- Analysis by KJ David
To cut to the chase, the Asus ZenFone 5Z is the highest-specked ZenFone 5 model (out of three) unveiled by Asus during the MWC 2018. Despite offering all of its base model's high-class pros -- and then some, however, the ZenFone 5Z was not able to shake off some slightly uninviting drawbacks.
Its biggest con, to us, comes in the form of its 3300mAh-only battery , which sounds underwhelming, given its power-hungry screen and main camera. Fortunately, Asus tries to make up for its lack in raw battery power by arming it with an AI-injected version of the brand's BoostMaster technology , aiming to optimize the phone's overall battery performance and to prevent battery decay over time.
Another slight drawback is the 5Z's failure to go beyond an 8-megapixel selfie cam resolution , which is unbecoming of a flagship-caliber phablet -- discover the best wide-screen flagship smartphones here. In spite of its front cam, though, the Zenfone 5Z still likely joins our list of the best camera phones , packing an AI-powered dual rear camera (It has a 12-megapixel dual-pixel primary cam coupled with an 8-megapixel 120-degree-angle deputy cam) among its pros and cons. The aforementioned cam features Asus's PixelMaster suite with an integrated 16-scene AI scene detection feature that recommends the best shooting mode for specific subjects/shots, AI Photo Learning , and a 60fps Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) video-recording option . Its cameras also support ZeniMoji , letting users create personalized avatars that they can use in messaging or video-calling apps.
One of the biggest differences between the 5Z and the plain ZenFone 5 is hardware. While the ZenFone 5 flounders with its 1.8GHz-only Snapdragon 636 processor, the ZenFone 5Z blusters with one of the fastest mobile processors available as we were reviewing its technical specs, namely, the 10nm Snapdragon 845 eight-core 2.8GHz processor , which is decked out with Qualcomm's AI engine and the FinFET LPP power-saving technology . As a consequence, the ZenFone 5Z is a strong contender for a spot in our list of the fastest smartphones on the market. A byproduct of its speedy engine is its ability to reach data rates of up to 1.2Gbps (1200Mbps) . Joining its Snapdragon 845 engine under the hood is a whopping 8GB LPDDR4X RAM , one of the highest RAM capacities available when it came out. Feel free to check out other smartphones with 8GB RAMs here.
Covering the ZenFone 5Z's pros and cons is a 6.2-inch Super IPS+ interface with an expansive 19:9 aspect ratio and a wide DCI-P3 color gamut , the latter pitched by Asus as cinema-grade. Regrettably, though, it opts for an FHD+ (2246 x 1080) definition, instead of shooting for a premium QHD (1440p) sharpness .
Storage-wise, the 5Z steps up from its mother model's so-so 64GB native memory to a robust 256GB , while retaining its support for up-to-2TB microSD cards . Additionally, it brings back the plain ZenFone 5's dual-NXP-Amp-equipped Hi-Res audio system and it comes with front-and-back 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass protection .
So, although a more ambitious selfie cam and a higher power cap would have gone a lone way for the ZenFone 5Z, it nevertheless sounds like a solid choice for demanding tech-savvy users.
** This phone is also known as: Asus 5Z, Asus ZS620KL
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