As one of the protagonists of the high-end presented at the Mobile World Congress 2018 (we even announced our first impressions), ASUS launches its new commitment to the market of devices that are updated in terms of new technologies such as processors , cameras and something that has not gone unnoticed in several brands, the screens with notch with the new Zenfone 5z.
And as a result of the above, today we will present the most recent evolution of the ASUS Zenfone family with the Zenfone 5z, a team that comes to compete with flagships of other brands.
To introduce them a little more, our protagonist presents the latest ASUS interface called ZenUI in its version 5.0, Android 8.0 Oreo, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a 19: 9 screen without 6.2-inch borders. This and other features will be known in detail below.
We thank in advance ASUS Chile for providing us with the unit for review.
Technical details of the device
MANUFACTURER, MODEL AND REVIEW DATA
–ASUS – Zenfone 5z – ASUS_Z02RD Dual SIM – Author: Roberto Mera – Team pictures: Iván Acuña – Trial period: September 10 – September 26
–3G: 850 (Movistar / Claro), 900 (Entel), 1700 AWS (WOM / VTR), 1900 (Entel / Movistar / Claro), 2100–4G LTE: B1, B2 (Entel / Claro), B3, B4 ( WOM), B5, B7 (Movistar / Entel / Claro), B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28 (Entel / Movistar / Claro), B32, B38 (Movistar), B39, B40, B41, B66. – Category LTE CAT 18 1200 / 200Mbps – Compatible with 4G + –Operates natively with Entel, WOM, Movistar and Claro
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
–6.2-inch IPS screen with FHD + 1080 × 2246 resolution, 19: 9 aspect – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 eight-core processor at 2.80 GHz – 6 GB RAM memory and 64GB internal storage expandable with MicroSD – Adreno 630 graphics processor– Stereo speakers with Two Smart AMP – Bluetooth 5.0 – GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO – USB Type-C port – Fingerprint reader and facial recognition – Dual 12 MP main camera with f / 1.8 + 8 MP aperture with f / 2.0 aperture, autofocus, LED flash, 4K Video 60 fps and 4-axis electronic and optical stabilizer. – 8MP f / 2.0 24mm wide-angle front camera – Android 8.0 Oreo operating system – 3,300 mAh battery
Design and display of ASUS Zenfone 5z
One of the highlights of the company is the elegance of its equipment. It was already demonstrated with the previous version, and the Zenfone 5z is not far behind. In fact, it makes a little nod to Zenfone 4 while retaining some aspects that we will see next.
Starting, practically the same size and form factor is preserved, which is appreciated enough to operate it with one or both hands. Due to its manufacture with aluminum and glass, the equipment feels a bit heavy with its 155 grams, but it is not something that bothers when using it both in the hand and keep it in the pocket, on the contrary, it gives us the feeling of Have a solid team in our hands.
Its rear part is composed of glass protected by Gorilla Glass 3, we find the camera whose arrangement has changed with respect to the previous model and now the lenses "protrude like a hump". For some it can be annoying, but it is appreciated, since now the lenses are covered with a sapphire crystal, and they are more resistant than the protection of Gorilla Glass 3. Another aspect that stands out from the back is its mirrored appearance, something which gives elegance to the device.
As in any device made of glass, fingerprints are a factor that tarnishes the design section, but ASUS provides us with a transparent housing as a good solution to not lose the design of the device and, at the same time, provide greater protection against finger stains, falls or scratches. Although the device does not have a water or dust proof design with IP68 standard for example, this has a logical explanation that we will give later.
With respect to the screen, we are facing the first “borderless” panel of the brand, with 6.2-inch IPS technology with FHD + resolution, up to 402 pixels per inch, and the presence of the controversial notch. The latter can be hidden and camouflaged so that the content is not cut by the tab.
Anyway, its brightness is good enough to be used in full sunlight, its quality is excellent with well-defined, vivid colors, improved contrast to the predecessor. Likewise, parameters such as the hue of the colors (warm or cold), the color gamut, the blue light filter, etc. can be changed.
