At a glance, the ZenFone 5 could easily be mistaken for an Apple product. You can clearly see some noticeable design inspirations from the iPhone X. Following Apple's cue, by incorporating that iconic notch into the display design, Asus has effectively extended the corners of the display real estate all the way to the top. A point to note, Asus has also mentioned that their top notch is 26% smaller compared to the iPhone X, so technically you have a “bigger” screen on this device.
Design wise, the smartphone is beautiful and sleek. Wrapped in a slim polished metal frame with stunning edge-to-edge glass body, the ZenFone 5 feels and looks great in your hand but as usual with glass backs, they are fingerprint magnets. The power and volume rockers are situated on the left side of the smartphone. There are no physical buttons on the front, the controls are wholly on screen with the fingerprint scanner on the top back of the device, situated near the dual cameras.
The ZenFone 5 comes with a stunning all-new edge-to-edge 6.2-inch 19:9 aspect ratio Full HD+ IPS display with a 90% screen-to-body ratio. The IPS screen is bright and sharp but unfortunately the colours are not as vibrant as AMOLED displays.
The front camera is a 8MP f/2.0 that comes with facial recognition technology.
Flipping the smartphone over, you will notice another familiar iPhone X layout: the dual vertical camera on the top left of the device. Paired with a secondary 88MP f/2.2 120°wide-angle camera, the main shooter is a 12MP f/1.8 that is powered by a Sony IMX363 flagship sensor.
Asus says their proprietary ZenUI 5.0 running on top of Android Oreo powers the intelligent dual-camera system in ZenFone 5 to think for you. With advanced AI features that anticipate your needs and adapts to your shooting preferences, the camera lets you concentrate on the subject and gives you the results you want every time. Now doesn't that sound absolutely awesome!
At the heart of ZenFone 5 is an advanced Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 636 Mobile Platform with AI capability that combines smooth, responsive performance with superb battery life. The ZenFone 5 is one of the first phones to use the 636 processor that has machine learning features, backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage space, with additional MicroSD support if you need more space.
Audio on smartphones is all too often an afterthought, but it's not so on the ZenFone 5. The dedicated audio engineering team at Asus has made sure of that, with powerful hardware and AI-enhanced software. The speaker are powerful while maintaining good sound and tone. You can also find aptX HD and DTS Headphone: X support here for amazing 7.1 surround sound quality.
The ZenFone 5 comes with a 3,300mAh battery that should be more than enough to last you through a day of medium to heavy usage. Colour wise, the ZenFone 5 comes in 2 bold shades, Midnight Blue and Meteor Silver coated with a shimmery metallic finish.
Asus has not released the pricing for the ZenFone 5 yet, with the released date for it mentioned at Mobile World Congress 2018 to be some time around April this year. We expect the smartphone to be priced around RM2,000, which is definitely not expensive by today’s standards. The Asus ZenFone 5 with its promising dual cameras, interesting AI capabilities and iPhone X good looks could just turn this mid-range smartphone into a mid-range master for 2018.