[Poll results out] ZenFone 8 & ROG Phone 5 are Asus' chance to write a new chapter in software updates

New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from May 30) follows:

Asus caused quite the stir in the smartphone world with the launch of the ZenFone 6, the first of its kind boasting a motorized flip-up main camera module that doubled as a selfie shooter.

This trend continued with the ZenFone 7 and ZenFone 7 Pro. But unlike the 2020 family, only one device in the latest addition to the ZenFone series – ZenFone 8 Flip – features a motorized flip-up camera module.

And for good reason, so it seems, at least if the reception the standard Asus ZenFone 8 has been enjoying is anything to go by (tap/click on “Show Results” to view the poll results).

With smartphones growing bigger and pricier each passing year, the ZenFone 8 stole the show with its compact design coupled with a reasonable price tag.

Sure, no denying that the ZenFone 8 isn’t the perfect phone out there. But in an imperfect world, it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it only needs to be better in a category that has dried up recently and has few options to pick from.

And indeed, the ZenFone 8 does stand out, at least in the Android world. After all, iOS users have the iPhone 12 Mini, with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and Sony’s Xperia 5 III coming close although nothing close to being compact and affordable.

iPhone 12 (Left) and iPhone 12 Mini (Right)

Of course, their higher price tags can be linked to their bigger batteries, telephoto cameras, wireless charging and even microSD support in the case of Sony’s offering.

It can also be argued that their superior software experience, especially when it comes to regular and timely updates as well as bug-free user experience, plays some part in their pricing.

Unfortunately, it is on this software front that Asus is still struggling. Could the poorly optimized software be part of the reason Asus phones are a tad affordable than their counterparts?

Having nailed the hardware side of things with respect to not just the ZenFone 8, but also the ZenFone 8 Flip and gaming-centric ROG Phone 5, Asus has another chance to make things right in the Android software updates department.

Asus ROG Phone 5

Here’s the thing. Asus has one of the cleanest Android skins (ZenUI) on the market owing to its near-stock approach. In theory, this should translate to regular and timely Android updates for Asus devices.

However, this hasn’t always been the case, be it for the budget ZenFone Max and ZenFone Max Pro series that is seemingly discontinued or even the premium ZenFone and ROG family of devices.

Case in point is the ZenFone 7 series, whose stable update to Android 11 has recently been halted due to multiple bugs discovered in the initial release.

This is despite the update taking ages to roll out to the ZenFone 7, the company’s 2020 premium offering. A quick look at its ROG Phone counterparts speaks volumes.

The ROG Phone 5’s immediate predecessor — the ROG Phone 3 — got updated to Android 11 only in March. And that too a beta version, which has yet to hit the stable channel as I pen this.

Asus ROG Phone 3 yet to bag stable Android 11 update

For a device that costs a small fortune, the least one can expect are timely updates and a bug-free user experience. But Asus isn’t familiar with these, something we see even with the ROG Phone 2 and the OG ROG Phone.

Both devices, again, despite their hefty price tags, are stuck with a single Android OS upgrade. The OG model never went past Android 9 Pie while its successor seems stuck on Android 10.

If things stay as they are, the ROG Phone 3 might never get updated to Android 12, although there may be some hopes. What about the ROG Phone 5? Will it be Asus’ game changer alongside the ZenFone 8 duo?

At this point, my guess is as good as yours. However, Asus has another chance to shake things up. Having already registered to try Android 12, it’s my hope that Asus will this time speed up development and rollout of Android OS updates.


But of course, I don’t make the rules over there at Asus. All we can do is hope Asus listens and actually does something about its poor state of software updates to match the awesome hardware.

With the ZenFone 8 series enjoying some glorious reviews across the web, perhaps this is a chance for Asus to write its wrongs in the software department.

As noted earlier, the company uses near-stock Android for its ZenFone sets, and with the reception Android 12 is enjoying, these should be interesting times for ZenFone 8 owners looking forward to the update.

Only if Asus steps up, though.

Planning to get one of these sets or already own one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. You may also cast your vote on the Twitter poll below, with the results coming in a week’s time.

Update 1 (June 06)

The results of the poll are out now.

While 52% of voters believe the positive reception for the ZenFone 8/ROG Phone 5 is definitely a chance for the company to turn around its poor Android software update experience, 24% are of the opinion that it’s too late.

The rest of 24% believe it may be a chance for the company.

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.