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Asus Goes Big with Zenfone 11 Ultra

Mar 14, 2024, 11:15 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 14, 2024, 11:59 AM

Asus has revealed its latest global flagship phone: the Zenfone 11 Ultra. This year's model abandons the compact form factor that was a hallmark of the Zenfone series in recent years; the 11 Ultra has a 6.78" FHD+ AMOLED display, whereas last year's model was just 5.9". This change in strategy allows Asus to all but combine its ordinary and gaming lineups; the Zenfone 11 Ultra is basically the same phone as the ROG Phone 8, with only a different outer design. The 11 Ultra has all of the top-end specs expected of a flagship phone in 2024. Unusually, it also includes a 3.5mm headset jack, which supports Hi-res Audio and Dirac Virtuo. The US model has very good support for T-Mobile and AT&T 5G and 4G networks. It will be available in four colors: black, gray, blue, and sand. For $900 unlocked, it comes with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Pre-orders start today. From now until April 14, 2024, Asus is offering a free pair of ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds worth $100. Read on for more specs.

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Asus Announces US Pricing and Pre-Orders for Zenfone 10

Aug 22, 2023, 2:05 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus has started accepting pre-orders in the US for its new compact flagship phone, the Zenfone 10. Shipping "around early September", the Zenfone is priced at $700–800, depending on configuration. The Zenfone 10 was first announced in late June, and packs high-end features into an unusually small body with a 5.9-inch display. The cheapest option at $700 has 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, but only comes in black. Stepping up to 256 GB of storage runs $750 with all five color options available (blue, green, red, white, and black). For $800, you get 16 GB RAM + 512 GB storage and a choice of black or green. Between now and Sept. 30th, pre-orders include a free set of ROG Cetra Bluetooth earbuds worth $100.

ASUS Zenfone 10 Flagship Keeps it Small

Jun 29, 2023, 11:21 AM   by Rich Brome

Asus has announced its newest compact flagship phone, the Zenfone 10. It has a 5.9-inch FHD+ OLED display with an all-screen design and up to 144 Hz refresh, protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. With most of today's smartphones sporting screens well over 6 inches, that makes this high-end phone unusually compact. It's powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip paired with up to 16 GB of LPDDR5x RAM and up to 512 GB of UFS 4.0 storage. The main camera offers 50 megapixel resolution and 6-axis "hybrid gimbal" OIS stabilization. There is also a 13 megapixel wide camera and 32 megapixel front camera with RGBW sensor. The 4,300 mAh battery can be topped up with 15-watt wireless charging or 30-watt wired charging. It has an IP68 rating for dust and water, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and comes in five colors: green, blue, red, black, and white. Although US pricing was not announced, it will come to the US by the end of the 3rd quarter.

Asus ROG Phone 7 is a Gaming Powerhouse

Apr 13, 2023, 1:42 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus has unveiled its newest ROG Phone. The ROG Phone 7 is a flagship-class phones with all the bells and whistles gamers expect on a top-end gaming phone. Key improvements over the previous model include a display that's twice as bright and a redesigned internal cooling system that "increases heat dissipation efficiency by up to 168%, allowing the ROG Phone 7 series to run games at full speed while maintaining low temperatures." The speakers are also 50% louder. Naturally, the phone features the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. The phone comes with up to 16 GB of LPDDR5x RAM and up to 512 GB UFS 4.0 storage. The 6.78-inch Samsung OLED display has 165 Hz refresh, 720 Hz touch sampling, 1,500 nits peak brightness, HDR10, and is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The 6000 mAh battery supports 65-watt charging for a full charge in 42 minutes. The phone supports Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC. The 50 megapixel Sony main camera is joined by a 13 megapixel wide camera, 5 megapixel macro camera, and 32 megapixel front camera. The body is rated IP54 for dust and water. As expected in a gaming phone, there are dual front-facing speakers, a headset jack, and dual USB-C ports (bottom and side, for charging while gaming). The standard model comes in either black or white and will ship by the middle of the year, starting at $1,000. An Ultimate edition adds "ROG Vision, a unique matrix color display on the rear" and comes only in white.

ASUS Keeps its Flagship Small with the Zenfone 9

Jul 28, 2022, 9:58 AM   by Rich Brome

Asus has unveiled its next flagship phone: the Zenfone 9. The 5.9-inch display makes this high-end phone relatively compact. Uniquely, the phone has a "6-Axis Hybrid Gimbal Stabilizer" on its 50 megapixel Sony main camera. This plus an IP68 water rating allows it to double as an action camera. The Zenfone 9 is powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, paired with 6–16 GB LPDDR5 RAM and 128–256 GB UFS 3.1 storage. Its Samsung-made AMOLED display has FHD+ resolution and 120 Hz refresh. The 4,300 mAh battery supports 30-watt fast charging. It supports Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC. It has both stereo speakers and a headset jack. It will come in four colors: Moonlight White, Sunset Red, Starry Blue, and Midnight Black. US pricing and launch date are to be announced.

