CES 2016: ASUS Announces ZenFone Zoom Smartphone

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2016 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: zenfone zoom, zenfone, CES 2016, CES, asus

Here is another x86 smartphone from ASUS. Sebastian reviewed the ZenFone 2 in June, which he gave an Editor's Choice award to. It was a high-performance, very responsive phone with a great, IPS screen, and it was available for just $199 or $299.

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Today, they are announcing the ZenFone Zoom. This one has a 3x optical zoom using lenses from HOYA. The camera also has a laser autofocus that, ASUS claims, can adjust in three hundredths of a second. While auto modes are available, it also allows the user to override ISO gain, exposure, white balance, and “other options.” It has a dual-LED flash, which is said to generate photos with “more lifelike colors and skin tones.” No flash can overcome the physics of flooding light from a single, small point source. Any dominant light will dominate shadows, which exaggerate wrinkles, intensify oil glare, and so forth. While you will always get better photos in an environment that is lit from several, wider angles, it's good to have a flash that can make the most of a bad situation (have a good control over color, etc.).

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Two SoCs are available for this phone. The lower-end chip is the same as the ZenFone 2's higher-end one, the Intel Atom Z3580 (up to 2.3 GHz boost). A higher-end processor is available as well, the Z3590, which gives a 200 MHz bump in boost frequency (up to 2.5 GHz boost). All models are backed with 4GB of RAM, which is a huge amount for a phone. It will come in two storage sizes: 64GB or 128GB. It also includes a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 128GB. It uses the Intel LTE modem.

The ASUS ZenFone Zoom will be available in February, with prices starting at $399.

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Source: ASUS

January 4, 2016 | 06:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes but its using an Intel Atom CPU(Z3580), and its PowerVR G6430 GPU is getting long in the tooth. Any x86 based phone is going to be power hungry, and this phone SKU reeks of Contra Revenue! And what GPU/graphics does the newer Intel Z3590 use, I can't find much info on the Z3590's GPU make, is Intel using PowerVR or its own graphics in the Z3590.

It looks to little too late for these Intel SKUs when the ARM makers are now at 14nm/16nm also and looking at going smaller. Intel had a hard time just competing with ARM based CPUs/SOCs fabbed at 28nm in power usage metrics even with Intel's process node lead, and now the ARM makers are at or near parity in the fabrication process node around 14nm! How will Intel stack up against the ARM makers on 14nm ARM Versus 14nm x86 on in the power usage metric.

January 4, 2016 | 07:17 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Okay, I'll address a few points in your comment.

First, the Z3580 and Z3590 use the same GPU. Second, they are also manufactured at 22nm. Third, x86 doesn't automatically mean power-hungry. It's an instruction set. It maps down to transistors in whatever way Intel (or AMD, VIA, etc.) finds is most efficient. The ARM instruction set was originally tuned towards what C compilers output. It has since expanded, because that target varies over time, especially when you start adding vectorization and other complex features.

Performance cannot be asserted. Performance must be measured, and constantly remeasured as situations fluctuate.

January 4, 2016 | 08:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It takes more transistors to implement the x86 ISA than the ARMv8A ISA, so when all the devices transistors are going then the one using less transistors is going to use less power. Intel's x86 phone/mobile SOCs have had a hard time just making the power usage metrics of the ARM based SOCs even though the ARM based SOCs where at 28nm and Intel was at 22nm going to 14nm! And unless Intel has access to some form of superconducting zero point energy source, those x86 ISA based ATOM SKUs are not going to be able to outperform the ARM based SKUs in the power usage metric now that the ARM based SKUs are rolling out of the Fabs at 14nm/16nm. The x86 CISC mobile/phone SKUs are going to be faced with the ARM RISC based designs at near 14nm parity with some ARM SKUs using 14nm FINFET, and some on ARM SKUs at 16nm FINFET fabrication process nodes!

Intel has had to employ serious power gating and other methods, in addition to Intel's process node lead, just to get its x86 based mobile/phone SKUs to reach similar power usage metrics, Intel's 22nm versus ARM based SKUs 28nm, and that 14nm fabrication node parity is definitely in the here and now, and Intel has no competing RISC designs of its own to go up against those of an entire ARM based market. Even AMD will have its custom K12 ARMv8A ISA running custom APU SKUs sometime in 2017 to compete with even Apple's leading custom ARMv8A ISA running designs. Now that the ARM based industry has caught up to Intel with process node sizes, Intel will not be able to engineer a CISC x86 ISA into a RISC ARMv8a type of ISA, and by the laws of physics more transistors will use more energy than less transistors at an equal process node, and power gating alone will not help Intel.

Intel will have to go to 10nm with its x86 based phone SKUs, and even then what of the graphics that Intel will be using, as Intel never uses its best graphics on its low cost SKUs, and even if Intel uses licensed IP GPU technology Intel never licenses the latest PowerVR/other designs. The only thing keeping Intel in phones is Contra revenue, and those newest custom ARM SKUs are at 14nm/16nm process node now.

January 5, 2016 | 12:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Should be running full Windows 10

January 5, 2016 | 12:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

With 3x optical zoom with which to better spy on you and see just what products are on your shelves just from the photos of little Jimmy's birthday party! And you thought you where just focusing on the kid's face but the phone was taking some extra background snaps more interested in what product labels it could see, identify, and send back to the big cloud party in Redmond! Welcome to M$'s new metrics system where you are the product!

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