tech Going). Perhaps most interesting (at least for those folks who might pick up or leave a headphone jack) is what Asus has done with the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which the video calls a “smart key”: it shows a creepy CGI hand swiping through a web page by sliding your finger along the side of the phone.

It’s not exactly uncommon to see some sort of gesture built into the fingerprint reader – phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip/Fold 3 let you bring down the notification shade with a similar swipe. (And these phones are far from the first to do this; I remember this feature from my Pixel 2.) But using it to actually scroll through content feels like a fun throwback to where phones had physical dials or trackballs to scroll. Will Asus’ version they call “ZenTouch” be an RSI disaster or a gimmick you use once before throwing away forever? Maybe. But will it feel damn awesome once you try it? I bet yes

Aside from the fun side button, the Zenfone 9 seems to be a very interesting device. According to Twitter user SnoopyTech (which previously had some exact leaks), the phone will have a 5.9-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and will be powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip that Asus put in its gaming-focused ROG Phone 6. They also say the phone will cost between 800 and 900 euros, around 850 to 950 US dollars. That’s a fair bit more than the $699 starting price of the previous-gen Zenfone 8, which my colleague Allison Johnson called “amazing” in her review.

Picture with four phones, one red, one white, one blue and one black.  The slogan is

Plus, it comes in fun colors.
Image: SnoopyTech

We’ll have to wait for an official announcement and hands-on to see if this price jump is justified (or even if it’s right), but the video at least shows some improvements that might help justify the extra cost. The battery has gotten a little bigger compared to the Zenphone 8, which had a 4,000mAh cell that delivered “just about good” runtime. The video also says the phone’s dual cameras have been “massively upgraded” and reveals that the main camera features a “6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer.” It then reveals that this feature is used with a really insane accessory called the Smart Backpack Mount, which looks like it’s trying to emulate a piece of gear that professional videographers use to haul up heavy cameras all day – but for a phone.

Quick question: what?
Gif: Snoopy Tech

Accessories aside (there’s also what appears to be a modular phone case that you can attach a stand/wallet to), this preview actually makes me excited to see the Zenfone 9 officially. Sure, it’s not the iPhone Mini clone with Android that some people want, but it seems like it continues the Zenfone tradition of being a compact but high-quality Android phone with a few fun features to spice things up to keep interesting. And a headphone jack – I can’t get enough of the headphone jack.