06
Jan
ZenFone 4_Colors

ASUS is breaking out its phone lineup at CES in a big way. The new "ZenFone" series is coming in 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch versions to suit just about anybody, and each one of these new devices will be sold in a variety of metallic colors. Features and specs vary a bit between models, but the basic gist is that you pick your screen size and work up from there. All of them are on the low end and aimed at price-conscious buyers.

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The ZenFone 4 is at the bottom of the spectrum, featuring a 4-inch LCD 840x400 screen. (Remember those?) It's powered by a 1.2Ghz Intel Atom Z2520 processor and comes with 1GB of RAM and a 5MP rear camera. The ZenFone 4 will be offered in a choice of five colors: Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, Sky Blue, and Solar Yellow. Storage isn't mentioned, but you can extend it with a MicroSD card, and the battery is a rather puny 1170mAh.

ZenFone 4_Colors ZenFone 4_Side ZenFone 4_Horizontal

Moving up the line, the ZenFone 5 has a 5-inch IPS screen with a full 720p resolution, and it's also got PenTouch and GloveTouch features for enhanced use with a stylus or gloved hand. Inside is a faster Intel Atom Z2520 running at 2GHz with the same 1GB of RAM, plus an 8MP rear camera with an impressive F/2.0 lens and PixelMaster low-light shooting. The front shooter is upgraded to 2MP. The 5-inch version of the ZenFone comes in Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Champagne Gold. The battery is a more palatable 2050mAh and the same storage situation - not much, and an open SD card slot - applies.

ZenFone 5_Front ZenFone 5_Front&Back ZenFone 5_ Back

The Papa Bear of this line is the ZenFone 6, with mostly identical specs to the 5 aside from a larger screen (same resolution), a bigger 3230mAh battery, and a 13MP rear camera with a proprietary "PixelMaster" feature for brighter night shots. It will be offered in the same four colors.

ZenFone 6_ Colors ZenFone 6_ Back ZenFone 6_ Pen Touch

All three ZenFone products use "ZenUI," a new interface overlay along the lines of TouchWiz or Sense, on top of Android 4.3. This includes the usual customized apps for the dialer, email, web browser, and gallery, et cetera, but there are a few notable additions. The Omlet Chat app is your basic free chat app that competes with Hangouts and WhatsApp, and the Smart Reader Mode will adjust the tone of the screen to (hopefully) reduce eye strain. ASUS is already promising to upgrade the ZenFones to Android 4.4 at some point.

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Pricing and availability varies by region, but these are decidedly budget, so expect them to be competitive. In the US the unsubsidized ZenFone 4 will be a rock-bottom $99, the 5 will be $149, and the 6 will be $199. Combine that with wide-open GSM bands and a lack of LTE, and you can expect them to be popular with the no-contract crowd. We'll try to get a hands-on later during the show.

Las Vegas, USA (6th January, 2014) — ASUS today announced ZenFone, a brand-new high-value smartphone series that offers a choice of screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches and is available in an array of striking colors — meaning there’s a ZenFone for everyone.

ZenFone also introduces ZenUI, a sublime new user interface that’s exclusive to ASUS smart devices. With simplified icons and menus, a selection of themes beautifully designed to match the device colors and a clever What’s Next feature that helps users keep track of their lives, ZenUI is the irresistible front end of these irresistible new devices — and proof that fantastic functionality can have a friendly face.

ZenFone 4 — thin, light and powerful for energetic lifestyles

ZenFone 4 has a gorgeous 4-inch display and a powerful 1.2GHz Intel® Atom™ Z2520 processor with Quad-Thread Hyper-Threading Technology — making this a smartphone that never leaves the user waiting for a response.

With two built-in cameras — including a 5-megapixel main camera — for capturing great everyday photos and fun selfies, a slimline design with a low weight of just 115g and available in five vibrant colors — Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, Sky Blue, Solar Yellow — ZenFone 4 is the great-value handset for young people who demand the perfect companion for their mobile lifestyles.

ZenFone 5 — combines a spacious HD display with a highly portable design

ZenFone 5 has a spacious 5-inch IPS panel that delivers superb high-definition (HD) 1280 x 720-pixel resolution — and in a stunning design that tapers to just 5.5mm at its thinnest edge.

Exclusive ASUS PenTouch and GloveTouch technologies increase ZenFone 5’s display sensitivity, making it possible to use the device with any stylus or even a gloved hand — so frustrations about how and when users can interact become a thing of the past.

ZenFone 5 has a fast, energy-efficient Intel Atom Z2580 processor running at 2GHz and also benefits from a brilliant 8-megapixel PixelMaster main camera with image stabilization. This couples a backside-illumination (BSI) sensor and wide-aperture f/2.0 lens with exclusive ASUS PixelMaster technology to capture digital photographs that more than match those snapped by many dedicated digital cameras. Its 2-megapixel front camera takes sharp selfies.

PixelMaster’s Low-Light Mode measures the available light and intelligently adjusts the pixel size to increase light sensitivity by up to 400% — meaning ZenFone 5 snaps great low-lights shots and videos even without the built-in flash.

ZenFone 5 is available in four statement colors — Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Champagne Gold.

