ZenFone 5Z: the cheapest way to get Snapdragon 845

Since the release of the iPhone X, we've seen a growing number of phone manufacturers release new devices that either slightly resemble Apple's flagship or have a similar notch in the display.

ASUS has announced the new ZenFone 5 series at Mobile World Congress 2018. Whether these features are truly using machine learning, or just looking to cash-in on the buzzword equity of AI right now, is anyone's guess, but the point that Asus really wants to make here is that its smartphone camera will take excellent photos and videos without requiring the user to mess around with camera settings. Asus says that it has 90% screen-to-body ratio.

If rumors are to be believed, Asus Zenfone 5 is expected to arrive in a number of variants. This battery should be sufficient to last the phone through a day's use. The Galaxy S9 has 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

Asus was also very keen to show off the AI tech in the phones and there are dozens of implementations of this.

The Asus ZenFone 5 is similar to the ZenFone 5Z. The Zenfone 5Z comes in 4GB/6GB/8GB RAM and 64GB/128GB/256GB internal storage variants. In fact, the upcoming Huawei P20 is rumored to be embracing the notch, and Android P will reportedly embrace it, too. The most affordable model has 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. There's a triple slot housing two SIM cards and one microSD alongside them, and a fingerprint scanner is included on the back. There is an 8MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, Beauty, Auto, and Selfie Panorama.

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As far as security goes, Asus includes a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and facial recognition that, I guarantee, doesn't work as well as Face ID.

The Zenfone 5 smartphones boast of a dual rear camera - one is 12MP Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture, while the other has a 120-degree wide angle lens with f/2.2 aperture.

On the camera front, the smartphone comes with a dual camera setup on the back panel. Asus has also introduced features like Night HDR and AI-based scene detection in the rear camera. There's also support for RAW. It will come with DTS Headphone:X from Asus for an immersive audio experience. It has launched Zenfone 5, Zenfone 5Z and Zenfone 5 lite yesterday. In spite of that, however, the Zenfone 5 isn't all that inconvenient to hold which is nice. The primary difference is in the core specifications.

Here's another first: the 5 is the first phone to have a midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip with its neural processing engine enabled. It also tops out at 6 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. Asked what they mean by AI, Asus said it's "adopting a broad definition of AI". So we'll only mention the Zenfone 5 except in cases where the Zenfone 5Z has a different specification. It has a 2160x1080 IPS LCD (18:9 ratio) that is flat on the top and bottom. Both pairs of cameras are made up of a 120° wide-angle sensor as well as a high-end main sensor-20MP in the front, and 16 MP in the back.

The company also unveiled Zenfone Max (M1) and Max Plus (M1) at the event. The smartphone uses Micro-USB port for charging and data syncing. That's probably because it uses the Snapdragon 630 SoC that lacks the required AI-acceleration bits for said functions. The 5 comes in two versions, one 4GB RAM/ 64GB internal storage, the other 6GB RAM/ 64GB internal storage. Perhaps the most interesting detail of these phones will be the pricing.

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