Asus has finally taken the wraps off of its latest and greatest smartphone lineup — the Zenfone 5 series. That’s right, we weren’t treated to just one single Zenfone 5 at MWC 2018 — Asus instead unveiled three phones in the new Zenfone 5 series, including the standard Zenfone 5, the Zenfone 5Z, and the Zenfone 5Q, which is also known as the Zenfone 5 Lite.
Perhaps confusingly, the standard Zenfone 5 is not the high-end flagship phone here — that title instead is given to the Zenfone 5Z. Still, the standard devices offers a pretty nice — though familiar — design, along with some decent specs.
Let’s start with the design, which is, put bluntly, an iPhone X copy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though — the phone looks pretty nice. It’s got a large edge-to-edge display with a notch at the top, and a small chin at the bottom. That display is 6.2-inches, with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a Full HD+ resolution. On the back, you’ll find a vertically aligned dual-lens camera system, along with the Asus logo and a fingerprint sensor three quarters of the way up the device.
Under the hood, the phone features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, a midrange chip, coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.
Asus is really pushing the camera here. The phone features a 12-megapixel rear-facing primary sensor, which offers an f/1.8 aperture, and is coupled with a secondary wide-angle sensor that boasts a 120-degree field of view. On the front, you’ll get an 8-megapixel camera with a Portrait mode, though in our hands-on review we found that the software needed a little fine-tuning. That front-facing camera also offers a face unlock feature — again similar to the iPhone X.
One interesting feature that may not get a lot of press is so-called “intelligent charging.” This is aimed at ensuring the phone isn’t always charged up to 100 percent — which can be bad for the phone’s battery. Instead, during the night, it’ll charge to 80 percent, then learn when you normally unplug it, and time that final 20 percent of charge. The battery comes in at 3300mAh, and charges quickly through Asus’ “BoostMaster” fast-charging technology.
Other features include NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB-C charging port.
The real power, however, comes from the Zenfone 5Z. The Zenfone 5Z does away with some of the midrange specs in the standard Zenfone 5, and replaces them with something slightly more high-end. The design is pretty much the same, so we won’t dive into it here. What’s different is the fact that it offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. There are three models of the Zenfone 5Z — a 4GB RAM/64GB storage model, a 6GB RAM/128GB storage model, and an 8GB RAM/256GB storage model.
That’s really the only difference here — but it’s an important one for those that want a real flagship phone. The Snapdragon 845 is Qualcomm’s best mobile chip to date, and should help the phone perform like a flagship for at least the next year or so.
Zenfone 5Q (Zenfone 5 Lite)
The budget handset here is the Zenfone 5Q, and it’s being marketed as the “Zenfone 5 Lite.” The phone offers a few totally different features compared to the Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 5Z.
For starters, the design has been changed a little. The display is still nice and big, but it’s 18:9 instead of 19:9, and comes in at 6-inches with a Full HD+ resolution. Under the hood, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
On the back, you’ll still find a dual-sensor camera, but it’s slightly different. The primary sensor comes in at 16-megapixels with an f/2.2 aperture, with the secondary sensor being a 120-degree wide-angle lens. The front facing camera is a dual-sensor camera too — it boasts a 20-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, coupled with another 12-degree wide-angle lens.
Annoyingly, the Zenfone 5 Lite offers a MicroUSB port instead of a USB-C port. We know that this is supposed to be Asus’ budget phone, but it’s 2018 — there’s no reason to use an outdated standard like MicroUSB. Through that port, you’ll charge the same 3,300mAh battery that’s found in the other phones.
Price and availability
We don’t have all that much information about the pricing and availability of the phones. We do know is that the Zenfone 5Z will start at $499 — which is a pretty great price for a phone with a Snapdragon 845 processor.
The Asus ZenFone 5 Q is also now available in the U.S. for $300 in two colors — midnight black and moonlight white. You can purchase either color at Amazon, B&H, and Newegg. The Midnight Black version is also available at Best Buy and Abt.
We’ll update this article when we hear more about the pricing and availability of the phones.