ASUS Officially Launches the new ZenFone 5, ZenFone 5Z, and ZenFone 5 Lite at MWC 2018

The much anticipated ZenFone 5 series has officially been announced at this year's Mobile World Congress, also known as MWC 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. The launch was livestreamed as well for the world to see. In case you missed it, you can still watch it here.

Like the previous ZenFone models that ASUS has released, the latest installment also focuses on the mobile photography side of things with tons of upgrades and new aesthetics, including artificial intelligence technology into the mix, to take the already-incredible experience a notch higher.

ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite

The ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite was the first to get unveiled at the tech expo. Here in the Philippines, it will be called ZenFone 5Q when it is locally released. Among the three, the Zen 5 Lite is designed a little different especially in the front panel but still being packed with powerful specs. For one, it is equipped with four cameras - 20MP at the front with Sony IMX376 sensor and 16MP on the back with dedicated secondary 120-degree wide angle camera lens each pegged at 8MP.

While it comes in more than one variant in terms of chipset, we are getting the Snapdragon 630-equipped one. With this are 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage right out of the box with support to microSD card for storage expansion. All powered by a 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor.

Upfront, the ZenFone 5 Lite has a huge 6-inch smartphone with 18:9 display and resolution of 2160x1080 (Full HD+). Adding more premium look to it is a 2.5D curved glass panel. At launch, it will only have Android 7.1 Nougat and ZenUI 4.0 running, but Asus promised an update to Android 8.0 Oreo in the future is also coming.

As for security and authentication features, users will have the usual and ever reliable fingerprint scanner and the new facial unlock to couple it with. Based on the photos, the print sensor is located on the middle back of the phone.

ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite specs:
  • 6-inch Full HD+ IPS display
  • 2160 x 1080 resolution
  • 18:9 aspect ratio
  • 2.5D Curved glass
  • 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor
  • Adreno 508 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Supports microSD card
  • 16MP rear camera with an 8MP secondary shooter with 120-degree wide angle lens
  • 20MP front camera with an 8MP secondary shooter with 120-degree wide angle lens, Sony IMX376 sensor
  • Android 7.1 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, NFC
  • Dual-SIM (non-hybrid)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Facial Unlock
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Midnight Black, Rogue Red, Moonlight White
  • 3300mAh battery
Pricing has not been revealed yet. And while availability will begin in March in some markets, the Philippines will seem to get it sometime in the second quarter of the year.

ASUS ZenFone 5 

Next is the base model ZenFone 5, a mid-ranger with looks extremely similar to iPhone X, thanks to its notch and to the vertically arranged dual camera on its back side. ASUS spent a lot of time talking about this device on the stage and we cannot blame the Taiwanese company, apart from having a super brand new look compared to the previous ZenFones, the ZenFone 5 also now A.I.-powered in many areas of its functionalities, at least according to ASUS itself.

It is not clear in the images above provided to us by ASUS Philippines, but there is a notch right below the upper bezel and it houses the front camera, earpiece, and sensor. ASUS said it is about 25% narrower than Apple X's. Unlike the Apple-made smartphone, ASUS says the additional display space besides the notch won't bother users especially when playing games or watching videos in full-screen mode. The content will only occupy the space it has to on the screen based on its native aspect ratio, the rest of the screen around the notch will simply go black.

Due to its unusual screen construction plus the extremely thin bezels from all corners, the ZenFone 5 sports a 90% screen-to-body ratio and a 19:9 aspect ratio display, which are also very unusual in the Android world. Its 6.2-inch display offers a Full HD+ resolution clocking at 2246x1080 pixel arrangement. Both front and back panels are glass covered.

ASUS ZenFone 5 specs:
  • 6.2-inch Full HD+ Display
  • 19:9 aspect ratio
  • 2246 x 1080 resolution
  • 1.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 636 processor
  • Adreno 509
  • 4GB / 6GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Supports microSD card
  • 12MP rear camera with secondary 120-degree wide angle camera
  • 8MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • Android 8.0 Oreo with ZenUI 5.0
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • 4G LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • USB Type-C
  • Face Unlock
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • 3300mAh battery

ASUS ZenFone 5Z

Actually the ZenFone 5Z, in terms of outside appearance, is also very similar to the ZenFone 5, except that it is more powerful on the inside. And ASUS only mentioned this device during the pricing (starting at 479 Euros or about Php30,700) and availability announcement part. Maybe because this phone will not hit markets around the globe until June 2018, we don't know.

Like the midrange ZenFone 5, this flagship will be also be released in more than one variants, three to be exact, but all powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile platform chip.

4GB RAM / 64GB storage
6GB RAM / 128GB storage
8GB RAM / 256GB storage

We are not sure if all of those memory and storage options will come to the Philippine market later this year. We'll provide more details as we learn them and as these devices get closer to their respective local releases.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is now becoming bigger and bigger in many smartphone makers, Huawei is one of the big fans of it on their Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro series. And it's no surprise that ASUS is also joining the pack debuting with the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z. ASUS named a few AI features they are offering with these phones such as AI Display, AI Boost, AI Scene, AI Charging and many others.

AI Display, ASUS claims, will adjust the display temperature based on the amount or type of lighting surrounding the phone. AI Boost will optimize the phone's performance to its full potential when needed like when playing mobile games that require more power. AI Scene will detect different scenery or subjects the handset's camera is trying to capture and adjust or balance the image qualities like saturation, white balance, exposure, noise etc to provide the best possible photo. AI Charging will learn your charging pattern at night until when you usually wake up in the morning. When the AI in this area determines the pattern, it will keep the phone's charging progress at 80% and then slowly push to 100% when you near your wake up time in the morning. This is to avoid the battery from staying at 100% while being charged the whole night which is causing damage to battery's life in the process.

Just a quick recap, no official pricing has been announced yet except for the 479 Euros starting price for the ZenFone 5Z. Availability varies for these phones, the Lite will be coming this March, April for the 5 and June for the 5Z, at least as of writing.

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