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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Asus games the system

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £870
inc VAT

Asus repurposes its latest gaming smartphone for a solid if indistinct flagship


  • Strong performance
  • Big and bright colour-accurate display
  • Clean, thoughtful custom UI


  • Essentially a rebadged ROG Phone 8
  • Big and bulky
  • Cameras are merely adequate for the money

After several years of turning out some of the best (and only) compact flagship smartphones on the market, Asus has decided to go super-sized. Not counting its ROG gaming phone line, the Zenfone 11 Ultra is the company’s first attempt at a full-sized flagship in quite some time.

Indeed, there’s more than a hint of the Asus ROG Phone 8 about the Zenfone 11 Ultra. Has the company provided sufficient differentiation, both from its own models and the flagship competition, to stand out?

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 Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: What you need to know

Despite the branding, the Zenfone 11 Ultra has more in common with the ROG Phone 8 than it does the previous Zenfone 10.

It gives you a big and bright 6.78in FHD+ AMOLED display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 power and an unusually sizable 5,500mAh battery. This is a very big phone all-round, with a level of heft that rivals the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

You’re also getting the ROG Phone 8’s triple camera system, led by a 50MP main sensor with a super-steady 6-axis gimbal OIS system. The extra space and expense means that you also get a dedicated 32MP 3x telephoto camera, which is an improvement on previous Zenfone models. Finally, 65W wired charging and 15W wireless charging round out a solid flagship spec list.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Price and competition

In scaling things up and cramming in all those extra specs, Asus has predictably bumped up the price for the Zenfone 11 Ultra. While the Zenfone 10 costs £645, the Zenfone 11 Ultra starts from £870.

This is for the model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, which should be ample for most people. There is also a step-up 16GB/512GB model (tested here) that will set you back £950.

The starting price is £120 more than the Zenfone 10’s RRP, but that’s almost by the by and I wouldn’t discount the possibility of Asus following up with a pint-sized Zenfone 11 later in the year. Otherwise, the most obvious comparison is probably the OnePlus 12, which is another phone that offers a full-sized flagship experience at a slightly lower-than-usual (£849) price.

Apple’s iPhone 15 Plus is another touchstone at £899. The Samsung Galaxy S24 (£799) and the Xiaomi 14 (£899) are similarly priced, but come in significantly smaller packages.

Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Design and key features

After the Zenfone 10 carried forward the striking design of the Zenfone 9, Asus has taken a completely different approach with the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra. That’s not to say it’s an original, though.

I’ll be referring to the Asus ROG Phone 8 many times in this review, and that’s because Asus’ latest gaming phone shares an awful lot of its DNA with the new Zenfone. At 164 x 77 x 8.9mm, the dimensions are identical right down to the nearest fraction of a millimetre, while a weight of 224g is pretty much the same, too.

As those figures suggest, the Zenfone 11 Ultra is a very big phone, rivalling the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra for sheer heft. It’s quite the about-turn for a series that has come to be defined by its compactness.

Asus has tweaked the look of the Zenfone 11 Ultra ever so slightly. Its rear panel is sleeker and less ‘gamey’ than the ROG Phone 8, with a silky sheen and a subtle angular decal. The camera module, too, has filled out to a more regular square-ish shape. 

An IP68 rating and the use of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 are flagship flourishes, while the use of a more uniform display bezel is a marked improvement over the Zenfone 10, which suffered from a slightly enlarged chin. The hole-punch selfie camera has moved over to the centre of the display, further strengthening the impression of greater symmetry this time around.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Display

In going with a much bigger phone, Asus has included a significantly larger screen than Zenfone users will be accustomed to. And at 6.78in, they don’t get much bigger than this.

The use of an FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080) resolution rather than QHD+ is interesting. In the ROG Phone 8, it could be excused as being a better choice for gaming, where smoothness trumps resolution every day, but that’s not the case here.

Thankfully, smoothness is still a feature of this screen, with an LTPO panel capable of moving between 1 and 120Hz. It can even crank up to 144Hz in supported games, which is a little short of the 165Hz that the ROG Phone 8 screen can hit.

It gets plenty bright, too, with a claimed 1,600cd/m² in high brightness mode. With auto brightness turned off, I measured a top brightness of 776cd/m², which is a big improvement on the somewhat dim Zenfone 10 screen.

Colour accuracy is on point as well. Having switched to the less garish Standard colour mode, I recorded a gamut coverage of 97.6% against a gamut volume of 97.7%, with an average Delta E score of 0.93. That’s very similar to the Zenfone 10, but crucially it achieves this at a much higher brightness.

A pair of Dirac-tuned stereo speakers output suitably meaty sound, though it’s still no rival for the crisp clarity of a modern iPhone. Meanwhile, the haptics are very good, and stand as one of the positive results of the Zenfone 11 Ultra’s premium gaming phone lineage.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Performance and battery life

Given that the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra is essentially a rebadged and repurposed ROG Phone 8, you’d expect performance to be on point. It doesn’t disappoint. Running the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, together with either 12GB or 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, it’s just about as capable as modern phones get.

Benchmark results bear that out, with CPU scores that match the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus and the OnePlus 12 Ultra, and GPU results that either match or exceed them. It also tops the iPhone 15 Plus, the Galaxy S24 Plus and the Google Pixel 8 Pro in most of these tests.

Geekbench 6 table comparing CPU performance between the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra and similarly priced rivals

The Zenfone’s lower resolution display helps it top some of those rivals, of course, but you can’t help suspect that a little of Asus’s gaming knowhow is at play here. The company claims that the Zenfone 11 Ultra isn’t tuned for gaming performance like the ROG Phone 8, and doesn’t have quite the same cooling system, but a high-performance mode still kicks in when running benchmarks and other advanced applications.

