I really like Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer of fine mainboards. Although they’re too much intended for gamers in my humble opinion, and what I don’t like so much are the boot screens of my wife’s (µATX) mainboard with the “Tough Gaming” or mine with the “Republic of Gamers” hints – we’re not gamers at all, and using AMDs Ryzen 5700G processors, we instead built energy-efficient “work” machines.
But this is about phones, and the Asus Zenfone line could be the optimal Android phones – they’re small, very capable with their latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, and they even still have 3,5mm headset jacks, so bravo to all of that. Okay, starting at around the 800€ mark here in Europe, they’re a bit expensive, so they have to compete to Google’s newest Pixel 8 – and that fight, they lose on several points:
First, the Asus phones only have support for two years and Android version upgrades, while Google’s newest offer 7 years. Second, they lack the Titan M security chip of Google’s devices which even allow alternate boot ROMs to be re-locked and verified with cryptographic keys, and third, the latest Zenfone 9 and 10 (and now also 7) lines don’t even offer to unlock their bootloaders anymore, which means that after those meager two years of support, you’re left in the cold and rain – and those phones will go to landfills much too early.
Read this report at Android Authority, or the XDA Developers’ forae about this if you wish, or write to Asus if you really care (I did). But as a recommendation for good phones, read this one from Privacy Guides.
Also, in case you’re from Germany and read “best buy” lists like this one, please reconsider: I’ve got a Google Pixel 6a beginning of this year, when they were at 319€, and everything on Privacy Guides still applies for it. So I wrote to that author as well, mentioning that we still get monthly updates (from DivestOS) for ten year old Google Nexus tablets or their Pixel 3a. No e-waste, no landfills, still (with some restrictions) usable.
And like always, thanks for reading.