Has ASUS's PixelMaster technology mastered low-light photography? You be the judge

Has ASUS's PixelMaster technology mastered low-light photography? You be the judge

ASUS is introducing a new take on low-light photography in its ZenFone smartphones. It's the so-called PixelMaster technology, and Malaysian website SoyaCincau sampled it for the rest of the world to see (ZenFones are only selling in Taiwan for the time being).


Instead of bigger pixels like HTC's controversial UltraPixel technology, ASUS opted to use nearby pixels to capture more light. Now, we don't exclude the possibility of the company arranging the room in which the sample was taken as to present the PixelMaster camera at its peak abilities. But the result we're seeing is downright impressive, both on paper and on screen. There's a whopping 400% increase in brightness reported by ASUS, which is pretty hard to judge, but from what we're seeing, there's very little noise, and the objects in the photo look like they are lit up by a light source. 


So far, so good, but ASUS's shoot-in-the-dark camera leaves us with mixed feelings, and here's why. The extra light comes at the price of an extreme reduction in resolution. If you are shooting with the ZenFone 6's 13MP camera in PixelMaster mode, you will obtain a puny 3MP image, while the ZenFone 5's 8MP camera churns out 2MP photos. Remember the last time you took a native 2MP photo? Ours was in 2005, when the Sony Ericsson K750's 2MP auto-focus camera was all the rage. We still remember it fondly, by the way.


ZenFone 5 low-light camera samples with (right) and without (left) PixelMaster technology.

ZenFone 5 low-light camera samples with (right) and without (left) PixelMaster technology.



Then again, having a smaller, but well-lit photo in dark occasions is more preferable to having a messy, noisy 13MP photo with terrible colors. In addition, the ZenFone's camera software appears to be very feature-rich, with high-end cameraphone staples such as Time Rewind, DoF, Miniature, Smart Remove, and the immortal GIF animation. Mind you, the ZenFone is ASUS's newest budget series, with the ZenFone 6 priced a mere $230, and the ZenFone 5 costing $166 off-contract in Taiwan.





source: SoyaCincau

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ZenFone 6
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  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Intel Atom, Dual-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(28h 3G talk time)
ZenFone 5 (A502CG)
  • Display 5.0" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Intel Atom, Dual-core, 2000 MHz
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30 Comments

1. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

ZenFone 5 is only $199. Good cheap phone.

6. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Damn, Asus us getting pretty serious now, I like the camera on my infinity very much and good to see they're putting emphasis on it.

27. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

is there a link for that?

28. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

in contrast, the PadFone Infinity can go up to $1000 and over... :(

2. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Freaking awesome! It pulls off what the HTC One is shooting for without reducing the megapixel count for daytime shots! I'm totally buying a Zenfone 6 if it's released in the USA to replace my Moto G.

21. hurrycanger

Posts: 1755; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Hope it does not come here with a higher price tag. In Vietnam it's $300. :-/ I am very interested in the zen6, too, especially after seeing this article.

3. AppleHateBoy unregistered

Asus followed the footsteps of Nokia/Apple by implementing pixel binning. Their implementation seems to be much better though. I didn't like camera flashes anyway.

4. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

Too bad this kind of good phone is made in a few quantity. The demand is bigger than the production. For example Lenovo P780, it's out of stock here. The stores only leave us with junks like Samsung Galaxy series

5. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

wow.....this feature should be on every mobile..... sometimes it is better to have low resolution pictures than noisy and dark one...

7. jibraihimi

Posts: 800; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

So Luis, you never used iphone first generation in 2007 or 2008 with its 2Mp camera....????

9. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Nope. My country completely missed out on the first iPhone, I think. Is it better than the SE? I fondly remember applying sketchy camera mods to it that ruined the auto-focus, but made for awesome daylight photos.

8. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

nooooo! the ULTRAPIXEL is still the cream of the crap :-)

10. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

HAHAHAHAHA this is even better than having your smartphone force you to capture all images at 4megapixels forever!

11. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

ASUS is always raising the bar. they are the most innovative laptop (but now electronics) brand i know who suddenly pops up into the market successfully.

12. fatedcircle14

Posts: 23; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

is the zenphone series officially available elsewhere aside from its homeland of taiwan??

14. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Only in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam for now.

15. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I'm from Singapore, but I don't see any of them for sale

18. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Sorry, I was misinformed. "Taiwan tech giant Asus unveiled its plans to launch its new range of mass-market ZenFones in Singapore and other South-east Asian countries next month (May). The 5-inch ZenFone 5 will retail at $249 but fans who pre-order between April 23 and 30 will stand a chance to get it just $199, without contract." -http://www.straitstimes.com/digital-life/phone/story/asus-launches-zenfone-south-east-asia-20140415#sthash.O4fOln1O.dpuf

19. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

:-/ Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. If the Zenfone 5 is launching at $249 that will mean the Zenfone 6 will be upwards of $299+. Now the deal isn't so good, especially if those prices are the ones I'll be dealing with in the USA if it ever comes here. That starts putting it very close to the $349 Nexus 5 16GB and well over the price of the $199 Moto G 16GB. The highest I can see are reasonable prices for the Zenfone 5 would be $199 and $249 for the Zenfone 6. Otherwise they'll be DOA. That's just my opinion when comparing it to what you get in the Moto G.

22. hurrycanger

Posts: 1755; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

I agree with the whole comment.

29. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

It's in Singapore dollars, so the price should be lower in US dollars

20. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Ugh. Too late to edit something into my last post. I'm kind of pissed off at Asus. They announced such aggressive pricing then they wait a few months to release the phone and the first thing they do is raise the price after they used that as such a key selling point in their presentation. Talk about bait and switch. I'm all for companies working for a profit. I don't want any company going out of business because they didn't make enough. However once you announce aggressive pricing like that just like Motorola did with their Moto G you have to stick to your MSRP. I'd hate to see all Mobile companies announcing at a low price yet raising them arbitrarily once it hits market. If the price is so fluid don't use it in your announcement........

13. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Amazing. Now try that with 20MP or more :)

16. buccob

Posts: 2952; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

It would make a nice 5MP pic...

17. xche78x

Posts: 101; Member since: Mar 11, 2014

lower resolution (smaller file size) + better photo quality = perfect combo for me im now excited for the release of the zenphone 6, i hope the $230 price tag is the same when it launches here ^_^

23. user996

Posts: 221; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

will it come with update on padfone 2? it has 13mp camera i think it is enough for that

24. gigantos

Posts: 63; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

Actually here in Taiwan there will be 2 versions of Zenfone 5, A501C (2GHz Atom Z2580) priced $166 and A500C $149 but having slower CPU (1.6GHz Z2560). These are great deals, but it's quite big (bigger than One M8) for me. These days manufacturers don't care about 4.5-4.7'' range anymore, except Motorola phones which are restricted to few markets :(

25. gigantos

Posts: 63; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

Just checked ASUS website and actually there is a 2GB RAM version too.

26. riginal

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 15, 2014

Wow, ASUS, Innovative & Great like always

30. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Anyone tested it out really to see what it's like? Can it actually do that well? ...that's the question.

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