The ZenFone 5z design is the epitome of 2018; glass on the front and back and a notch display. Whether that's good or bad is open for debate but the ZenFone 5z looks every bit as modern and stylish as every other flagship smartphone this year.
The ZenFone 5z display is not as tall as some of the other phones out there, so the phone doesn't have the same stretched out look and is a bit short and stout in comparison.
The front is edge to edge glass and is so featureless when the display is not lit up, that sometimes it's hard to tell which side is up. Once lit up, it's easy to appreciate the thin bezels all around. Even the bottom "chin" is quite thin to the point where it's barely noticeable.
The notch is of course here in full force, although it's not quite as large as we have seen on some other phones, such as the Poco F1 and the Huawei Nova 3. That doesn't mean it couldn't have been smaller as Asus isn't packing any specialized hardware in there apart from the usual camera, earpiece and sensors.
The front glass melts over into the side frame, although not quite gracefully as there is a noticeable lip around the glass that sits between the glass and the frame. The frame itself is made out of aluminum, as is par for the course, and is still rocking chamfered edges that feel a bit out of 2013 at this point. The metal has a smooth, sandblasted finish that isn't particularly grippy.
On the right side are the power and the volume buttons. The buttons offer good feedback and feel stable without any play. On the other side is the hybrid SIM slot.
At the bottom is a headphone jack, a USB-C port, a microphone and a loudspeaker. On the top is another microphone.
At the back, the ZenFone 5z uses the same glass as on the front. The glass has a nice smoky look with a fine circular pattern originating from the fingerprint sensor that creates spinning wheel pattern when the light hits the back. It's a design feature that has been around since the early days of ZenFone devices, and it's good to see Asus keeping it around for continuity.
The glass does attract smudges and fingerprints but it's never distracting and was actually hard to see on our Midnight Blue unit. It's also extremely easy to clean; one swipe on your shirt or trouser wipes it clean instantly. The Asus branding on the back is also very subtle unlike the shouty branding on some other devices.
The overall look and build quality and feel of the ZenFone 5z is premium and the phone looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is. However, we would have liked to see ingress protection, which is missing. As with most modern smartphones, it's quite possible the ZenFone 5z will survive a quick splash or the rain, but without any certification or claims from the manufacturers, we wouldn't put any trust into it.