The Asus Zenfone 5Z will be exclusively available via Flipkart.
The Zenfone 5Z price starts at Rs 29,999.
Powered by Snapdragon 845 SoC, you get up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage.
The Indian smartphone market is price sensitive, and while brands such as Xiaomi and OnePlus have been successful with an online-only strategy and aggressive pricing, others have lost ground. Asus finally realized that and went with an online-only approach for the Zenfone Max Pro M1, and it has worked very well for the company. Now, the Taiwanese smartphone maker is taking on OnePlus and Honor with a similar approach.
Asus has launched the flagship Zenfone 5Z smartphone in India, and it will be exclusively available via Flipkart. It comes with top-of-the-line hardware, and costs a fraction compared to the iPhone X, Galaxy S9 and other flagship smartphones. With prices starting at Rs 29,999, the smartphone will closely compete with the likes of OnePlus 6 and Honor 10. I got to spend a few days with the smartphone ahead of the launch, and here are my first impressions.
Watch: Asus Zenfone 5Z first look
Similar to other brands, Asus has also moved to a front and back glass design, and the smartphone looks and feels premium. The front is dominated by a 6.2-inch full HD+ display with a notch on top. The notch houses the front camera, earpiece and the sensors. There is a small chin at the bottom, with pretty slim bezels by the side.
Turn to the back and you have the vertically placed dual cameras modules along with LED flash and a circular fingerprint sensor in the center. Under the glass, Asus has retained its trademark concentric circle pattern, which looks premium as you turn the device sideways. The device feels good to hold, but as is the case with smartphones that have a glass finish, this one too is very slippery, and attracts fingerprint smudges. Thankfully, Asus has bundled a soft case inside the package, which is a good thing.
Asus has retained the 3.5mm audio socket and had also added support for Hi-Res Audio and DTS Headphone X. You also get a 5-magnet speaker at the bottom which is quite loud, and the earpiece is also a 5-magnet one which doubles as a secondary speaker for stereo surround sound when listening to music or watching videos.
The smartphone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core SoC and Asus is making the most of the chipset’s capabilities to its advantage. The chipset supports AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Asus has integrated AI charging to adjust the rate of charging based on your habits and usage. The device includes an AI call experience which amps up the volume output when outdoors, and turns it down while indoors. AI smarts are also used in the camera for scene detection and object recognition. Also, the gallery app can sort photos based on face, place, scene and more.
The chipset is coupled with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, and 8GB RAM with 128GB / 256GB storage options. A hybrid slot for microSD card is also present for further storage expansion, but you won’t be able to use the secondary SIM in that case.
For photography, the Zenfone 5Z is equipped with dual-rear cameras out of which one is a 12-megapixel (Sony IMX363 sensor) of f/1.8 aperture with 83-degree field of view, and a secondary 8-megapixel sensor with 120-degree field of view. The camera lets you capture standard and wide-angle photos. I have been using the camera, and it looks impressive so far, but I will pass on my final verdict in the review. It comes with AI scene detection – food, sky, greenery, flower, snow, pets and more. The AI is also used to add real-time portrait effects, beautification and more.
The AI Photo Learning tool within the gallery app will automatically adjust brightness, sharpness and color level of your photos and show you the same. Based on the effects you choose, it will remember the settings for future photos. Up front, you also have an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. It also supports face unlock where your face is your password.
Battery and OS
The Zenfone 5Z is armed with a 3,300mAh battery with fast charging technology. Asus has included AI charging and scheduled charging features for better battery health. On the software front, the smartphone runs Android 8.0 Oreo and ZenUI skin on top. I must admit, the new ZenUI skin is sleek and fluid compared to the what it was before. There are Asus apps such as gallery, clock, themes and weather among others, and some of them can be uninstalled too.
With the Zenfone Max Pro M1, Asus proved that it wants to take the fight to Xiaomi by offering a better product, both in terms of specifications and pricing. With the Zenfone 5Z, Asus is now taking on OnePlus 6 and Honor 10 with aggressive pricing. It has a lot going in its favor price and specifications wise, but well how does the smartphone perform in day-to-day life matters.
For the past few days that I have been using the Zenfone 5Z, things look good so far. Asus has really made the best use of Snapdragon 845 chipset, AI chops and the design is refreshing too. And with the good pricing, Asus has an upper hand. But is the Asus Zenfone 5Z worth buying over the competition? I will answer that in my detailed review, very soon. So stay tuned for that.