New Asus Phone for Snapdragon Fans Showcases Qualcomm Tech

Jul 8, 2021, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 9, 2021, 9:09 AM

Qualcomm has partnered with Asus for a new flagship-class phone called the "Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders". Asus will make, sell, and support the phone, which is intended for members of Snapdragon Insiders, Qualcomm's new fan club. Available in the US next month for $1,499, the phone features maxed-out specs in most regards and comes with a small bundle of high-end accessories. The phone has unprecedented support for essentially all 5G and 4G networks worldwide in one SKU. That includes all major US networks and all four mmWave 5G bands. It showcases Qualcomm technologies such as the Snapdragon 888 chip, Snapdragon Sound, Quick Charge 5, and 3D Sonic Sensor gen. 2 (for the rear fingerprint reader, which works even with wet fingers). Other specs include 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage, 6.78-inch Samsung OLED display with 144 Hz refresh and HDR10+, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E, 4,000 mAh battery, and four microphones. Its triple rear cameras include a 64 megapixel main camera with a Sony sensor and OIS, 12 megapixel wide/macro camera with Sony sensor, and an 8 megapixel 3x tele camera with OIS. It also shoots 8K video and has a 24-megapixel front camera. The camera app uses AI for auto zoom, Super Night mode, and lens distortion correction on the wide-angle camera. Other phone features include NFC, 65W fast charging, stereo speakers, Gorilla Glass Victus on the display, and a light-up Snapdragon logo on the back. It does not have wireless charging, a headset jack, nor an IP rating for water. Premium true wireless Bluetooth earbuds with ANC from Master & Dynamic are included. Also included are a 65-watt Quick Charge 5 charger (that can charge the phone to 70% in 30 minutes), custom bumper case, and two premium braided USB cables. The phone comes with Android 11 and Qualcomm promises four years of security updates. Qualcomm promises "zero bloatware" on the device. Qualcomm is currently "working with all US providers" to ensure phone compatibility, although the company stopped short of promising Verizon certification just yet. It comes in Midnight Blue with red accents and will be available in August, unlocked, from Asus' web site.

Asus Brings ZenFone 8 to US

Jun 29, 2021, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome

Asus today launched the ZenFone 8 in the US for an introductory price of $600. The phone is available now from Asus' web site with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB built-in storage. Launch pricing expires July 13th, after which the price for this configuration will be $630. This unique phone offers flagship specs in a compact body. Key specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G with good support for US networks, 120 Hz AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, 64 megapixel Sony main camera, 12 megapixel wide camera, NFC, Wi-Fi 6E, IP68 water resistance, and a headset jack. Asus first announced the ZenFone 8 last month.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Available Now

May 25, 2021, 11:18 AM   by Rich Brome

Asus made its new ROG Phone 5 available to buy today in the US for $1,000. This is the standard model with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB storage; the Pro and Ultimate versions will go on sale next quarter.

Asus Zenfone 8 is a Compact Flagship

May 12, 2021, 5:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 13, 2021, 4:41 PM

Asus today announced the Zenfone 8, its latest flagship phone. The phone is notably smaller than most competing phones, addressing the market for compact high-end phones. The 5.9-inch AMOLED display has 120 Hz refresh, HDR10+, and is protected by Corning's top-end Gorilla Glass Victus. The Zenfone 8 is powered by Qualcomm's top-end Snapdragon 888 chip, paired with up to 8 GB of 6400 Mbps LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The 4,000 mAh battery supports 30W fast charging. The main camera is 64 megapixel with a Sony IMX686 sensor that can shoot 8K video, accompanied by a 12 megapixel Sony IMX363 wide-angle/macro camera. The 12-megapixel front camera also has a Sony sensor and supports auto-focus and 4K video. Other features include IP68 dust and water resistance, Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2, in-display fingerprint reader, and Android 11. The US version of the Zenfone 8 has decent support for the 4G and 5G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile, including LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 25, 26, 30, 41, 66, and 71. Support for 5G NR includes bands 2, 5, 12, 25, 66, 71, and 77 (C-Band). Asus plans to launch in the Zenfone 8 in "late Q2" in North America. Final US pricing was not revealed.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Maxes Out Specs, Adds a Rear Display

