Asus Zenfone Zoom, perhaps the only current phone in India to come with optical zoom, has been priced at Rs 36,999 for the 128 GB version, making it the most expensive phone from the brand in India.
The device, which is likely to be a Flipkart exclusive, is one of the rare smartphones with moving lenses and is also the world’s thinnest optical zoom phone.
It is not the first such device, as Samsung brought out the S4 Zoom and the K Zoom in the year 2013 and 2014 respectively.
However, the Asus Zenfone Zoom has a specialty that none of the two Samsung models can claim — it still looks like a smartphone, not a digital camera.
While the Samsung devices were rather bulky with a thickness of 16 mm, this one is slim by comparison at less than 12 mm.
When you realize that many ‘normal’ phones have a thickness of 10 mm, you realize how much of engineering Asus has put into the model to come up with this.
Before we go ahead into the specifications of the phone, which will be officially launched in India on Friday, a word about why optical zoom matters.
WATCH the launch on the Asus website.
Optical (or lens-based) zoom in the real zoom, while what most of us are used to on our smartphones is actually just a software effect. The software cuts away parts of the picture and makes it look bigger on the screen.
As a result, a zoomed picture on a smartphone looks nowhere as clear or crisp as a normal, unzoomed photo.
But optical zoom actually moves the objects closer by moving the lens inside the unit.
The big advantage of doing this is that the object looks three times as big (or near) without any loss of clarity. It is like you’ve moved closer to the object by two thirds of the current distance — which makes a huge, huge difference to the picture quality in practice.
In terms of other specifications, the Zenfone model offers specifications that you’ve come to expect in a model that is priced at around Rs 25,000 (such as the OnePlus 2): 4 GB of RAM, a full-HD 5.5-inch display, a 3 Ah battery and an Intel Atom Z3580 processor that has as much power as the Snapdragon 810.
Internal memory is 64 GB, which can be supplemented by a 128 GB MicroSD card, and operating system is Android Lolipop.
As far as competition is concerned, the Samsung K Zoom is no longer being sold by Amazon, which was the exclusive distributor. However, it is available from third parties, without warranty, for around Rs 18,000.