[First Cut] Asus Zenfone 5 (2018): Banking on the X-Factor

  • [First Cut] Asus Zenfone 5 (2018): Banking on the X-Factor

[First Cut] Asus Zenfone 5 (2018): Banking on the X-Factor

In a hands-on with the 5Z after the announcement, we found the device to be identical to its sibling, the ZenFone 5.

Apple started a trend when it introduced the iPhone X. One that's filled with no bezels, glass bodies, and notches.

The phone has a 6-inch 2,160x1,080 display, and an 80.3% screen-to-body ratio, which is commendable for a "lite" version. Unveiled at the end of 2017, Qualcomm billed its new processor as the premium mobile CPU it would offer in 2018, and it's bound to be powering many manufacturer's mobile devices this year.

The ZenFone 5Q features a 6-inch 18:9 HD+ display and four cameras: a pair of regular and wide angle sensors on both sides of the phone, with the main sensor being 20MP on the front and 16MP on the rear. Both phones are on Android Oreo 8.0 with Asus ZenUI 5.0 on top.

The Asus ZenFone 5Z and the ZenFone 5 come with the flagship Sony® IMX363 sensor which is a 120° wide-angle lens as the secondary camera and uses AI enhanced camera features for Auto Scene Detection, Real-time portrait mode, AI Photo Learning ability and real-time beautification of images. In comparison, Apple's anniversary edition phone aka iPhone X comes with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.

You'd be forgiven for mistaking the ZenFone 5Z for an iPhone X at first glance, though the 5Z's panel is LCD instead of OLED. As we mentioned, it is available in two processor variants - the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or octa-core Snapdragon 430 - coupled with up to 3GB of RAM. This is aided by the 8GB RAM that the device comes with, internal storage on the device is a massive 256GB and the ZenFone 5Z delivers the best in terms of accelerated AI experience using the SoC hardware acceleration. Asus will release the Zenfone 5 Lite in March, followed by the Zenfone 5 in April and then the Zenfone 5Z in June. Let's take a look at the specifications of all the three smartphones and the price and availability. These devices are relatively sleek, have their own pill-shaped camera setup at their back, and feature fingerprint scanners.

The Asus ZenFone 5 Lite doesn't have the notch, but it has dual cameras on both the front and back. The front camera is another 8-megapixel, 83-degree field of view lens. Asus says notifications will wrap around the notch, which is smaller than that of Apple's handset. The Wi-Fi is 2×2 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, and it has Bluetooth 5 connectivity.

The dual camera sensor (with 12- or 8-MP) on the back of the phone is a new feature, too. The AI-scene detection feature seen on the Zenfone 5Z's rear camera is also present on the Zenfone 5 variant.

Although Asus has announced several phones in the "5" range, we've only had time to try the standard Asus Zenfone 5, which comes with Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 636 chipset alongside 4GB of RAM. It is backed by a 3300mAh battery with BoostMaster and AI Charging. More simply, it will come down to whether you've ever considered what it is like to run Android apps on an iPhone.

The ZenFone 5 will be available to buy in late summer in two shades: blue and silver. Like the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the ZenFone 5 can recognize certain settings and objects to find the best adjustment for contrast, white balance, focus, and shutter speed.