At its Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei this morning, ASUS has taken the wraps off the latest generation of ZenFone handsets. The ZenFone 3 series kicks off with three phones positioned at a variety of price points and form factors. At the mid-level, there's the regular ZenFone 3. At the high-end, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs in the latest specs. Meanwhile the gigantic ZenFone 3 Ultra packs an enormous display and battery.
The ZenFone 3 Deluxe is an ASUS phone to compete with the big names in Android.
After fielding largely identical-looking ZenFone 2 models in 2015, the ZenFone 3 series mixes things up in terms of materials and design language. The vanilla ZenFone 3 sports a glass-backed design not unlike some of Samsung's recent phones, with a metal trim punctuated by plastic antenna lines. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe steps things up to a full aluminum unibody, with unique "invisible" antenna lines around the sides designed to blend into the overall design. The metal unibody also carries over to the Ultra, which sports a more traditional flat profile with rounded sides.
On the inside, we're looking at three different tiers of hardware grunt. The ZenFone 3 is powered by Qualcomm's latest mainstream chip, the octa-core Snapdragon 625, along with 4GB of RAM. The super-sized ZenFone 3 Ultra steps this up to a Snapdragon 652 for a little extra horsepower, again with 4GB of RAM. And the ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs the latest Snapdragon 820-series chip, with a whopping 8GB of RAM.
All three devices use 1080p displays — the ZenFone 3 and Deluxe at 5.5 and 5.7 inches respectively, and the Ultra at an enormous 6.8 inches. And the Ultra is powered by a suitably hefty internal battery too — a 4,600mAh cell, as opposed to the 3,000mAh of the other two models.
ASUS bags the latest 23 megapixel Sony sensor plus four-axis OIS for its higher-end models.
Imaging is also a huge focus for ASUS's new ZenFones. The base model comes with a 16-megapixel Sony sensor with four-axis OIS (optical image stabilization) as well as EIS (electronic image stabilization), laser autofocus (combined with phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocus) and dual-tone flash. The Deluxe and Ultra step this up to Sony's latest 23-megapixel IMX318 sensor, with the same stabilization, autofocus and processing capabilities.
All the new ZenFone 3 models feature USB Type-C connectivity. And Deluxe and Ultra owners will also benefit from Qualcomm's QuickCharge 3.0 technology for even faster charging. Fingerprint security also comes as standard in the ZenFone 3 line, with rear-mounted sensors on the regular ZenFone 3 and Deluxe, and a Samsung-style home key that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
We don't have any details of availability for the ZenFone 3 series at the time of writing, but we'll be sure to keep you posted. For pricing, the ZenFone 3 kicks things off at $249, ZenFone 3 Ultra will set you back $479 and finally the ZenFone 3 Deluxe tops off the family at $499.
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