Google has been making serious strides in the smartphone market in the past couple of years. The company recently passed the 2% market share threshold with its Pixel devices, and even though this doesn’t look like a real threat to Apple and Samsung (for the time being), the mobile business of the big G is on the rise.
In the blue corner, as boxing commentators say, we have the underdog, namely the Asus Zenfone 10. After the success of the previous model, Asus felt it had struck gold with this compact powerhouse and dished out the Zenfone 10 with minor tweaks and upgrades.
At first glance, these two don’t have much in common. The Zenfone 10 is fighting for the compact Android flagship title, while the Pixel 7 is neither a true flagship nor very compact. However, these phones do share some similarities that may result in a very similar user experience, namely the camera system, Android version, and battery life.
Can the little fellow challenge the Pixel 7? And which one of these Androud designs should you choose? Today, we’re going to find out.
Google made a radical design change with the Pixel 6 series, moving to a glass sandwich design, and since then, the company has been perfecting this philosophy. It’s not your average glass-and-aluminum design, though, as Google decided to shake things up a bit with a long strip going from side to side on the back of the phone. The company calls it the “Camera Strip.”
Asus, on the other hand, exploits a different design philosophy with the Zenfone series, going for compact and light rather than shiny. The back of the phone is made from matte plastic with a papery/rubbery feel to it. It’s a different approach that yields different results.
The Zenfone 10 is much lighter than the Pixel 7 (169 grams vs 197), and that’s not solely down to materials; the Pixel has a bigger screen at 6.3 inches, while the Zenfone keeps things under the 6-inch threshold at 5.9.
Speaking of display, this is one of the major differences between the two devices. The 5.9-inch Samsung-made AMOLED of the Zenfone 10 is capable of going up to 144 Hz refresh rate (although only during gaming), while the 6.3-inch panel of the Pixel 9 caps at 90 Hz.
Both displays are quite color-accurate, but the Pixel panel is a tad brighter. The resolution is exactly the same on the two phones (1080 x 2400 pixels), but because the pixel has a larger display, this results in a tad lower density (418 vs 446 PPI). In reality, bith displays are crisp, and the image is sharp enough.
Both phones also sport Face Unlock, but it’s not the sophisticated 3D variety Apple uses, so it’s less secure. That being said, this feature works fast on both the Zenfone 10 and the Pixel 7.
Performance and Software
Another radical difference between the Pixel 7 and the Zenfone 10 lies in the hardware architecture. Google decided to design and build its own chip with the Pixel 6 generation, while the Zenfone 10 relies on Qualcomm silicon.There’s still a performance gap between the second generation Tensor inside the Pixel 7 and the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, found in the Zenfone 10. You can check out the detailed results in the table below. Synthetic benchmarks don’t always tell the whole story, but you can expect smoother operation from the Zenfone 10, which packs more raw power.
In terms of RAM and onboard storage, both phones start at 8GB/128GB memory configurations, and neither of them has a microSD card slot.
Both phones launched with Android 13 out of the box, but the Pixel has a slight advantage when it comes to software support. Google promises three major Android updates, which means the Pixel 7 will arrive at Android 16, while the Zenfone software update cycle will end at Android 15.
In terms of software experience, the Pixel 7 and Zenfone 10 are more similar than you might imagine. Asus offers the option to switch to the “stock” Android experience with some minor tweaks to further enhance your day-to-day life with the device. The Pixel 7, on the other hand, can’t be more “stock,” and furthermore, it will receive new software versions first.
The Zenfone 10 and the Pixel 7 both come equipped with only two cameras, lacking a dedicated telephoto lens. On paper, both are very similar, using 50MP sensors for the main camera (although the sensor in the Pixel 7 is bigger), with similar apertures and respective focal length.
Let’s not forget, though, that Google is the king of computational photography, and has been perfecting it since the first Pixel phones. So, let’s check out some real life photos and see what’s what.
Main Camera – Day
Even though Asus has decided to keep the same camera hardware as the previous generation on the Zenfone 10, the company has apparently been playing around with post processing algorithms. Because photos look radically different between the Zenfone 9 and the Zenfone 10. The new model blows out colors to the point that pictures look almost unnatural, and it also tends to overexpose in very bright lighting conditions.
The Pixel 7, on the other hand, manages to represent colors much better; they turn out more natural, and the dynamic range also seems better on the Pixel. Take a look at the photo with the flowers, and see how burnt they look on the Zenfone 10. The transitions between sky and sea also look smoother and better on the Pixel.