GFXBench table comparing GPU performance between the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra and similarly priced rivalsOn the cooling front, the Zenfone 11 Ultra undoubtedly runs hot under extreme load, such as when running the 20-minute 3DMark Solar Bay Stress Test. However, it still maintains its stability in said test, with performance only dropping off slightly from the first loop to the last. Indeed, it scored very similarly to the ROG Phone 8 here.

Battery life is strong here, as you’d hope given the provision of a 5,500mAh battery and a display that isn’t the most pixel-packed in its class. I was routinely able to get through a full 16-hour day with four hours of screen-on time and be left with a little over 50% charge.Battery life table comparing stamina performance between the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra and similarly priced rivals

In our standard looping video test, the Zenfone 11 Ultra lasted 24hrs 30mins. That’s just over an hour longer than the Zenfone 10, and just under an hour more than the iPhone 15 Plus. However, it falls more than five hours short of the OnePlus 12 and several hours behind the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus.

The phone supports up to 65W fast charging. However, Asus doesn’t supply a charger in the box and that seemed to pose a bit of a problem in testing. Using three different fast chargers from Samsung, Xiaomi and Nubia, I was unable to get anything close to the 39-minute 0-100% time that Asus claimed. I have no doubt that Asus’s claim is accurate, but it’s worth being aware that your existing third-party fast charger might not help you hit that mark.

You also get 15W wireless charging support here, which is something I’d expect at this sort of price.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Cameras

Another holdover from the ROG Phone 8 is the Zenfone 11 Ultra’s triple camera system, led by the same Sony IMX890 50MP 1/1.56” main image sensor with an f/1.9 aperture. This is also the same unit that could be found in last year’s OnePlus 11, which of course, has since been overtaken by the OnePlus 12 and its superior Sony LYT-808 sensor.

Asus partially makes up for this with a new and improved 6-axis gimbal system, which can keep shots much steadier than a bog standard OIS system. In particular, it enables reasonably clear night and low-light shots.

Sun setting over a railway line and bridge

As for regular daytime shots, the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra is a competent performer, though I wouldn’t say I was ever particularly bowled over by the results. What was very good for a gaming phone proves fairly ordinary when compared to other mainstream phones. The iPhone 15, Pixel 8 and even the OnePlus 12 all produce more refined results for less money.

Asus’s colour science tends toward the punchy, though it generally stays on the right side of unnatural. Exposure is decent for the most part, though I did spot a few instances of blown-out highlights that I suspect you wouldn’t get with those competitors.

Photo of boats in a harbour

Elsewhere, there’s a 13MP ultrawide camera with a free-form lens, which manages to avoid excessive edge distortion. More generally, this camera does well to get within spitting distance of the main sensor’s tone, if nowhere near its level of detail or dynamic range.

Boats in a harbour on a cloudy day

You also get a 32MP 3x telephoto lens with OIS, which captures zoomed shots of adequate quality. Any 2x shots will be crops from the main sensor, which will mean slightly better colour and exposure but inferior detail. Talking of cropping, you can technically zoom in to 10x or even 30x here, but you probably won’t want to when you see the noisy results. It’s certainly nothing to get Samsung worried.

Zoomed-in photo of sheep in a field showing lots of noise in the image

The 32MP selfie camera is decent, though, capturing plenty of detail and nice natural skin tones. It’s also got a wide 90-degree FOV, which makes it slightly better for group and landscape selfies. Video capture is also solid, venturing up to either 8K at 24fps or 4K at 60fps, with slow motion 240fps capture possible at 1080p.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Software

One of the most pleasing things about using the Zenfone range has always been Asus’ low-interference approach to Android. That holds true with the Zenfone 11 Ultra, where Android 14 is mostly allowed to just be Android 14.

Asus offers its own Xiaomi-like take on Google’s quick settings panel, but it’s offered as an option at set-up and in the Settings menu. You can just opt for stock Android and be done with it, should that be your preference. Asus also offers the choice of its own take on volume adjustment and the power button menu, or you can go with the Google default.

As always, some of the most interesting enhancements here are tucked away, such as the AudioWizard tool that gives you an in-depth equaliser and a bunch of presets tuned by Dirac.

Unprompted third-party app installations are kept to the minimum, with the likes of Instagram, Facebook and even Microsoft’s Link to Windows app all justifiable inclusions. Asus also supplies some of its own apps, including the GlideX screen-sharing app, but again, it doesn’t go over the top in quantity or nature.

This being a 2024 flagship Android phone, Asus is also pushing several AI features. These include AI wallpapers, AI noise cancellation in calls, accurate voice message transcriptions and an AI call translator – though the latter feature is currently in beta. AI-driven Semantic Search, meanwhile, lets you do things like search for photos using natural language.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra review: Verdict

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra is both an interesting direction for the company to take and a bit of a head-scratcher. Rather than give us an optimised and sized-up version of its recent Zenfone work, what we essentially have is a tweaked and rebadged ROG Phone 8.

This results in predictably outstanding performance and strong – if not class-leading – battery life. You also get a big, bright, responsive and colour-accurate display, as well as a UI that’s far less in-your-face than many of its rivals.

However, what was a relatively sleek gaming phone turns out to be a slightly hefty and charmless mainstream phone, with little to no apparent relation to the stylish Zenfone 10. In a similar vein, what was a strong camera system for a gaming handset turns out to be merely adequate in mainstream flagship terms.

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra is a solid all-round full-sized flagship phone at a fairly competitive price, but it feels like Asus is cautiously dipping its toes into such waters rather than diving in with a distinct product. 

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