Asus goes big, real big, with new ZenFone 3 line-up

As had been widely expected, Asus has chosen this week’s Computex 2016 event in Taiwan to unveil its new flagship phone, the ZenFone 3.

Shown off in Taipei on Monday, the new Android handset comes in three variants – the 5.5-inch ZenFone 3, 5.7-inch ZenFone 3 Deluxe, and the enormous 6.8-inch ZenFone 3 Ultra, which in most people’s hands is likely to feel more ZenTablet than ZenFone.

Rumors suggesting the ZenFone would for the first time incorporate a fingerprint security scanner were bang on the mark, with the new sensor situated on the rear of the two smaller models, and on the front of the Ultra. The handsets also come with Qualcomm chipsets, marking a switch from the Intel and MediaTek processors used by Asus in its earlier ZenFones.

Of the three new offerings, the Deluxe is clearly the stand-out device. With its stunning design and impressive specs, we’re now eagerly awaiting price confirmation – Asus at this stage is only telling us each of the devices will cost between $200 and $549. As for availability, it appears all three devices will indeed be coming to the U.S. We’ll update with a time frame just as soon as we get it.

ZenFone 3

Looking at each of the new handsets in a little more detail, the ZenFone 3 (below) sports an attractively sandblasted metal frame with a thin 2.1mm bezel. Asus has managed to slim the phone down a little, too, packing it into a 7.69mm frame – more than 3mm thinner than the ZenFone 2.

Following lukewarm reviews of the camera on the ZenFone 2, Asus has been working on making improvements, though of course we won’t know for sure till we get the device in our hands. The new phone features a 16-megapixel rear shooter, up from 13MP on the ZenFone 2, while selfie enthusiasts will find an 8-megapixel camera on the front. It also incorporates Tritech autofocusing technology which claims to get your image pin sharp in a mere 0.03 seconds. In other words, no time at all.

Besides the Snapdragon 625 octo-core processor, the device also comes with 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, and a 3,000 mAh battery. Four colors are offered: Shimmer Gold, Aqua Blue, Sapphire Black, and Moonlight White.

Find out more here.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe

For design and specs, the Deluxe model (below) is the one certain to garner the most attention among the trio of new offerings. Along with the larger Ultra model, the Deluxe sports what Asus claims to be “the world’s first full metal unibody chassis with ‘invisible antenna’ design,” meaning it’s been able to remove the antenna lines seen on high-end devices from the likes of Apple, HTC, and others. That gives it an even cleaner look, one which, combined with its “aerospace-grade aluminum” casing, certainly makes for an eye-catching look. The device has an “edge” thickness of just 4.2mm, suggesting it’s a little thicker toward the middle.

The Deluxe comes with a 23-megapixel front camera – up from 13 with the previous iteration – and an 8-megapixel shooter on the front, up from 5. It also uses the Tritech fast-focusing system.

The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 820 chip, 6GB of RAM, and offers a hefty 256GB of storage. Included is a 3,000 mAh battery, and support for QuickCharge 3.0 and Type-C USB 3.0. Three colors are offered: Titanium Gray, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold.

Find out more here.

ZenFone 3 Ultra

And now for the whopper. The Ultra, like the Deluxe, features that striking aluminum unibody with its “invisible antenna” design, packed into a 6.8-mm chassis.

Powered by a Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor, the 6.8-inch phablet (below) comes with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a powerful 4,600 mAh battery that can also be used as a power bank to charge other devices. Keen shooters can make use of its 23-megapixel rear camera, while the 8MP snapper will take care of self-portraits.

The Ultra comes in three flavors: Titanium Gray, Glacier Silver, and Rose Pink.

Find out more here.

Asus hopes the ZenFone 3 is the one that makes it a contender

Taipei-based Asus may be better known for computers than smartphones, but it’s been taking a growing interest in the handset market, especially since the launch of the first ZenFone in 2014. Selling the majority of its devices in Asia, including Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Japan, the company says it’s aiming to ship 25 million smartphones this year, 5 million more than it did in 2015.

The market for powerful phones with decent specs is increasingly tough, so Asus will have to hit the sweet spot with pricing for its new devices. As mentioned, at this time Asus has only said the range will be between $200 and $550. Presumably the low-end figure is for the standard ZenFone, while the high-end figure is for the ultra. We’ll let you know as soon as the specifics are made available.

Computex launched in 1981 and has grown to become one of Asia’s top technology trade shows. DT is at the event, so be sure to check out the rest of our coverage throughout the week here.

Update: Asus have announced the prices: ZenFone 3 from $249; ZenFone 3 Deluxe from $499;  ZenFone 3 Ultra from $479

Mobile

Samsung goes big with the next-gen Galaxy S10 5G smartphone

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Mobile

The 2-year-old Nokia 6 is now being updated to Android Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Computing

Apple may go big with a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro, 31.6-inch 6K display

In a research note, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that there are indications the company could be releasing a 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as a 31.6-inch 6K display in 2019.
Business

Alita: Battle Angel’s big opening weekend leads weak holiday box office

New box-office champion Alita: Battle Angel outperformed expectations with its big premiere and positive reviews from critics, but Presidents' Day weekend is still off to a slow start.
Mobile

Folding smartphones hinge on the success of the Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.
Mobile

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.
Wearables

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active can track your blood pressure

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down the gym.
Gaming

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Mobile

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.
Mobile

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy S9: How much better is Samsung’s new flagship?

You'd naturally expect the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be better than last year's S9, but just how do the two phones differ? We break down the specs and compare Samsung's flagships in various categories to pick a winner.
Product Review

The Galaxy Watch Active is the right size for you, no matter how big or small your wrist is

Launched among a massive array of other new products, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active could easily have been missed at Galaxy Unpacked 2019 -- which would be unfortunate. This is a sensibly designed, correctly sized smartwatch suitable for…