Main Camera – Low-light
Night shots are a mixed bag. Both phones brighten the scene far too much in low light, and the Zenfone 10 also tends to oversharpen photos to give a subjective feeling of more detail. There’s also a strange greenish tint to night shots on the Zenfone 10.
The Pixel 7, on the other hand, produces more balanced shots that look a bit soft in comparison to the ones taken with the Zenfone. Sometimes the Pixel burns out highlights, and the Zenfone does a better job at preserving details in those brighter areas.
There’s no dedicated telephoto camera on either of these phones, so close shots use digital zoom, and unsurprisingly, they don’t look great. At low magnification, both phones return passable results; shots taken with the Pixel look a bit softer, and the boosted colors on the Zenfone are still there.
If you zoom to the max, photos start to look like a mix between an abstract painting and ChatGPT-generated content, and if we absolutely had to pick a winner, it would be the Pixel. You can at least read the signs and tell people apart from aliens in those shots (whisper, there are no people, we’re all aliens).
Portrait mode is decent on both phones. The Pixel can resolve more details, but the bokeh algorithm is a bit aggressive, sometimes clipping and blurring parts that shouldn’t be blurred. The Zenfone 10, on the other hand does a better job on that front but sometimes lacks dynamic range and photos turn underexposed.
Ultrawide shots look similar between the Pixel and the Zenfone, both in level of detail and field of view. Some colors are still boosted a bit more on the Zenfone (the grass, for example), and there are artifacts toward the edges of the pictures.
The Zenfone 10 has a new selfie camera onboard, a 32MP one with fancy white pixels in it. Fancy or not, this technology apparently works, as selfie shots look great. We can argue that the Zenfone 10 captures even more details than the Pixel, although colors are still a bit problematic, and too boosted for our pesronal taste.
One of the main highlights of the Zenfone 10 (and the Zenfone 9, for that matter) is the 6-axis gimbal stabilization. It is just great, you can capture perfect videos in pretty much any shakey situation. As far as video quality goes, both the Pixel 7 and the Zenfone 10 get the job done. There are more details on the Zenfone 10, but the colors are again too saturated. The Pixel 7 does a better job in low light, resolving more detail in tricky highlighted areas.
Audio Quality and Haptics
When it comes to audio and haptics, we feel that the Zenfone 10 does things a tad better than the Pixel 7. Don’t get us wrong, the stereo setup on the Pixel is more than decent; it’s just not very loud and can get trebly, especially on louder volumes.
The Zenfone 10, on the other hand, uses some clever magic to enhance the bass frequencies, adding things that “fool” your ear into hearing more bass, and the system works surprisingly well. Audio quality and loudness are very good as well, especially for such a small phone. The 3.5mm earphone jack gives added flexibility to the sound setup you can get with the Zenfone.
Battery Life and Charging
The battery capacity is very close between these two, at least on paper. The Zenfone 10 comes with the same 4,300 mAh battery as its predecessor, but sports a more efficient chipset, while the Pixel 7 comes equipped with a 4,355 mAh cell, but the Tensor is built using 5nm technology and loses the efficiency battle with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
Our battery benchmarks paint an interesting picture. When it comes to browsing, the Zenfone 10 obliterates the Pixel 7, but the YouTube and gaming tests returned similar results. In real life scenarios, both phones will last a whole day, but the Zenfone 10 can easily stretch that to two days if you’re not very hard on it.
PhoneArena Battery Test Results:
The charging situation is also very similar, even though on paper the Zenfone 10 has an advantage. Google advertises the Pixel 7 as capable of doing 21W wired charging, while the Zenfone 10 supports up to 30W charging bricks (and comes with one in the retail box).
In practice, both phones will charge from 0 to 50% in around 30 minutes, and a full charge takes about one and a half hours. The Zenfone 10 now sports wireless charging with speeds up to 15W, while the Pixel 7 can charge without cables at 20W but again, the real life performance is very similar.
Summary and Final Verdict
At the end of the day, the Asus Zenfone 10 and the Google Pixel 7 are quite different. They come in different sizes and weights; the building materials are different; and the chipsets are also different. So, why bother to compare them?
What’s not so different is the actual user experience: both offer a very solid Android deal, similar battery life, similar camera performance, charging speeds, and smooth operation. The deciding factor here is the price.
The Pixel is substantially cheaper at $599 (for the same memory configuration), while in order to get the latest Snapdragon and some case candy (a charging brick, a back cover), you have to spend $200 more.