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Asus Zenfone 9 has a big problem

OPINION: Asus announced the Zenfone 9 this week, and while I’ve used the device very rarely, it looks like a strong upgrade to one of my favorite Android phones of 2021. But there is a big problem that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. .

Standing out your Android phone from the crowd can be tricky. Many manufacturers, especially LG, have gone out of business, probably due to the inability to force out big players like Samsung and Xiaomi.

More recently, we’ve seen Nothing aim to stand out with the addition of the Glyph interface, a row of LED indicators on the back of the phone that may (or may not, depending on how you feel) be nothing more than a gimmick.

Asus stood out not only for making the best gaming phone in the form of the ROG Phone 6 Pro, but also for going up against the competition and putting top-drawer components in a much smaller, much more pocketable size.

The Zenfone 9, like the Zenfone 8 before it, isn’t touted as a “mini version” of the larger flagship, nor is it inferior to the “Pro” version. It’s Asus’ flagship, this year’s consumer smartphone – it’s just smaller than many of the best phones.

What makes the Zenfone 9 rarer than your average small phone is that it’s packed to the brim with cutting-edge technology. Powering the show is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset paired with up to 16GB of RAM and a 120Hz display. On the back is a 50-megapixel main camera taken to the next level with a truly impressive 6-axis gimbal stabilization.

So far so good, but there is a big problem

Upon first seeing the phone, local phone expert Peter Phelps said, “The Asus Zenfone 9 is a phone that is proudly different, at least when it comes to design. Its small size and slim aspect ratio, along with retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack, are an unusual choice, and it’s no doubt good to see all of this rarely appear on a high-end phone and expand the range of options for consumers. “.

Image credit (reliable reviews)

So far so good, but there is a big issue I found with the Zenfone 9 and that is poor prospects for future Android updates and security.

Asus has promised to only support the Zenfone 9, a phone that can cost up to £749, for just two years. That means you’ll likely only get two major updates and just a couple of years of phone security patches. Given that we have to do our best to try and fight useless technology, I really don’t think dropping support after such a short amount of time is good enough and Asus really should do better.

While of course the Zenfone 9 will continue to function beyond this two-year period, the lack of security patches could leave it vulnerable – and you won’t benefit from any of the new features added to Android.

Two years of updates may be par for the course for some of the best cheap phones, but that’s rare for more expensive models. Samsung is promising five years of updates for its Galaxy S22 series, the Pixel 6a will be properly supported for four years, and even the £399 Nothing Phone (1) will get three major Android OIS updates and another year of security support.

Apple is another brand that has been supporting devices for a long time: the seven-year-old iPhone 6 can still be updated to the latest iOS 15.5.

Simply put, getting two years of updates from Asus seriously dampens my excitement about what otherwise looks like a great smartphone.

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