Gadget Reviews

REVIEW | ASUS ZenFone 5

The new generation of Asus ZenFone has been out for a couple of months now and it just showed how consistent Asus is in regards to bringing decently spec’ed out phones in the market for different price ranges. As per usual, each of the Asus ZenFone 5 series phones is equipped with different hardware configurations that will suit your lifestyle and budget. With that, we are going to check out what the mid-range  Asus ZenFone 5 is and what an “intelligent phone” is all about.

Aesthetics

Just like the other phones following this trend, the ZenFone 5 also has a notch on the top which gives it a little bit of resemblance from the iPhone X. It could be weird for some people, but I eventually got used to it as I used this phone as a daily driver for these past few weeks. The top notch actually houses the 8MP f/2.0 camera, earpiece, notification LED and sensors.

Looking at the back of the phone, you will see the signature Zen Circle design on the glass panel along with a dual camera setup, LED flash and a finger print scanner.

The ZenFone 5 uses a 6.2″ Full HD display protected by a 2.D Corning Gorilla glass. On the left you will find the hybrid SIM slot, on the right you have the power/lock button, and the volume buttons.

On the bottom you have the USB Type-C port, loudspeaker, microphone, and an 3.5mm audio jack.

The overall design of the ZenFone 5 is aesthetically pleasing and very nice to hold thanks to it’s glass body that has smooth curved edges. The phone feels solid and premium though it’s a heavy fingerprint magnet. Thankfully, this model comes with it’s own jelly case if that’s your thing. I think there are region specific models that doesn’t include the jelly case.

Camera

The Asus ZenFone 5 has dual cameras: a 12MP and 8MP on the rear, and another 8MP in front. The main camera has an aperture of f/1.8 while the secondary camera serves as a wide-angle camera.

We have mentioned earlier that this is an “intelligent” phone and it basically means it has AI-features that assists in improving your mobile phone experience. So for the camera, ZenFone 5 has AI Photography which basically are Scene detection, photo-learning, real-time portrait and real-time beautification.  The camera UI is pretty basic but importantly, you have access to “pro” controls where you can adjust the aperture, ISO, and use manual focus, etc.

I was quite surprised on the quality of the photos taken and this can be a great shooter when used properly with the pro controls. I guess I’ll let the shots I took speak for themselves.

photo taken with the main camera
photo taken with the wide-angle camera
another wide-angle shot
the main camera captures colors very well
low light
shot with depth of field turned on
depth of field on the front camera

 

Hardware and performance

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC, 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, the usual tasks are pretty smooth: browsing, video playback, social media, etc. The phone’s face unlock and fingerprint scanner is pretty quick and responsive as well. I’m not a mobile gamer but when I tried PUBG Mobile and Honkai Impact, the gameplay experience was pretty satisfactory but the phone warms up a bit, not to a point where the phone slows down and become unresponsive.

The ZenFone 5 also has a feature called AI boost which allows the phone to learn where to allocate it’s resources when needed for better performance. This can be toggled very quickly in the shortcut menu and to give it a test, I used the Antutu Benchmark to see if it makes any difference.

So the phone scored 123077 and 135532 points with and without AI Boost respectively.

Battery life experience

Equipped with a 3,300mAh battery, I found the battery to be able to last an entire day with majority connected to LTE with relatively constant social media use and video playback. Notably, it has been pretty reliable to be an on-the-go device for me when I have to move around the entire day.

The phone has an app called PowerMaster which you can manage which applications run on startup, and also set different power profiles depending on what you require. The AI Smart Charging is also a handy feature which activates fast charging during the day and turns it off for slow overnight charging when you are asleep.

Conclusion

I am impressed on how this mid-range phone performed. With it’s hardware configuration and the quality of the camera, this one is another keeper for the daily grind. Asus has really improved on their mobile phones throughout the years starting with the original ZenFone and I’m glad to see another contender in the smartphone market saturated that stands out.

The ZenFone 5’s user experience is more than satisfactory coming from a recently reduced price of Php17,995 so I believe this phone is definitely worth checking out.

Ira James
Editor-in-chief | Tech Journalist | AMD Ryzen and AOC Gaming influencer | PC Hardware Enthusiast |

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