At their press conference a bit earlier today, Asus officially announced a trio of low-cost Android handsets under the ZenFone name: the ZenFone 4, 5 and 6.
As you may have guessed, the number refers to the device’s screen size. The new handsets have slightly varying specs but they do have one thing in common, they all run on Android with a new custom skin that Asus is calling Zen UI.
Without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look at Asus’ new budget devices:
Asus Zenfone 4
The Zenfone 4 features a 4-inch TN TFT display with an 800 x 480 resolution. Powering the device is a dual-core 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 with 1GB of RAM. Other specs include a 5MP shooter, dual-SIM support, 3G with HSPA+, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi direct, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB, 4GB storage, microSD and a removable 1170 mAh battery.
The Zenfone 4 isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but it’s still not half-bad when you consider that the price tag is only $99 outright.
Asus Zenfone 5
Next up, we have the Zenfone 5, which features a much more impressive (relatively) 5-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 720p. Once again there is an Intel processor, though this time we get a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2680 dual-core GPU with 1GB RAM.
Other specs include an 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, dual-SIM, 3G with HSPA+, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi direct, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB, 4GB storage with microSD and a 2050 mAh battery (non-removable). The handset measures in at 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.3mm and weighs 140g.
The specs with the Zenfone 5 are considerably better than the 4-inch model, though the storage space is still rather disappointing. On the bright side, the phone does have a capacitive sensor that allows it to be used with gloves, or even lets it use a regular pen as a stylus.
The ZenFone 5 is priced at $149 and comes in red, black, white, blue and gold. The handset still isn’t quite as impressive as the Moto G but we have to admit it’s at least somewhat close to being in the same league (almost…).
Asus Zenfone 6
The largest member of the family, this 6-inch super-sized phone essentially has the same specs as the 5-inch model, though it is available in both 1GB and 2GB RAM variants. There are also storage options of 8 or 16GB. All variants have a microSD slot.
The other change from the Zenfone 5 is that this more premium model has a 13MP camera with f/2.0 and a bigger 3240 mAh battery. The rest of the connectivity options are still the same, as is the ability to use a pen as a stylus or to wear gloves during use.
The ZenFone 6 is priced beginning at $199 and will be offered in black, red, white and gold.
None of these handsets quite manage to compete with Motorola’s own budget handset, but they certainly help prove that 2014 could finally be the year of semi-decently spec’d low-cost Android smartphones.
So when are they coming? Unfortunately, Asus has yet to set a release date target. For now all we know is that we should expect them sometime this year, hopefully sooner rather than later.