After a long gap Asus is trying their hands on smartphone market once again. This smartphone should be available for purchase around this July 9th, but fortunately you don’t need to wait that long to know about this device’s pros and cons.
We spent few days with this device and we managed to find out what makes this so special and what makes this dull. The device runs Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) as of now, but upgradable to Android KitKat (4.4). Asus also introduced their brothers – 4-inch and 6-inch models – but we are now gonna review the 5-inch one. So here we go.
Asus Zenfone 5 Review – Detailed
|Operating System (OS)||Android JellyBean 4.3 (will update to 4.4 KitKat)|
|Display||5″ 1280*720 IPS+ Panel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Memory||Internal: 8/16 GB
Card slot: microSD (up to 64 GB)
|Processor||Intel Atom Dual-Core Z2560 1.6GHz|
Rear: 8MP (3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash)
|SIM||Dual Micro SIM Card|
|Weight||145 g (5.11 oz)|
Design & Build
Asus Zenfone 5 comes with these colors – Charcoal Black/Pearl White/Cherry Red/Twilight Purple/Champagne Gold. We got the Charcoal White one for reviewing and it looks sexy. Though it might look like a huge phone, to be honest, it isn’t. I can hold the phone comfortably in my hands, the bezels might look odd, but they don’t bother me much. The device has a dimension of 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.34 mm (LxWxH). This 5-inch phone weights around 145 g.
The device has a simple design with rounded edges. The front side might resemble HTC One (M8) but lacks the feel of it. I was surprised when I was able to open the rear cover but fortunately the battery was embedded and not removable. You have slots for dual SIM cards and microSD card inside.
DETAILED: Asus ZenFone 5 UI: It Can’t Get Any Better
Display & Interface
This device has a 5-inch IPS screen with Capacitive Multi touch panel Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3. It supports GloveTouch input and has a HD resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The device runs Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) as of now, but upgradable to Android 4.4 (KitKat). I was really impressed with their ASUS ZenUI interface, kinda looks new.
They have flat icons and a minimal layout for their UI.
This device has Intel® Atom™ Multi-Core Z2580/Z2560 Processor 2.0/1.6GHz with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. It has 2 GB / 1 GB RAM. Everything looked cool until I started to play some games on it. It works wonderfully for games like Temple Run, Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga, etc, but it lags often when I tried some advanced games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Some Marvel Action games, etc.
[BENCHMARK RESULTS VIA ANTUTU BENCHMARK ANDROID APP]
The benchmark results came out good but the processor could have been improved.
It has 8/16 GB internal storage space and it can be expanded up to 64GB (microSD). They also provide you 5GB free lifetime ASUS WebStorage.
USEFUL: 5+ Best Free Online Storage Services You Can Use For Backup
We can talk a lot about this Zenfone’s camera features. Asus introduces a new technology called “PixelMaster” to provide enhanced image quality. It is a combination of software, hardware and optical design. Personally I enjoyed taking snaps with this device, it’s quick and I got various options to tweak. It has a 8MP rear camera (F2.0 Aperture) and 3MP front camera (F2.4 Aperture). Having a 3MP front camera is a bliss for selfie addicts and video chatting. 8MP rear camera provides a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels, it also has Autofocus and LED flash. You can also record high quality MPEG4 videos – 1080p @30fps and 720p @ 60fps.
So what’s so special about PixelMaster? It enables you to take clear photos or videos with the help of their low-light mode. The light sensitivity can be increased up to 400% by adjusting the pixel size and image processing algorithms. The enhanced noise reduction and boosted color contrast can also be increased up to 200%. They integrated 5 brightness-enhancing lenses for excellent optical performance and distortion-free photos. So what more you can ask for.
Camera (Images) Samples:
This is something we (or me preferably) care the most about. I used this device for 2 to 3 days regularly and I was quite satisfied. This device boosts a 2110 mAh Lithium battery. It provides you a Standby Time of /353 hours (3G) and Talk Time of /18.5 hours (3G).
Like we mentioned, this device supports memory card and dual micro SIM cards. My memory card (64GB) had almost 75% filled with videos, audios, images, eBooks, games, etc. I tested this device with two scenarios.
First Scenario: I inserted a microSD memory card and a micro SIM card.
Second Scenario: I inserted a microSD memory card and two micro SIM cards.
During the first scenario, the device was able to give a good battery life, say around 21 hours with basic web browsing, games, ebooks, audio, etc. I also tried the same with the second scenario, the time was reduced to around 18-19 hours, I used both the SIMs actively but yes one at time. They also have this mode called “Ultra-saving” which helps you to save some power.
DETAILED: Asus ZenFone 5 Battery Performance As A Power User
Call Quality: I barely had any issues with the phone calls. I used their headphone and their speaker as well for testing phone calls. Asus Zenfone 5 supports dual Micro SIMs. [Disclaimer: The headphone they gave sucks.]
Video & Audio Playback: I had no issues with video playback. It supports MPEG4 up to 1080p. So I enjoyed playing some 1080p videos and also some YouTube videos. Below you can see the screenshots.
Asus Zenfone 5 comes with a sort-of-weird headphone and the sound quality is normal. Audio supports MP3/3GP/AAC formats.
Asus Zenfone 5 – Recommended Accessories
- SanDisk MicroSD Card 64 GB Class 10 Ultra
- JBL J33 In-the-ear Headphone (Black, In-the-ear)
- Capdase HCBB00-SM01 Data Cable
- Sony CP-F5/BC ULA USB Portable Charger (Black)
- Skullcandy Ringer 2XL Bluetooth Speaker (Black & Blue, 1 Channel)
Asus Zenfone 5 Review – Conclusion
Now, its time to tell the smooth and hard part of Asus Zenfone 5. I used this phone for 5 days and I used it regularly, so I was able to tell which part affected me and which didn’t.
Asus Zenfone 5 [PROS]
It’s from a great brand and I’m pretty sure they would have cared so much for their revamped phone models. It has a decent battery life, good display, camera quality is also not bad, etc., we have all such things to praise about this device. It’s also weight-less for a 5-inch phone and fits comfortably in your hands.
Asus Zenfone 5 [CONS]
Performance-wise it’s not a great phone but a normal phone. But I’m sure a software update might solve all those lags and slow performance. Also the build quality is not really tempting, the front side looks decent but unfortunately the back side looks/feels like a cheap plastic feel. But I don’t really consider these two as major cons but just as something that bothers me.
Price & Availability
It should be priced around 14K to 16K (INR) hopefully, I can see experts claiming it be a low-cost smartphone, so the price should fall under this category. This device should be available in Market (India) around July 9th, 2014.
UPDATE  : The device is now available for pre-ordering on Flipkart.
- Asus Zenfone 5 (8GB) – Charcoal Black | Pearl White | Champagne Gold | Cherry Red
- Asus Zenfone 5 (16GB) – Charcoal Black | Pearl White | Champagne Gold | Cherry Red
UPDATE  : The 8GB version is priced at Rs.9,999 and the 16GB version is priced at Rs.12,999.
Asus Zenfone 5 [Verdict]
To be short, it’s a wonderful low-cost-huge-screen smart phone with good features and considering its price I’m sure you should keep this phone in your top list if you are going to buy a smartphone anytime soon.