The 9 best features in the Zenfone 6, the most surprising new smartphone of 2019 that only costs $500

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The Asus Zenfone 6 is one of the best surprises of 2019 so far.

It's one of the most attractive smartphones out this year, with a true "all-screen" design - unlike so many smartphones with notches and hole punches in them to make room for a selfie camera.

In the Zenfone 6, the selfie camera is actually the rear camera: there's actually a mechanism that flips the rear camera to the front whenever you want a selfie. It's pretty cool!

The Zenfone 6 is unlike any other smartphone we've seen this year, so we compiled its best features to help make sense of why it's such a compelling package.

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1. The price: The Asus Zenfone 6 starts at just $500 — half the price of other premium smartphones.

1. The price: The Asus Zenfone 6 starts at just $500 — half the price of other premium smartphones.

The iPhone XS starts at $1,000. The Galaxy S10 starts at $900, and the S10 Plus starts at $1,000. This phone is half the price of those phones — and it still looks great, and works exceedingly well.

The starting price gets you 64 GB of storage, but you can get up to 256 GB.

2. The Zenfone 6 is truly an "all-screen" phone. Its 6.4-inch 1080p LCD panel actually stretches from edge to edge — with no notch or hole punch for the selfie camera. It's totally seamless.

2. The Zenfone 6 is truly an "all-screen" phone. Its 6.4-inch 1080p LCD panel actually stretches from edge to edge — with no notch or hole punch for the selfie camera. It's totally seamless.

3. The Zenfone 6 doesn't have a traditional selfie camera. Instead, whenever you want to take a selfie, the rear camera flips around to face you. This is how Asus was able to deliver an all-screen phone.

3. The Zenfone 6 doesn't have a traditional selfie camera. Instead, whenever you want to take a selfie, the rear camera flips around to face you. This is how Asus was able to deliver an all-screen phone.

4. The camera itself is really neat: You can actually control the placement of the motorized camera to capture any angle, up to a full 180 degrees.

4. The camera itself is really neat: You can actually control the placement of the motorized camera to capture any angle, up to a full 180 degrees.

The phone's volume rocker can act as a controller for how much you want the camera to flip up, and the phone's Camera app also presents a slider that allows you to swipe up or down to control the placement of the camera.

5. Thanks to the unique camera system, the Zenfone 6 can take automatic panoramas. Just press a button, and the phone will take the perfect panorama by slowly moving the camera a full 180 degrees. There's no need to move your hand, or yourself, at all.

5. Thanks to the unique camera system, the Zenfone 6 can take automatic panoramas. Just press a button, and the phone will take the perfect panorama by slowly moving the camera a full 180 degrees. There's no need to move your hand, or yourself, at all.

6. The unique camera design isn't just good for photos; in video mode, it can also automatically to track your subjects. Just tap your subject on the screen, and the motorized camera can follow it.

6. The unique camera design isn't just good for photos; in video mode, it can also automatically to track your subjects. Just tap your subject on the screen, and the motorized camera can follow it.

7. The Zenfone 6 has a cool defense mechanism to handle drops: Once the phone senses it's falling, it quickly retracts the camera into a safe, rear-facing position as to not damage the camera or the mechanism.

7. The Zenfone 6 has a cool defense mechanism to handle drops: Once the phone senses it's falling, it quickly retracts the camera into a safe, rear-facing position as to not damage the camera or the mechanism.

8. The Zenfone 6 has a massive 5,000 mAh battery, one of the biggest batteries in any smartphone you can buy.

8. The Zenfone 6 has a massive 5,000 mAh battery, one of the biggest batteries in any smartphone you can buy.

For comparison, Samsung's massive Galaxy S10 Plus has a 4,100 mAH battery, and the similarly large iPhone XS Max has a 3,174 mAH battery.

(Milliamp-hours aren't always indicative of battery life — how the software uses the battery also plays a big role, for example — but it tends to be a pretty good indication of how much juice your phone will get.)

We don't know exactly how many hours of battery life the Zenfone 6 will get, but we're going to guess that it should easily last you a full day — especially since LCD screens don't suck up as much power compared to phones with OLED screens or higher refresh rates.

It even has — gasp — a headphone jack.

It even has — gasp — a headphone jack.

This is good in case your wireless headphones die, or you prefer a wired pair.

Overall, the Zenfone 6 packs in a ton of innovation for an incredible value.

Overall, the Zenfone 6 packs in a ton of innovation for an incredible value.

It has everything you want in a smartphone: a great display, a great camera system, and (presumably) killer battery life, thanks to that super-large cell. Asus also did a good thing here by providing a pretty clean version of Android, and keeping the starting price at a competitive $500.

This phone should definitely be considered if you're looking for a quality smartphone that won't blow your budget.

You can learn more about the Zenfone 6 here.

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