Asus Zenfone 5Z: The ‘smart’ is back in smartphone

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New Delhi | Updated: Jul 19, 2018 1:04 AM

The ZenFone 5Z has a 90% screen-to-body ratio, dual camera and a battery that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence, good audio performance with loud stereo sound, and is priced smartly too.

The ZenFone 5Z features a 6.2-inch SuperIPS FHD display. (Representational image)

In this age of high-end iPhones, Galaxys and Pixels, it’s tough for any other phone to stand out. Correct? No. The recently launched Asus ZenFone 5Z not only challenges them, it even one-ups them in certain areas. Over the last one year or so, the Taiwanese electronics company Asus, has been churning out masterpieces after masterpieces.

The ZenFone 5Z features a 6.2-inch SuperIPS FHD display, dual camera that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and has a good audio performance with loud stereo sound. It’s tough not to fall in love with its design. Made of premium materials, ZenFone 5Z has a striking ultra-slim bezel, all-screen design, featuring a display with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in an all-metal, glass-covered body that is as small and compact as most standard 5.5-
inch smartphones.

Simply put, it is a pleasure to hold it and, yes, the phone attracts a lot of attention. During the time I used it, majority of people mistook it as iPhone X.
ZenFone 5Z is equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile platform and includes a full suite of AI-enhanced features powered by the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE). The top-end variant I used gets 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage.

It’s interesting how AI is impacting our lives. From cars to refrigerators, from video games to online customer support, AI has become so ubiquitous that we, at times, tend to dismiss it. However, in ZenFone 5Z, you get to actually see how AI helps improve user experience. For example, its intelligent dual camera system adapts and learns with every photo you shoot. The camera, powered by Sony IMX363 sensor, automatically detects scenes, and applies real-time portrait effects and real-time beautification. Over a period of few weeks, you can observe how the camera makes shooting a lot easier. Essentially, it frees the user to concentrate on the subject rather than on camera settings. The rear camera is 12MP and the front is 8MP.

AI also helps extend the battery life (by up to two times, Asus says). How does it work? The ZenFone 5Z detects charging behaviour over time and knows when the user puts the device for longer charges without use.

It then slows down the charging in order to lower battery stress encountered during fast-charging. And when the phone detects it is being charged during the time you are using it, it automatically switches to the fast-charging mode. From a user experience point of view, the battery lasts about a day-and-a-half.
Ericsson ConsumerLab’s study last year found that by 2020, 50% of all TV viewing will be done on a mobile device. A clear example was the recent FIFA World Cup, where people on the move watched it on Sony LIV.

In such a scenario, the ZenFone 5Z is future-ready. First, its all-screen 6.2-inch display provides a big and immersive viewing experience in a compact body. AI is here at work, too.

It automatically changes display settings according to the changing ambient light — if you are watching a movie in a train and it passes from a tunnel to broad daylight, the viewing experience doesn’t change one bit.

Second, ZenFone 5Z provides a good loudspeaker performance and equally good headphone audio.

It has dual five-magnet speakers that put out stereo sound powered by dual NXP amplifiers which keep distortions to a minimum. Complementing the headphone audio is the DTS Headphone:X enhancement that creates a virtual 7.1ch surround sound to any content being played back (7.1ch is the eight-channel surround audio system used in home theatres). And with the Bluetooth 5.0 Apt:X, ZenFone 5Z can wirelessly stream HD audio on compatible Bluetooth headsets as well.

This flagship device by Asus has flagship features, no doubt. But it’s not the features that set it apart — it’s the price.

The ZenFone 5Z is available in three variants: 6GB/64GB for Rs 29,999; 6GB/128GB for Rs 32,999; and 8GB/256GB for Rs 36,999 on Flipkart. At this price, it even undercuts its most direct competitor — OnePlus 6.

Yes, it looks like iPhone X — and some people might even crudely say that it is a copy — but if I am getting the performance equalling the best phones in the world at less than half the price, does it even matter? I’d rather flaunt it!

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