First impressions ASUS Zenfone 4: time to remove
After two years of experiments with Intel, held with varying degrees of success, ASUS has made themselves a good name in motherboards, graphics cards, computers and network equipment was finally moved into the camp of Qualcomm. The decision, frankly, was inevitable – alternatives in a serious smartphone, if not make the processors themselves (like Samsung and Huawei), no Snapdragon. And I must give credit to ASUS, the company took up the matter seriously, quickly having established close ties with the American semiconductor manufacturer.
The first serious collaboration between ASUS Zenfone 4 Pro, the new flagship of the company, which became the world’s first smartphone equipped with LTE and Gigabit (Cat.16), and Wi-Fi 802.11 ad. He is based at the same time, of course, the Snapdragon 835 – but, as you can see, there may be some differences in the details.
While ASUS is very interesting (and pragmatic) accents – the main novelty, which the company has devoted most of the time, was not the most powerful flagship and mid-end smartphone with Snapdragon 630 on Board – the actual Zenfone 4. Like we saw last year when the market was also present the Deluxe version – but more to demonstrate the possibilities. The emphasis, as always, is on “just Zenfone” which should not compete with iPhone 8/iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8, but rather with the iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy A7 – the latter, incidentally, was mentioned in the presentation many times.
The company also conducted the European premiere smartphones ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie and Selfie Pro. All the gadgets I could see, and the “main” Zenfone is at all the places we have tested. Share their impressions.
ASUS Zenfone 4
The launch of the new Zenfone passed under the straightforward slogan “We love photos”. Well, we too. The hint is clear – the main focus of the ASUS made when creating new smartphones on the camera back in the case with the Zenfone 4 and Zenfone 4 and Zenfone 4 have a front facing Selfie and Selfie Pro. If in past generations Zenfone for everyone answerable to Zoom with its optical zoom, now all models can offer something special in this regard. And each, ironically, his own.
ASUS has equipped the Zenfone 4 dual module. This one today is surprised, but the approach the company has chosen curious – is schemes “RGB + monochrome” or “wide angle camera + portrait” using the camera with a wide angle (83°) and wider (120 degree), and with completely different sensors. Like we saw in LG G5. In this case, the main camera has a 12 megapixel sensor Sony IMX162 (pixel size is 1.4 µm aperture lens — f/1,8) and a secondary 8-megapixel sensor did not call the manufacturer with a lens aperture of f/2,2.
Moreover, the camera is in addition equipped with a 4-axial stabilizer. I was able to get shots with decent sharpness at shutter speeds up to 1/8, and I’m not sure that this is the limit, it is necessary to continue testing.
The secondary camera allows to obtain a very wide viewing angle with appropriate boundary distortion, reminiscent of the GoPro, but the stabilizer it have not friends, what app carefully reported during the night of the shooting, recommending to switch to the standard mode. Examples of pictures on the main and wide-angle camera ASUS Zenfone 4 above. Please pay attention to the significant drop of detail shots with the wide angle at the edges is similar and different PV panel LG G5.
To the main camera, on first impressions, no complaints. Light lens and balanced matrix augmented hybrid autofocus (Dual Pixel phase + contrast with laser illumination) and well working software. In particular, the Zenfone 4 is well able to glue the HDR and work with noise, including through multi-frame noise reduction. Also note the correct color and a good white balance setting.
ASUS placed emphasis on the fact that the unit cells in this case does not protrude above a relatively thin body (7.6 mm). Visually, by the way, Zenfone 4 seems thicker due to the fact that the manufacturer neglected above like sloping rear panel. Affected and pasted back glass, its faces are visible when viewed from the side. In the end, an elegant new Zenfone difficult to call.
But overall this is a very cute mobile – for the latest fashion on the front panel is moved to the fingerprint entered in the “Home” button (the sensor at the rear for my taste, was more appropriate); the rear glass panel is beautifully poured on the sun in the manner of 8 Honor/Honor 9 and HTC smartphones U series; nice looks mint version of the case, added to the standard black and white options.
For stuffing Zenfone 4 is a fairly typical smartphone middle class for 2017. Together with the mentioned Snapdragon processor 630 (or 660, there is such a version, but first in the Russian market it is not) has 4 or 6 GB of RAM and flash memory, there is only one variant – 64GB. But there is a slot for a memory card, and it is not a hybrid — is in addition to the two connectors for SIM cards. Information about this, sooner rather basic for smartphones, the time met at the presentation of a particularly loud applause.
