The ZenFone 5 brand doesn’t feel like a new line from ASUS. If you remember back in 2014, ASUS debuted three new smartphones that used the numbers as part of the phone’s name but it was a reference to screen sizes. Now, under what can be considered the Taiwanese company’s revamping of its mobile phone line, the ZenFone 5 is the latest iteration of ASUS’ continued goal to improve on its smartphone lineup. This time around we get three new devices: the ZenFone 5Z, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 5 Lite.
The ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5 bring some exciting firsts to the company’s lineup. Both feature 6.2-inch 19:9 LCD displays with an impressive 90% screen-to-body ratio. This move makes it possible to cram all that screen into the size of a standard 5.5-inch phone. Both come with ASUS AI Boost, which is meant to optimize performance for when you’re playing games or doing other demanding tasks on your phone. Some other supposed AI features include what ASUS calls AI Display, which does things like automatic adjustment for color temperature and a sensor that keeps the screen on while you’re looking at it; and AI charging, which is said to top up your device up to 80 percent when you charge at night and keep it there until around the time you’re about to wake up when it goes all the way to 100. We’re not sure how appropriate the AI label is here.
The ZenFone 5Z is the more high-performance model running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 platform with the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine. It runs on up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB internal storage. It also comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 Gigabit LTE modem 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5. The ZenFone 5, on the other hand, runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor with 64GB of internal storage and either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. Both run on 3,300mAh batteries.
ASUS brings AI tech for the first time into its dual-camera systems, promising that it will “adapt and learn” to help you get “perfect photos every time.” It’s equipped with the latest flagship 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with large 1.4µm pixels, an f/1.8 wide-aperture lens, 120° wide-angle secondary camera, four-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and AI-enhanced camera features—including AI Scene Detection for 16 different scenes and objects, AI Photo Learning, Real-time Portrait, and Real-time Beautification.
The iPhone X notch also makes its appearance, which the company acknowledges in a way. “Some people will say it’s copying Apple,” said Marcel Campos, Asus’ global head of marketing, “but we cannot get away from what users want. You have to follow the trends.”
But ASUS claims the notch is 26 percent smaller than what you see on the iPhone. However, a notch is a notch. When you swipe from the left side you get access to the notifications and some functions, while when you swipe from the right side you get access to quick settings options. The notch houses front-facing camera and some sensors. The phones do offer the capability to unlock the device using your face but it isn’t as sophisticated as what you see on the iPhone X. Another design feature here is we get the glossy back featuring the concentric circle look ASUS phones have been sporting for the longest time.
The ZenFone 5 Lite, as its name suggests, is the lower-spec’d variant of the ZenFone 5 line. But it isn’t exactly a slouch. ASUS packs in a quad-camera system into this 6-inch device. It has a 20-megapixel Sony sensor at the front, 16-megapixel sensor at the back, both come with a secondary 120° wide-angle camera. The 6-inch display has a Full HD+ IPS resolution with a Full View 18:9 aspect ratio. ASUS was able to cram in all that phone into a standard-aspect ratio 5.5-inch phone. The ZenFone 5 Lite is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and comes with a 3,300mAh battery. Other features include NFC connectivity, triple-slot SIM/microSD card holder, rapid face unlock, and fingerprint recognition.
ASUS Philippines says the new devices will come to the country within the second quarter of 2018.