Mar 10, 2021, 11:43 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 10, 2021, 11:51 AM

Asus today announced the ROG Phone 5, its newest flagship gaming phone, following the ROG Phone 3. The ROG Phone 5 brings the ROG Phone series up to date for 2021 with a Snapdragon 888 chip, Android 11, and 65-watt fast charging for its huge 6,000 mAh battery. The AMOLED display is also brighter and larger at 6.78 inches, and has an industry-leading 300 Hz touch sampling rate. The display specs are otherwise similar to the ROG Phone 3: 144 Hz refresh, HDR10+, and FHD+ resolution. The ROG Phone 5 will come in three versions. The standard model is available with 8 or 16 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB storage. A Pro model adds a small full-color display to the back, set at an angle, to show "customizable animations in response to a variety of system and in-game events". It's also available with up to 512 GB of storage. An Ultimate model steps up to 18 GB of RAM, and has a monochrome rear display. All three models use high-performance LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. All three models also have sub-6 GHz 5G and will come in a North American version with support for nearly all of the 4G and 5G frequency bands used in the US, including band 77 for forthcoming C-band 5G networks. The ROG Phone 5 is the first in the series without an obvious air vent on the back for cooling, although Asus claims that its "GameCool 5" cooling system is "upgraded" to keep the processor from thermal throttling. The phone also has upgraded wireless, supporting Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2. A number of specs and features remain unchanged from the previous model, including the exact same array of cameras: 64 megapixel main, 13 megapixel wide, 5 megapixel macro, and 24 megapixel front camera. Other signature ROG Phone features remain, such as AirTrigger shoulder controls, front-facing stereo speakers, and an extra USB-C port on the side, for comfortable landscape gaming while charging. A 65W fast charger is included, and the phone also supports the Quick Charge 5.0 and USB-PD 3.0 fast charging standards. ASUS ROG Phone 5 series will be available in North America starting next quarter.

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Asus ROG Phone 3 Pushes Specs Higher for Gaming

Jul 22, 2020, 11:54 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 22, 2020, 10:23 PM

Asus has unveiled its third generation ultra-premium gaming phone: the ROG Phone 3. The phone starts with flagship-level specs and pushes even further in every area related to gaming, including battery, display, sound, and accessories. Core specs include 5G, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset, up to 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, up to 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage, 6,000 mAh battery, 30W fast charging, 6.6-inch full-HD AMOLED display, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1. For gaming, the display offers 144 Hz refresh rate, 270 Hz touch sampling, 25ms touch latency, and HDR10+. The ROG Phone 3 has front-facing stereo speakers with dual dedicated amps, tuned by Dirac. Like its predecessors, the phone supports an array of unique accessories thanks to its dual USB-C ports (one on the bottom and one on the side). A dedicated fan accessory — now with an integrated kickstand — can augment the phone's extensive internal cooling system to ensure the processor doesn't throttle down due to heat. Other accessories include a physical gaming controller, dual-screen mobile dock, and a desktop dock for gaming with a full-size monitor and controls. The updated design includes a window on the back exposing the internal heatsink. The phone also includes a 64 megapixel main camera, 13 megapixel wide camera, macro camera, and 24 megapixel front camera. The ROG Phone 3 has excellent support for nearly all (sub-6) 5G and 4G networks in the US, including 5G NR in bands 2, 5, 41, 66, and 71, and 4G LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, 48, 66, and 71. The ROG Phone 3 will be available in North America in September. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ is 10% Faster

Jul 8, 2020, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm has introduced a new variant of its flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset for top-end phones. The Snapdragon 865+ offers 10% better CPU and GPU performance, giving an edge to gamers using forthcoming high-end gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone 3. The 865+ also adds support for Qualcomm's new FastConnect 6900 chipset, for faster data connections over Wi-Fi. The FastConnect 6900 supports the new Wi-Fi 6E standard and the new 6 GHz band, as well as Bluetooth 5.2.

Google Expands Stadia Support to Gaming Phones, Flagship Samsungs

Feb 18, 2020, 1:42 PM   by Rich Brome

Google is expanding the list of phones supported by its Stadia game-streaming service on February 20th. Initially supported only on its own Pixel phones, Stadia will support Samsung flagship Galaxy S and Note series phones (S8 and newer), as well as gaming phones from Razer and Asus (ROG Phone and ROG Phone II). For a controller, gamers can either connect a Stadia controller via USB, or third-party controllers via Bluetooth. Stadia competes with Microsoft's xCloud and Nvidia's GeForce Now. Like those other game-streaming services, Stadia runs full console-quality games on powerful servers in the cloud, streaming video of the rendered graphics to the user's device. Such services benefit from the higher data rates and lower latency of 5G networks. Forthcoming 5G SA networks will further reduce latency and improve data rates.

