The ASUS ZenFone 4 lineup was probably one of the fastest smartphone rollouts in Malaysia, with several of the devices from the lineup going up for pre-order on the day of launch itself. However, the namesake model — the ZenFone 4 — was not among them.
Initial reports indicated that it would make an appearance locally in the first week of September, and although it hasn’t been officially announced, we now have a price for this handset. You’re going to want to sit down for this.
MDROID reports that ASUS has distributed brochures for the upcoming ZenFone 4 smartphone to Malaysian retailers and they got their hands on one. The brochure details the smartphone’s specs, colourways and — most importantly — its price. ASUS’ ZenFone 4 will be priced at RM2,099.
That’s right, this new smartphone will retail for more than RM2,000.
Before we get into what that means, let’s take a look at which spec we’re going to get here. According to the brochure, the ZenFone 4 that we’ll be getting is the device that comes configured with a Snapdragon 630 octa-core processor mated to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal storage. No Snapdragon 660 chip for us, unfortunately.
Other specs include a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a 3,300 mAh battery keeping the lights on. On the camera end of things, you’re getting a dual-camera setup with a 12MP + 8MP combo where one shoots standard while the other does ultra-wide. In front, you’ll find an 8MP f/2.0 aperture selfie shooter.
MDROID also reports that the brochure details the specs for the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Lite. This budget phone comes with a 5.2-inch HD display, Snapdragon 425 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 4,120 mAh battery. The ZenFone 4 Selfie Lite will be priced at RM899.
What was ASUS thinking?
As far as the specs are concerned, the ZenFone 4 is by definition a mid-range smartphone. Sure, it has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is the same as something like the Samsung Galaxy Note8, but at its heart, it’s still powered by a Snapdragon 630 chip which is Qualcomm’s mid-range offering.
Xiaomi Mi 6
However, it is being sold at RM2,099 — which is a lot of money for a mid-range smartphone. Look at the competition: In 2017 itself, you can pick up brand new flagships like the Xiaomi Mi 6 for RM1,899 (Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage) and the honor 8 Pro for RM1,999 (Kirin 960, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage). The Mi 6 has a slick dual-camera system too, while the honor 8 Pro has a massive 4,000 mAh battery and a Quad HD 5.7-inch display.
honor 8 Pro
Don’t even get me started on last year’s flagships because we know how affordable something like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is right now.
If you really want that wide-angled camera, you can opt for the LG G6 (RRP 2,599 but you can get for below RM2,400 if you know where to look) which has a far superior camera setup, a 5.7 inch 18:9 Full Vision Quad HD+ display, IP68 water resistance and MIL-STD-810G durability rating. You could also opt for the LG V20, retailing for RM1,999, which adds a secondary ticker display on top of some juicy flagship specs.
I just can’t wrap my head around ASUS’ decision to push the price over RM2,000 for the Malaysian market here especially when I take a look at the other options around this price range. And if the ZenFone 4 is this pricey, I don’t even want to imagine how much the ZenFone 4 Pro would cost.
When I had my time with the ZenFone 4, I liked it and thought that it was certainly more refined than its predecessor. However, I also stressed that the smartphone would live or die based on their price — and looking at this, I just don’t see a future where customers flock to stores to pick up the ZenFone 4 over any one of the other phones I mentioned above.
Since it hasn’t been officially announced, and although my brain is telling me otherwise, there’s still a sliver of hope that this price isn’t final. That said, considering dealers are already receiving these brochures, it seems mighty likely that it has already been finalised.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the ZenFone 4 has an appeal I failed to see that pushes this handset’s desirability over all the aforementioned flagships at this price point.
What do you guys think of this price tag? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks @KevinNgTK for the tip!