Asus Zenfone 5Z First Impressions: Top-end hardware and features at an aggressive price-point

Asus ZenFone 5Z is backed by the Snapdragon 845 CPU and comes at a starting price of Rs. 29,999

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    Asus has finally unveiled the company's 2018 flagship smartphone- ZenFone 5Z in the Indian market. The new smartphone is backed by the fastest CPU in town- the Snapdragon 845 and heavily utilizes the power of machine learning to deliver flagship class smartphone experience. At a starting price of Rs. 29,999, Asus ZenFone 5Z is the most powerful handset in ZenFone 5 line-up and is engineered to challenge the highly popular OnePlus 6 in the value flagship smartphone category. Asus ZenFone 5Z comes in a sleek glass body and also sports a dual-lens rear camera setup with some neat AI tricks under its sleeve.

    Asus Zenfone 5Z First Impressions

    With an aggressive pricing and high-end specifications, the new ZenFone is engineered to steal the limelight from the consumer's first choice in sub Rs. 40k price-point, the OnePlus 6, which we have recently tested in our labs. Asus ZenFone 5Z will sell exclusively on Flipkart by July 9, 2018. We were quite eager to get our hands on new ZenFone flagship and got a chance to test it for a brief time period during the launch event concluded in New Delhi, India. Here's what we think of the new Asus ZenFone 5Z flagship smartphone.

    Glass or no Glass?

    Asus says that the ZenFone 5Z is covered in 2.5D curved glass at both front and back; however, it seems that the company has used some sort of high-quality plastic with glass finish to construct the handset. The front fascia of the smartphone is occupied by the large edge-to-edge IPS LCD display, which has minimal bezels on all four sides offering a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. The smartphone has a thickness of 7.7mm.

    The rear of the smartphone sports a vertically stacked dual-lens camera setup that sticks out a few mm. There's a fingerprint scanner at the center and the entire glass panel has Asus' concentric Zen circles that add to the visual appeal. And even though the ZenFone 5Z sports a glass rear panel, it comes sans wireless charging. Besides, the design is also not water resistant.

    The volume rockers and the power button is placed on the right side and the bottom holds the 3.55 mm headphone jack, speaker grille and USB Type C charging port. Overall, Asus ZenFone 5Z is a well-constructed device but does not feel as premium as OnePlus 6.

    Zenfone 5Z will be available in Meteor Silver and Midnight Blue.

    6.2-inch 1080p (Full HD+) Display with the infamous Notch

    The ‘Notch' is here to stay and can also be seen on the new Asus ZenFone 5Z. The flagship smartphone sports a large 6.2-inch Full HD+ display that offers a resolution of 2,246-by-1,080-pixels. This translates to 402 PPI, which makes the text, videos and pictures crisp and sharp. Unlike the OnePlus 6 that uses an AMOLED screen, the Asus ZenFone 5Z boasts an IPS LCD panel. Resultant, the colors might not look as vibrant as they appear on OnePlus 6; however, the screen is very bright and crisp. We are yet to test how the IPS LCD panel on Asus ZenFone 5Z performs under direct sunlight, so stay tuned on Gizbot.com.

    Power of Artificial Intelligence and best-in-class hardware

    Under the hood, the ZenFone 5Z is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and will be available in three different configurations-4GB RAM/64GB storage, 6GB RAM/128GB storage, and 8GB RAM/256GB storage. The performance across the RAM variants will be smooth and lag free. What differentiates ZenFone 5Z from OnePlus 6 is the additional intelligence that has been added by injecting the power of machine learning. Artificial Intelligence constantly measures the ZenFone 5Z functions and amplifies performance whenever required.

    Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU delivers up to 30 % improved graphical performance and is also 30 % power efficient as compared to previous Qualcomm flagship chipset.
    Asus ZenFone 5Z also supports Qualcomm AptX standard for audio, Hi-Res audio, and dtxheadphone standard for in-ear audio enhancements. Asus will also ship a pair of high-quality headphones with 3-microphone noise cancellation in the package, which gives ZenFone 5Z a lead over the OnePlus 6 as the latter ships sans headphones.

    Asus ZenFone 5Z runs Android 8.0 Oreo with company's ZenUI. The company's custom UI has got some refinements to make the overall software experience polished and lag free. We will find out how the new flagship performs in everyday situations in the comprehensive review of the smartphone.

    Dual-lens AI Camera with 120-degree wide-angle view

    Asus ZenFone 5Z sports a 12MP+8MP dual-lens camera setup that features a Sony IMX363 sensor and works on a f/1.8 aperture. The camera module supports OIS, EIS, PDAF and can also shoot in RAW. What I really liked about the ZenFone 5Z's camera setup is its 8MP secondary shooter that gives 120-degree wide angle view. This makes the phone an interesting device for landscape and street photography. Besides, AI plays a vital role in the camera's functionality. The AI detects the light and various other conditions and modifies the camera's settings to deliver best possible images.

    During our brief testing, we found that the smartphone captures good images in the well-lit environment. The images show impressive detailing, vibrant colors and good contrast levels. The wide-angle view is an icing on the cake. Asus ZenFone 5Z sports an 8MP selfie camera that works on f/2.0 aperture and captures decent selfies. We will spend some more time with the smartphone to test its true camera potential.

    Battery and Connectivity

    Asus ZenFobe 5Z is powered by a 3,300 mAh battery unit and also comes with QuickCharge 3.0 support. The smartphone ships with an 18W charger and Asus claims that it can refuel the battery to upto 60% in 38 minutes. The Artificial intelligence is also said to improve the battery life of the smartphone. For connectivity, Asus ZenFone 5Z offers the latest Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, dual 4G VoLTE and FM Radio.

    Verdict

    Asus ZenFone 5Z seems like a great value for money deal. At a starting price of Rs. 29,999, the smartphone offers top-of-the-line CPU, plenty of RAM, capable dual-lens camera setup and the power of Artificial intelligence. The smartphone offers a large edge-to-edge IPS LCD screen and appreciable audio components for an enhanced multimedia experience. The smartphone can create some serious troubles for OnePlus 6 as it is priced Rs. 5k less for the entry-level variant and still offers the same hardware, an option to expand internal memory and also ships with a high-quality earphone in the package. We will soon test the smartphone in our labs for a comprehensive review of its performance and features. Stay tuned on Gizbot.com.

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