The reviews have serially been unkind towards Asus and its latest flagship the ZenFone 5Z. CNET, in a popularly re-tweeted barb, called the handset “an iPhone X on the cheap.” However, underneath the hyperbole is a valuable addition to the lower-end of the flagship market.
It looks a lot like the Apple iPhone X, doesn’t it?
The iPhone X costs £999 whilst the Asus ZenFone 5Z costs £479 – that’s five hundred pounds cheaper. In fact, you could buy two ZenFone 5Z’s for the price of a single iPhone X. Remember this is a flagship – it has the same Samsung S9 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset along with 8GB of RAM and storage starts at 128GB with a top end model packing 256GB of storage.
There is a reason for the differentiation Asus CEO was blunt and to the point: “Our price will be… for everyone to enjoy compared to the fruit company.” This handset has many similarities with the iPhone X – apart from waterproofing, wireless charging and a powerful processor.
What do you get in the box?
In a design sense, it has a curbed semi-unibody design with a notched mark-up near the ear speaker – this gives it the iPhone X-esqe look. The design is similar, but the handset is way bigger than the iPhone X. The handset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and chipset. The device has 8GB of RAM with 128/265GB storage options – with further MicroSD expansion options available. The device has an 8MP front camera and a powerful 3,300mAh battery – which will provide a sturdy day-long charge. It comes pre-loaded with Android Oreo 8.0.
Why should you get it?
For the touted £479 handset price, you get a lot of phone for your money. In fact, the handset is in the sub-flagship marketplace with Honor, HTC and LG. It is within touching distance of Apple and Samsung. Yet, the price point makes the world of difference. The sub-£500 handset isn’t necessarily a flagship device (the average price is £676.33). It provides a uniquely different proposition.
This handset is targeting a price conscious flagship aspiring demographic – an audience who wants the bells and whistles without the price tag and burdensome monthly payments that go with it. This handset on a 24-month contract could cost less than £24 a month. If one considers the alternative Apple or Samsung model, at an average £38 a month, you see the price differentiation.
This Asus ZenFone 5Z is a pure Apple knock-off with enough ‘differences’ to keep the intellectual property lawyers from Cupertino at bay. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Apple doesn’t chase all demographics. Apple and budget don’t go together because Apple aspires and has achieved premium status. Therefore, Asus has managed to create a ‘premium feel’ with a budget-esqe price point. This is what makes the ZenFone 5Z so appealing.