Asus the Taiwanese phone maker recently launched the Zenfone 2 Laser which is a mid-range sub 10,000 smartphone with dual sim capability. The main draw of the device being its laser auto focus to ensure effortlessly sharp and crisp images every time you click.
Display: 5.5 inch HD 1280x720p IPS capacitive display
OS: Android Lollipop 5.0.2 with Asus Zen UI
CPU: 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core
Storage: 16GB (10.08GB usable)
Cameras: 13MP Laser Auto-Focus (rear), 5 MP (front)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/2G, GPS, Bluetooth, micro USB
Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9mm
Weight: 170 grams
Price: Rs. 9,999 (16 GB)
Zenfone 2 Laser is identical to the flagship Zenfone 2 in terms of look and feel. In fact, it’s hard to tell any difference when both the devices are seen from the front. The three touch capacitive buttons sit at the bottom of the 5.5 inch display, these are not backlit but their silver colour makes them visible even in the dark. The front camera, light sensors and the notification LED are positioned above the display.
The bezels are quite minimal and the smartphone has a 72% screen to body ratio. And just like Zenfone 2, the volume controls are positioned at the rear, just below the camera module. The power on/off button is pushed on the top edge, which is one odd position to reach but then Asus has provided the double tap on display to solve the problem.
The rear panel has a matte finish and houses two 4G LTE ready SIM card slots, one micro SD card slot and a removable battery unit. The arc design of the rear panel with the gentle curves makes Zenfone 2 laser easily fit in one hand but for users with small hands, it might feel a bit difficult to operate. But Asus got this covered as the Zen UI let you resize the display on either corners of the screen for one hand usage.
An HD display has now become a standard feature for budget smartphones and devices such as Lenovo k3 Note and Yureka Plus are no doubt amazing deals and puts other similar priced smartphones to shame.
Sadly Zenfone 2 Laser packs a 5.5 inch display with 1280x720p resolution. It accounts to 294ppi, which is not the best but serves the tasks well. The display delivers vibrant colours and acceptable viewing angles to consume the multimedia content however, as we have noticed earlier in Zen smartphones, it is dimmer when compared to other smartphones, which makes it difficult to see the content in direct sunlight.
On the brighter side, the display comes with Gorilla Glass 4 protection to guard against accidental damages. This makes Zenfone 2 Laser the only smartphone with the top most screen protection at this price point.
Asus Zen series is known for their Intel Atom CPUs but for this one, Asus has opted a Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz The 64-bit processor is paired with an Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB RAM to support multitasking. The combination is a fair deal at this price point and offers a satisfactory performance.
The 16GB variant offers 10.8GB of actual storage but the micro SD card can boost it up-to 64GB. And if it still does not meet your needs then you have the option of USB OTG to plug in a hard-drive. In terms of connectivity, Zenfone 2 Laser integrates WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. The smartphone is backed by a 3,000 mAH battery unit to power up the 5.5 inch HD display.
Zenfone 2 Laser runs Android 5.0 lollipop over Asus highly customized Zen UI. The UI integrates a number of pre-installed Asus apps such as Share Link, do it Later, Asus Email, Browser, Mini Movie, What’s next, Super Note, Kid Mode, etc. name it and Asus have an app for the task, which is a good thing but also makes UI quite heavy. You can delete some of these pre-installed Asus applications from the app manager and those can’t be deleted can be disabled from the auto-start manager.
Besides, the UI integrates some features that are quite useful in day-to-day usage such as Zen Motion on-screen gestures to open a host of apps from the lock-screen itself, double tap to wake-up the smartphone, resizing the screen for one hand usage and a variety of themes to customize the look and feel of the smartphone. Moreover, the app drawer now smartly creates separate folders and automatically adds the applications you install in their respective places such as Games, Media, Tools, etc.
Battery back-up is one area where Asus has definitely improved over the flagship Zenfone 2. Both the smartphones are backed by a 3,000 mAh battery unit but with the Snapdragon 410 chipset in action, Zenfone 2 Laser manages to deliver a decent battery back-up. The smartphone lasted for 14 hours with heavy usage that includes a lot of reading, texting, music playback, social networking, a bit of gaming, calling, etc. With moderate usage, you can make it work for 16 hours on a single charge.
The Zenfone 2 Laser is surely a value for money proposition with its price point and the features it packs in. The 13-megapixel camera with laser auto focus delivers shots with good detailing, saturation and contrast levels in day-light conditions. But then you also have contenders such as Lenovo K3 Note and Yureka Plus with full HD displays and better software experience. If you have a knack for photography and are looking for a device with a large display and good battery back-up, you can go for Asus Zenfone 2 Laser.