ASUS outs new ZenFone line of smartphones, Transformer Book Duet with Windows 8 and AndroidAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
Following AT&T's announcement of the PadFone X, ASUS took to the CES 2014 stage to introduce a few new goodies of its own. The company today took the wraps off of a trio of new smartphones that go by the name "ZenFone", a new version of its Padfone mini and the Transformer Book Duet, which ASUS touts as being a "quad-more, dual-OS laptop and tablet." Here's the skinny on all of the new kit in an easy-to-digest bulleted list:
- ASUS ZenFone 4: 4-inch 800x480 display, 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 processor, 5-megapixel rear camera with secondary 2-megapixel front shooter, 1GB of RAM, 4GB strorage, microSD card slot and an 1170mAh battery. Comes preloaded with Android 4.3 running beneath ASUS's custom ZenUI, will be upgraded to Android 4.4.
- ASUS ZenFone 5: Packs a 5-inch 1280x720 IPS display with support for glove and pencil input, 8-megapixel f/2.0 PixelMaster rear camera for increased light sensitivity and noise reduction. Also included is a 2-megapixel front camera, 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor, 4GB/8GB/16GB storage, microSD card slot, 1GB of RAM and a 2050mAh battery. Like the ZenFone 4, the ZenFone 5 comes preloaded with Android 4.3 and the ASUS ZenUI, with an upgrade to Android 4.4 planned.
- ASUS ZenFone 6: Includes a 6-inch 1280x720 IPS display that's capable of glove and pencil input, 13-megapixel f/2.0 PixelMaster camera, 2-megapixel front-facing shooter and a microSD card slot. Inside the unit is 8GB/16GB storage, dual-SIM support, 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor and a 3230mAh battery. Just like its smaller ZenFone siblings, the 6-inch ZenFone runs Android 4.3 and ASUS's ZenUI out of the box and will be upgraded to Android 4.4.
- ASUS Padfone mini: This new model packs 4-inch 800x480 display, down from the original model's 4.3-inch 960x540 screen, as well as a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor. Also included is an 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front shooter, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage and a microSD slot. A combo of an 1170mAh battery and Android 4.3 powers the Padfone mini, and an upgrade to Android 4.4 is planned. Meanwhile, the Padfone Station packs a 7-inch 1280x800 screen and a 2100mAh battery.
- Transformer Book Duet TD300: Runs both Windows 8 and Android and can switch between the two in four seconds. Can also be used in laptop mode with a full keyboard, or the screen can be detached as used as a tablet. Specs include a 13.3-inch display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB storage in the tablet and 320GB/500GB/750GB/1TB in the keyboard dock. Processor options include an Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 chip.
ASUS also took the opportunity of being on the CES stage to talk up its ZenUI a bit. The custom overlay features a lock screen with colors that match the user's phone, redesigned icons and a launch screen that displays a user's calendar events alongside quick links to social media and phone functions. An updated photo gallery allows users to easily create and share albums.
So what about the all-important pricing and availability details? The ZenFone 4, 5, and 6 are all expected to launch at no contract prices of $99, $149 and $199, respectively, but ASUS isn't saying when they'll launch. Meanwhile, the Padfone mini will hit the U.S. for $249. The Transformer Book Duet is, unsurprisingly, the most expensive of the bunch, starting at $599 for a unit with a Core i3 chip and 1366x768 display and moving up to $699 for a model with a 1920x1080 screen. Expect the dual-OS device to hit Asia and Europe in Q1 and the U.S. in Q2.