ASUS announced its Zenfone series back in Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona and the devices (Zenfone 4, 5 and 6) were launched in India in July. We already reviewed the entry level ASUS Zenfone 4. The Zenfone 5 comes with pretty impressive specs for its price point and features a 5 inch HD display with 1280 X720p. The device is powered by a dual core Intel Atom processor and has 2GB of RAM which is first of its kind in a device which is priced low.
The phone also has 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2MP front camera. The phone ships in 8GB and 16GB variants and also comes with 2110mAH power battery. We review the Zenfone 5 for its design, build, performance, software, camera and the battery life.
Here is the video review of the device, for text version read on.
Design, Build and Display:
The first thing you notice about the Zenfone 5 is the design. It is pretty compact and give a premium feel even though it has a 5 inch display. The back panel has a matte finish and the cover is removable and you can insert the dual SIM cards. The battery is not user replaceable like the Moto G. The power and volume keys on the right side have chrome finish. The 3.5mm audio jack sit on the top while the micro USB charging slot is at the bottom. The rear panel houses the 8MP camera with LED flash along with the speakers at the bottom.
The front panel has camera, sensors, earpiece and below the 5 inch HD (1280 X720p) display, you have the three touch button. There is also a pattern below the touch keys similar to Zenfone 4. Overall, the build quality and fit and finish of the device is really good and ASUS has done a commendable job.
The Zenfone 5 features a 5-inch IPS HD (720×1280-pixel) screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. The screen has 294ppi pixel density which makes text sharp and clear, but it lacks the color depth of Moto G’s HD display. The display is reflective, hence you might find issues using the phone in bright sunlight, but you can also increase the brightness levels. The viewing angles are good on the device.
Software and Performance:
Zenfone 5 runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box and even though this is not the latest version of the OS, the company has customized the OS and calls it Zen UI. Zen UI is really useful and comes with good set of options and also a beautiful notification center which is actually usable. The notification center and the quick launch icons are well arranged and you can even customize them. ASUS has already announced that KitKat update would be rolled out soon for all the Zenfones.
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. There is also option to hide apps.
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 Power save mode allows you to get better out of the battery life based on your preferences.
The phone comes with 8GB and 16GB of internal storage which is really good and we tested the 8GB variant. Out of the 8GB, 4.99GB is available to the user. 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 device is powered by an Intel Dual Core processor with 2GB of RAM. Zenfone 5 is the first phone in the sub Rs 10000 price point to offer 2GB of RAM. The performance is really smooth and there are no lags when using the Zen UI. The call quality of the device is pretty good and we did not have any dropped calls. The Zen UI also allows you to record calls automatically which is something not offered on too many phones.
The gaming performance of the device is also pretty decent and the 5 inch HD display is suited for gaming in this price point.
The camera on the device is a 8MP shooter with LED flash and a 2MP front facing camera for selfies and video calls. The interface of the camera is pretty good and totally different from what you see on most Android phones. There are quite a lot of settings available on the camera UI including filters and also shooting modes.
The camera settings also offers a variety of customizations before you take the shots. The camera app also offers settings for shutter, focus, brightness, image size, ISO, white balance, colour effects, timer, geo-tagging, shutter sound, and storage.
We tested the camera of Zenfone 5 in carious conditions and found the camera to be pretty decent. While the day light photos came pretty good, the colors were a little dull. The low light photos were not that great and when taken with low light mode, the capture was well lit, but there was too much noise in the photos. But having said that it was pretty good when compared to the competition.
The phone can also record videos in 1080p and the quality was again pretty good. Here are some of the samples from the camera.
The device comes with a 2110mAh battery which we feel is a bit low on capacity considering the display size. The battery performance of the device is not really the best you can get in this segment. With average usage, you can squeeze in a day of usage and you will need to charge the phone everyday. We expect this to improve with the KitKat update.
Priced at Rs 9999 (for 8GB), the device is great buy for people looking for a big display. The device comes with great performance which gives an edge over the competition and with Android KitKat update coming in, it should get even better. Zenfone 5 is probably the first phone to offer a good competition to Moto G with larger screen and support for expandable storage. If you are looking for an all-round performer, go get the ASUS Zenfone 5.