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ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra – good but not great flagship (smartphone review)

The ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra is a flagship-class phone with a Qualcomm SD3 Gen 3, AMOLED screen and many go-fast goodies. Regrettably, there are a few missteps that could have made this great.

I am writing this review almost immediately after the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro – gamers’ nirvana and now a flagship smartphone (let’s call that ROG) that does everything right, easily knocking the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra off its perch (let’s call that S24U). Frankly, it is the best Australian availability SD8 Gen 3 smartphone of 2024.

So, I was anticipating that this (let’s call it Zen) might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. However, several things prevent it from achieving flagship status.

  • The screen is the same size as the 10-bit, 1.07 billion-colour ROG, but this is an 8-bit, 16.7 million-colour AMOLED screen. This has two impacts. First, video and still image previews are not as accurate—what you see is not what you get. Second, HDR10+ content suffers from colour gradient bands. Read 8-bit versus 10-bit screen colours. What is the big deal?
  • The USB-C port is 2.0 480Mbps, supporting OTG cut and paste only. The ROG has a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps port supporting audio/video/data/charge/Alt DP 1.4. That means you can mount an external SSD at gigabit speeds and use USB-C to USB-C or HDMI for screen mirroring and Android desktops.
  • Phone reception signal strength is nowhere near the ROG.

I’m sorry, ASUS. You removed the most essential nerdy features, a deal breaker for power users. But don’t despair—the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra only has an 8-bit screen, USB-C 2.0 and average phone signal strength.

Reviewer’s Note: ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra

ASUS provided us with a UK 16GB/512GB version, a model unavailable in our region. While they may have had good intentions, the fact that the latest patch is from December 2023 (with the launch in April 2024) raises concerns. We suspect many of the tests, including phone signal strength, could be influenced by the outdated UK firmware V226, especially when the 30 May 2024 update is V402. This could also explain why Australia was not included in the setup country options.

We have downloaded the firmware and manually updated the phone. We still think that Australian firmware should have been on this device and perhaps would have yielded better results.

Australian Review: ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra, Dual SIM (as reviewed UK version 16/512GB)

Brand ASUS
Model ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra
Model Number AI2401
RAM/Storage Base 12/256GB
   Price base 1599
   Price 2 As reviewed, the 16/512GB UK version
Warranty months 12 months
 Tier Flagship
Website ASUS AU Product Page
From ASUS online and JB Hi-Fi (online)
Made in Not disclosed – either China or Taiwan.
Company Asustek Computer is a Taiwanese company that produces motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, PDAs, computer monitors, notebook computers, servers, networking products, mobile phones, computer cases, computer components, and computer cooling systems.
More CyberShack ASUS news and reviews
CyberShack computer news and reviews
Test date 15-30 May 2024
Ambient temp 10-20°
Release 45383
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy) Only phones purchased from ASUS Online or JB Hi-Fi carry Australian certification for the phone, Wi-Fi bands, and Australian Warranty. Read Don’t buy a grey market smartphone.  

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass(able) rating that is not as good as it should be and a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

We are also tightening up on grading. From now on, Pass, for example, means meeting expectations for the price bracket. We consider a Pass mark to be 70+/100 with extra points added for class-leading and excellence.

First Impression – Pass+

It is similar to the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro in size and weight without the LED and gaming bling. I like a larger phone, and at 163.8×76.8×8.9 mm x 225g, it fits that bill and is lighter than the Samsung S24 Ultra (S24U).

Screen – only 8-bit/16.7m colours – Pass

While the ROG and Zen share the same screen size, they are entirely different. This is 8-bit/16.7m colours with a claimed 1-120Hz refresh (144Hz in Game Genie mode). The bottom line is that photo and video previews are inaccurate—what you see is not what you get. There is evident colour gradient banding when playing HDR content. The only consolation is that the Samsung S24 Ultra also uses this 8-bit screen, and we complained about that on a flagship device.

Summary: A great phone with an average AMOLED screen.

