MWC 2018: Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1) unlocked variant launched

Friday, 02 Mar, 2018

The Taiwanese company, at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona (Spain), also revealed three smartphones under the new series that includes the Zenfone 5Z, Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 5 Lite.

The ZenFone 5 is the more premium of the two, incorporating a distinctive, almost edgeless 19:9 aspect ratio and an overall look that's more or less a carbon copy of the Apple iPhone X (below, right), complete with notch cutout and camera layout.

Asus wants to pack the performance of the Galaxy S9 and the design of the iPhone X into a $500 package.

The phone has a 6-inch 2,160x1,080 display, and an 80.3% screen-to-body ratio, which is commendable for a "lite" version. The phone runs on Android 8.0 (Oreo) with ZenUI 5.0 and it will also get update of Android P next year. The newly launched ZenFone 5Z - as far as the display is concerned is even bigger than most of today's premium phones that come with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The display has a rather unorthodox aspect ratio of 19:9 which is a minor issue for content consumption. Both are identical to one another and a look a lot like Apple's 2018 flagship - iPhone X. Is that a compliment? The high-end variant sports Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform and the other variant sports Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Mobile Platform. The exact pricing and availability have yet to be confirmed, Asus will release the Zenfone 5 Lite next month. These devices are relatively sleek, have their own pill-shaped camera setup at their back, and feature fingerprint scanners.

Up front is an 8MP F/2.0 camera with Night HDR and portrait support, selfie panorama, and GIF animation.

ASUS has also included ZeniMoji - ASUS's answer to Apple's Animoji.

The new ZenFone 5Z is backed by a 3300mAh battery that comes along with support for AI Charging technology. Huawei's Mate 10 Pro also sports an AI-powered camera, but recognizes 13 scenes to the ZenFone 5's 16 subjects.

The Zenfone 5 is powered by a newer midrange processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, with configurations of 4GB RAM/64GB storage and 6GB RAM/64GB of storage.

Asus ZenFone 5 is no less with 4GB and 6GB of RAM plus 64GB of internal storage. Dubbed AI Charging, the feature keeps the battery from charging to 100 percent overnight, in order to extend its longevity.

And they both run on Google's Android OS, which is a rival to Apple's iOS software for the iPhone.

The first thing I'll say, however, is that the Zenfone 5 would not be possible without Apple and Samsung's innovation.

If rumors are to be believed, Asus Zenfone 5 is expected to arrive in a number of variants.

The Asus Zenfone 5 also has a 3,300mAh battery, which is a fairly typical size, but could stand out thanks to "AI Charging", which automatically adjusts the charging rate based on your charging habits, to help reduce battery wear - we'll let you know how well that works in our full review. As of yet there is no clear information on which model will hit the Indian shores. The storage is fixed at 32GB/64GB and it is expandable via microSD card slot, it comes with a dedicated microSD card slot other than the dual SIM slots.

Both handsets feature Sony's latest IMX363 image sensor (1.4µm pixels and f/1.8 wide-aperture) and dual-rear cameras alongside a 120-degree wide-angle secondary camera with 4K video recording at 60fps. The primary rear camera is a 12MP sensor with an 83-degree field of view paired with a second 8-megapixel, 120-degree wide angle lens. Asus claims that the device offers up to 26 hours on standby time, 26 hours of 3G talk time, up to 21 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi, and up to 13 hours of video playback.