• Operating System: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • System on Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, expandable with microSD
  • Display: 6.2-inch 1080 x 2246 IPS
  • Camera: 12+8MP (dual rear), 8MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 + A2DP + LE, 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Dimensions: 153 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 155g
  • Pros:
  • Beautiful display
  • Price
  • Cons:
  • Bad low-light shots

Looks And Firepower In Equal Measure

Last month, we got our hands on two new midrange ASUS smartphones, one of which is the twin for this model we have here. Virtually identical to the ZenFone 5, the ZenFone 5Z is likely targeted at those who want a smartphone with more oomph in the processing performance department.

For those who haven’t seen the ZenFone 5, the 5Z basically sports the same appearance – from the solid metal frame to the 2.5D glass back. The 5Z we got is black in colour, which somewhat makes the reflectiveness of the glass back and any fingerprints less apparent. Thankfully, it’s not slippery to hold but it’s a relatively large device, so it’s more suitable for those with larger hands.

At the front, you get the same 6.2-inch screen with barely any bezels. And since it’s a 2018 device, it has the expected notch to go with the fullview display – or 18.7:9 aspect ratio, due to the notch. There’s also an 8MP f/2.0 camera that sits within the notch at the front. As for the back, you get a 12+8MP dual-camera with dual-tone flash and a fingerprint sensor. Finally, you have the 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom, along with the USB Type-C port, which is starting to become a common sight.

Under the hood, the ZenFone 5Z is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip. This provides it with a lot of processing power, making it capable of even playing high-end mobile games like PUBG Mobile with ease. With 6GB of RAM, it doesn’t run into issues with keeping a few apps running together, such as your instant messenger with YouTube.

Again, the video quality of the display is one of the highlights of this device. Able to cover 95% DCI-P3 colour gamut, the ZenFone 5Z’s display has incredibly vibrant colours and a bright screen to make those colours stand out more. Thanks to that, watching or streaming videos on it was something we enjoyed doing.
Another good feature that’s – becoming prevalent in high-end smartphones – is the use of AI engine, which helps this device gradually learn your usage patterns. This allows for things like automatic adjustment to settings to improve battery efficiency, or automatically detecting the background and changing the scene settings better shots, with less effort on your part.

On the latter, the pictures do come out really well. And in well-lit conditions, there’s sufficient detail to the shots and decent dynamic range. However, its HDR and low-light shots look over-processed.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Having great specs and an even better display makes this an excellent device for gaming and watching videos. The reasonable pricing is icing on the cake.

(previously published in issue August 2018)