For Asus, what's old is new again as the Chinese electronics giant revealed today at CES that its ZenFone Zoom will go on sale next month in the US. Considering the handset was originally unveiled at last year's show, you may be wondering what's so special about a "dated" smartphone that's already available overseas. The answer is simple: its camera.
The ZenFone Zoom features a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization. Notably, it also employs a 3x optical zoom versus the standard (and entirely useless) digital zoom found on virtually all modern smartphones. Furthermore, it uses a laser-assisted autofocus system which results in faster, more accurate focusing compared to contrast detection methods and a dual-tone flash.
What really makes the ZenFone Zoom stand out according to Engadget is its 10-element lens from renowned optics company Hoya (although interestingly enough, Hoya is most known for its lens filters, not actual lenses) and SmartFSI image sensor from Panasonic.
All of the camera technology is packed into the standard shell of the smartphone meaning no ugly protruding camera. It's not without sacrifice, however, as this means the aperture ranges from f/2.7 to f/4.8 versus the faster f/2.0 aperture we're accustomed to with today's flagships. As such, low light performance and depth of field will suffer a bit.
Other key specifications include a 5.5-inch, 1080p display (403 PPI) coated with Gorilla Glass 4, a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and up to 128GB of local eMCP flash storage, all powered by a non-removable 3,000mAh battery.
Look for the Asus ZenFone Zoom to arrive in February starting at $399 free and clear of any contract.