"Ultimate Edition" ROG Phone II Sports More Storage, Faster LTE

Sep 4, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 4, 2019, 1:48 PM

Asus this week announced the ROG Phone II Ultimate Edition, which has a new Matte Black design, 1 TB of storage instead of 512 GB, and Cat. 20 LTE instead of Cat. 18. Like the standard and Elite editions, the Ultimate Edition comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, 12 GB of RAM, and 120 Hz screen, and a 6,000 mAh battery.

Asus ZenFone 6 Goes on Sale for $500

Aug 5, 2019, 2:07 PM   by Rich Brome

Asus announced that the ZenFone 6 is now on sale from retailers including Amazon and B&H. The flagship phone offers a unique rotating camera, Snapdragon 855 processor, and large 5,000 mAh battery for $499.99.

Hands On with the Asus ROG Phone II

Jul 22, 2019, 3:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Asus ROG Phone II is a beast of phone, and that's absolutely by design. Asus took its gaming-optimized ROG Phone and turbocharged everything, from the 6.6-inch 120 Hz AMOLED display to the huge 6,000 mAh battery. It has top specs and numerous optimizations to ensure peak gaming performance, as well as many thoughtful extras inside and out to optimize it for using in landscape orientation. If you want the very best gaming phone, Asus has a serious contender here. How does it stack up? We check it out in this hands-on.

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Asus ROG Phone II Maxes Out the Specs

Jul 22, 2019, 3:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The new Asus ROG Phone II builds on the basic design of the original but improves on it in almost every way, offering a larger screen, larger battery, improved software, and faster refresh and response times in every area. Designed for gaming, it includes an extra USB-C port as well as extra antennas and microphones to optimize performance in landscape orientation. The full-HD AMOLED screen has been stretched to 6.6 inches and sports 120 Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 240 Hz touch sampling, HDR, and Gorilla Glass 6. The battery is 6,000 mAh and supports fast charging via Quick Charge 4 as well as USB-PD. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset with 12 GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage. It also supports 802.11ad gigabit Wi-Fi using 60 GHz for wireless display. The shoulder buttons have improved latency, haptics, and ergonomic options. The cameras have been upgraded to the same 48-megapixel + 13-megapixel wide cameras found in the new ZenFone 6. It also has an in-display fingerprint reader, front-firing stereo speakers, and NFC. Like the original ROG Phone, it has an elaborate cooling system to prevent processor throttling, and a new cooling accessory with a fan is 4x quieter than the original, and adds an extra 3.5mm jack for landscape use. Other optional accessories include gamepad controls that can be attached to the sides or used wirelessly, and a second-display accessory. The software includes multiple optimizations for gaming, including per-game options. Users can choose between an Asus interface theme or stock Google Android. The phone will launch in western markets starting September 4th. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Asus ROG Phone II First to use Snapdragon 855 Plus

Jul 15, 2019, 9:02 AM   by Rich Brome

In the coming weeks Asus will announce the ROG Phone II, a new high-end gaming phone. Asus has revealed one detail is advance: it will use the just-announced, top-end Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset from Qualcomm.

Snapdragon 855 Plus Brings More Power to Gaming Phones

Jul 15, 2019, 6:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 855 Plus, a higher-performance version of the company's flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset for phones. With a more powerful CPU and GPU, it's designed for high-end gaming phones coming out later this year. The 855 Plus is based on the same Kryo 485 CPU and Adreno 640 GPU as the standard 855, but the CPU top clock speed has been boosted from 2.84 GHz to 2.96 GHz, and the GPU offers "a 15% increase". The chipset is paired with a suite of gaming-oriented software features to make the "Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience". The software suite includes Game Jank Reducer, Game Fast Loader, Game Anti- Cheat Extensions, and more.

Hands On with the Asus ZenFone 6

May 29, 2019, 3:12 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 29, 2019, 9:58 PM

The ZenFone 6 is the latest flagship phone from Asus. As such, it includes the expected amenities like a top-end Snapdragon 855 chip and an edge-to-edge screen, in a premium metal-and-glass design. Where the ZenFone 6 stands out are its unique motorized camera design, and its massive 5,000 mAh battery. The camera design makes it the ultimate selfie phone, plus is does all sorts of neat tricks, using its motor to automate panoramas and motion tracking. You can even control the angle manually. What's it like in person? How do those features work? Is it durable enough? We put it the test.

