Asus Zenfone 5 takes it up a notch

YOU GOT TECH - Abe Olandres - The Philippine Star
Asus Zenfone 5 takes it up a notch

After numerous speculations, Asus finally took the wraps off of their latest generation smartphone, the Zenfone 5.

Not to be confused with the original Zenfone 5 released back in 2014, the new Zenfone 5 represents the 5th generation of the Zenfone lineup.

This new flagship is actually Asus’ first deep dive into artificial intelligence (AI) as they are touting it to be an “Intelligent Phone” rather than just a “Smart Phone.”

At first glance, one would think that the Zenfone 5 looks like an iPhone X. The resemblance is uncanny and one would think that Asus did not really put in much effort to differentiate itself from Apple’s flagship phone. The biggest difference would be the textured finish at the back side and the presence of a fingerprint scanner. That, and a slightly bigger profile.

The Zenfone 5 maximized the screen real estate to give it a large 6.2-inch display tucked inside a body that’s normally just for 5.5 inches.  Props to Asus for achieving a 90-per cent screen-to-body ratio, the highest we’ve seen in any smartphone to date.

The rather unusual aspect ratio of 19:9 is taller than the standard 18:9 found in many smartphones and even the 18.5:9 of the Galaxy S9. The presence of the notch on the top corner of the display is what really gave it away as an iPhone X lookalike.

Nonetheless, the build quality of the Zenfone 5 is impressive. There’s attention to detail, solid build quality with a design that has universal appeal.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 636 chip comes with a Neural Processing Engine (NPE) that assists the phone in AI-related tasks. This is evident in many of the native AI features in the system – from basic machine learning for optimal performance, intelligent photography, and even power management.

The higher-end model, the Zenfone 5Z, comes with the more powerful Snapdragon 845. There are a lot of storage and memory variants, starting with 4GB, 6GB or 8GB RAM and 64GB, 128GB or 256GB internal storage.

The Zenfone 5 is equipped with dual 12MP + 8MP rear cameras. The secondary rear camera serves as a wide-angle lens with a 120-degree field of view while the main camera sports a Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture, image stabilization and phase-detection auto-focus. The front-facing camera is an 8MP shooter with a f/2.0 aperture. There’s native 4K video recording, 1080p slow-mo at 120fps and support for RAW image format.

The camera has a ton of built-in AI photography features such as AI photo learning, AI scene detection (16 different types), real-time portrait, and real-time beauty shot.

Battery capacity is at 3,300mAh and should be enough to last a whole day depending on individual usage behavior.  There’s fast charging but lacks wireless charging support.

The dual speaker system sounds pretty good, clear and very loud. The dual internal microphones help in noise reduction. There’s a headphone jack, just in case you’re curious if the Zenfone 5 also copied the iPhone X in that aspect.

Connectivity options are complete – from 4G LTE, to WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS support. There’s Face Recognition as an additional unlock option but the fingerprint scanner is the primary security feature.

Overall, the Zenfone 5 is a pretty good phone. If there’s one important feature that it lacks, that would be the IP68 rating for water-resistance.

The critical issue here has to be the pricing. Asus needs to deliver on its promise of providing “affordable luxury.”

If they get that right, things could turn around for Asus in 2018.

Asus Zenfone 5 Specs

6.2-inch 19:9 FHD+ IPS display @ 2246 x 1080px,

90% screen-to-body ratio

2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass

Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 1.8GHz octa-core processor

Adreno 509 GPU

4GB or 6GB RAM

64GB internal storage expandable up to 2TB via microSD card

Hybrid dual-SIM (nano)

12MP Sony IMX363 f/1.8 Night HDR, OIS/EIS, PDAF main

8MP 120-degrees wide-angle secondary camera

4K video recording (RAW file support)

8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera

Dual 4G LTE

WiFi 802.11ac

Bluetooth 5.0


GPS with aGPS support

FM radio

Dual speakers with Smart Amp Audio Wizard

Fingerprint Scanner

Face Recognition

Android 8.0 Oreo with Zen UI 5.0

3,300mAh Li-Ion battery with BoostMaster with Smart Charging S

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