Asus just launched a new ZenFone in Taiwan. It’s not a road-opener for the new ZenFone 3 generation we were promised for next month. It’s a budget device with a special talent – it doubles as a TV set.
The ZenFone Go TV isn’t the first Android smartphone with a built-in TV tuner. The feature is quite popular in East Asia, and Korean variants of several flagship phones from LG and Samsung have had it. But the ZenFone Go TV is among the cheapest options for customers who want TV on their phones without data consumption. And, unlike some other phones, the Go TV doesn’t feature a bulky telescopic antenna, though presumably you will need to plug in the headphones just like with FM radio.
The ZenFone Go TV can receive DB-T, DB-T2, ISDB-T, and ISDB-Tmm TV signal, thanks to the Sony SMT-EW100 40716 tuner chip it incorporates. If you’re interesting to buying this phone for its TV feature, make sure to check if it will work with the standards used in your country. A full list of countries with compatible networks is available here. North Americans need not apply.
TV tuner aside, the ZenFone Go is not a bad budget smartphone. There’s a 5.5-inch LCD screen (sadly just HD) covered in Gorilla Glass 3, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB/32GB of expandable storage, dual SIM LTE, 13MP and 5MP cameras, and a 3010 mAh battery. Sadly, the phone runs Lollipop, and given Asus’ abysmal updates track record, we wouldn’t hold our breath for Marshmallow.
The whole package is on sale in Taiwan for an attractive $170 in the local currency. Even if gets a price bump in other markets, the ZenFone Go TV looks like a solid budget phone, especially if you’re into watching over-the-air television.