There is no doubt that multiple cameras have come to stay, and this is no exception. The Zenfone 5z mounts a dual camera with a 12 MP wide-angle sensor and f / 1.8 aperture, it also carries another 8 MP with f / 2.0 aperture. Thanks to this dual format, the Zenfone 5 will allow us to capture images with depth effect (portraits) or use the wide-angle lens to take photos with a wider picture. It has 4-axis electronic and optical stabilizer, which helps a lot in the attenuation of excessive movement and blurry images.
I liked the results with daylight, clear images and balanced colors. Despite not having optical zoom through a telephoto lens, the digital zoom does a good job showing well-defined captures. Shooting is fast and without blurry results. Here are some examples of the day.
The ASUS Zenfone 5z includes improvements in the photographic sensor, going from a Sony IMX 362 to an IMX 363. The remarkable thing about this is that better results are achieved in low light conditions when still images are captured, and it is clearly superior to the camera from the previous team (Zenfone 4). We leave you some night shots.
If we talk about the video, it allows recording in different resolutions such as HD at 30fps, FHD at 30 or 60fps, FHD + at 30fps and 4K at 30 or 60fps. Its quality is quite good in favorable light conditions, the audio is quite clear thanks to its 3 microphones. However, at night you can see the granules in the captures resulting in a lower definition, however, the night focus works well as does the video stabilizer. Similarly record in slow motion in HD format at 240fps.
Regarding the camera interface, it turns out to be very complete. It has an automatic mode that works correctly, other settings such as professional mode, panoramic, GIF, time interval, moving photos, etc. are also included. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, the Zenfone 5z camera automatically recognizes the scenes to adjust captures in low or high light, options such as ISO, define whether the HDR will be used, etc.
On the side of the front camera, the team mounts an 8 MP wide-angle sensor for taking selfies, in fact, an application called Selfie Master is included, which allows us to improve the front shots thanks to its beauty mode. Despite not having a front LED flash or autofocus, the front photos are pretty decent.
Similarly, this application allows us to make photo collage, make presentations in the form of slides, or the use of ZenMoji (animated emoticons with our face) which can be used in video calls, live broadcasts or make a small video.
Multimedia, operating system and battery
The ASUS Zenfone 5z is undoubtedly a complete multimedia entertainment center, fortunately here there are not so many unnecessary utilities, using several Google applications such as Play Music.
In line with the above, the equipment has several technologies that help improve the sound section such as the DTS Headphone X, Hi-Res audio support (24-bit / 96kHz or 24-bit / 192kHz). This makes sound one of the aspects that stand out on the ASUS flagship, both by cable with 3.5mm jack, and wirelessly. Within the settings, there is an equalizer to modify the sound at will, but I always recommend not to intervene the frequencies and let the music flow normally and without alterations.
I tried several albums with FLAC format to get the most out of it, resulting in a very immersive and rich experience for those of us who love audio. Also, I tested the sound with Bluetooth headphones compatible with Apt-X and believe me that it sounds great, and without interruptions.
We know that sound depends on multiple factors, but the device further enriches the experience with Streaming applications such as Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, among others, of which we know that they do not yet have high fidelity audio support.
The FM radio is never too much, so it is much appreciated. And logically, we will need wired headphones to use as an antenna. On the operation, the radio has a good reception and includes RDS technology.
And finally with the sound, the equipment has stereo speakers, whose volume and definition are quite adequate with well-marked bass and treble. If we are in a noisy environment, the system allows you to increase the volume a little more to combat ambient noise, but this removes the presence of the low tones of the speakers.
If you are one of those users who likes to see many photos or videos with your phone, the Zenfone 5 screen is suitable for viewing this type of content. I must emphasize that the notch does not bother at all to see this type of multimedia content. The team has a gallery application that allows access to Google Photos and Google Drive, thus centralizing the files in a single application.
Although the equipment does not have HDR support or certification, the content displayed is of great quality and definition due to the 6.2-inch screen.
With Android 8.0 Oreo from the exit of its box, the ASUS Zenfone 5z incorporates the latest user interface called ZenUI 5.0. If we add this to the recent set of Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 microprocessors and 6GB of RAM, the performance of the entire system turns out to be perfect. There are no delays or hangings of any kind. Until the time of writing this review, I received some minor updates and several security patches until August.
Likewise, ASUS incorporates all the functions that are available so far in the operating system, and not as other interfaces (such as MIUI) that cut functions despite having a modern version of Android.