ZenFone 6 — perfectly blends productivity and entertainment on a beautiful 6-inch HD screen

ZenFone 6 also offers an HD display that measures a fantastic six inches across the diagonal — allowing users to see much more of what they want. Like ZenFone 5, the brilliant ZenFone 6 display features GloveTouch and PenTouch technologies — so users can operate the device with gloved hands or any stylus. It also has a powerful Intel Atom Z2580 processor running at 2GHz.

ZenFone 6’s large screen is complemented by ASUS SonicMaster audio technology with virtual surround sound via headphones for a truly immersive entertainment experience when watching movies or playing games.

ZenFone 6 also includes a 13-megapixel main camera that similarly benefits from exclusive ASUS PixelMaster technology, and a 2-megapixel front camera for selfies and high-resolution video calls that look just great.

ZenFone 6 is available in the same four statement colors — Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Champagne Gold.

ZenUI, open messaging and enhanced ASUS apps for Android

ZenFone 4, 5 and 6 all feature the magnificent new user interface from ASUS — ZenUI. Exclusive to ASUS smart devices, ZenUI has been meticulously designed to help users make the most of the fantastic functionality that’s packed in to every ZenFone. ZenUI delivers a holistic user experience with better functionality and great simplicity — meaning ZenFone knows what users need, helps to express their thoughts and feelings and keeps them connected wherever they go.

ZenUI even includes free open messaging, powered by Omlet Chat on the Omlet Open Messaging Platform. This brilliant messaging tool lets users share almost any kind of content easily with anyone, on any phone — and all without racking up charges associated with sending traditional text (SMS) and picture (MMS) messages.

ASUS has also added enhanced Android apps to every ZenFone devices, making life even simpler for users. The ASUS-enhanced email app, for example, allows messages to be read by thread — making it much easier to keep track of conversations. In the web browser, Smart Reader Mode automatically adjusts the background tone to reduce eye-strain, while the Gallery app has an enhanced online synchronization.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The availability of ASUS ZenFone varies by territory. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Durrmann

    "The Omlet Chat app is your basic free chat app that competes with Hangouts and WhatsApp" LOL, REALLY? No clue.

  • miri

    Looks like they merge the status and nav bar in their proprietary apps... Interesting.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    I just hope these have good displays in in color production. I'm very interested in that Zen 6.

  • Ricardo A. Fragoso

    Looks great for me... Considering there is a lot of people that won't pay more than 200 USD just for a phone. Just like me. :D

  • anon

    are those price ok? and if so, why isn't this a more big deal? I mean, it has a 10% bigger screen than the moto g, a better camera with image stabilization, 50% more cpu and gpu power than said moto g, an sd card, almost the latest android version, and a way better built quality

    • Sasquatch4ever

      You're making a lot of big claims for a phone that was literally just announced. Not to mention, you're comparing it to a phone that will have been out at least 7 months by the time this phone comes out.

      10% bigger screen also means 10% less pixel density.
      You say 50% faster CPU/GPU, yet this is a single core and it's running x86, so you won't be able to make the comparison until we can see benchmarks.
      Speaking of x86, it has historically had battery issues.
      The Moto X already has KitKat, this is shipping with Jellybean.
      "Way better build quality" is the biggest bull crap I've heard tonight. Just because the back is made of metal, does not mean it has a better build quality.
      And if you're really going to compare it to the Moto X, then I have to add that the Moto X's main selling point is the software. Stock Android, Active Notifications, and Touch less controls easily make it one of my favorite Android phones.

      • Phillip Booker

        What about the Moto G?? Anon compared it to the Moto G

      • BBXiong

        he's comparing with Moto G, not the Moto X, and they are at different pricing tier as well

      • anon

        oh noes, 293.72 dpi, also I'm comparing it to the moto g, and no, this is a dual core processor (2 physical cores and 4 logical ones), also, battery life? check the reviews of the razr I (which I currently own) vs the razr M and be amazed, having this kind of construction its a big deal for that price, by the way, you can look at the specs of the gpu now, its at least a 50% faster than the one in the moto g.
        I asked if the price is right because it looks more like a competition to the moto x, than the moto g (it wipes the floor with it, I love that phone but it does).

      • View From The Top

        The processor in the bigger ones is Z2580 CloverTrail+. It's a hyper threaded dual core processor. The cheapest 4 incher also has a dual core Z2520.

  • andrew

    Hmm. Interesting. I guess we'll see. The one gig ram might hold me back from getting this. But perhaps this will just add more pressure to drive high end phone prices down. It has some good things about it for sure.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    840x400? Maybe 800x480?

  • deltatux

    Not a bad price, but no info on the bands that it can operate. Plus, really? only 1 GB of RAM?

  • Derail Doax

    So any idea how these newer multi core Intel processors work with Android? I had a Fonepad which had a single core Intel and it ran like crud.

    Things like this and the new BLU announcements today are starting to make me question my Moto G purchase. Not too much though because I actually LOVE the Moto G. But these other phones sound quite capable.

  • jeffhesser

    How are you guys the only ones that know this is a US release? No one else has seemingly got that confirmation.