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Asus ZenFone 6 Sports Motorized Camera, Top Specs

May 16, 2019, 5:43 PM   by Rich Brome

The Asus ZenFone 6 is the company's new flagship phone, sporting a 6.4-inch, full-HD display that covers the front without a notch, thanks to a motorized dual-camera module that flips up from the back to double as a selfie camera. The camera motor can also be used to track subjects while shooting video or automate a panorama, and the camera angle can be controlled manually. The camera contains a 48-megapixel Sony main sensor with laser focusing, plus a 13-megapixel wide-angle (125º) camera. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with up to 8 GB of RAM. It contains a huge 5,000 mAh battery. The phone also sports NFC, rear fingerprint sensor, memory card slot, and stereo speakers. A version will be compatible with US networks. The pricing will start at $560.

Asus CEO Departs Amid Internal Reorganization

Dec 13, 2018, 1:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today said its CEO, Jerry Shen, plans to vacate his leadership role after a tenure of 11 years. Shen has been in various roles with Asus for more than 25 years, and oversaw the company's PC and phone businesses. Asus is adjusting its strategy moving forward and will target gamers and power users. The company's latest, the ROG Phone, is a high-end offering for the gaming market. Shen is headed to a startup called iFast where he will serve as chairman and CEO. Asus plans to adopt a co-CEO structure with responsibilities split between executives S.Y. Hsu and Samson Hu. The change goes into effect January 1, 2019.

Asus' ROG Phone Now Available for Preorder

Oct 19, 2018, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus has made its ROG gaming phone available to U.S. consumers. The device is available online from Asus, Amazon, and Microsoft. The 128 GB version costs $899 and the 512 GB version costs $1,099. The company says the phone will start to ship during the last week of October. The ROG Phone has a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The device includes a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 12-megapixel camera. Asus will make a number of accessories available for the phone, including a dock, case, and game controller, later this year.

Fortnite for Android No Longer Requires An Invitation

Oct 11, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Epic Games today made its popular Fortnite game available without an invitation. The app has been available in beta since August, though an invite was required for access. Epic Games has dropped the need for an invitation and most anyone can download the game. Fortnite is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, people interested in the game will need to go to Epic's web site to download an installer. The installer then puts the game on the phone. The game started as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and was later discovered to have a major security flaw in the installer (since patched). Fortnite is best played on high-end devices that have Android 8 Oreo installed. Some compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9 series; all Google Pixel phones; the LG G5, G6, G7, V20, and V30; the Asus ROG Phone and 5Z; the Essential Phone; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Honor 10, and Honor Play; the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6; the HTC 10, U Ultra, U11+, U12+; the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ2, and XZ3 series; as well as a handful of others from Xiaomi, ZTE, Nokia, and Lenovo.

Asus Confirms Plans to Sell ROG Phone In the US for $899

Oct 10, 2018, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus says U.S. consumers will be able to pre-order the ROG phone starting October 18. The device will cost $899 for the 128 GB version and $1,099 for the 512 GB version. Asus also announced pricing details for the ROG Phone's myriad accessories. The Mobile Desk Dock will cost $230, the TwinView Dock will cost $400, the Gamevice Controller will cost $90, the Professional Dock will cost $330, and the ROG Phone Case will cost $60. Asus is giving fans of ROG a chance to score a free case. The first 50 people who pre-order the phone from Amazon or Microsoft will earn a free case, as will the first 25 people who pre-order the phone from Asus. The ROG Phone is a dedicated gaming device. It has an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The ROG has a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 12-megapixel camera. People will be able to see the phone at a public launch event to be held October 18 in New York City. Asus said the accessories will ship later in the fourth quarter, but didn't say when the ROG Phone itself will reach consumers.

Asus Implies It Might Sell the ROG Phone in the US

Oct 5, 2018, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus North America published a teaser on its twitter account this week that strongly suggests its flagship gaming phone will be sold in the U.S. The tweet contains a darkened image with what looks like the ROG phone in the background. It reads "Coming to New York" on October 18. Asus has yet to formally schedule a press event for that date. The ROG phone is a dedicated gaming device. It has an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel in order to control thermals. The ROG has a 6-inch, full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a discrete imaging chip for HDR playback. Other features include 24-bit stereo speakers, DTS Headphone with 7.1 virtual surround, a 4,000mAh battery, 12-megapixel camera, and support for a range of snap-on accessories. The phone is priced at over $1000 in other markets.

