Hands On with the Asus Zenfone 5Q
Updated: Added lite vs. 5Q info.
Asus has a "lite" version of its flagship prepped for a March release. It will be called the Zenfone 5Q in the US. This phone isn't quite like the more high-end Zenfone 5. Instead, the Zenfone 5 Lite offers middling specs in a middling piece of hardware. It is unique in that it has four cameras, so that's something. Here are our first impressions.
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The Zenfone 5Q is not nearly as impressive as its more expensive brother. It looks like a hundred other phones on the show floor here in Barcelona and doesn't do too much to stand out.
To start, the phone has a polycarbonate frame. This immediately cheapens it up a bit. It feels plenty strong, but it's not as inspiring as a metal frame would be. Glass panels are on the front and the back, and yet they somehow also come off as a bit cheap. The glass has a chrome-y edge where it meets the polycarbonate frame and it creates a sharp edge that I don't care for. The frame itself is rounded along the sides. The glass on the front looks a bit better than that of the rear. The 2.5D curves along the edges help a lot. The phone comes in black, white, or red. Yay, red.
There are reasonably modest bezels above and below the screen. They're really not bad. The phone has an 18:9 aspect ratio screen, so it is a bit elongated. I'm glad there are no hardware controls on the face and the glass is clean from top to bottom.
The full HD+ screen falls a bit flat. It has the same resolution as the Zenfone 5, though things aren't as clear on it. The colors looked okay, but viewing angles are pretty poor.
Like the Zenfone 5, the 5Q has two buttons on the right edge and nothing on the left. The screen lock key and volume toggle are about in the usual spot. The profiles could be better and so could travel and feedback. The phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack on top and a microUSB port on the bottom. Bummer there's no USB-C.
A fingerprint sensor on back helps with security. I was able to find and use it no problem. The camera module is above the fingerprint reader.
The cameras are rather crazy. This thing has four cameras. The main camera on the rear has a 16-megapixel sensor and the front has an even better 20-megapixel Sony sensor. Each is accompanied by a secondary wide-angle camera of unknown resolution. Asus says this is so people can capture better selfies and welfies. I like the idea of wide-angle cameras, and have found them to be far more helpful that telephoto cameras.
The phone runs the same Android 8 Oreo-based ZenUI 5 that the Zenfone 5 has, but it lacks a lot of the AI features, such as the self-adjusting ringtones. It's a clean build and isn't offensive. It ran pretty well on the models here in Barcelona.
The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and comes with either 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage or 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The phone ships in March. Pricing wasn't revealed.
I would not recommend this device to anyone, not when the Zenfone 5 is so much better and still reasonably priced.
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