We’ve seen plenty of new smartphones launch at MWC 2018 in Barcelona this week, but ASUS’ new flagship, the ZenFone 5Z might be just the most surprising of this year’s show.
Boasting a gorgeous design, powerful specs and a great set of features, the ZenFone 5Z could easily end up coaxing customers to forget all about the new and shiny Samsung Galaxy S9.
Why would you want to choose the ASUS ZenFone 5Z, a phone released by a company who hasn’t made a big impact on the smartphone market so far, over the Galaxy S9? Below you’ll find a few reasons.
The Notch comes to Android
The first thing you’ll notice about the ZenFone 5Z is its super-sleek looks. At a glance, it’s easy to mistake the handset for the iPhone X, although the former includes an LCD instead of OLED (or AMOLED in the case of the Galaxy S9).
The ZenFone 5Z is the first Android smartphone released by a major OEM to come with the Notch design language, inspired by the stunning Apple flagship.
Thanks to the ultra-slim bezels, the 6.2-inch ASUS ZenFone 5Z is the same physical size as the ZenFone 4 with its 5.5-inch screen. The device is covered in curved 2.5D from the back to front and boasts an impressive 90% screen-to-body ratio.
We’re not saying the design of the Galaxy S9 is not gorgeous as well, but it’s already yesterday’s news. The Galaxy S9 looks almost exactly the same as its predecessor, so if you want some novelty in your life, you might be inclined to favor the ZenFone 5Z. Unless you already own an iPhone X.
Price is usually a major factor when it comes to deciding which phone to buy and ASUS knows that all too well.
The company announced the new ZenFone 5Z will go on sale for $499 and up, depending on which RAM+storage variant you’ll be getting. This is a very competitive price for a device shipping with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform.
Still, think that’s too expensive? ASUS will also offer a ZenFone 5 variant which basically looks the same as the ZenFone 5Z but comes with a less-powerful processor. We don’t know the pricing for this one just yet, but it’s probably going to be sold for around $400.
In contrast, the Galaxy S9 starts at $719.99 unlocked, while its larger brother will be available for $839.99. The difference is quite steep.
The Galaxy S9’s main new feature is the re-imagined camera which now offers variable aperture. This feat allows phone users to shoot better pictures in different lighting scenarios. There a single 12-megapixel sensor adoring the back of the Galaxy S9, while the Galaxy S9+ has a dual-camera treatment which adds of a secondary 12-megapixel telephoto lens.
But the ASUS ZenFone 5Z is all about taking pictures too. The main highlight in the camera department is the 1.4-micron pixel size of the main 12-megapixel image sensor. This is equal to HTC ‘s U11, a phone known for its camera prowess, so we expect the ZenFone 5Z to be able to produce stunning results.
Next to the main sensor sits an 8-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle camera for depth detection in Portrait Mode. ASUS says the dual-camera has optical image stabilization (OIS), electronic image stabilization (EIS), and it can record 4K video.
On the front there’s an 8-megapixel selfie snapper with f/2.0 aperture, while the Galaxy S9 employs a similar unit, but with f/1.7.
More RAM and storage
The base version of the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be offered with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage (or 128GB/256GB in select markets). The Galaxy S9+, on the other hand, includes 6GB of RAM and the same storage variants.
Well ASUS trumps Samsung’s proposal by offering a ZenFone 5Z version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, alongside two other 4GB of RAM + 64GB storage and 6GB of RAM + 128GB storage models.
Remember pricing starts at $499, so the top model is bound to be more expensive.
Bigger battery (compared to the Galaxy S9)
The ZenFone 5 relies on a 3,300 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S9 only includes a 3,000 mAh one. Both include a Snapdragon 845 processor and run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, so at least in theory the ZenFone 5 should be able to offer a superior battery life.
The Galaxy S9+, on the other hand, has a larger 3,500 mAh juice box. The ZenFone 5 sits just in between the two Galaxy S9 models when it comes to battery capacity.
Smart features everywhere
AI is the world on everyone’s lips these days, so ASUS has clearly tried to leverage this trend with a host of smart features which are marketed as being AI-powered.
For example, there’s AI display which is a tool that automatically adjusts color temperature, much like Apple’s True Tone on the iPhone X. There’s also a sensor that keeps the screen from turning off while the user is looking at it.
Another smart feature is AI charging which aims to maximize the battery’s lifespan by dynamically adjusting the charging rate. What this feature actually does is prevent the phone from charging to 100% overnight which apparently helps expand longevity.
ASUS says it’s adopting a broad definition of AI, so although these features are quite handy, the term could have been easily avoided.
Unfortunately for those who have instantly taken a liking to the phone, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z won’t be readily available. Unlike the Galaxy S9 which will go up for pre-order in the upcoming days, customers will have to wait until June (!!!) to be able to get the ZenFone 5Z. Hopefully, people won’t forget about this great phone until then.
Those targeting the ZenFone 5 are in better luck, as the phone is expected to hit retail shelves sometime in April.