“Experience 2morrow” was the tag line of the day as ASUS took center stage on CES 2015. It encapsulates the Taiwanese tech giants drive to deliver amazing innovations today. With Chairman Jonney Shih running the show, ASUS unveiled two new devices and a brand new series of 2-in-1 tablets.
Transformer Book Chi, 2-in-1 Windows 8.1 tablets.
Leading the show was the groundbreaking ASUS Transformer Book Chi series, a razor thin tablet-cum-laptop that brings together high mobility with amazing performance. This series consists of three models that vary according to screen size. The first is the 12.5-inch T300, which is the most powerful of the three. It features a WQHD IPS display with a resolution option of either 2560 x 1440 or 1920 x 1080 pixels, with ASUS claiming it has a higher pixel density than the Macbook Air. Powering the T300 is an option of either a 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 or a 0.8GHz Intel Core M 5Y10. Supplementing this is a whopping 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage. The cameras are 5-MP rear and 2-MP front. As an added feature, the T300 comes with a detachable keyboard, that gives it the ability to switch between laptop and tablet mode. Considering that it only weighs 720 grams and 7.6mm thick, the T300 is truly a portable powerhouse.
The Transformer Book Chi series also consists of two other variants of smaller screen size. The T100 a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display, powered by a weaker 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3775 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. The cameras are similar to the T300 but the T100 is lighter and slimmer, weighing in at 570grams and 7.2mm thick. The final variant is the T90, that sports similar specifications to the T100 except that it has a smaller 8.9-inch 1280 x 800 IPS display. The T300 will retail at $799 while the T100 and T90 will retail for a relatively modest $399 and $299 respectively.
ASUS also unveiled its new generation of flagships in the Zenfone 2.
ASUS seems to be doing some streamlining as the current Zenfone 2 is only available in one display size of 5.5-inches, although there are options for the processor, RAM and storage size. The device can be powered by either a 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z3560 or a 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 64-bit processors. As memory goes, it packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, pretty much the standard these days. The display is a full HD IPS panel with a decent pixel density of 403 ppi. The cameras are pretty good as well, with a 13-MP rear shooter and 5-MP wide angle front shooter, complete with a manual mode for those who like to tinker with their snaps.
In an interesting design move, ASUS has placed the volume key below the rear camera, reminiscent of LG G series of flagships. But beyond that, it is truly an ASUS device with its Android 5.0 OS overlaid with the ZenUI. New functions have been added to ZenUI including ZenMotion, SnapView, and browser integration with Trend Micro security. Also, users can customize the interface of the Zenfone 2, from themes, fonts and icons.
The Zenfone 2 will be launching in March and carries a price tag of $199 (approximately RM708).
In perhaps the most surprising reveal of the day, ASUS unveiled another smartphone in the form of the Zenfone Zoom.
ASUS is walking down a less trodden path with the Zenfone Zoom, with the only obvious competition being the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and the more recent Nokia Lumia 1020. Despite the large camera module on the back, the Zenfone Zoom only packs a 13-MP sensor. However, the tech supporting the camera makes up for it. It has a 10-element lens with 3x optical zoom, Optical Image Stabilization and laser auto-focus. There is also dual-color Real Tone Xenon flash near the camera. The front camera is 5MP with an 88-degrees wide angle F2.0 lens. As with the Zenfone 2, the Zenfone Zoom also Manual mode.
Well the camera specs and features have been clearly laid out, the same cannot be said for the specs of the Zenfone Zoom itself. All that has been said is that it will have similar features to the Zenfone 2 such as a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display, 3000mAh battery, Cat. 4 LTE support and up to 128GB of storage. The Zenfone Zoom is slated for release in the second quarter of 2015 going for $399 (approximately RM 1418).
For all these products, the availability in Malaysia has not been made known yet. You ASUS fans out there however will be very keen to get their hands on these devices, so watch this space for more updates.