When ASUS confirmed it will bring back the ASUS ZenFone 5 as its 2018 flagship, it struck off many rumous; specifically, those that share how the Taiwanese innovator wants to tweak the name. After all, the original took on the name in reflection of its screen size.
Of course, in re-taking the name, this all-new ASUS ZenFone 5 is all about stepping it up; raising the bar and all. In fact, its review in the PC.com July 2018 issue has many positive points. Big words indeed and then some, that is until the ASUS ZenFone 5Z showed up. While not surprising, it did confirm ASUS still has the capacity to surprise at times.
Z for Zenith
Originally rumour-mill, this effort is something ASUS kept under-wraps for some time, but the leaks ruined the big reveal. Even so, no one could guess the name until the final days. The talk of having a modified name is true, though it’s more for the premium variant.
In the case for adding the Z – for ASUS ZenFone 5Z – it makes perfect sense. The suffix can mean many things. Zero; Zeta; Zorro; Zen; but, personally, it should be Zenith. This is due to the specs that this premium next-gen flagship rocks. 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, it is the pinnacle for a flagship. Hence, adding the Z in the name as it refers to the very top.
Looks wise, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z maintains the overall design and chassis configuration. Even the main camera array placement at the back is the same. If anything, most are likely to mistake this premium flagship as more affordable counterpart.
Indeed, out of the box, this high-performance entry looks exactly like the ASUS ZenFone 5. If not for the fact that the latter is in a protective sleeve, it’ll be hard to tell them apart. Of course, specs wise it’s very different.
Roaring inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Pairing with the amped RAM and storage space gives the necessary leg up it needs to stand out. Personally, this one change is remarkable enough.
After the initial setup, it is a must to do a direct comparison with the ASUS ZenFone 5 and 5Z. After all, the former has been the daily driver for a month or so, making it the natural next move.
Beyond mistaking the two for each other, it’s clear which has the upper-hand for app management and battery use. While it’s an unfair comparison, the ASUS ZenFone 5 still stayed close to its more powerful brother in all comparisons.
Impressive as it sounds, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z steps it up in terms of battery management, sound processing, and boot up time. Within the first hour, it’s obvious that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 takes up the slack very quickly.
Play it Cool
For something so powerful, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z is expected to heat up. This is the easy conclusion most will make, even yours truly, thanks to the top-end Qualcomm System-on-Chip and 6GB RAM onboard.
Personally, gaming is the best way to push any device and, of course, loads of games have been tried on this flagship. This includes Fate/Grand Order, Girls: Frontline, Asphalt 8, WarPods, OPUS, and Marvel Contest of Champions.
Each game maxes out the processing potential this next-gen premium smartphone offers through various visual renders. This includes heavy graphic processing, running massive art assets simultaneously, and ensuring the network is consistently active. Surprisingly, this top-line device didn’t heat up at all during these tests.
Of course, gaming is only one critical aspect for this review. The ASUS ZenFone 5Z took on the role of designated daily driver throughout its review period. As someone who used this all-new high-spec flagship, it’s more than a step up. In fact, it can go toe-to-toe with immediate market rivals.
It’s a big plus that it runs cool all the time and can keep going for almost 16-hours on max battery after a single charge. In fact, the latter saw the battery life for this flagship nose-diving from full to 30% within six hours. This is with consistent gaming sessions. Regular use saw the full charge dip to 30% in the span of 14-hours.
When it comes to audio delivery, smartphones are infamous for delivering what they can with their tiny speakers. There are exceptions, of course, like the long-standing innovation stalwarts that believe in providing the best sound stage.
Only brand-new 2018 flagships recently hopped onto the bandwagon. ASUS, with its next-gen duo, happens to be one such vendor. Thusly, the ASUS ZenFone 5 has a stereo system, comprising a single down-firing speaker and the earpiece cum loudspeaker. The latter comes into play only when the device is in the landscape position.
The ASUS ZenFone 5Z steps it up with the inclusion of Japanese-sourced NXP Smart Amp. Both amp and the 5-magnet speaker drivers ensure create a literal punchy sound field.
This being the third take of the ASUS ZenFone 5, the premium spec bump for this flagship should be significant in many ways. While the design and, give or take, 80% of the chassis is similar – camera array included, the core specs are what make the premium flagship stand out.
Sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 6GB RAM, up to 8GB on the 25GB storage, raises the performance bar. The updated CPU is all that matters as it amps up the camera use and user engagement processes. In fact, the former is more intuitive as it offers better photo-taking options. In well-lit environments, pictures turn out great. Even in low-light, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z performs remarkably well.
For the better part of July 2018, the ASUS ZenFone 5Z is the somewhat proper daily drive. It is obviously clear that the flagship will take out its lower-spec counterpart, so let’s focus on the overall experience.
This top-end variant cut load times for apps, games, and enriched multimedia streams. Even if the ASUS ZenFone 5 delivers, there is still a clear winner among the two.
Speedier load times and larger storage capacity are critical aspects that raise the bar for overall user experience. As is, the high-spec flagship is possibly the very best entry for Taiwanese-based technology wunderkind. With an affordable price-tag to boot, it may jolly well breakaway from normal convention in the retail space.
ASUS ZenFone 5Z
The ASUS ZenFone 5Z, with its affordable price, is out to set new milestones. It misses the mark a little but, it stands out as a potential industry shaker.