The ZenUI 5.0 interface is a bit different from the pure Android experience, but it is not something so traumatic, since some guidelines such as the distribution of the buttons or functions are respected. Personally I do not like the icons and their designs, so I simply changed the launcher and that's it.
The Zenfone 5z is a device that includes several applications of the new Artificial Intelligence, loads with AI (the one that will be described later), Screen IA, the one that detects the face avoiding turning off the screen, AI tone, which makes use of its 3 microphones and determines the volume of the ringtone based on ambient noise, and OptiFlex, a function to speed up the startup of the most used applications.
If there is something that I must criticize at this point, it is that due to the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence, the company places many assistants for several tasks of the team, which turns out to be a bit invasive, but it is not something that bothers me in excess, I I explain: There is an application that serves to monitor and manage the phone with its performance, there is another App that is responsible for controlling files and equipment space, another application called PowerMaster to control energy management, etc.
On the other hand, the team adds a new security system apart from the fingerprint reader. Well, it's about facial recognition, which works quite quickly and is easy to configure. I also tested the use of multiple windows, without any inconvenience.
For those of us who like to play on the phone (did anyone say PUBG?), ASUS includes a solution called game genius, which allows us to do several things, record games, release RAM to improve performance, create macros, stream on I live our departure through YouTube or Twitch, relate our game using the microphone and two functions that I found good.
The first is a button to disable notifications during our game session and avoid interruptions, with this we cancel the annoying notification balloon that appears on the top of the device and that leads us to errors. The other function is a button to hide the navigation bar buttons, with this we avoid accidentally pressing one of the buttons that will take us to the main menu, to change applications or exit the game.
This is one of the aspects that I liked a lot about the new ASUS Zenfone 5z, since a great work has been done to optimize the battery life. While the same capacity of 3,300 mAh is maintained, I tested its autonomy by giving it an intense use.
I started the day at 8 AM and used apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, many emails using Gmail and Outlook, instant messaging like WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram, I played for about 20 minutes, I listened to Bluetooth music on my way to work for about 3 hours (round trip), I kept a Samsung Gear connected at all times S2, I used 5 GHz WiFi connectivity, 4G, 4G +, Bluetooth and assisted GPS, all with automatic brightness and its result was a full day autonomy, with around 7 effective hours of screen.
I must point out that the device does not have wireless charging, but this is compensated by the fast charging and a battery management system that I liked a lot, since it makes use of Artificial Intelligence to take care of the life of the battery. This manager is called PowerMaster and allows us to dynamically adjust the battery charge speed. For example, if we are used to charging our equipment at night, the phone is able to recognize the time it remains connected to the charger, decreasing the charging speed at night so that when we wake up, it is just reaching 100% and Let's not overcharge the battery overnight.
The ASUS Zenfone 5z is a team that captivates from the first moment, since we took it out of the box it shows that the company has improved many features compared to the previous generation, and even some details that left us a bitter taste in Zenfone Four.
From now I totally recommend this team, and I will stop to give my fundamentals: Starting with its design, as our colleague Jonathan says phone wastes elegance where you look at it ™, its performance is very powerful with the high-end processor Snapdragon 845 and its 6GB of RAM. Your updates are very constant.
Another positive aspect is the evolution of your camera, delivering better quality in both photos and video compared to the previous generation. Its autonomy is quite good. to preserve the same battery size as last year's model, have a much more powerful hardware and a larger screen.
its audio quality is excellent both cable and wireless. And although it lacks small details worthy of high-end equipment such as wireless charging or the IP68 standard, the first is compensated with fast charging and the second is not included to deliver a more competitive price. If you don't like the interface very much, you can use a good launcher.
What's more, if you have a mid-range team and have been looking for the high-end jump for a while the ASUS Zenfone 5z is an excellent option to renew you and will not disappoint you.
For now you can find the ASUS Zenfone 5z only in the Falabella Retail store, with a price of CLP $ 449,990. A fairly good price, considering that it is one of the cheapest high-end equipment on the market, offers premium materials in its construction and unsurpassed performance. In fact, there are teams of the bitten apple or South Koreans that, for their high value, you could acquire two of these Zenfone 5z from ASUS.
Finally, we thank ASUS Chile again for providing this unit for review.