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DIGIMENTORS TECH TIP | Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra: Flagship Smartphone Challenges Big Dogs

Front and back Images of Asus' new Zenfone 11 Ultra. Also the back of the cell phone in different colors.

Excerpted from the April 17, 2024 of Sree's Sunday Note.

It doesn’t get the media attention of Apple or Samsung, but global computer giant Asus has been making quality cell phones for decades. Its new Zenfone 11 Ultra shows that the company doesn’t plan on being left behind.

With its $899.99 price tag, 6.78-inch AMOLED display and 256 GB of storage, the Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra sits between more expensive flagship smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 15 Plus ($999 with 6.7-inch display and 256 GB of storage) or Samsung’s Galaxy S24+ ($999.99 with 6.7-inch screen and 256GB of storage) and less-expensive and less-powered “budget phones.”

While it’s known for its laptops, PCs, motherboards and other computer components, Asus was already making flip phones in 2003. Its Zenfone series of Android smartphones debuted in 2014.

The new unit, essentially a recrafted version of the ROG Phone 8, a Republic of Gamers-branded smartphone optimized for gaming, is a marked departure from the Zenfone 10 which, with its relatively diminutive 5.9-inch display, was promoted as an easily pocketable alternative to large, bulky smartphones.

The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra doesn’t scrimp on muscle: It uses the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor used in many top-shelf smartphones. The built-in 12 GB of RAM provides more than enough data-processing memory for the most sophisticated apps and its 256 GB of internal storage is more than ample for thousands of photos and long videos, albeit without the ability to expand storage with a removable memory card.

Its power-efficient AMOLED display can adjust its refresh rate from 1 to 120 Hz. It won’t refresh the screen often if you’re viewing, for example, static text, thus saving power, but will increase the rate as necessary if you’re viewing a video or a robust web page. When gaming, the screen can be boosted to 144 Hz, thus allowing gamers to keep up with their online competition.

Its rear camera array includes a 50MP stabilized main rear camera with 2x zoom, a 32MP telephoto camera with 3x zoom and a 13MP ultrawide camera. On the front is a 32MP selfie camera with a 90-degree field of view. The unit also has a fast-charging 5,500 mAh battery which supports 65-watt wired charging and 15-watt wireless charging.

Like other flagship smartphones, the Zenfone 11 Ultra weaves artificial intelligence into its imaging and audio systems. An AI-assisted noise-cancellation feature identifies and suppresses extraneous noises, thus making voice calls clearer, according to Asus, while an AI-powered instant translator lets the user speak in his native language and have it come out translated on the other end. A HyperClarity feature uses AI to enhance and reconstruct detail in zoomed images, thus improving clarity, according to Asus.

Thanks to its status as the world’s fifth-largest personal computer maker behind Lenovo, HP, Dell and Apple, Asus doesn’t need to depend on low pricing to carve out its small (0.16 percent, according to Statcounter), but significant slice of the global smartphone market. The Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra is available in blue, black, gray or sand and is on sale now. My tech tips appear regularly in Sree's Sunday Note.

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