“The ASUS ZenFone Zoom is a smartphone that flaunts 3X optical zoom without being chunky”
When ASUS unveiled the ZenFone Zoom at CES earlier this year, we couldn’t help but be amazed at way the brand managed to cram in 3X optical zoom in a smartphone so slim. Sure, it can’t match the likes of the OPPO R5 (review) or the vivo X5Max (first impressions), not by a long shot, but the fact is that we haven’t seen any other smartphone which can offer the same functionality without being chunky (and therefore, unwieldy). Just take a look at the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom to know what we mean. The ASUS ZenFone Zoom may not be the slimmest out there, and with its 12mm waist, can even be described as chunky when compared to the svelte smartphones out there. But then, it does offer 3X optical zoom, and if you’ve ever used a digital camera, you should know how useful that is.
Apart from the optical zoom, the 13-megapixel camera on the ZenFone Zoom also boasts of other useful features, such as optical image stabilisation, a true tone flash and laser autofocus. These specs look quite impressive and we’re quite keen to know how the device fares in terms of actual shooting performance. Even otherwise, the LTE-capable, dual-SIM phone is loaded with powerful specs – a quad-core Intel Atom processor clocked at 2.3GHz, either 2GB or a whopping 4GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of internal storage, depending upon the variant you choose. The display measures 5.5-inches and offers full HD resolution. The platform is Android 5.0 Lollipop, with ASUS' ZenUI on top.
We were hoping to get a glimpse of the elusive device at MWC, but ASUS didn’t really have any demo units on display… barring one inside a sealed glass enclosure. Instead, we managed to get our hands on a non-working unit displayed on the side, and decided to snap a few pics just so we could get you an idea of the design. In a nutshell, the device doesn’t feel too chunky considering it features optical zoom, and comes encased in a plastic body with a matte finish. Note that the optical zoom is internal, and unlike most conventional digital cameras, the lens doesn’t extend outwards. Here’s a quick look at the upcoming ASUS ZenFone Zoom in pictures…
The camera module on the ZenFone Zoom juts out of the chassis slightly. Notice the true tone flash and the laser autofocus.
The smartphone looks rather ordinary from the front.
The rear is a different matter altogether.
It’s not really slim, but 12mm isn’t too bad considering it packs in 3X optical zoom. Notice the dedicated keys for the camera shutter and one for shooting video. Also notice the ‘T’ and ‘W’ marked on the volume rocker, indicating the tele and wide modes to control optical zoom.
The bottom holds the micro-USB port as usual, but there’s an eyehole on the side too to attach a lanyard on the side, much like a compact point-and-shoot camera.
Another look at that intriguing rear.
At launch time, ASUS mentioned that the ZenFone Zoom will carry a sticker price of $399 and will be launched sometime in the second quarter of this year. We just hope the peek we offered at its design and potential capabilities doesn’t make you drool too much. We can’t say the same for us right now.
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