All About Asus ZenFones

History and details of each release

Asus ZenFone 5, front and back view at angle
Asus ZenFone 5. PC screenshot

Asus ZenFones, often misspelled Zenphones, are a line of Android smartphones that launched in 2014. The phones range from very cheap basic models to high-end iPhone-like handsets. Asus has several subsets ZenFones, including the ZenFone Max (big batteries), Selfie (self-portrait focused with dual lenses), and Zoom (for close-ups). The smartphones are sold around the world, but not always in North America. Here's a look at the latest releases from the original ZenFone line.

Asus ZenFone 5, 5z, and 5 lite

Asus ZenFone 5 Lite in red, front and back view
Asus ZenFone 5 Lite. PC screenshot

Display: 6.2-in IPS LCD
Resolution: 1080x2246 @ 402ppi
Front camera: 8 MP
Rear camera: Dual 12 MP/8 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 8.0 Oreo
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: April 2018

The Asus ZenFone 5 looks a lot like the iPhone X with its large screen, a notch at the top to hide the camera and facial recognition tech, and a glass back panel. You can use the fingerprint scanner on the back to unlock the phone unless you opt for facial recognition unlocking. The ZenFone 5's camera has AI scene detection to get the best shots and a large TK battery. Storage-wise, this smartphone has 64 GB of onboard storage with the option to expand that by up to 400 GB via the microSD card slot. The ZenFone 5 and its variants, described below, has not been confirmed for the U.S.

There are two ZenFone 5 variants: the ZenFone 5z and ZenFone 5 lite. The Asus ZenFone 5z, which ships in June 2018, has a more advanced Snapdragon chip and more RAM (up to 8 GB). It also has three storage options: 256 GB, 128 GB, or 64 GB. Like the ZenFone 5, it accepts microSD cards up to 400 GB.

On the other end of the spectrum is the ZenFone 5 lite, which has a slightly smaller screen, and different front and rear cameras. It comes in 64 GB and 32 GB versions and accepts cards up to 400 GB. Its main differences are:

  • 6-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels @ 402ppi
  • Dual lens primary camera: 16 MP lens and 120-degree wide angle lens
  • Dual lens front camera: 20 MP lens and 120-degree wide angle lens

Asus ZenFone 4 and 4 Pro

Asus ZenFone 4 in black, front and back view
Asus ZenFone 4. PC screenshot

Display: 5.5-in IPS LCD
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 401ppi
Front camera: 8 MP
Rear camera: Dual 12 MP/8 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 7.1 Nougat
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: October 2017

The Asus ZenFone 4 (ZE554KL) is a decent Android smartphone with a fingerprint sensor on the front that doubles as a home button. It features a version of the ZenUI Android skin that introduced twin apps, which opens two instances of social media apps, something we've seen from other brands including the Huawei Mate series. This feature is convenient if you run multiple accounts or have separate logins for work. Storage-wise, the ZenFone 4 has 64 GB onboard and accepts microSD cards up to 256 GB. The ZenFone 4 Pro (available in two versions) adds a few premium features, discussed below. All of these phones have headphone jacks. The ZenFone 4 is available in the U.S.; the 4 Pro models are not.

The ZenFone 4 Pro models (ZS551KL, ZS551KL SE) have the same size screen—5.5 inches—but they use AMOLED technology. The 4 Pro ZS551KL comes in 64 GB and 128 GB configurations, while the 4 Pro ZS551KL SE has only a 64 GB option. Otherwise, the two phones, which came out in October 2017, are the same with larger batteries and upgraded selfie cameras.

