Bezel-less phones with dual cameras were all the rage at Mobile World Congress (MWC) and many showcased high-end and spectacular new features. Asus’s ZenFone 5 series caught our eyes in particular because of its incredible features coupled with its relatively low price point. After talking with Marcel Campos, Head of Global Marketing Operations at Asus, one thing became abundantly clear: this phone is mid-ranger gold. With the ZenFone 5 dual camera, they defied media expectations. #ttllive
Prior to its unveiling at MWC, the ZenFone 5 was famous for its notch. Most media companies focused on its looks and whether it would work in Asus’s favor. After the press conference, the focus of the conversation surrounding the ZenFone 5 shifted dramatically. Instead of focusing on the notch, journalists, including us, recognized that the features this mid-ranger (running on Snapdragon 636) sports are much more exciting to talk about. As Campos put it:
We want to give people what they want but not at insane prices
Three features highlighted in our interview were the artificial intelligence (AI) technology, “reversed” dual camera, and immersive audio with and without headphones.
The AI technology: Asus launched the ZenFone 5 as an intelligent phone, not just a smartphone. Machine learning is deeply rooted in the design of the device in order “to predict what you want before you want it.” Campos explained how AI helps this phone doubles the lifespan of the battery, without any added effort from the user: “The phone knows when you are sleeping and when you’re going to wake up so […] it can charge to 80% during the night and not allow it to go over 80%, so it won’t lose the capability to retain power. Fifteen, twenty minutes before you wake up it starts to charge again to 100%.”
Campos claimed that the phone can actually last up to 6 years (more or less, depending on consumer behavior) thanks to this feature.
AI is also at the base of their camera scene detection. Once the device understands what it sees, it will automatically adjust white balance, saturation, and more. Given a bit of time, the phone will also learn your photo preferences and edit pictures just the way you like it.
Now, the front camera is more important than the back camera
The dual camera, reversed: Asus changed the mechanism of the dual camera, daring to take a different approach to cameras than the standard set by their competitors:
“[In traditional dual camera setups] when you use telephoto, the zoomed image will capture your face and the main camera with the best sensor will make the blurred background. We did the opposite – we used the wide angle camera to do the blur and the main camera, that can capture more light, for your face. So, for the first time, the portraits on ZenFone 5 will be much better than those of the competitors’,” explained Campos.
The immersive audio with and without headphones: Smartphones have trended toward ditching the headphone jack in favor of stereo speakers, but the ZenFone 5 again bucks the trend. It retains the jack while adding individual amplifiers to the speakers and fine-tuning the sound. According to Campos, the sound is richer thanks to the DTS Headphone:X technology