The entry level smartphone market, namely the phones below Rs 7000, in India is spicing up with lots of new phones being launched. This all happened ever since Motorola announced its first budget smartphone, the Moto E (Read Review). We also saw Micromax launch Unite 2 (Review) and Lava announcing Iris X1. Now, we have a new entrant in this segment from ASUS, the Zenfone 4 (Unboxing).
ASUS announced their Zenfone series in India couple of weeks back and the entry level phone, the Zenfone 4 comes with pretty decent specs and competes with Moto E even though its priced less. The ASUS Zenfone comes with 4 inch WVGA display (800X480) pixels resolution and runs on a 1.2Ghz dual core Intel Atom processor with 1GB RAM. There is also 8GB internal storage along with 5MP auto focus camera and a 0.3MP front camera.
We review the Zenfone 4 to find out if it is really worth the price with performance.
Before we go into the detailed review, lets have a quick into into the specs.
- 4-inch (800 x 480 pixels) capacitive multi touch display with Corning gorilla glass 3 protection
- 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor with PowerVR SGX544 GPU
- Dual SIM with dual standby (micro SIMs)
- Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) with Zen UI, upgradable to Android 4.4 (KitKat)
- 5MP rear camera
- 0.3MP (VGA) front-facing camera
- 11.5mm thick and weighs 115g
- 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 64GB via microSD
- 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
- 1600 mAh battery
Here is the video review, if you need the text version, read on.
Design, Build and Display:
Design wise, the Zenfone 4 is pretty compact as it comes with 4 inch display and pretty easy to hold in hand and operate. The device is also light in weight compared to the competition (like Moto E and Unite 2). The build quality of the device is again good with a matte finish back panel which is removable. The buttons on the device have a chrome finish with an engraved pattern which feels good. The same pattern is also available below the touch buttons. Overall, the build quality is good although Moto E has a slight edge here.
Above the display you have the ASUS logo along with front facing camera and earpiece. The bottom portion of the display has three capacitive touch buttons which offers haptic feedback but they are not backlit. One the left side you have the micro USB charging slot and the right side is occupied by power and volume keys. The top portion houses the 3.5mm audio jack. The rear panel has the 5MP camera and the speakers along with the ASUS and Zenfone logo.
The display on the device is 4 inch WVGA with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Although the resolution is low, it is pretty good since the screen size is only 4 inch. The colors are good on the device, but the viewing angles and sunlight readability is not great as the display is highly reflective.
Software and Performance:
The Zenfone 4 runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and is upgradable to Android 4.4 KitKat. The UI on the Zenfone is called Zen UI which is highly customized but does not take a toll on the performance. The UI is actually usable and offers lots of customizations. The notification center and the quick launch icons are well arranged and you can even customize them.
You can sort the apps based on the ones you have downloaded and also the frequently used ones. It also offers options to lock apps so that other users do not have the option to access apps unless you enter the password.
In the settings, there are quite a lot of ASUS customized options and Power Saver along with the ability to view the apps which are using the battery
The phone comes with 8GB of internal storage which is really good considering most of the Android phones in this price point have only 4GB internal storage. The internal storage can be expanded to 32GB via micro SD card and you can also move apps to SD card. This is useful if you have installed too many games on the device.
The speakers which are located at the back does not have great sound quality, but the call quality on the device is really good. The phone also supports USB OTG functionality out of the box which comes handy.
The gaming performance of the device is also pretty decent although the graphic quality is not great on the WVGA display, but there is no lag while playing games. Overall, the performance on the device is really good and we seldom had any issues using this phone as it was really responsive even with the highly customized Zen UI.
The camera on the device is a 5MP auto focus shooter with no flash unit. There is also a VGA front facing camera for selfies and video calls. The camera on the device has pretty good UI and is different from the general MediaTek powered devices. There are quite a lot of settings available including filters which can be selected before taking the photo.
The camera also comes with variety of modes like night, HDR, Panoroma, miniature effect, Smart remove, GIF animation, depth of field, beautification etc. The photos taken using the device is a mixed bag as some of the macro shots had amazing clarity and colors. But at the same time photos taken in broad sunlight was over saturated and did not exhibit real colors.
The low light photography abilities of the camera is really good for this price point and you can see some of the samples we took in low light which came good.
The phone also supports video recording in 1080p and the quality is just average. Here is a camera sample recorded in 1080p.
Overall, we would say that the camera is better than Moto E, but the Micromax Unite 2 has a better camera overall.
The phone comes with 1600mAh battery and this is not the strong points of this phone. The battery performance on the device is average and with a single SIM, we would just manage a day of usage. If you use the phone quite often you will need to charge the phone by the evening. We are hoping that the battery life will improve once the KitKat update is rolled out for the device.
ASUS has done pretty good job with power management tools included in the Zen UI which comes handy if you are running on low battery.
Priced at Rs 5999, the new ASUS Zenfone 4 is an great buy for the price with excellent performance, good build quality, a decent display and a camera. The battery life on the device could have been better and one of the better aspects of the device is that it is probably one of the first phones to offer 8GB internal storage at this price.
If you are looking for an all around performing budget device, ASUS Zenfone 4 is totally worth the money.