Asus Zenfone 5: Unboxing and Initial Impressions

By October 8th, 2014 AT 11:00 AM

Asus had released their entry-level series of Android smartphone back in July and all of them have sold very well, at least in the online market. The Zenfone 5 is priced at Rs. 9999 and competes with the likes of Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM, Micromax Canvas Knight Cameo A290, Gionee M2, and the Sony Xperia M Dual. We were lucky enough to lay our hands on the Asus Zenfone 5, thanks to Asus PR who sent the device to us for a review. Let us have a look at why the Asus Zenfone 5 managed to become the best-seller in its price range.

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Box Contents

The device comes in a pretty basic box with, though attractive. It comes with the Zenfone 5, AC charger adapter, microUSB cable, headphones, and some paperwork. The microUSB charger has a detachable USB cable so it comes in handy if you have a habit of charging your phone with laptop or a typical power bank. Asus ships the device with a in-ear type headphone which rests in your ears comfortably. The earphone has delivered good bass and treble, at least when compared to other OEM earphones.

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Design and Build Quality

In a crowd of black slab smartphones with glossy plastic, Asus has managed to keep the Zenfone 5 well distinguishable. The Asus Zenfone 5 has a neat and elegant design with a dual tone finish. There are capacitive keys under the display but they are not backlit which is a big let down and unacceptable. We wonder why Asus failed to equip the device with a backlit capacitive key as this can get annoying, especially during night time. The rear has a soft-touch matt finished removable back panel with the camera lens which sits flat encircled by an anodised aluminium ring. Asus logo and the Intel logo are found on the bottom half of the back panel. The area below the capacitive keys features an iconic circular metal finish reminiscent of Asus which feels  premium to touch.

Display

The 5-inch display on the front is not exactly what we would call as vibrant but is toned down with a warm tint to it. Its brightness could’ve been higher as the contents on the display wasn’t readable under direct sunlight. Its touch responsiveness is excellent and Asus has also provided a ‘Glove Mode’ which spikes up the sensitivity so that the device will register even the slightest of touch, even with the gloves on. Viewing angles are good and there is nothing not much to criticise about the display in Zenfone 5 except its brightness levels.

Camera

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There’s an 8-megapixel ‘PixelMaster’ camera sensor on the back with autofocus lens and an LED flash. The camera interface is intuitive but the placement of ‘Turbo’ mode just above the camera shutter button is questionable. The HDR mode is ineffective takes time to process the images and the LED flash can’t be used while in the HDR mode. The images captured using the Zenfone 5 are below average in terms of details and the noise is evident when zoomed in a bit. The secondary camera works just fine and yes, it is capable enough to handle the usual chores like selfies and video conversations. 

PixelMaster technology:

Developed by ASUS that combines hardware, software and optical design to deliver better quality images in most scenarios. This is now one of the important key selling feature of the just ZenFone 5 .

Low Light Mode:

Low Light Mode helps you take clearer, brighter images in low light conditions by combining multiple pixels and using image processing algorithms.

The ZenFone 5 utilizes a Sony BSI CMOS sensor which has a pixel size of 1.12µm which is impressive for its product category considering that flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 has similar pixel size.

Selfie Mode:

Selfie mode automatically detect when the selected number of people are in the frame and begins a countdown before taking three photos.

Time Rewind Mode: 

Time Rewind takes multiple pictures before and after you press the button the chances of you getting the perfect shot is good.

 

Performance

We didn’t expect the Zenfone 5 to be a hyper performer with just a dual-core processor but the Intel Z2560 SoC exceeded our expectations. The Zenfone 5 is quite good in multitasking due to 2GB of RAM so the device can handle several applications running in the background without actually slowing the device down. We tried a blend of games including the simple ones like Temple Run and the graphically heavy ones like the Modern Combat 4. The gameplay was smooth, with no choppy graphics and unnecessary lags. The Zenfone 5 handles most of the high-end gaming titles well, thanks to its PowerVR SGX544MP2 processor. The Zenfone 5 managed to bag 23,448 points in the AnTuTu benchmark, which is pretty good considering the price point. The smartphone from Asus also excelled in the HTML5 and Multicore tests, defeating the LG Nexus 4 with a quad-core processor.

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Software and Zen UI

The Asus Zenfone 5 was released with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean but it recently received the Android 4.4 KitKat update. The Zen UI is one of the best-looking UI overlays in the Android world. It is highly functional and the rounded-off icons do add a fresh look to the stock Android. Asus has integrated their own cloud storage service along with the usual Google Drive. The features like Read Mode warms up the screen and makes sure that it is pleasant to the eyes. Smart Battery saving option is an excellent feature which, if set in Ultra Saving mode, will help you to squeeze an additional 30%-40% of the battery. The Zenfone 5 lasted for a complete day before it started craving for the charging cradle. We had all the connectivity options switched on and the usage also included some heavy uploads to the Google Drive despite of which, the battery backup was commendable.

Conclusions

The Zenfone 5 is undoubtedly one of the best device in this range, not because it does something exceptional but due to lack of any glaring omissions or blunders in performance. If you are looking for an Android device the Rs. 10,000 price range which can take the burden of all your smartphone chores, the Asus Zenfone 5 is one of the best device to buy. Asus seems to have gone that essential extra mile with the Zenfone 5 and offered it 2GB of RAM. Asus seems to be addressing the inventory shortage problem and claims that after Diwali it will be up and running with replenished inventory.

Pros

  • Neat design with good colour options
  • Sharp display
  • Good performance
  • Only device with 2GB RAM in its price range
  • Day-long battery life
  • Attractive price tag
  • Nicely designed Zen UI with Android 4.4 KitKat

Cons

  • Strictly average camera quality
  • Display brightness is lower than expected

Mahit Huilgol is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and is a Technology and Automobile aficionado. He ditched the Corporate boardroom wars in the favor for technology battle ground. He is also a foodie by heart and loves both the edible chips and non-edible silicon chips.

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Asus Zenfone 5 Lite launched in India for Rs 8,999Imon AryanSudhakarPrasenjit SethDebashish Pachal Recent comment authors
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Debashish Pachal
Debashish Pachal

Too late for a review on initial impression..

Absolutely bogus analysis!

I am myself using this phone since past 1.5 months and I’m really very happy.

It gives the Apples & the Samsungs (the premium S5) a run for it’s money!

Camera is way too good! Much better than that of iPhone 5S & Galaxy S4..

So Mr. Analyst, get your eyes tested & do your research better next time.

Much regards.

Sudhakar
Sudhakar

How will you replace its battery without going to the service centre?. Do not talk about the portable external batteries. Answer to the point. Lol.

Prasenjit Seth
Prasenjit Seth

Almost all recent phones’ battery is not user replaceable. Going by that it is not particularly a CON.

Sudhakar
Sudhakar

What about the battery in the most of the Samsung and LG phones?. Do you treat them as non user replaceable?. Lol.

For example :
Note 2, Note 3, note 4, LG G3, LG F60, some of the xperia handsets.

Prasenjit Seth
Prasenjit Seth

Then what about guru of all…the iPhones. Time is changing bro…think ahead of Samsung. If you want to get same configuration as Asus from Samsung you have to cough roughly 20K. LOL.

Sudhakar
Sudhakar

Can you prove that most of them are using that costly crap (iphones)?. Kindly answer to the point. Files in the iphone cannot be sent to other brand mobiles via bluetooth. No memory card. Really a piece of shit.

Sudhakar
Sudhakar

Either look for the money or look for the features. Then finally look price to facilities ratio before buying any phone.

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