Asus today launched its flagship, the Zenfone 5Z in India. It was introduced at MWC packing a 6.2-inch FHD+ display with 90% screen to body ratio, thanks to the notch up top. It runs on the Snapdragon 845 SoC with up to 8GB RAM with Android Oreo based ZenUI 5.0. Unlike the Zenfone Max Pro M1 launched earlier, the 5Z does not run on stock Android.
Coming to its cameras, the primary camera on the back uses a 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with Optical Image Stabilization and a 0.03s fast dual-pixel autofocus. This is a similar sensor to the one used on Samsung's flagship devices. It is paired by a second camera on the back with 8-megapixel resolution and 120-degree wide-angle lens. The second lens on the back allows you to capture more of a scene and is a similar implementation to what we see on LG's devices with its super wide-angle lenses.
The dual-camera setup on the back also allows for portrait shots, background bokeh and a lot of other scene modes. Asus is also pushing the AI capabilities of the smartphone, especially its camera where it can recognize 16 different scene types automatically.
Scene detection has been a part of digital cameras since time immemorial, and AI really doesn't have much to do with it. Given that there are a fixed set of scene modes and nothing that the camera is learning from. Still its a nice feature to have. Same goes for the AI color temperature adjustment of the screen on the phone. AI is more of a buzzword here, but nevertheless these features are welcome additions.
Let's jump back to cameras again, as you also have an 8-megapixel front camera here. It has auto portrait and selfie modes along with face-unlock. A requirement for all phones launched after the iPhone X.
Asus is one of the very few brands that do focus on audio apart from LG and HTC. They have included a five-magnet speaker along with NXP amplifier which are supposed to provide beefier and richer sound. Something I would love to test. It also comes bundled with a set of hi-fi earphones, and a protective case.
All this is powered by a 3300 mAh battery, which seems adequate. There's Asus BoostMaster fast charging support with a bundled fast charger within the box and of course AI charging as well.
The Asus Zenfone 5Z has been priced at Rs. 29,999 for the 6GB RAM variant with 64GB internal storage. It has a hybrid dual-SIM slot, so you can always expand the storage if you forego the second SIM slot. For Rs. 3000 more, you can also get the 128GB storage variant. There is a top tier option which costs Rs. 36,999 and comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, which is more of an overkill.
The Zenfone 5Z will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting July 9th. Stay tuned for our Full Review.