Both Asus ZenFone 4 Pro phones have:

  • 8 MP primary cameras (same as the ZenFone 4)
  • Dual 12 MP/16 MP front cameras
  • 3600 mAh batteries vs. the ZenFone 4's 3300 mAh

Asus ZenFone V (Verizon exclusive)

Asus ZenFone V in black front and back view
Asus ZenFone V. PC screenshot

Display: 5.2-in AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 424ppi
Front camera: 8 MP
Rear camera: 23 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 7.0 Nougat
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: September 2017

The Asus ZenFone V, exclusive to Verizon, is a midrange Android phone with just 32 GB of storage and a card slot that accepts up to 256 GB. It has a snappy fingerprint scanner on the front, a headphone jack, and a decent size battery (3,000 mAh). The cameras perform well, thanks to optical image stabilization and high-resolution sensors. At its release, the ZenFone V sported a low price tag (under $300), which was a big drawing point.

Asus ZenFone AR (Verizon exclusive)

Asus ZenFone AR in black, front and back view
Asus ZenFone AR. PC screenshot

Display: 5.7-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1440x2560 @ 515Kppi
Front camera: 8 MP
Rear camera: 23 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 7.0 Nougat
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: June 2017

The Asus Zenfone AR is the first phone certified for both Google Tango (augmented reality) and Daydream (virtual reality). The phone has a triple rear camera to accommodate AR and a large OELD screen. While VR is fully immersive—you can tour faraway cities or attend events such as the Olympic Games, AR takes something like your living room and adds elements, turning it into a game, for example. The ZenFone AR has a faux leather back and a fingerprint scanner on the front. Its battery is slightly larger than the ZenFone V at 3,300 mAh. It comes in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB configurations, and can expand by up to 256 GB via its microSD card slot.

Asus ZenFone 3

Asus ZenFone 3 in silver, gold, pink and black, back view
Asus ZenFone 3. PC screenshot

Display: 5.2-in/5.5-in Super IPS
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 401ppi
Front camera: 8 MP
Rear camera: 16 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 6.0 Marshmallow
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: August 2016

The Asus ZenFone 3 comes in two versions: the 5.2-inch ZE520KL and the 5.5-inch ZE552KL. Both models are constructed of glass and metal and have fingerprint scanners on the back panel. The 5.5-inch model has a slightly larger battery (3,000 mAh vs. 2,650 mAh). Other than that, the phones share the same features including the front and rear cameras, a microSD card slot, headphone jack, and screen resolution. Both phones are available in 64 GB and 32 GB configurations and accept cards up to 256 GB.

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2, front and back view, held in hands
Asus ZenFone 2. PC screenshot

Display: 5-in/5.5-in IPS LCD
Resolution: 1280 x 720/1920x1080 @ 401ppi
Front camera: 8 MP/5 MP
Rear camera: 2 MP/13 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: March 2015

The Asus ZenFone 2 is available in three versions distinguished by their cameras, processing power, storage options, and color choices. The ZE500CL has a 5-inch screen (1280 x 720), an 8-megapixel primary camera, 2-megapixel selfie camera, and a headphone jack. It comes with 16 GB of storage and accepts up to 64 GB microSD cards. 2500 mAh battery.

The ZE550ML has a 5.5-inch screen (1280 x 720), a 13-megapixel primary camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, and comes with only 16 GB of storage, but accepts cards up to 128 GB. The phone has a slightly larger battery (3000 mAh) than the ZE500ML but lacks a headphone jack.

Finally, the ZZ551ML also has a 5.5-inch screen, but with a higher resolution of 1920x1080. It has the same cameras the ZE550ML and accepts microSD cards up to 128 GB. However, it's available in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB configurations. It's also the only of the three models to be available in the U.S.

Asus ZenFone C

Asus ZenFone C in red, gold, white, and blue, front and back views
Asus ZenFone C. PC screenshot

Display: 4.5-in IPS LCD
Resolution: 480x854 @ 218ppi
Front camera: VGA (640x480 pixels)
Rear camera: 5 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 4.4 KitKat
Final Android version: Undetermined
Release Date: February 2015

The plastic ZenFone C is a very basic smartphone with a mediocre camera, screen, and battery life. It comes with only 64 GB of internal storage, but that can be expanded by as much as 64 GB using the microSD card slot. The ZenFone C is not for sale in the U.S.