After being wildly successful with bang-for-your-buck smartphones, ASUS decided they wanted to go down the premium route instead so in came the ZenFone 3 series, bathed in glass and metal like no ZenFone had been before. While it certainly turned heads, there was that group of people who couldn’t accept that they had to pay a premium price tag for an ASUS badged phone.
Was that the right choice for them? I don’t know quite yet, but one thing’s for sure, the company’s brand new ZenFone 4 lineup proves that the premium-ness is here to stay.
ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro
Today, the company is launching a whole host of smartphones and sitting at the top of the range is the ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro. It looks like this year, the company may be ditching the Deluxe name for the more popular Pro moniker.
As expected from a 2017 flagship smartphone, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro will be powered by Qualcomm’s powerful 10nm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor. It’ll also feature up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage with the option to expand that storage further via microSD for up to an additional 256GB of storage.
In front, you’ll find a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display that has a peak brightness of 500 nits. Keeping everything running is a 3,600 mAh battery which is quite impressive considering the battery capacities most of this year’s flagships ship with.
One other interesting thing is that the ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro will also support 802.11ad WiFi for the single-SIM variants of the handset, which would make the ZenFone 4 Pro the first smartphone in the world to do so. That said, considering the rarity of 802.11ad routers, you probably won’t be able to benefit from this just yet — but hey, talk about future proofing right?
ASUS is also touting the ZenFone 4 Pro’s camera capabilities as the company has decided to fit nearly every one of their new phones with a kind of dual-camera system. On the ZenFone 4 Pro, you’ll get a 12MP + 16MP camera combo with the 16MP f/2.6 aperture unit shooting short telephoto, granting the smartphone 2X optical zoom and of course access to Portrait Mode. The main sensor, though, is a 12MP an IMX362 unit from Sony and comes with a fast f/1.7 aperture lens and large 1.4-micron pixels. Its camera also packs 4-axis optical image stabilisation and an RGB sensor.
But that’s not all, the ZenFone 4 Pro’s camera also features the company’s TriTech+ autofocusing system that utilises the abilities of Dual Pixel AF, 2nd Gen Laser AF and contrast detection autofocus depending on the situation. ASUS claims that the smartphone is able to autofocus as fast as 0.03 seconds. In front, you’ve got an 8MP f/1.9 aperture selfie-shooter.
The ZenFone 4 Pro, then, has a lot of the high-end goodies you would’ve come to expect from a flagship smartphone for 2017. However, I am a little disappointed to report that water-resistance is not on that list. It does have a fingerprint sensor, though, it has moved to the front now.
The ZenFone 4 Pro will have prices starting from USD599 (around RM2,570).
ASUS ZenFone 4
If, however, you’re someone who doesn’t like the whole telephoto craze many manufacturers are currently having with their dual-camera systems, you can instead opt for the stripped down base-model ZenFone 4 instead.
This mid-ranger sports a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display (600 nits peak brightness), a Snapdragon 660 or Snapdragon 630 processor with up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage.
Much like the Pro variant. the ZenFone 4 also features a dual-camera setup at the back. However, instead of having a telephoto lens, the ZenFone 4 comes with a 120-degree wide-angle 8MP f/2.2 aperture camera to complement the main 12MP Sony IMX362 f/1.8 aperture unit instead. In front, you’ll find an 8MP f/2.0 selfie taker.
It’s also featuring the flagship’s premium glass and metal body with a very noticeable concentric circle design at the back. One nice thing I did notice about the ZenFone 4 is the presence of backlight for the capacitive navigation keys which is a nice addition.
Battery, however, takes a hit as the ZenFone 4 only sports at 3,300 mAh cell inside to keep everything powered. For biometric security, the ZenFone 4 had it fingerprint scanner moved from the back to the front.
The ZenFone 4 will see prices starting from USD399 (around RM1,712).
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ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
If shooting selfies is more your thing, you’ll be happy to know that ASUS’ “Selfie” badge is returning in full and this time it’ll be featured on two devices. The more powerful of the duo is called the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.