Asus Debuts the ZenFone Live L1 with Android Go

Aug 6, 2018, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus recently revealed the ZenFone Live L1, a Best Buy exclusive that runs Google's Android Go platform. Android 8 Oreo Go is a pared-down version of Android that's able to run on devices with limited memory. The Live L1 features a 5.5-inch LCD screen with HD+ resolution at an 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone is powered by a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 425 processor, which is paired with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The Live L1 supports memory cards up to 1 TB. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor, while the selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery, Bluetooth, WiFi, FM radio, and microUSB. The phone accommodates up to two SIM cards and functions on GSM/LTE networks such as those operated by AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. Best Buy is selling the Asus ZenFone Live L1 unlocked for $109.99.

Hands On with the Asus ROG Phone

Jun 22, 2018, 3:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus' dedicated gaming phone in a beast of a device. The ROG Phone has an overclocked processor, a fast display, and a bevy of accessories meant to help it out-game the competition. Did we mention the AeroActive Cooler snap-on cooling fan? We spent some time with the ROG Phone and these are our first impressions.

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Asus ZenFone 5Q Hits US Retail Today

Jun 11, 2018, 1:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today revealed that its ZenFone 5Q phone, first announced in February, is now available for sale in the U.S. The ZenFone 5Q has 2.5D curved class on the front and rear with a plastic frame in between. It boasts a 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 display. The Zenfone 5Q has four cameras, with an ultra-wide, 120-degree lens on each side. The main sensor on the rear captures 16-megapixel images, while the selfie camera has a Sony 20-megapixel sensor. The 5Q features a number of shooting modes, including portrait/bokeh. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and comes with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. The phone ships with a 3,300mAh battery. Other features include NFC, dual SIM, face unlock, Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band wifi, fingerprint reader, speaker, and microUSB. Asus didn't spell out which LTE bands are supported but says the phone is compatible with AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The phone runs Android 8 Oreo with Asus ZenUI 5.0. Asus says the ZenFone 5Q in midnight black is immediately available from Abt, Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, and Newegg for $299, while the moonlight white variant is available from Amazon, B&H, and Newegg for the same price.

Asus' ROG Smartphone Has Specially Tuned Snapdragon 845 for Blistering Game Performance

Jun 4, 2018, 7:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today announced the ROG Phone, a device meant specifically for games and gamers. Asus created the phone from the ground up with gaming in mind and made a number of choices to ensure the phone delivers. To start, Asus worked with Qualcomm on a custom version of the Snapdragon 845 that handles clock speeds up to 2.96 GHz. The processor also ups the minimum clock speed to keep games running smoothly. The 845 is paired with 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and an Adreno 630 GPU. In order to accommodate the heat generated by this processing power, Asus gave the phone a vented copper cooling panel on the rear. The AMOLED display measures 6 inches with full HD+ resolution at 90 Hz for quicker refreshing during games. Asus says the screen has 108.6% DCI-P3 color gamut and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio for deep blacks. It includes a discrete imaging processing chip to support HDR playback. In other to deliver high-quality sound during games, the ROG features dual front-facing stereo speakers with 24-bit high-resolution audio at 192 KHz. It supports DTS Headphone and 7.1 virtual surround sound, in addition to Bluetooth aptX HD. Asus developed what it calls "air triggers" at the corners of the phone, which are pressure sensors in the frame to accommodate gaming actions. The ROG packs a large 4,000mAh battery with rapid recharging. The ROG includes a 12-megapixel standard-angle camera and an 8-megapixel wide-range camera on the back, with an 8-megapixel camera on the front. The ROG phone supports a number of accessories, including the AeroActive Cooler, a snap-on fan that cools the phone while also providing landscape access to the USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack during gaming. This accessory boosts battery recharge times thanks to support for 20W charging. Other accessories including a full hand-held gaming rig and a PC dock. The Asus ROG Phone will go on sale during the third quarter. Pricing wasn't announced.

Google to Bake Google Lens Directly Into Its Camera App

May 8, 2018, 1:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 8, 2018, 1:53 PM

Google today made several changes to its Google Lens visual search tool. First and foremost, it is adding Google Lens directly to the camera app of Pixel phones. Several other phone makers, including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Xiaomi, Asus, and Sony, will add Lens to their camera apps in the near future. With Lens, Google is relying on machine learning to help power Google searches based on what the camera sees. Google is baking more searching and shopping tools to Lens, making it easy for people to discover where they can buy items such as clothing with a function called Style Match. A feature called real-time results provides instant search results as people move their camera over items. It scans text, images, and other data points to search things such as concert posters, books, and such. The results offer links to more information, videos, images, as well as the ability to make purchases. Google says this update will reach Google Lens on the Pixel in the next few weeks. Google's partner OEMs have not specified exactly when they'll update their own camera apps with Lens.