Screen tests
Size 6.78″
Flat, Curve, 2D, 3D Flat centre o-hole
Resolution 2400 x 1080
PPI 388
Ratio 20:9
Screen to Body % 88.2%
Colours bits 8-bit/16.7 million colours
Cinematic – DCI-P3
Standard – sRGB
Refresh Hz, adaptive Auto (steps 60 or 120Hz
Fixed 60 or 120Hz
Game mode fixed 1080p@144Hz
ASUS claims that LTPO is capable of 1-120Hz adaptive. Our tests only showed it can get down to 24Hz.
Response 120Hz 720Hz touch rate
Nits typical, test Not specified. Auto brightness full screen (803)
Nits max, test 1600 High Brightness mode Full Screen (1658)
2500 peak brightness HDR 5% screen (2450)
Contrast Infinite
sRGB 100+%
DCI-P3 97% of 16.7m colours
Rec.2020 or other It cannot be calibrated.
Delta E (
HDR Level HDR10/HDR10+/HLG – no Dolby Vision
SDR Upscale No
Blue Light Control Yes
PWM if known PWM 485Hz and uses DC dimming for lower brightness. It should not be an issue for PWM-sensitive users.
Daylight readable Yes
Always on Display Yes
Edge display Yes
Accessibility Usual Android features.
DRM L1 HDR 1080p (Netflix-only SDR)
Gaming Game Genie settings to focus on gaming
Screen protection Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Comment It is pretty disappointing that this has an 8-bit screen. The colours are not as natural, videos can experience banding, and photo/video image preview is not as accurate.
If you want a 10-bit screen, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is superb. Read 8-bit versus 10-bit screen colours. What is the big deal?

Processor – Pass+

This is the world’s fastest Android System on a Chip (Soc) and is the same as used in the ROG and S24U (not the S24 or S24 + Exynos SoC).

When tested, it consistently returned higher benchmarks than the S24U. To be fair to Samsung, we will retest its benchmarks soon to see if firmware updates since its release in January have made a difference. Its thermal management is better than the S24U.

It has Performance, Dynamic, Durable (Standard) and Ultra Durable modes.

Processor tests
Brand, Model Qualcomm SD8 Gen 3  
nm 4nm made by TSMC (not Samsung)
Cores 1×3.3GHz & 3×3.2GHz & 2×3.0GHz & 2×2.3GHz
Modem X75 4×4 MIMO Sub-6Ghz
Multi-thread Integer Operations Per Second (INOPS)
GINOPS = billion
The CPU is undisclosed, but the AI engine has 29+ TOPS, and NPU has 15 for over 60. Performance/Dynamic
19.02/18.47 GFLOPS
23.92/22.91 GNOPS
Geekbench 6 Single-core Standard 1289
Performance 2287
Geekbench 6 multi-core Standard 5900
Performance 6974
Like Benchmarks  
It runs more like a Tensor G3 or Exynos 2100
GPU Adreno 750 (1GHz)
GPU Test
Open CL Standard 14446
Performance 14769
Like These figures are 15% or more than the same processor in the Samsung S24 Ultra.
Vulcan Standard 13248
Performance 16456
RAM, type 12GB LPDDR5X
Storage, free, type 256GB UFS 4.0 (international 512GB – 440GB free)
micro-SD No
CPDT internal seq. Read MBps sustained 2410 – denotes UFS 4.0
Jazz maximum 2327
CPDT internal seq. write MBps sustained 1130
Jazz maximum 726
CPDT microSD read, write MBps N/A
CPDT external (mountable?) MBps USB-C 2.0 OTG only 25/20
Comment It is so disappointing to have a USB-C 2.0 port on a flagship, especially for vloggers and videographers who can only cut and paste a 480Mbps half-duplex.
Throttle test Dynamic mode figures first.
Performance mode (in brackets).
Max GIPS 359379 (394445)
Average GIPS 316253 (356578)
Minimum GIPS 229283 (338433)
% Throttle 35% (23%)
CPU Temp 93°/93°
Comment This tries to maintain maximum speed for as long as possible, but the phone gets very hot at over 50° on the rear panel.

Comms – Pass+

ASUS has fully implemented the Wi-Fi 7 speeds, and our reference TP-Link Deco BE85 Wi-Fi 7 BE22000 tri-band mesh router achieves an incredible 5800Mbps full-duplex speed. S24U had not implemented this and achieved 2400Mbps.

Wi-Fi Type, model Wi-Fi 7 2.4/5/6Ghz 4K QAM, 320MHz
Test 2m -dBm, Rx/Tx Mbps -46/5800/5800
Test 5m -55/5800/5800
Test 10m -59/2882/2882
BT Type 5.4
GPS single, dual GNSS support GPS(L1/L5), Glonass(L1), Galileo(E1/E5a), BeiDou(B1i/B1c/B2a), QZSS(L1/L5) and NavIC. Accurate to 3 metres.
USB type USB-C 2.0 480Mbps
ALT DP, DeX, Ready For No
Ultra-wideband No
   Accelerometer Yes combo
   Gyro Yes combo
   e-Compass Yes
   Ambient light Yes
   Hall sensor Yes
   Proximity Yes
   Other Optical under-glass fingerprint sensor
Comment Sensors not disclosed. Testing software reveals some, but not all. Wi-Fi 6GHz speeds are excellent.

