Asus officially announced the ZenFone 5 series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday (27 February).
Three models were confirmed including the ZenFone 5, 5Z and 5 Lite. The first thing you will notice about the new phones is the design, which is strikingly similar to the iPhone X. The ZenFone 5 and 5Z models have a carved out notch at the top of the nearly bezel-less screen.
What's new about the ZenFone 5 and 5Z
The design of the ZenFone 5 and 5Z allows for a nearly bezel-less Full HD display. Apart from a notch at the top for the speaker and the front-facing camera, the front is almost solely the 6.2-inch screen. It keeps the reflective line casing on the back - like the ZenFone 4 - and orients the dual-camera lens vertically.
The cameras on both models have a 12MP Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture for brighter photos in low-light conditions. The second camera is again a 120 degree wide-angle lens that can fit in twice as much image as a standard smartphone. It was one of IBTimes UK's favourite features about the ZenFone 4. And for selfies you have got an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
ZenMoji, Asus' answer to the Animoji from Apple, will let you become a live emoji. The front-facing camera tracks your facial muscles to transfer the movements to an onscreen icon, such as an owl. Asus says you can even live-stream ZenMojis to social media.
Two stereo-speakers (one front facing from the earpiece and one on the bottom of the phone) allow for louder music and content playback. Included in the box is a pair of Hi-Res Audio-capable earbuds from Asus.
A new charging method dubbed AI Charging will preserve your battery by studying when you juice up your phone. While the ZenFone 5 or 5Z is being charged overnight, fast charging will not take place to preserve the battery. But if it is at a different time, say late in the afternoon, the phone will rapidly charge. Asus claims this will extend the life-cycle of your phone's battery.
Facial recognition can now be used to unlock the phone, or you can still use the finger print scanner which has been shifted to the back of the device to make way for the screen.
And although not new, the ZenFone 5 models will have a headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot.
What's the difference between the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z?
It is all about the power. The ZenFone 5Z will ship with a Snapdragon 845 chip (the same as the Samsung Galaxy S9). It will also have 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of ROM. The ZenFone 5 will launch with a Snapdragon 636 chip and up to 6GB of RAM.
Both will have 3300mAh batteries.
When can you get one?
Details about an official release are still scant, but do not expect the ZenFone 5 or 5Z anytime soon.
According to Asus, the ZenFone 5 will launch from early in the third quarter. The ZenFone 5Z will be released in the UK "later in the year."
How much will it cost?
The ZenFone 5Z will be available to consumers for £499.99. The ZenFone 5 does not have an official price tag yet, however given the "Z" model has the faster processor, it is likely it will be cheaper than £500.
What about the ZenFone Lite?
Asus focussed their time at Mobile World Congress heavily on the ZenFone 5 and 5Z, instead of the 5 Lite. What we do know is that the Lite will be a 6-inch device running on the Snapdragon 630 chip.
Its big hook is that it will have four cameras: a 20MP front-facing camera, a 16MP rear-facing camera and a wide-angle camera on both the front and the back as well.