Recently released in Taiwan, the ASUS Zenfone Zoom is a pretty interesting device. While smartphone cameras have gotten better with each iteration, one of their flaws have always been a lack of optical zoom.
This was because adding an optical zoom would cause your device to be much thicker than a regular smartphone — a compromise device manufacturers were not willing to make. So, unless one was willing to manually zoom with one’s feet, smartphone photographers often had to settle for a grainier picture if they wanted to zoom.
With the Zenfone Zoom, however, ASUS is claiming that this is the thinnest 3x optical zoom smartphone…in the world. They accomplished this by mounting the smartphone camera’s dual periscope horizontally across the back of the device. As a result, it boasts a 5mm “ultra-thin edge” thanks to an ergonomic curve that looks a lot like ASUS’s other Zenfones.
The primary camera itself, while only sporting 13-megapixels, comes with optical image stabilisation (OIS), laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash and a SmartFSI Panasonic sensor. To make up for the lack in resolution, ASUS has implemented a Super Resolution function that fuses four shots into one picture for greater clarity (up to 52MP). It also has ASUS’s PixelMaster 2.0 — a feature famed for its low-light performance.
To facilitate the impressive camera specifications, the Zenfone Zoom will have not only have a dedicated shutter button, it also has a dedicated video button.
It’s no slouch when it comes to performance either, sporting a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom CPU paired with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB/128GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via microSD). The phone will come running Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box with ASUS’s ZenUI skin on top.
At the front, this camera-centric smartphone features a 5.5″ full-HD display tucked under Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. It also has a metal finish along the rails of the phone to give it a more premium feel. Around the back, there seems to be some differences compared to the one launched in Taiwan recently, as that one had some kind of textured back (faux leather perhaps?).
However, this could be because the images in the Malaysian site are outdated. If you head on over to the global site you can see that the build more closely resembles the one released in Taiwan. Nevertheless, we will find out how it looks like in about a week’s time.
The Zenfone Zoom will sport a 3,000 mAh capacity battery, paired with ASUS’s BoostMaster technology. It is supposed to give you a 60% charge in 39 minutes. Although the Zenfone Zoom has support for up to 802.11ac WiFi, it only has one micro-SIM slot for mobile connectivity.
In the US, the Zenfone Zoom comes in at around USD399, which translates to about RM1,760. Considering the state of the ringgit, an optimistic estimate of the Zenfone Zoom’s price here in Malaysia would be RM1,799, but realistically we should probably see it closer to RM1,899.
While we’re pretty stoked about the device, we want to know what you guys think. Let us know in the comments below. Stay tuned for our coverage of the official release.