Better pictures from a phone

Asus doubles-down on phones with ZenFone 2, ZenFone Zoom

Now we know what the “see what others can’t see” tagline means. Asus teased us with it before the Consumer Electronics Show, and on Monday the company debuted two new Android 5.0 handsets that focus on imaging and performance.

ASUS ZenFone 2 color line up 2

First up is the ZenFone 2; a successor to the original ZenFone of which Asus says it shipped 1.5 million units per month last quarter.

The new phone uses a 2.3 GHz 64-bit [company]Intel[/company] Atom processor and is the first handset with a whopping 4 GB of memory. That combination provides more performance for [company]Google[/company] Android than ARM-based chips, the company said, although its comparison of 3x more speed over a [company]Qualcomm[/company] Snapdragon 800 chip is a bit misleading: That silicon is two generations old.

zenphone performance

Still, the phone impresses; at least on paper with these specs: A 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, a 13-megapixel PixelMaster camera with f/2.0 aperture and a contrast boost of up to 400 percent in HDR mode. The demonstration pics were quite impressive — as you’d expect — so this looks to be an option for those who demand more from their smartphone cameras.

zenphone zoom

If image capturing is your top priority, the new ZenFone Zoom is a second option. The Zoom shares many features from the ZenFone 2: Same Zen UI, same screen resolution and cameras. The main difference is in the thickness and the 10-element lens that includes a 3x optical zoom function. Zooming is hard to come by on a smartphone — unless we’re talking about digital zoom — so this is a standout feature. A 5 centimeter macro shot also looked fantastic.

ZenPhone 2 and ZenPhone Zoom pricing

Asus announced pricing for both, but only provided carrier-subsidized numbers and no carrier partner announcements were made. Look for the new ZenFones next month to start at $199 for the ZenFone 2 and $399 for the ZenFone Zoom.

ces-2015-3