Hands On with the Asus Zenfone 5Q

Feb 27, 2018, 4:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 2:54 AM

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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Hands On with the Asus Zenfone 5 / 5z

Feb 27, 2018, 4:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 2:55 AM

Asus today announced the Zenfone 5, its flagship handset for the year. The Zenfone 5 takes a lot of cues from some well-known competing devices complete with a notch in the display. The 5z is a version in the same exact body with upgraded internal specs. It's a premium device thanks to glass surfaces, metal frame, and high-quality cameras. Here are our first impressions.

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Asus Shows Off the Zenfone 5 Series

Feb 27, 2018, 2:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 28, 2018, 3:03 AM

Asus today revealed its new flagship series handsets, the Zenfone 5, Zenfone 5 Lite, and Zenfone 5z. All three phone run Android 8 Oreo with the new ZenUI 5.0

  • Zenfone 5 Lite / 5Q:Called the Zenfone 5Q in the US, this low end of the series has 2.5D curved class on the front and rear with a plastic frame in between. It boasts a 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 display. The Zenfone 5Q has four cameras, with an ultra-wide, 120-degree lens on each side. The main sensor on the rear captures 16-megapixel images, while the selfie camera has a Sony 20-megapixel sensor. It features a number of shooting modes, including portrait/bokeh. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor and will come with in 3 GB / 32 GB and 4 GB / 64 GB configurations. The phone ships with a 3,300mAh battery. Other features include NFC, dual SIM, face unlock, speaker, and microUSB.
  • Zenfone 5: The middle of the pack is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor with 6 GB of RAM. It features a massive 6.2-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. It can automatically adjust the color temperature to suit its surroundings. The display features a notch, similar to the iPhone X, where it holds an array of sensors and more. Asus shrunk the size of the status bar icons to ensure they fit. Tapping them will drop the notifications down so they are all visible. The camera includes OIS and an aperture of f/1.8 for the 12-megapixel main camera, which has a Sony IMX363 sensor. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. The camera relies on AI-assisted scene detection to adjust for the subject. The company uses AI to improve the efficiency of the 3,300mAh battery, particularly when it is not being used. The phone includes stereo speakers and noise-cancelling microphones, DTS, and aptX. It will come with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It supports dual SIMs and expandable memory cards.
  • Zenfone 5z: The star of the series is the Zenfone 5z. It shares nearly all features with the Zenfone 5 — including an identical body externally — but it upgrades to the Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm. Options will include 4, 6, or 8 GB of RAM and 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage.
The Zenfone 5 Lite will go on sale in March, the Zenfone 5 will go on sale in April, and the Zenfone 5z will go on sale in June. The 5z starts at 479 Euro. Pricing for the 5 Lite and the 5 were not shared.

Google's ARCore 1.0 Released to Public, Google Lens Hits More Handsets

Feb 23, 2018, 11:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made ARCore 1.0 available to developers and the public, bringing augmented reality to some 100 million smartphones around the world. Handsets compatible with ARCore include Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7, and S7 edge; LGE’s V30 and V30+; Asus’s Zenfone AR; and OnePlus’s OnePlus 5. More devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo will be compatible with ARCore later this year. The 1.0 release gives developers an updated set of tools to create virtual content. For example, it features improved environmental understanding that lets people put virtual objects on surfaces like posters, furniture, toy boxes, books, cans, and more. The refreshed Android Studio Beta supports ARCore in the Emulator, so developers can get to work right away. Some of the first brands to offer ARCore content include Porsche, FC Barcelona, and Sotheby's. Google says it is expanding the availability of the Google Lens Preview, which lets you take a picture and gather information about what's in the image. Google says Lens will hit all Google Photos English-language users over the coming weeks. Further, Google is going to add Google Lens to its Google Assistant on select Android flagship devices. Lens lets people create contacts from business cards, recognize plants and animals, and add events to their calendar by taking photos.

