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Asus ZenPhone 5 series embraces modern smartphone design, notch and all

by Danny Zepeda | February 28, 2018February 28, 2018 8:00 am PST

Asus CEO Jerry Shen took the stage at Mobile World Congress 2018 and took the wraps off not one, but three new ZenPhone 5 devices: the ZenPhone 5Z, ZenPhone 5 and ZenPhone 5 Lite. The announcement brings Asus’ ZenPhone line up to par with modern smartphone design, including adding the ubiquitous notch to one of the devices.

Let’s start with the best of the bunch, the ZenPhone 5Z. During the unveiling of the ZenPhone 5 series, Asus made it abundantly clear that it went in a direction that consumers want. That meant it slimmed down the bezels, included bigger displays and added design quirks that make the phone stand out.

All that coalesced into the ZenPhone 5Z, a mobile powerhouse.

The specs speak for themselves; the Snapdragon 845, configured 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and dual camera system ensure this device has all the features consumers want. Asus followed a similar path with design. On the front of the 5Z lives a 6.2-inch display that overtakes nearly the entire surface of the front panel. Asus says that’s thanks to 90-percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s the same body size as the ZenPhone 4, yet that device had a 5.5-inch display.

At the very top of the screen lives a notch. And before you say Asus copied Apple, it owned up to the fact, stating it’s what consumers want. It even features Face Unlock, a facial unlock biometric sensor. Asus even managed to reduce the notch by 26-percent.

With the inclusion of the Snapdragon 845, Asus was afforded the ability to include next-level AI integration with Qualcomm’s Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE). One of those was its own AI Boost that optimizes performance for games and other demanding tasks.

Asus says it comes with a groundbreaking price, and while I wouldn’t go that far, I am impressed. The ZenPhone 5Z will be €479, which converts to about $585. That is mightily impressive for a phone that packs the kind of specs Asus’ flagship does.

The ZenPhone 5 is a tamer version of the 5Z with scaled back expectations. Nearly every spec is just a notch (pun intended) below the its bigger brother. It comes with a 6-inch notchless display, Snapdragon 636 processor and dual camera system. It’s the same camera included in the 5Z.

Asus uses Sony’s IMX363 sensor with large 1.4um pixels, an f/1.8 aperture lens, 120-degree wide-angle secondary camera, four-axis optical image stabilization and AI-enhanced camera features.

Pricing was not revealed for the ZenPhone 5

The last phone announced was the entry-level ZenPhone 5 Lite. While no slouch, it is geared more toward the emerging markets with solid specs and an even better price point. Asus didn’t get into pricing for the device, but did lay out its impressive specs.

Up front is a 6-inch Full HD+ IPS display, with 18:9 aspect ratio due to the significantly reduced bezels. It’s one of the best entry-level devices you can buy right now. It is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor, 3,300mAh battery and has a dual camera system: a 20MP main shooter with a secondary wide-angle lens.

Asus will release the ZenPhone 5 Lite in March, ZenPhone 5 in April and the ZenPhone 5Z in June.


Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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