Over the weekend, ASUS Philippines formally unveiled the latest ZenFone series to hit the market, the ASUS ZenFone 5. Not to be confused with its 2014 counterpart, this latest line introduces us to the Ai-enhanced smartphones that we feel will be the game-changing line that ASUS has desperately been seeking since its ZenFone 2 era.

The first ZenFone 5 was known to have made a huge impact on the smartphone industry that it placed ASUS in the map among its peers at the time. Now, 4 years after, ASUS comes full circle and hopefully bringing with it a smartphone line that will be loved by its Zenfans and others much like the adoration the brand received when it first delved into the smartphone industry.

 

In an industry where each handset looks the same, functions almost the same and offers almost the same key features, what makes the ZenFone 5 standout? Its streamlined elegance.

The ZenFone 5Q’s rear dual cam! That wide-angled lens doe. 🙂

 

Instead of crafting a whole slew of smartphones that offer one key component feature like what they did during their past releases, ASUS decided to build just 3 key variants of the ZenFone 5 – with each variant having the same core experience rooted in the machine so you get to experience what the line has to offer regardless if you get their lower mid-range to their flagship offering. What changes would be how robust each experience can be.

 

Starting off with the ZenFone 5Q, the lower mid-range offering from the series, the 5Q is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset that’s been optimized for everyday performance. From our first impressions and full review of the ZenFone 5Q, we took this 6-inch, quad-camera-equipped and 3300mah powerful smartphone through the rigors the geeky rigors of everyday life. At the end of a couple of weeks, the ZenFone 5Q surprises and holds up amazingly well. Check our full review here.

Then there’s the ZenFone 5 in itself. The hero product that ASUS touts is equipped with the Snapdragon 636 chipset – a chip that supports Ai deep learning and optimization, mobile gaming and, dual-camera system with wide-angle lenses and sensors on both rear and front shooters.

 

There’s also the notch.

It can’t be helped, and more and more Android phones will be seen with this, ASUS did try to make theirs smaller compared to the iPhone X – which means (slightly) more screen real estate. According to Marcel Campos, Global Marketing Head of ASUS, they made sure to add more features to the upper bezel split by the notch so you can gain quick access to your apps and notifications.

 

Other feature to highlight is the Ai-enhanced optics where the smartphone has about 16-preset detection to automatically calibrate settings, camera openings and white balance depending on what you’re shooting. Ito also sports instant beautification, instant portrait and photo learning so that each shot would be your best shot because for ASUS, according to Mr. Campos, Ai should not be complicated.

Ai is involved in almost every function you can think off from alarms to battery charging

The Crème dela Crème of the ZenFone 5 line is the much-awaited ZenFone 5Z, their flagship model for the series. The 5Z runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 delivering maximum power and speed and hosting a 6.24”, 19:9 display ratio on a 5.5” device. Wow. Keeping everything running is a whopping 6GB RAM, 64GB ROM and a 3300maH battery .

The phone physically looks lovely and if it’s anything like the ZenFone 5, then it would feel uber premium as well.

 

One of the quirkier announcements from the presentation was the inclusion of ZeniMoji – a fun way to record experiences and narratives that you can send out to your friends. Watch as you become ASUS ZenFone’s iconic mascot – Zenny equipped with over 52 expressions.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

For all the advanced features, premium feel and offering, the ZenFone 5 line comes off as one of their most affordable yet. The ZenFone 5Q marches with a Php 16,995 price and not falling behind would be the ZenFone 5 at Php 19,995.

 

This leads us to currently the most affordable Snapdragon 845 phones being offered in the market today, the ZenFone 5z conveniently priced below 30k at Php 29,995. The ZenFone 5z will be made available sometime this June.

 

If you’re on a budget, ASUS also launched the follow up of their Zenfone Max Plus unit earlier this year, the ASUS ZenFone Max M1 – touted as the BATTERY KING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS, the newest addition to the ZenFone Max heritage sports a 13MP + 8MP dual rear camera and a 5.5” HD+ Full View Display,  and is powered by a 4000mAh large battery housed inside a 5” design. This one is competitively priced at Php 8,995!

 

Overall, we’re happy with the direction that ASUS took this year. Focusing on 3 or 4 key phones for the year will make them concentrate more effort in educating and properly marketing the ZenFone again to the people. Hopefully this will enable ZenFone to bounce back and take charge once again in the ever-volatile smartphone market of today.