With the Selfie devices, the dual-camera unit has moved to the front (assisted with an LED flash) while the back gets a bog-standard 16MP f/2.0 shooter.
On the Selfie Pro, you’re actually getting a pretty shocking camera combo in front. Remember the IMX362 sensor on the back of the ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro? Well, on the Selfie Pro, it’s in front now and it’s complemented with a 120-degree 5MP f/2.2 aperture wide-angle shooter designed for group selfies.
ASUS has made some tweaks to the Sony sensor so it works better as a selfie shooter. On paper, ASUS is calling this f/1.8 aperture shooter a 24MP DuoPixel camera but in reality, the native resolution of the sensor remains unchanged at 12 megapixels. However, this is where ASUS’ tech wizardry comes in for a truly interesting tweak to the camera.
The IMX362 sensor’s 1.4-micron pixels contain two photodiodes per microlens (or pixel) instead of just one. When used as a rear camera, these photodiodes are utilised for the super speedy Dual Pixel AF system.
However, when ASUS converted it to a selfie camera, they instead used the second photodiode (which is also capable of creating its own data stream) to effectively double the resolution of captured images to 24MP. Why did they do it? Well, apparently it’s because it is “better for printing on photo paper” but I personally don’t know that many people who print their selfies on photo paper.
Besides the interesting camera, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro also comes with internals that includes a Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB/4GB of RAM and 32/64GB of internal storage. It’s powered by a 3,000 mAh cell that’s encased in a metal body instead of the ZenFone 4’s glass and metal affair. In front, you also get a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display that sits right above its front-facing fingerprint scanner. It does not have support for 802.11ac WiFi.
Perhaps one of the biggest question marks surrounding the dual-SIM Selfie Pro comes with the smartphone’s Micro USB port. We’re not sure why they didn’t go straight to USB Type-C since the ZenFone 3 already featured USB Type-C ports, but ASUS’ argument is that more people already have micro USB cables…which probably isn’t untrue.
The ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro has prices starting from USD379 (around RM1,626)
ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie
Much like the 4 and 4 Pro, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro also has a more watered down younger sibling that’s simply called the ZenFone 4 Selfie. On the spec sheet, this smartphone features a 5.5-inch HD IPS panel, a 3,000 mAh battery, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
That said, the ZenFone 4 Selfie does still feature a dual selfie camera combo in front, though its a completely different unit. This smartphone comes with a 20MP + 8MP camera combo instead with an f/2.0 and f/2.4 aperture lens respectively. The back 16MP shooter remains the same, however.
Its also made of metal and has roughly the same design so you’re not losing out on much there. It, unfortunately, doesn’t support 802.11ac WiFi, which is a bummer. Much like the ZenFone 4 and ZenFone 4 Pro, the ZenFone 4 Selfie has a front-mounted fingerprint scanner too.
The ZenFone 4 Selfie will have prices starting from USD279 (around RM1,197)
ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro
The final smartphone ASUS launched today is from the battery-centric Max lineup. Earlier, they revealed the ZenFone 4 Max, now it’s time for the ZenFone 4 Max Pro. Bearing the Pro moniker, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that ASUS upgraded the smartphone’s hardware specs. However, at least on the performance front, it appears nothing much has changed.
You still get a Snapdragon 425 or Snapdragon 430 processor mated to 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You’ll still find the large 5,000 mAh battery — which defines the Max name — and metal body, though the 5.5-inch IPS screen up front sees a drop in resolution to HD 720p.
That said, it’s not like ASUS didn’t upgrade the smartphone at all — they did, but the upgrades are to the smartphone’s camera. Unlike the regular Max, the Max Pro features a dual-camera setup that includes a 16-megapixel f/2.0 aperture standard camera and a 5-megapixel f/2.2 aperture 120-degree wide-angled camera. The Max Pro also comes with a 16-megapixel f/2.0 aperture selfie camera.