It was Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, that ASUS used as a platform to show off its 2018 flagship. The ZenFone 5Z grabbed a lot of eyeballs in Barcelona, it became one of the first Android devices to sport a notched display a few months after the iPhone X’s debut. The similarities between the tenth anniversary iPhone and the ZenFone 5Z are not tough to spot. But that’s not the only reason why the 5Z is likely to make an impact. It’s betting big on speed and an improved camera experience. Virtues that have held the OnePlus 6 in good stead in 2018.
A lot of the comparative data at the ZenFone 5Z’s India launch on July 3 was centred around the OnePlus 6; it’s clearly the device the 5Z has trained its sights on. OnePlus’ success has seen the Rs 30,000-40,000 flagship killer segment become the new battleground for Android. A space where consumers don’t just seek value but also devices that they’re pleased to show off. The 5Z is one device that you will proudly place on a table during a meeting or with your buddies at a gastropub. It’s all glass and feels great in your hands. It’s a tad lighter than the OnePlus 6, something you will notice instantly. ASUS makes the bezels disappear with a whopping 90% screen: body ratio. Bezels clearly belong in 2017. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the back of the device and is reasonably easy to find. That’s not the only way to unlock your device; there’s a face unlock option too, but it doesn’t quite work as fast as the OnePlus 6.
Speed is the key as faster processors and RAM that rivals laptops have made us more impatient than ever. This is an area where the 5Z shines. It’s propelled by the blazing fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that’s the new gold standard in 2018. There’s a choice of 6GB and 8GB RAM variants plus three internal memory options (64 / 128 / 256 GB). There’s also support for Micro SD cards upto 2TB. The 5Z boots up faster than most devices while gaming and multi-tasking is a breeze. The camera snaps images ridiculously fast too.
The camera is the other talking point for the ZenFone 5Z. The rear dual camera placement is reminiscent of the iPhone X but the camera follows a completely different approach. The second lens offers a wide angle option – a 120-degree field of view. It’s a terrific idea, something we’ve seen LG pioneer with the G5. The wide-angle lens needs good light to deliver though. The primary lens does a good job in most lighting scenarios. It is bolstered by a Sony IMX 363 sensor, an f/1.8 aperture and 16 AI modes. Yes, you can’t sell a premium device in 2018 without Artificial Intelligence. The AI connection extends to the battery, with a special AI fast charging mode that optimises battery life. The 3300 mAh battery lasted us comfortably through a regular work day with some camera and multi-media usage.
The 5Z is also powered by the latest version of ASUS’ ZenUI, the brand’s custom user interface. It’s a slightly layered version of Android that some Android purists might not dig. That’s a minor crib just like the absence of wireless charging or lack of water resistance. Features that are not deal breakers and stuff that’s more nice to know. The ZenFone 5Z focuses on the stuff that matters in day to day usage – the stellar speakers are a case in point, and scores on multiple fronts. It offers a significant price advantage over the OnePlus 6 and is certainly a strong statement from ASUS in terms of design and overall user experience.
The ASUS ZenFone 5Z comes in three versions – 6GB / 64GB for Rs 29,999/- 6GB / 128GB for Rs 32,999/- and 8GB / 256GB for Rs 36,999/