4/5G – Pass

To be fair to ASUS, the UK firmware mentioned earlier may not have the same bands. It currently has excellent 20-picowatt signal strength for one tower and usable speeds for towers two and three (the fourth tower is not found).

We can only give it a city and suburbs rating, whereas its cousin ROG has the best four-tower signal strength we have encountered to date.

SIM Dual Sim DSDS (dual sim, dual standby)
   Active No eSIM nor DSDA (both are supported by Qualcomm SD8 Gen 3 SoC)
Ring tone single, dual Single
VoLTE Carrier dependent
Wi-Fi calling Carrier dependent
4G Bands Not disclosed. We think it is
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 48, 66
Comment All Australian and most world bands
5G sub-6Ghz Not disclosed. We think it is
1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 18, 20, 25, 26, 28, 38, 40, 41, 48, 66, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA/Sub6
Comment All sub-6Ghz and 5G low bands
mmWave No
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
  DL/UL, ms 9.2/17.2/36ms (lower than expected)
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pW -77 to -84 and 4pW to 20pW
   Tower 2 -90 and 1pW
   Tower 3 -100 and 500fW
   Tower 4 Not Found.
Comment While it finds the closest tower at 20pW (excellent), it has poor subsequent tower coverage, which is highly unusual for a Qualcomm SD75 modem. We tested with the ASUS ROG 8 Pro, which found all four towers at superb strengths. These phones should have identical performance with the same antenna setup. We suspect it is the UK firmware. At this stage, it only gets a city and suburb rating.

Battery – Pass+

Had a 65W charger been inbox, it would have rated Exceed. However, it uses more energy under load than the ROG and battery performance is slightly lower.

mAh 5500mAh
Charger, type, supplied Not supplied – 65W capable with genuine ASUS 65W dual channel charger.
When using another charger, it tends to charge at 9V/2A/18W maximum.
 PD, QC level Standard PD 3.0
Qualcomm QC 5.0
Qi, wattage Qi 1.3 15W
Reverse Qi or cable up to 10W
Test (60Hz or adaptive screen) Adaptive
   Charge 0-100% 49 minutes 65W GaN charger
   Charge Qi, W
Using Belkin Boost Charge 15W fast wireless charge
Not Tested
   Charge 5V, 2A over 8 hours
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane 16 hours (Performance mode)
23 hours 9 minutes standard mode
   PC Mark 3 battery 16 hours 21 minutes
Accubattery: 18 hours
   GFX Bench Manhattan battery Standard 336.3 (5.6 hours) 5813 frames
Performance: 213.3 minutes (3.54 hours) 7422 frames
   GFX Bench T-Rex Standard: 351 minutes 5.85 hours) 7927 frames.
Performance: 317.1 minutes (5.29 hours) 6729 frames.
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on. Approx. 4 hours
Accubattery: 5 hours
0 Dynamic: 1300-1350
Performance: 1350-1400
   mA Watt idle Screen on Dynamic: 125:150
Performance: 150-200
   Estimate loss at max refresh Tested on Adaptive and standard mode. We expect to lose up to 50% battery life in Performance Mode and 144Hz, but you would likely use this on power.
   Estimate typical use It draws more current under load than the similar ASUS ROG Phone 8. We suspect it is not an LPTO screen as the lowest screen refresh we saw was 24Hz (it should be 1Hz).
Typical users should get up to 18 hours, and power users between 4-5 hours.
Comment ASUS battery options made measuring accurate battery life in standard and performance modes hard.

Sound hardware – Exceed, including a separate 6.8W amp for the phone.

As it does not decode Dolby Vision (downmix to HDR10), it is unnecessary to support Dolby Atmos. But it does support Dirac’s spatial sound, and the effects are good. From a hardware perspective, we applaud using a separate amplifier for the phone, which gives it one of the highest decibel ratings we have encountered. This means excellent hands-free.

Because it uses the SB8 Gen 3 SoC, it has 24-bit/48000Hz sound and most aptX codecs.

Speakers Stereo – top earpiece and bottom down-firing.
Tuning Dirac Virtuo
AMP Cirrus Logic CS35L45 (6.8W mono for phone) and Qualcomm Aqsitic (stereo for speakers and headphones).
Dolby Atmos decode No, but Dirac Virtuo spatial for headphones
Hi-Res 24-bit/4800Hz for headphones only
3.5mm Yes
BT Codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, LDAC
Multipoint Yes
Dolby Atmos (DA) Dirac
EQ Dirac Dynamic, Music, Cinema, Game and Custom.
Mics 2 with basic noise reduction
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off Outdoor mode disabled – it amps treble
   Volume max 84
   Media (music) 83
   Ring 83
   Alarm 80
   Notifications 66
   Earpiece 55
   Hands-free The volume is a little low, and dual mics don’t reduce the background noise much.
   BT headphones Excellent left-right separation and DA makes quite a difference with DA content.

