Alongside the higher-end ZenFone 5 and flagship ZenFone 5Z, Asus also unveiled the Asus ZenFone 5 Lite to complete the range. Designed to fit into the very competitive low- mid-range market, Asus is certainly taking a bold move.
Powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 or 430, the ZenFone 5 Lite also packs 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a generous 3300mAh battery. It is also one of the first lower-end phones to feature a display with the 18:9 aspect ratio, and it’s got a sharp FHD+ (2160 x 1080) IPS display.
But the focus here is in the camera department. Asus is quick to say a few things with the cameras on the ZenFone 5 Lite. For starters, it claims this is “true” four cameras setup since the secondary camera on competitor products are usually depth sensors. Instead, Asus has gone the LG path, offering a standard lens paired with a wide-angle lens for greater flexibility.
Asus has quickly iterated upon its smartphone designs, and the ZenFone 5 looks a far cry from the first few versions of the phone. As a result, the ZenFone 5 Lite is everything you would expect in a lower mid-range smartphone. Build quality is pretty solid too, thanks to the metal frame.
The Taiwanese company’s ZenUI has been worked on really hard to increase performance, and Asus even claims it uses AI to make the overall experience much better. It’s a very generous use of the term, since the features are already found on much older smartphones, such as dynamically adjusting the screen’s brightness and volume levels depending on the environment. Another “AI” feature also leaves the phones charged at 80% overnight, before resuming the charge to 100% shortly before you wake up.
For a lower mid-range smartphone, the ZenFone 5 Lite’s display is quite impressive. The 6-inch IPS 18:9 display has a 2160 x 1080 resolution, and a 80.3% screen-to-body ratio; as a comparison, the iPhone X has a 86% ratio. The slim bezels also mean that the phone’s size is similar to 5.5-inch smartphones, so it’s actually pretty easy on the hands (and pockets).
Based on the company’s global research, Asus found that the selfie camera was used more often than the rear camera in the younger generation of smartphone users. As such, the ZenFone 5 Lite was designed to cater to this group, the front camera is a large 20MP f/2.0 unit with “softlight” LED flash while the rear is a standard 16MP f/2.2 shooter. It is also a phone with four “true” cameras – the secondary camera on both sides are fitted with wide-angle lenses for group shots and more versatility.
At the experience zone with dim lighting, the camera naturally didn’t perform very well. There’s a noticeable shutter lag, and the UI was a little sluggish. But there is a pretty fleshed out Pro Mode, and a healthy mix of other camera shooting modes.
A source at Asus suggested that the ZenFone 5 Lite will also be aggressively priced, aiming to take on the likes of Xiaomi’s Mi A1 and Huawei Nova 2i. It will be the first of the ZenFone 5 series to be available globally, with an expected release date from March onwards.