Display – 5.5-inch, LCD with IPS matrix with a resolution of Full HD. Speakers know how to work together, creating a stereo effect. Battery – 3300 mAh with support for fast charging (50% in 36 minutes).
At the start of the Zenfone 4 will come with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, in the future, the system will be updated to Oreo. Of course, uses a proprietary shell ZenUI – and Yes, Hallelujah, ASUS has finally its much easier: instead of 35 pre-installed apps on new smartphones will be only 11 (second round of applause at the presentation). Perceived this shell is really much nicer.
The price of Zenfone 4 in Russia at the start of sales – 32 990 rubles. Launch is scheduled for October 2 – a single date for all presented here smartphones. By the way, by this time I hope to complete a full review of the device.
ASUS Zenfone 4 Pro
Despite the similar name, the Pro version has more differences from the Zenfone 4, what to do with him. In common – similar design, ergonomics and the same program shell. The main camera is almost identical but it uses more high-aperture optics f/1,7. Even the philosophy of the use of the dual camera module is different – instead of the more wide-angle camera is used here, on the contrary, long-focus lens, giving a twofold zoom – in the manner of the iPhone. The model of the sensor in this case is not hidden — it IMX351 Sony 16 megapixel.
ASUS claims that the company’s engineers are using the miracle software algorithms to achieve a total of ten hybrid (2 optical + 5x digital) zoom. To check whether it is true or not happened – in the conditions of the demo area to make far reaching conclusions a bit ridiculous. Stabilization again is only available for the main camera.
But definitely have Zenfone 4 Pro greater capabilities in terms of video: in addition to 4K he is able to shoot Full HD at up to 120 frames per second and HD at 240 frames per second. Zenfone 4 only capable of Full HD 60p.
In the same size case does not fit camera module extends slightly above the rear surface. Telephoto lenses demands.
Front camera is also improved — with the same 8-megapixel resolution, she, however, got a different sensor with larger pixels (1.4 µm) and better lens (f/1.9 angle of 87.4°).
The display is the same diagonal and resolution (5,5’, Full HD), but is made in AMOLED technology. With Snapdragon 835 has 6 GB of RAM, and there are options for non-volatile memory – 64 or 128 GB. But the scheme with three slots for cards used in Pro. Applied more capacious battery – 3600 mAh. Color – black and white only, alas.
At the start of sales will be two versions of the Zenfone 4 Pro – “normal”, at a price of 49 990 rubles, and the already mentioned “Gigabit” (plus 128 GB memory) – up to 54 990 rubles. These smartphones will compete for audiences with the Samsung Galaxy S8, U11 HTC, Huawei and LG P10 G6.
ASUS Zenfone 4 Selfie and Selfie Pro
Two “little brother”, who also got a two camera modules,… only the front!
They don’t differ in their philosophy as Zenfone 4 and its Pro version. The essence is the same: a powerful main camera plus wide angle (120 degree coverage) 8-megapixel back – apparently, the same as in Zenfone 4. But very different main camera.
In the Selfie uses a 20-megapixel sensor with a lens aperture of f/2.0. In Selfie Pro – the Sony IMX362 and a lens with an aperture of f/1,8. In both cases there is auto focus, flash and a huge set of a variety of software improvements-portrait – switchable, fortunately (though there are people who like such things).
Selfie – quite simple in their other characteristics of the smartphone: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, 4 GB of the RAM and 64 GB of non-volatile memory 5.5-inch LCD display with Full HD resolution, battery 3000 mA·h the Status and orientation of the model emphasized color performance: in addition to the black version offers a gold, mint and pink. Interesting point – despite the greater actual thickness of the case (7,85 mm) Selfie is perceived as more than the thinnest smartphone due to the very sloped rear panel. It is made to metal, not glass. And instead of the USB Type-C for charging microUSB.
Selfie Pro had a platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, the same amount of RAM and flash memory, the same battery, and, as if in imitation of his older brother, the same diagonal and resolution, but the AMOLED display. Color, by the way, is also more serious – black, gold and red. And it will be the thinnest (yet) a smartphone in the family of only 6,85 mm.
The recommended retail price of Selfie – 17 990 rubles, Selfie Pro – 27 990 rubles.