I suppose it was inevitable. As much as oftentimes rag on Apple for "reinventing" existing features, Apple is undeniably a trendsetter and it comes up with its fair share of "innovations" too. Samsung's basically offering its take on Animoji with AR Emoji. And now the Asus Zenfone 5 is effectively ripping off the notch from the iPhone X and slashing the price in half.

It's not just one phone either. Asus just unveiled three new phones at MWC 2018 in the form of the Zenfone 5, the premium-oriented Zenfone 5Z, and the cheaper Zenfone 5 Lite (which will be positioned as the Zenfone 5Q in North America).

The Zenfone 5 and the Zenfone 5Z boast the same outward design with shimmery glass bodies in your choice of Midnight Blue or Meteor Silver. The 19:9 aspect ratio 6.2-inch screen (2246 x 1080 full HD+) fits in a shell that's similar to that of a traditional 5.5-inch phone, achieving a 90% screen-to-body ratio. Oh, and there's a notch. Because, of course there's a notch.

In addition to the notched display, the Zenfone 5 and 5Z get dual cameras on the back (12MP f/1.8 + 120-degree wide angle), an 8MP f/2.0 selfie camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery. The Zenfone 5 has a Snapdragon 636, 64GB on-board storage and 4GB/6GB of RAM, whereas the Zenfone 5Z gets bumped to a Snapdragon 845, up to 256GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM.

Other key features include what Asus calls AI boost (selective app overclocking), AI charging (holding your phone to 80% charge overnight until close to your usual wake-up time before topping up to 100%), and an extra loud speaker system.

The Zenfone 5 Lite offers a completely different design with a notch-free 18:9 aspect ratio 6-inch full HD+ display, dual rear cameras, and Android Nougat. The Zenfone 5 Lite will be the first out of the gate next month, followed by the Zenfone 5 in April, and then finally the flagship Zenfone 5Z (at an expected $500 price point) in June.


We've already seen the notch implemented on at least a couple of off-brand phones and it looks like Android P will have code specific to accommodating the notch too, so for better or for worse, the rising trend is for the notch and here's to stay for the time being. It is what it is, just like the "courageous" removal of the headphone jack... but these Zenfones actually retain their headphone jack, so there's that.

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