ASUS today took the wraps off its latest ZenFone series of smartphones in Malaysia. Despite the price leaks of the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone Max Pro (M1) yesterday, ASUS still had a couple of surprises up its sleeves.
While both devices exude ASUS’ DNA, they address different segments of the market – the ZenFone 5, the mid- to high-tier; the ZenFone Max Pro, the budget- to mid-segment.
Aside from iPhone X similarities, the ZenFone 5 holds its own in terms of design, specifications and overall value.
As a quick recap, it sports a 6.2-inch FHD+ Super IPS+ display (1080×2246) with a 19:9 screen ratio. It boasts a commendable 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and an impressive 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage.
This is housed in an attractive glass and metal body with ASUS’ concentric circle design treatment on the back.
Underneath, it engages the services of the latest 14nm Snapdragon 636 chipset with an Adreno 509 GPU. This is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.
Photography and cameras have always been a big part of the ZenFone series, and it’s no different this time round. It comes with a 12MP f/1.8 dual-camera system that’s equipped with a 4-axis OIS.
The secondary camera offers a 120-degree wide-angle lens, which ASUS says is more practical and versatile compared to a telephoto option.
There’s a plethora of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities built into various levels of the phone’s features including display, camera, charging, performance and even ringtone (yes).
The ZenFone 5 is probably the best smartphone in its class for audio too, equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack, Dual Smart AMP and DTS Headphone X with 7.1 surround sound. Regardless of whether you’re listening via the built-in speakers or a headphone, the device offers Hi-Res Audio certified quality.
It comes with a 3,300mAh battery backed by Boost Master technology.
Read more about the ZenFone 5 in this previous post.
ZenFone Max Pro
The ZenFone Max range has always been a little bit of an oddball in ASUS’ portfolio. The reason it’s decoupled from the main lineage like a bastard child is so ASUS can remain agile and flexible without affecting its flagships.
The name “Max” gives you a clue about what it offers. If you guessed battery life, you won’t get a cookie, but you’d be spot on.
Riding on the fact that it has a massive battery, ASUS positions the ZenFone Max Pro as a “limitless gaming” device. It’s not a bad sell, to be honest.
Under the hood, the device gets the same hardware as its pricier sibling, the ZenFone 5. This means the 14nm Snapdragon 636 with Adreno 509 GPU, up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Qualcomm’s new mid-tier CPU with the powerful Adreno 509 GPU are a commendable combination for gaming.
It looks like ASUS is pretty serious about the gaming bit (it’s also expected to launch an ROG gaming phone at Computex), securing a partnership with Garena for its Battleroyal-type “Free Fire” mobile game.
The device sports a 5.99-inch FHD+ display and comes with either a 13MP + 5MP f/2.0 or 16MP + 5MP f/2.0 dual-camera main shooters. On the front, it’s either an 8MP or 16MP f/2.2 unit with softlight LED.
A huge plus is the triple slot tray that can house two nano-SIMs and a microSD card.
Another feather on its cap is that it runs stock Android Oreo, a first for an ASUS device.
Read more about the ZenFone Max Pro here.
Pricing and availability
As leaked, the ZenFone 5 retails for MYR1,299. It is available exclusively on Lazada Malaysia, with pre-orders starting on 4 June 2018.
Meanwhile, there are a few surprises in the ZenFone Max Pro camp. Firstly, there’s an additional configuration offered, a 6GB RAM + 64GB storage version.
The ZenFone Max Pro is available now in various configurations:
- 3GB RAM + 32GB storage – MYR699
- 4GB RAM + 64GB storage – MYR849
- 6GB RAM + 64GB storage – MYR999 (expected in July)
The 3GB RAM + 32GB storage model is offered for MYR599 as part of Lazada’s flash sales on 1, 5, 12, 19, 26 June 2018. Later, it will be offered for MYR649 during Lazada’s July flash sales.
Next, the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model will be offered at a reduced MYR799 price as a pre-order promo.
The 6GB RAM + 64GB storage model is currently experiencing worldwide shortage according to ASUS, and may only hit local shores in July.
Lastly, buyers will also receive a special in-game goodies including 1,000 gold coins and an ActiveWear set for Free Fire game worth MYR80.