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Asus unveils photography-focused ZenFone Zoom, coming in February for $399

The newest smartphone from Asus is all about photography. The company showed off the ZenFone Zoom at CES on Monday, pledging that the device is the “world’s thinnest” phone to come equipped with a 3X optical zoom lens. And if that sounds familiar, it's because Asus announced the same phone one year ago at CES, and is just now bringing it to the U.S.

The device also uses a HOYA 10-element lens arrangement to bolster the image sharpness. The photographic prowess is packed into a 5mm metallic unibody case that with a leather rear panel. The PixelMaster camera is 13MP and includes a “Super Resolution” mode that the company says can snap and then compile four pictures into one high-resolution image. Like many other high-end devices, the Zoom uses optical image stabilization. 

Asus

The ZenFone Zoom is geared towards those who want a great camera experience with their next smartphone.

On the spec front, the phone has either a 2.5GHz or 2.3GHz Intel Atom processor (depending upon the model) with 4GB of RAM. You’ll have a good amount of screen space to look at those images, with a 5.5-inch display with a pixel density of 403 PPI. You get 64GB or 128GB of storage, with the ability to add a total of up to 128GB with a microSD card. 

As an added bonus, anybody who buys one gets 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years. The phone is launching with Android Lollipop, however, with no indication of when Marshmallow may arrive.The ZenFone Zoom comes to the U.S. in early February at $399.

Why this matters: Most smartphone buyers now place a high value on the camera. Asus appears to be hearing that call, and has promised big performance for its latest device. But it's hard to take this seriously, when this is literally last-year's phone for overseas markets, brought to the U.S. market as though it were new.

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