Android device makers have experimented with all manner of camera gimmicks over the years, all the while ignoring some very basic features that regular cameras have always had. Case in point, optical zoom. The newly announced Asus ZenFone stands out with a rear-facing 13MP camera and 3x optical zoom.

ASUS ZenFone Zoom_front and back

Optical zoom is different from digital zoom in that it doesn't reduce image quality. The focal length of the lens actually changes with optical zoom, whereas digital zoom is basically just a crop. The camera also has laser auto focus, which you may remember from the LG G3, where it worked wonderfully. Here's everything we know about the specs so far.

  • 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display
  • 13MP camera with 3x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Laser auto focus
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with new ZenUI

ASUS ZenFone Zoom

The device will be available in Q2 2015 for $399 unlocked. We're not sure where it will be available yet, and you may also notice some missing specs. Asus has not been completely forthcoming on those points just yet. Presumably it will be similar to the ZenFone 2, but it's further from release and things could change. But hey, how 'bout that camera?

[@Asus]