Sound quality – Pass

Sound quality is the stereo speaker’s ability to play ‘listenable’ music and produce clear voice during hands-free calls. Unfortunately, the music lacks depth and vitality—as do 99% of smartphones and their tiny, tinny speakers.

I guess most will use headphones or headsets, and it has both a 3.5mm cable and a Bluetooth 5.3 low-latency games mode.

Deep Bass 20-40Hz No
Middle Bass 40-100Hz No – hint at 95Hz
High Bass 100-200Hz Slow linear build to 1kHz
Low Mid 200-400Hz Slow linear build to 1kHz
Mid 400-1000Hz Flat
High-Mid 1-2kHz Flat
Low Treble 2-4kHz Flat
Mid Treble 4-6kHz Decline but then flattens to 6kHz
High Treble 6-10kHz Steep decline to 20kHz
Dog Whistle 10-20kHz Steep decline to 20kHz
Sound Signature type It has a hint of mid-bass starting at 95Hz and then starts a slow build to high mid (1kHZ), flattening to a Mid sound signature (bass recessed, mid boosted, treble recessed) for clear voice. This makes music dull and uninteresting. The Dirac EQ is mainly for headphones.
   Soundstage 2D is about as wide as the phone with no obvious bias to one speaker. There is no DA decode, but spatial content gives a slightly wider soundstage but no 3D height.
Comment CyberShack Music Tests
It is disappointing for a premium handset. Bass is hard to get on micro speakers, but you expect it to have at least some 50-100Hz, where all the musically important bass comes from. It is easy to get a decent mid-high treble that gives a feeling of air and directionality, but instead, we get over the cliff treble that gives music a harshness.

Build – Exceed

This is one well-built phone. It is solid, 225g (lighter than the S24U) and will last the distance.

However, Samsung will likely have more service options, so you must consider that.

Size (H X W x D) 163.8×76.8×8.9 mm
Weight grams 225
Front glass Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Rear material Not specified – likely Gorilla Glass
Frame 100% recycled Aluminium
IP rating IP68 1.5m for 30 minutes
Colours Eternal Black
Skyline Blue
Pen, Stylus support No
In the box
   Charger No
   USB cable 3W USB-C to USB-C cable
   Buds No
   Bumper cover Yes
Comment It is a shame that ASUS did not include a charger inbox. This causes it to lose some points.

OS – Pass

The only area in which it does not score top marks is Android 14. Why? It only gets two years of OS upgrades and four years of security patches. S24U smashes that with 7+7 and a two-year warranty as well. The impact is that S24U will hold its resale value better for longer.

ASUS has jumped on the AI-washing bandwagon and offers some AI features, but not as many as the Samsung S24 Ultra. Frankly, any phone running Android 14 or later will get a similar feature set from Google.

Android 14
Security patch date 1 May 2024, after the manual update.
UI Users can select standard Android or ASUS-enhanced
OS upgrade policy Not disclosed – 2 years.
Security patch policy Not disclosed – likely 4 years
Bloatware Facebook
Other ASUS has jumped onto the AI-washing bandwagon with Semantic search, AI noise cancelling and beta versions of AI Call Translator, AI Transcript and AI Wallpaper. It is way too early to review these beta features.
Comment Poor OS upgrade and security patch policy are inconsistent with other premium phones, such as the Samsung S24 Ultra (7+7) and Google Pixel 8 Pro (7+7).
ASUS’s habit of not disclosing critical information on its website is annoying, if not unintentionally deceptive.
Fingerprint sensor location, type Ultrasonic Under glass (9/10)
Face ID 2D
Other Android 14 security
Comment The only area in which it does not score top marks is Android 14. Why? It only gets two years of OS upgrades and four security patches. S24U smashes that with 7+7 and a two-year warranty as well.
This impacts second-hand and trade-in values.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra rear camera – Pass+

The key hardware difference is that the S24U has a better camera system with a periscope zoom. The key image difference is that they are both excellent for point-and-shoot use.

ASUS uses a Sony IMX890 50MP bins to 12.6MP sensor, and S24U uses a Samsung-made S5KHP2 200MP that bins to 12.5MP. The Sony has a slight edge in low-light photography (aided by the Qualcomm AI). I enjoyed using this sensor on the OPPO Find N3 Flip, and I cannot fault it.

