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Review and Unboxing of the ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra


ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra Review

This is the ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra. It looks absolutely nothing like its predecessor, the Zenfone 10, but looks almost exactly the same as the ROG Phone 8 Pro. I've had it for a couple of weeks, and I've got some thoughts. Now I do have all four colors, and let's unbox them together, SuperSaf style. Now the unboxing is very straightforward. We've got recycled cardboard, and there's actually 94% less plastic used in the packaging. 

We're initially presented with a pack that has a SIM card tool as well as a hard case. Then we've got the devices which we'll put to the side for a second, and then we have a USB-Type-C cable and that's it. No charger is included out of the box. ASUS was one of the last remaining smartphone manufacturers still including a charger out of the box, but they have now gone with the trend and we no longer get one.

Reviews ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra

And here we are. So we've got the Misty Gray, the Skyline Blue, the Eternal Black, as well as the Desert Sand. I'd say my personal favorite out of these is the Skyline Blue. They've got a matte finish with some glossy lines, which does look quite nice, but I think the biggest noticeable difference is the size. This is quite a bit bigger compared to the Zenfone 10 from last year. And bringing the Zenfone 10 here for a side-by-side comparison, you can see that the size difference is quite significant. And although there are quite a few people who prefer more compact smartphones, there just doesn't seem to be enough demand.

Now as mentioned at the start of this video, the Zenfone 11 Ultra looks almost exactly the same as the ROG Phone 8 Pro. So you can see that the size is almost exactly the same. We've got the recessed camera module, which is in exactly the same place, but the ROG Phone 8 Pro does have a bit more of an angle to the side. And the different colors on the Zenfone 11 Ultra do make it look less like a gaming phone. But there have been many instances where I've actually picked up the ROG Phone 8 Pro thinking it was the Zenfone 11 Ultra and only realizing after because they are so similar.

Now, before I go into my experience with this device, I do want to highlight the price because although this is an Ultra device and it has lots of Ultra features, the price is significantly lower compared to say, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. This starts at around $900 or 870 pounds. And they've also got some early bird offers which will bring the price down of this even more to around 820 pounds. And when you compare that to even the S24+, it's a lot lower. The price is more comparable to something like the standard Samsung Galaxy S24. And I think that context is important when reviewing this device.

So overall, I quite like the design. The edges do curve in a little bit and we've got the black frame, which uses 100% recycled aluminum and even the glass back uses around 22% recycled glass. There's IP 68 water and dust resistance. And because we do get that case included, I've mostly just been using it with the case for the past couple of weeks and it's been absolutely fine. Just a quick reminder, if you are enjoying this video so far and you want to see more like it, then do consider subscribing to the channel and hitting that bell icon (bell pings) so you don't miss future videos like this.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra Review

Now the Zenfone 11 Ultra has a beautiful display. It's of course a lot larger now. It's 6.78 inches compared to 5.92 inches of the Zenfone 10. And it's got slimmer bezels which are uniform. Now with the Zenfone 9 as well as the Zenfone 10, you may have heard me talking about that chin. The Zenfone 11 Ultra with its uniform bezels does give you a high screen-to-body ratio. It's using AMOLED technology. It's got a full HD+ resolution, so not Quad HD+ like others out there, but this is an LTPO display. So you've got between one to 120 hertz, however, it can go all the way up to 144 hertz when you are gaming, like you could do on the Zenfone 10. 

It's using Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and it's got a much higher peak brightness of 2,500 nits with a 1600 nits high brightness mode as well. So yeah, quite a nice upgrade to the display compared to the Zenfone 10. And we also have the front-facing camera now in the middle rather than on the side.

Now this is a 32-megapixel selfie camera, it uses RGBW technology, which is supposed to make it better for low light, but we really need to talk about the rear-facing cameras. So we have a triple rear-facing camera setup, a primary camera, an ultrawide, and now this time, a dedicated telephoto zoom camera, which we didn't have on the Zenfone 10. The primary camera is 50 megapixels. 

It's using the IMX 890 sensor and it takes great pictures even looking side-by-side with other flagships. You've got excellent dynamic range, and neutral colors and it also performs really well in low light. Now one of the reasons for that is because it's got the 6-Axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer 3.0. This is something that we've had for the past couple of years from ASUS. And I think, for me, the area where this is super useful is if you don't have steady hands. You can see in this example here I am shaking the camera quite vigorously and it still takes some very stable footage, which you're not going to be able to get on other smartphones.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra Review

Now having said that, in my testing of the Zenfone 10 last year, when I did test out extreme motion, there were some jitters, and this still seems to be the case with the Zenfone 11 Ultra. I compared it to the iPhone 15 Pro. And here you can see that I do prefer the stability of the iPhone compared to the Zenfone 11 Ultra. And to me, it seems like the Gimbal Stabilizer is overcompensating and in turn is creating some jittering. Now these jitters are less noticeable when you are shooting with Hypersteady on, but Hypersteady only works at the lower resolution of Full HD. We've got AI Portrait Video, which actually seems to work pretty well. Here you can see it compared to Cinematic Mode on the iPhone 15 Pro, and you can shoot at up to 8K as well on the Zenfone 11 Ultra. So overall great primary camera. Now the ultrawide camera is 13 megapixels and it does have a freeform lens for less distortion. Again, it takes excellent pictures both in regular as well as low light. However, like with the Zenfone 10, it doesn't have autofocus, which means you can't use it for macro photography. This is something we did have on the Zenfone 9. So ASUS kind of took a step back from that on the Zenfone 10, and they've maintained this on the Zenfone 11 Ultra. I do like to take macro photos, so this is something that I would've liked on here. 

