At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, where all the major smartphone unveilings are happening, Asus just unwrapped three new phones: ZenFone 5, ZenFone 5z, and ZenFone 5 Lite.
Like the previous Zenfone Max models, these new phones represent the company's transition into bezel-less designs, but the thing about them is not only are they bezel-less, they also have huge aspect ratio displays.
Asus ZenFone 5 And ZenFone 5z
In particular, the ZenFone 5 and 5z look like a behemoth phones: both have a 6.2-inch AMOLED display on the front, with hardly noticeable bezels and an iPhone X-style notch at the top. The resemblance is undeniable — even Asus admits it:
"Some people will say it's copying Apple, but we cannot get away from what users want. You have to follow the trends," said Marcel Campos, head of global marketing at Asus.
That seems to settle it. Asus isn't even apologizing for copying the iPhone X, but should it? Smaller manufacturers copying top tech firms is hardly new, and ripping off others is often how the smartphone industry moves forward. In fact, the upcoming Huawei P20 is rumored to be embracing the notch, and Android P will reportedly embrace it, too.
Asus backs up the phone's sleek design with specs to match. The ZenFone 5z, similar in all aspects to the ZenFone 5 save for significant spec bumps, comes packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip with up to 8 GB of RAM and a 3,300 mAh battery. Meanwhile, the standard ZenFone 5 gets a Snapdragon 636 processor with up to 6 GB of RAM and a similar battery capacity.
On the back of both phones is a dual camera system, one of them a 12-megapixel shooter. The Verge notes that these sensors proved promising, especially considering that its 1.4-micron pixel size is not far behind the Google Pixel's own shooter.
Finally, Asus says both the phones have artificial intelligence capabilities, but they're a little vague. There's a thing called AI display, which functions like True Tone on the iPhone X; AI boost, which overclocks certain apps; and AI charging, which tops the phone up with 80 percent charge at night then proceeds to charge all the way up to 100 percent upon the user's wake-up time. These sound like pretty nifty features, but the use of AI branding is questionable. Asked what they mean by AI, Asus said it's "adopting a broad definition of AI."
Asus ZenFone 5 Lite
Not to be left out is the ZenFone 5 Lite, sporting a 6-inch 18:9 display with very minimal bezels as well. The primary difference between the ZenFone 5 Lite and the higher-end ZenFone 5 and 5z is the fact that it's got dual cameras on both the back and the front, complete with a front-facing flash. The selfie shooters include a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 sensor, and a 120-degree wide angle sensor to squeeze more people in when taking selfies.
Asus will ship the ZenFone 5 Lite in March, then release the ZenFone 5 and 5Z in April and June, respectively. Pricing remains to be announced.