In fact, Asus is also going to have a flagship handset in the form of the ZenFone 5Z, due in the late Summer or Autumn of the year. That phone will have a flagship level spec running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform and will cost £500. But it isn8217;t at Mobile World Congress.
The mid-range ZenFone 5 is at Mobile World Congress 8211; as are we 8211; and we grasped the opportunity to get hands on with it before Asus8217; press conference at the show. The only difference between it and the upcoming 5Z is the silicon, the memory and the storage. The externals are the same and so is the camera.
The so-called notch makes an appearance at the top of the screen, leading to inevitable comparisons with other handsets already out there. According to Asus, it’s because users are demanding bigger displays and we’ll be seeing a lot more phones feature notches this year. The company couldn8217;t help but point out that it8217;s 26 percent smaller than Apple8217;s notch.
This 6.2-inch phone has a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is admirable compared to the iPhone X (around 81 percent). Both front and back are glass, but there8217;s no wireless charging as with other glass-backed phones. It8217;s lightweight, too, at 155g.
There8217;s no physical button on the front 8211; as with the ZenFone 4 8211; now the controls are on screen and the fingerprint reader has been moved to the back underneath the camera.
The ZenFone 5 is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 platform, which has been Qualcomm8217;s product for mid-range phones. Qualcomm has today also introduced the Snapdragon 700 for mid to high range phones so that might have been in this handset. The upcoming ZenFone 5Z flagship features the top-end Snapdragon 845.
As well as 4GB of memory, the ZenFone 5 also features 64GB of storage 8211; not inconsiderable specs. As you8217;d expect, the Snapdragon platform supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX audio) and NFC for Google Pay. Charging is via USB-C while there8217;s also microSD expanable memory plus support for dual-SIM cards, too.
The display is actually 19:9 in terms of aspect ratio but only 2,220215;1,080 FHD+ in terms of resolution. Asus says the aspect ratio is so you can watch video without the notch becoming a problem. But we can8217;t help but feel the display could do with being higher resolution. But, of course, that would mean a higher price.
Asus has worked hard on the integrated stereo speakers, which are quite decent for a handset of this level; each speaker has its own NXP amp. The bundled ZenEar S headphones are also tuned by DTS (there8217;s DTS HeadphoneX support) and are compatible with High Res Audio (as is the phone). You also get an FM radio, too.
Asus ZenFone 5 camera
The ZenFone 5 features Sony’s latest flagship 12 megapixel IMX363 image sensor in the main rear camera (1.4µm pixels and f/1.8 wide-aperture). 4K video recording at 60fps is supported. There8217;s also portrait mode using the main camera. The second rear camera is a 120-degree wide-angle lens.
The camera also has a flexible Pro mode with support for RAW and shutter speeds from 1/10000 to 32 seconds.
As for the 8 megapixel front camera, it has a f/2.0 aperture plus a 84-degree field-of-view, too. You can also use Face Unlock, although Asus is quite clear that it believes the rear-mounted fingerprint-reader is by far the more secure option.
The ZenFone 5 runs Asus8217; own ZenUI 5.0 running on top of Android Oreo. Asus priomises that doesn8217;t mean you get loads of boatware; it says there are no duplicate apps and the only third party apps preinstalled are Facebook and Instagram.
The ZenFone 5 makes use of several technologies which use AI to learn more about how you use your phone. These include 16 mode scene detection (so food, landscapes, animals and so on), learning adjustments you make to your photos and applying them automatically (called “photo learning”) plus AI Charging.
This is designed to reduce the effect of age on the 3,300mAh battery by adjusting the charging rate depending on how you charge your phone overnight. Asus says this can potentially double the lifespan of the battery.