And the telephoto camera, so this is a 32-megapixel camera. It has 3X optical zoom and up to 30X digital zoom. The zoom at 3X is very, very good, and extending that to up to 30X, does make it a little bit easier to read text in the distance, for instance, but it's not going to do as well as something that might have a dedicated 5X optical zoom camera, like the iPhone 15 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, which are priced quite a bit higher. Just want to emphasize. But overall, I would say that the camera package that you've got on the Zenfone 11 Ultra is very good for the price.

Now let's talk about the performance and there are no compromises with the performance. This is powered by the industry standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which has a 30% faster CPU and a 25% faster GPU compared to last year. We also have either 12 or 16 gigabytes of LPDDR5X RAM and 256 or 512 gigabytes of UFS 4.0 storage. Now obviously with those specs, this has been absolutely fine. It will comfortably play any game that you might want to play and for supported games, it's going to be able to do that 144 hertz refresh rate, which is going to give you a slight edge over other flagships which only go up to 120 hertz. Now another big improvement on the Zenfone 11 Ultra because of its larger size are the speakers. 

You do have around 25% larger speakers compared to the Zenfone 10. And they sound excellent. Zenfone 10 actually had good speakers for its size, but having that larger size allows you to get bigger speakers with louder sounds. Now one thing that the Zenfone 11 Ultra has, which you're not going to find on many other smartphones, is the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. And ASUS has kept this here on the Zenfone 11 Ultra. Now I know this might be a key selling point for a lot of people out there. We've got a flagship device with a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, which is going to make this really stand out. We've got Qualcomm codec with AptX Adaptive and we've also got Dirac Virtuo. So for audio, this is top-notch.

Now let's talk about the software. So this is going to come out of the box with Android 14, but when it comes to software support, ASUS has promised at least two major OS updates and four years of security updates. Now that might have been good a couple of years ago, but considering now Samsung and Google are offering seven generations of OS updates and other manufacturers like OnePlus offering at least four major OS updates, this is where the Zenfone really falls behind. For a device that's around eight to 900 pounds or dollars, I would've wanted software support for longer, especially with what the competition is offering.

Now we have some AI features because that is the buzz nowadays. A lot of these features seem to be borrowed from the S24 Series. So we do have AI wallpaper. You can go in and you can generate custom wallpapers using some parameters. There's an AI transcript. Now this works within the sound recorder app, so you can just be recording a meeting for example, and then it's going to transcribe that for you. Seems to work pretty well in my testing. You've also got an auto-summary feature so it can auto-summarize that transcript for you. Then we have the AI call translator. Once again, this is something that we saw introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Series. Now I have tested this. There are eight languages supported at launch and I don't speak any of these languages apart from English, so I couldn't really see how well it was doing.

Now, my opinion about the AI Call Translator after using something like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra over the past couple of months is that I very rarely use it and I think most people will very rarely use it. It's only useful in very specific situations. If you're somebody who travels a lot to countries in which the languages here are supported, then it may be useful. For, instance, I was in Saudi Arabia last week and I wanted to communicate with the taxi driver who didn't speak any English, but Arabic is not supported on the Zenfone 11 Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. So it was actually useless to me at that point. So yes, I'm sure it might be a useful feature for some people in certain situations, but I think that's going to be a very small number of people, especially with the current languages supported. We do have fewer languages supported compared to the S24 Ultra.

A few more features that we've got on here, ASUS GlideX software. So this is software from the PC team. It's going to allow you to mirror and AppStream from your device. It's going to allow you to drag and drop between your device and your PC. And it's also going to allow you to share the camera. So you're going to be able to use the camera of the Zenfone 11 Ultra on your computer.

Now my favorite thing about ASUS's software skin is that it's very efficient, especially with the Zenfone 11 Ultra, which has a massive 5,500 milliAmp-hour battery. This is significantly larger compared to the Zenfone 10 because that was very small, but it's also bigger compared to lots of the competition, which usually averages out around 5,000 milliamps. So for me, over the past couple of weeks, this has given me amazing battery life. I would say that this is right up there with some of the best battery-performing devices out this year, like the OnePlus 12 and the Honor Magic 6 Pro. This can keep you going all day and then some. 

You might even be able to get two full days with light to medium use. And although a charger is not included out of the box, this does support 65 watts of hypercharge. So that's going to give you zero to 100% in around 39 minutes. It is compatible with PD 3.0 as well as PPS chargers. So you do have universal support here for charging. We've got 15 watts of wireless charging supported and this is my preferred way of charging, especially with how good the battery life is on this. I can just drop this on my wireless charger overnight and then just pick it up and I know it's going to last me all day long.

And rewinding back to the price. This is going to be starting at around $900 or around 870 pounds in the UK, but there is a pre-order offer for the first couple of weeks. I'll leave a link down in the description below if you're interested in picking this up. In my opinion, overall this is an excellent flagship smartphone with great performance, amazing battery life, a 144-hertz refresh rate, and that 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, which you're not going to find in many other places. I'd say the biggest downside for this is the software support. You're only going to get two generations of OS updates, whereas lots of other devices are going to be supported for much longer. I'm not sure if this is something ASUS can change, I would've preferred at least four years, but if you can get over that, this might be a great option for you. 

That's what I think anyway, what do you guys think of Zenfone 11 Ultra? Drop me a comment below. Let me know your thoughts. If you're still after a small smartphone, then Zenfone 10, you might still be able to pick it up in a few different places. I've covered a full review of that last year. 

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