Asus Zenfone 5 review: A worthy mid-range smartphone contender

Asus has re-entered the smartphone market in India with their new Zenfone series announced at this year’s CES. The new series is available in four screen sizes – 4, 4.5, 5 and 6-inches.

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Asus has re-entered the smartphone market in India with their new Zenfone series announced at this year’s CES. The new series is available in four screen sizes – 4, 4.5, 5 and 6 inches. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Zenfone 5. With a starting price of just Rs 10,000 for the 8GB model, can it take the ‘budget-king’ crown away from the Moto G?

 

Design and Build

We’ve already talked about the design and aesthetics at great length in our unboxing and first impressions articles, so we’ll keep it short and sweet this time. The Zenfone 5, as with the rest of the family, has a simple candy bar design. It’s not too flashy and thanks to the changeable covers, it’s not boring either.

 

Asus Zenfone 5 review: A worthy mid-range smartphone contender

Good build and finish

 

The phone is built mostly of plastic while retaining a premium look and feel. The Zenfone is also quite sturdy and durable and will easily handle a few knocks and bumps along the way. The placement of ports and buttons are pretty ergonomic and have good tactile feedback.

 

asus_zenfone_5_4

 

Overall, the Zenfone 5 is built well and although it might not be the flashiest phone on the block, many will appreciate its simple aesthetics.

 

Feature

The middle child of the family rocks a 5-inch IPS, HD display that’s also got a scratch resistant coating from Corning. The display is quite vivid and colours are fairly punchy. Viewing angles are pretty good as well. Asus also bundles an app which lets you adjust the colour temperature of the display to suite your needs.

 

The new Zen UI looks very nice

The new Zen UI looks very nice

 

The phone features Android 4.3 and the refreshed Zen UI, which is a big departure from Asus’s previous skins. The new theme follows a flat look for all the icons, which seems to be the trend these days. There’s a bunch of useful apps thrown in as well from Asus like Share Link and Remote Link. The heavily skinned version of Android doesn’t slow down a bit however, which is highly commendable. The app called ‘What’s Next’ throws up lockscreen notifications on the weather or any upcoming calendar appointments you might have.

 

asus_zenfone_5_13

 

The Zenfone 5 is powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 SoC which consists of a dual-core Clover Trial+ CPU running at 1.6GHz. The phone also features 2GB of RAM. Together, the chipset delivers better performance than MediaTek’s MT6582 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 SoC, which are commonly seen in phones in this price segment.

 

Media

The Zenfone is available in 8GB and 16GB variants and both have expandable memory. The new look of the music player is very slick and easy to use. Audio is pretty loud as well through the loud speaker. The player lets you stream audio through DLNA as well and we have the standard EQ settings of Jelly Bean.

 

Media playback is good

Media playback is good

 

Connectivity

The Zenfone 5 supports dual-SIM functionality, 3G and 2G. We also get Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS and GLONASS. The phone comes with plenty of productivity apps like Tasks, Flashlight and an app called Omlet, which lets you share photos among friends.

 

Some of the bundled apps

Some of the bundled apps

 

Camera

The 8MP camera sensor features an aperture value of f/2.2 and manages to capture good low-light-shots. The camera interface is completely overhauled but is still easy to get around. The quality of pictures is pretty good as well for a budget offering.

 

The new interface for the camera

The new interface for the camera

 

HDR mode

HDR mode

 

Battery life

The 2110mAh battery manages to deliver a day-long battery life and you can squeeze out even more with the power saving modes turned on. It came out of our 8-hour battery test with quite some juice to spare. This is a great advantage for the Zenfone 5.

 

Verdict and Price in India

The Asus Zenfone 5 starts at Rs 12,999, although at the launch, Asus said you could find it for as low as Rs 10,000, for the 8GB model. In our books, that seems like unbeatable value when you consider its rich feature-set and good all-round performance. It’s really hard to fault the Zenfone 5 as it doesn’t really stumble much in any department. The Moto G seems to have met its match, finally!

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ASUS ZenFone 5 (16GB) Specifications

The Asus ZenFone 5 features a 5.0-inch HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor and has 2GB of RAM. It comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD card and has a 8.0-megapixel rear camera and 2.0-megapixel front camera. It comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS and support a 2100mAh battery capacity with 3G.

Display

Form FactorBar
Screen TypeHD IPS Capacitive Touchscreen
Screen Size5.0 inches
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3

Processor

ProcessorIntel Atom Z2560
Speed1.6 GHz

Memory

Internal Memory16GB, 2GB RAM
Extendable MemorymicroSD, up to 64GB

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution8MP
Video resolution / frame rate1080p / 30fps
Video RecordingYes
Front facing camera2MP

General Features

OSAndroid
Version4.3 (Jelly Bean)
Bluetooth FeaturesV4.0 + EDR + A2DP
Dual Sim SupportYes
MessagingSMS, MMS, IM, Email
GPSYes, with A-GPS Support and GLONASS
USB ConnectorYes
Available ColoursCherry Red, Pearl White, Charcoal Black, Champagne Gold, Mystic Purple

Carrier Networks

2GGSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3GWCDMA 2100 MHz

Data

GPRSYes
EGPRS or EDGEEDGE
WiFi802.11b/g/n

Body

Dimensions72.8 x 10.34 x 148.2 mm
Weight145

Sound

Media PlayerMusic formats: MP3, AAc, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, MIDI, WAV, AC3, FLAC|#|Video formats: DivX, H.264, MPEG4, H.263, Xvid, 3GP
SpeakerphoneYes
Audio connector3.5mm

Battery

TypeLi-Ion
Capacity2110
Talk Time with Standard Battery18.5 Hrs (3G)
Standby Time with Standard Battery353 Hrs (3G)

After Sales Service

Warranty Period1 Year

Price

Warranty Period1 Year




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