Qualcomm Reveals Artificial Intelligence Engine for Devs

Feb 21, 2018, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine, a package of hardware and software components meant to help developers bring AI-assisted apps and services to Qualcomm-powered handsets. The AI Engine is supported on the Snapdragon 845, 835, 820, and 660 mobile platforms, though it shines brightest on the 845, which has its own AI processing built in. The AI Engine relies on three core hardware components: the Hexagon Vector Processor, the Adreno GPU, and the Kryo CPU. On the software side, Qualcomm's AI Engine runs on the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine, software that was created so developers can target the exact core they want powering their apps. The NPE supports Tensorflow, Caffe and Caffe2, and the Open Neural Network Exchange for developers. The AI Engine supports the Android Neural Networks API, which is baked into Android 8 Oreo, and gives developers access to Snapdragon hardware directly through the Android operating system. Last, the AI Engine banks on the Hexagon Neural Network Library so developers can run AI algorithms directly on the Hexagon Vector Processor. This powers machine learning and accelerates AI operations. Qualcomm says the sum of all these parts is real-time responsiveness, improved privacy, and enhanced reliability on the supported Snapdragon mobile platforms. Phone companies including Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, Oppo, Motorola, Asus, ZTE, Nubia, Smartisan, and Blackshark were among the first to commit to using the AI Engine on future handsets. Qualcomm will be demonstrating the technology at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress trade show.

Hands On with the Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1)

Jan 9, 2018, 10:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 21, 2018, 9:52 PM

Asus is back with another smartphone for the U.S. market. The ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is an entry-level device that offers dual cameras, a large battery, and stock Android. Here is our first look at this low-cost smartphone.

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Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1) Touts Dual Cameras, Hits U.S. Next Month

Jan 8, 2018, 10:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus today announced the ZenFone Max Plus (M1), a new Android handset that goes big. The phone has a metal exterior and 2.5D curved glass on front to help give it a modern look. The phone includes a 5.7-inch screen at 720p resolution and it is powered by an octa-core processor with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The phone adopts two cameras on the rear, one standard view and the other wide angle. The main sensor captures 16-megapixel images and can take advantage of PDAF, HDR, and an LED flash. The secondary sensor captures 8-megapixel images at 120-degrees wide. The front camera is either 8 megapixels or 16 megapixels, depending on the market. It comes with Asus' beautification software tools. Asus stuffed a 4,130mAh battery into the chassis, which provides long battery life. Other features include a fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and an FM radio. It runs Android 7 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0 on top. The phone supports LTE Bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17, 28, which gives it basic support for U.S. networks. Asus said the phone will be sold in the U.S., though it didn't say if that would be direct to consumers or via carrier. (Verizon sells the ZenFone V Live.) The ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is priced at $229.

Google to Kill Off Project Tango in Favor of ARCore

Dec 15, 2017, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it has decided to wind down Project Tango, its ambitious augmented reality platform that used on-device cameras and sensors to blend reality with computer-generated content. "As we focus on bringing augmented reality to the entire Android ecosystem with ARCore, we’re turning down support of Tango," said Google. The company will officially cease to support Project Tango on March 1, 2018. The company worked with several hardware partners to create Project Tango handsets, which were laden with special equipment to make the platform work. The most recent such device was the Asus ZenFone AR, sold by Verizon Wireless. Moving forward, Google will push its ARCore platform as a means for generating and consuming augmented reality content on Android handsets. To that end, Google today released ARCore Developer Preview 2, an update to its augmented reality toolset for app writers. "We've taken everything we learned from [Project Tango] to build ARCore. Whereas Tango required special hardware, ARCore is a fast, performant, Android-scale SDK that enables high-quality augmented reality across millions of qualified mobile devices." The updated ARCore Developer Preview includes a new C API for use with the Android NDK. Google says this dovetails nicely with its existing Java, Unity, and Unreal SDKs. Another addition is the ability for AR apps to pause and resume without losing their spot in order to allow people to perform actions such as answering calls. Last, the new developer preview improves accuracy and runtime efficiency. Developers interested in the new ARCore Developer Preview can find it through Google's developer web site. Google says it expects ARCore-based apps will reach the Play Store before too long.

Asus ZenFone V Live Lets You Livestream Zit-Free Video

Nov 16, 2017, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless and Asus today announced the ZenFone V Live, a social media-focused handset that includes a real-time blemish remover. With the ZenFone V Live, people can take advantage of the selfie camera's beautification options to soften complexions and remove skin blemishes when livestreaming to Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. (Such effects are typically applied to still images after the fact.) Otherwise, the ZenFone V Live is a mid-range handset with curved glass and a metal body design. It has a 5-inch 720p HD display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor with 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of storage. The 13-megapixel camera includes features such as panorama, slow-motion, time-lapse, and bokeh modes with boosted low-light performance. Additional features include a fingerprint reader, 3,000mAh battery, USB-C, and support for microSD memory cards. It runs Android 7 Nougat. Verizon is selling the Asus Zenfone V Live beginning today for $168, or $7 per month for 24 months.

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