Asus’ first smartphone for India this year, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 has allowed the company to propel out of its sluggish period and dying market presence. It’s now looking to ride on that positive wave towards the higher end market and to do that, Asus has also launched the flagship, Zenfone 5Z in India. We’ve been using the phone for a few hours now and here’s what we think of it so far.
Like a lot of other phones we’ve seen launched this year, the Zenfone 5Z’s aesthetic is predominantly inspired from Apple’s iPhone X right from the notch on the front, the rounded glass design, and the vertically aligned camera. But hey, at least the notch is smaller, right?
The glass exterior, which also features the company’s signature concentric pattern, does look quite nice and premium as you would expect but then again, it also carries the same set of downsides like being a fingerprint magnet and a little too slippery. The rear doesn’t have any curves and feels a bit too flat which could be a bad thing. We will have more on this later in our review. It’s also surprisingly lightweight and comes with a USB Type-C port on the bottom.
As a flagship, the Zenfone 5Z is, of course, no slouch when it comes to the specifications. On the front, you have a 6.2-inch Full HD+ screen which is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass. Although I would have preferred an OLED panel instead of an LCD at this price. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6 or 8GB of RAM, 64 or 128 or 256GB of internal storage which is expandable up to 2TB through a hybrid slot, and a 3300mAh battery with quick charging support.
The rear has two camera sensors, a primary 12-megapixel snapper and another 8-megapixel wide angle lens for bokeh effects. Unlike other similar setups found in this price range, the Zenfone 5Z’s secondary camera does serve a purpose apart from just depth sensing. The wide angle lens comes in handy when you’re trying to click shots such as sprawling landscapes. The selfie camera is an 8-megapixel sensor too with all the AI novelties such as artificial makeup.
The phone also has a fingerprint sensor on the back and a software-based face unlock feature. Speaking of software, it comes with Asus’ custom ZenUI skin on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. It’s loaded to the brim with artificially intelligent smart features such as the screen can automatically adjust the color temperature based on the ambiance, the camera can fine tune for various settings for you, the gallery app suggests filters and more. Of course, being an iPhone X clone, the Zenfone 5 lets you manipulate digital avatars with your expressions which the company has intuitively named “ZenMoji”.
At a starting price of Rs 29,999, the Asus Zenfone 5Z gets a lot of things right on paper for taking on the OnePlus 6 such as the Snapdragon 845 processor, a unique all-glass design, promising cameras, and more. But to know how well all that will fare in real life, you will have to wait for our review which should be live in a few days.