Asus has launched its latest ZenFone flagship smartphone range, featuring an all-screen design and a top notch similar to that introduced with Apple’s iPhone X.
And the company may not be the only one to copy the iPhone’s notch, with leaked photos indicating Huawei’s flagship P20, set for launch next month, may also sport the feature.
At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Asus introduced the top-of-the-range ZenFone 5Z, as well as the similar ZenFone 5 and the 5 Lite, with the 5Z and 5 both featuring Full HD displays that reduce bezels to a minimum. Asus said the 18:9, 6.2-inch screen takes up 90 percent of the devices’ front panel.
All three devices also include rear-mounted dual cameras and ZeniMoji, Asus’ take on selfie animations.
The cameras on the top-end models include 12 megapixel Sony IMX363 cameras with a mode for low light, with the second camera having a 120-degree wide-angle lens, and a front-facing 8MP camera.
They include two stereo speakers and a pair of Asus-branded Hi-Res Audio-capable earbuds.
Asus has introduced several features powered by AI and big data analytics, including something called AI Charging that aims to preserve battery life by analysing users’ phone charging patterns. Overnight the phone switches to slow charging to protect the battery, but at other times charges more quickly.
The phones introduce facial recognition as an unlocking technique, but also include rear-mounted fingerprint scanners. They also include headphone jacks and MicroSD card slots.
The ZenFone 5Z uses a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, with 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of storage, while the 5 uses the Snapdragon 636 and has up to 6GB of RAM.
The ZenFone 5 Lite, with a 6-inch display, will be available in variants running the Snapdragon 410 or Snapdragon 630 chips. It is to feature versions with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
The Lite is set to ship first, in March, followed by the ZenFone 5 in April and the 5Z in June.
The ZenFone 5Z is priced at €479, or £499.99 in the UK for the 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM version, Asus said. It didn’t give pricing for the other models.
A leak from journalist Evan Blass indicated Huawei’s design may be similar to the ZenFone 5Z and the iPhone X, down to having a narrow notch at the top of the elongated screen.
The leaked image indicates the model retains a bottom bezel, however, housing a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. Reports said the name “Shirley” appearing on the back of the device is Huawei’s code-name for this P20 variant.
The P20 is set to launch on 27 March in Paris.
LG’s V30S ThinQSouth Korea’s LG eschewed the notch for the all-screen model it introduced at MWC, the V30S ThinQ, where it also discussed a new smartphone strategy focusing on device audio, battery, camera and display.
“The majority smartphone customers today desire a great user experience that thoughtfully reflects how they work and play,” said LG mobile president Hwang Jeong-hwan in a statement, in which he called the new ThinQ an “interim product”.
Also at MWC, Samsung showcased prototypes from its Creative Lab, including wearable cameras, sticky note printers and helmet communication devices.
Qualcomm announced a new mobile chip platform called the Snapdragon 700, for mid-range Android smartphones.
The company said the new line is to include some of the features of the high-end Snapdragon 800 series of chipsets, such as its AI engine and enhancements for camera, device performance and power management.
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