Asus Undercuts iPhone X, Galaxy S9 With Flagship $500 ZenFone 5Z

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Asus ZenFone 5 Lite smartphone will be available in two different variants which use different processors. As seen with the earlier Zenfone smartphones, the Zenfone 5 Lite also in few different variants. The variant that's going to be released in the United States will be branded as the Zenfone 5Q and will feature the Snapdragon 630 chip. It's not technically the same phone, but design-wise, there's no difference. Asus, for one, will be announcing a new Zenfone smartphone tonight at the annual tech expo.

We've had a quick play with the Asus Zenfone 5, and it looks like a genuinely impressive phone. For starters, the company has made minor tweaks so that the rear camera uses both sensors to increase control over depth of field. The screen is expansive, bright and vibrant. It packs 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. This was stunningly bright (over 500 nits) and the phone has a 90% screen-to-body ratio. It also comes with a PMIC internal dual amplifier, and triple internal microphones with ASUS Noise Reduction. Together, they also let you add bokeh effects in your shots.

However, it's unclear why the "notch" is present, as although the Zenfone 5 and 5Z have a Face Unlock option, this is by no means as advanced as the Face ID system on the iPhone X. So much so, that Asus has included a fingerprint sensor as back up. The main rear camera is a 16 MP f/2.2 unit with phase detection autofocus, while the main selfie snapper is a 20 MP f/2.0 part using the Sony IMX376 sensor. Calls in busy places will ring louder than calls in the middle of the night. Asus says notifications will wrap around the notch, which is smaller than that of Apple's handset.

You can head over to the Asus YouTube channel which will have the live stream on from 12 am onwards.

The ZenFone 5Z will retail for $499 Dollars (approximately $635.50 CAD).

The Asus ZenFone 5's shiny surface on the back will catch a lot of fingerprint smudges.

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Both phones have Face Unlock, but not as advanced as iPhone X's Face ID.

In terms of performance, the ZenFone 5Z is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset that helps the device with the Artificial Intelligence enhancements being offered while the ZenFone 5 comes with a more modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset powered by Adreno 509 GPU. The 5 Lite uses the extra space above the screen for a pair of front-facing cameras.

The ZenFone 5 arrives in April, while the ZenFone 5Z will show up in June. There's a second version of the Zenfone 5 lite with a Snapdragon 430, too. The other two phones feature an 8MP sensor around front.

Under the hood is a 3,300mAh battery. The handset will be available in Moonlight White, Rouge Red, and Midnight Black colors in the coming months. The press invite also has "We love Photo" which indicates that camera will be an area of focus for the Asus ZenFone 5 series. Both the ZenFone 5 lineup smartphones more or less come with nearly the same specifications, apart from some hardware change here and there.

The biggest surprise is the price, as the flagship Zenfone 5z is likely to start at €479, which is a decent price for a flagship smartphone with Snapdragon 845 SoC, and should give other players a run for their money.

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