Regrettably, just like the S24U, the 8-bit screen image preview is not as accurate as the ROG 10-bit.

Overall, it is a competent flagship camera—probably outclassed by S24U and its AI processing expertise.

Camera Test shots
Rear Primary Wide
  MP 50MP bins to 12.6MP (default)
   Sensor Sony IMX890
   Focus PDAF
   f-stop 1.9
   um 1 bins to 2
  FOV° (stated, actual) 71.1 (H) x 85.6 (D)
   Stabilisation OIS – 6 axis gimbal and EIS video 4.2x crop factor
   Zoom 4-10X
Rear 2 Ultra-Wide
   MP 13MP
   Sensor Omnivision OV13b
   Focus PDAF
   f-stop 2.2
   um 1.12
  FOV (stated, actual) 120
   Stabilisation OIS
   Zoom 3X
Rear 3 Telephoto
   MP 32MP bins to 8MP
   Sensor Omnivision OV32c
   Focus PDAF
   f-stop 2.2
   um .7 bins to 1.4
  FOV (stated, actual) Unknown
   Stabilisation OIS
   Zoom 3X Optical
   Video max 8K@24fps. HDR10+ for 4K@30fps
OIS 1080p@60fps
   Flash Yes
   Auto-HDR Yes
   QR code reader Yes
   Night mode Yes

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra front camera

It has a wide and ultra-wide setting allowing for single and small group selfies. Colours are natural. Video is 1080p@30fps.

  MP 32MP bins to 8MP
   Sensor Omnivision OV32C
   Focus Fixed
   f-stop 2.05
   um .7 bins to 1.4
  FOV (stated, actual) 90°  (77.8 H to 90.5 D)
   Stabilisation No
   Flash Screen fill
   Zoom No
   Video max 1080p@30fps

CyberShack’s view – ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra – good but not great

First, apologies to ASUS, as I am not privy to the design ethos of this phone. If it was to do a non-gaming version of the ROG Phone 8 Pro, it missed quite widely. If it was to make a phone similar to the S24U but at a better price, it was spot on.

The ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra offers essentially the same hardware except for the periscope camera at a lower cost.

If you were looking at a Samsung S24U, this is its match (apart from the Stylus). There are many reasons to buy an S24U, the chief of which is its reputation and 2+7+7 warranty/OS/security patch policy, which it and the Google Pixel 8-series offer. The S24U will have a better resale value through its trade-in system and probably better service if needed.

Would I buy it?

No, in the same way, that the S24U has its compromises. I would steer you to the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro—it is better in the critical nerd areas. But there is nothing wrong with the Zenfone, and you would be very happy with it unless you appreciated the differences.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra ratings

Ratings New rating system 7 is a Pass Mark.
Features 80
We hoped it would be similar to the ROG Phone 8 Pro, but there are too many changes under the bonnet to compare. In terms of screen, USB-C, etc., it is closer to a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Value 80
At $1599, its main competitor is the ASUS ROG Phone 8 (standard version), and we would recommend spending the extra on any purchaser. It is also close to the Google Pixel 8 Pro 512GB. You are getting a similarly speced and functional Samsung S24 Ultra (minus the stylus) for a far better price.
Performance 85
The SoC and Wi-Fi performance is excellent, but the screen, USB-C, and phone’s strength let it down. We will attribute this to the international firmware, which has not been updated since December 2023.
Ease of Use 80
1+2+4 Warranty/OS/Security patch policy is way behind Samsung and Google and would be the one reason not to buy.
Design 85
It is no longer a smaller Zenfone and some may miss that. It is a pretty heavily parred back ROG Phone 8 to bring it in at a price.
Rating out of 10 82
Final comment ASUS made a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra sans stylus using fairly stock Android and a below-average support policy.
If you were going to buy an S24 Ultra, at least look at this and its ROG Phone 8 cousin, which is truly the best SD8 Gen 3 phone of 2024.

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra



  • Phone signal strength is city and suburbs only (may have been the review unit).
  • Battery life is above average, but no charger inbox loses points.
  • Excellent Wi-Fi speeds
  • Excellent tri-camera, only lacking the S24 periscope telephoto.
  • It is a better value than the similarly specified Samsung S24 Ultra.


  • It is a good competitor to the Samsung S24 Ultra but not as refined.
  • Photo preview colours are off courtesy of an 8-bit screen.
  • Below average 1+2+4 warranty/OS/Patch policy.
  • USB-C 2.0 precludes Alt DP screen mirror and external mountable SSD.
  • t gets very hot on performance mode and has no charger inbox.


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