Asus has re-entered the smartphone market in India with their new Zenfone series announced at this year’s CES. The new series is available in four screen sizes – 4, 4.5, 5 and 6 inches. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Zenfone 5. With a starting price of just Rs 10,000 for the 8GB model, can it take the ‘budget-king’ crown away from the Moto G?
Design and Build
We’ve already talked about the design and aesthetics at great length in our unboxing and first impressions articles, so we’ll keep it short and sweet this time. The Zenfone 5, as with the rest of the family, has a simple candy bar design. It’s not too flashy and thanks to the changeable covers, it’s not boring either.
The phone is built mostly of plastic while retaining a premium look and feel. The Zenfone is also quite sturdy and durable and will easily handle a few knocks and bumps along the way. The placement of ports and buttons are pretty ergonomic and have good tactile feedback.
Overall, the Zenfone 5 is built well and although it might not be the flashiest phone on the block, many will appreciate its simple aesthetics.
The middle child of the family rocks a 5-inch IPS, HD display that’s also got a scratch resistant coating from Corning. The display is quite vivid and colours are fairly punchy. Viewing angles are pretty good as well. Asus also bundles an app which lets you adjust the colour temperature of the display to suite your needs.
The phone features Android 4.3 and the refreshed Zen UI, which is a big departure from Asus’s previous skins. The new theme follows a flat look for all the icons, which seems to be the trend these days. There’s a bunch of useful apps thrown in as well from Asus like Share Link and Remote Link. The heavily skinned version of Android doesn’t slow down a bit however, which is highly commendable. The app called ‘What’s Next’ throws up lockscreen notifications on the weather or any upcoming calendar appointments you might have.
The Zenfone 5 is powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 SoC which consists of a dual-core Clover Trial+ CPU running at 1.6GHz. The phone also features 2GB of RAM. Together, the chipset delivers better performance than MediaTek’s MT6582 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 SoC, which are commonly seen in phones in this price segment.
The Zenfone is available in 8GB and 16GB variants and both have expandable memory. The new look of the music player is very slick and easy to use. Audio is pretty loud as well through the loud speaker. The player lets you stream audio through DLNA as well and we have the standard EQ settings of Jelly Bean.
The Zenfone 5 supports dual-SIM functionality, 3G and 2G. We also get Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS and GLONASS. The phone comes with plenty of productivity apps like Tasks, Flashlight and an app called Omlet, which lets you share photos among friends.
The 8MP camera sensor features an aperture value of f/2.2 and manages to capture good low-light-shots. The camera interface is completely overhauled but is still easy to get around. The quality of pictures is pretty good as well for a budget offering.
The 2110mAh battery manages to deliver a day-long battery life and you can squeeze out even more with the power saving modes turned on. It came out of our 8-hour battery test with quite some juice to spare. This is a great advantage for the Zenfone 5.
Verdict and Price in India
The Asus Zenfone 5 starts at Rs 12,999, although at the launch, Asus said you could find it for as low as Rs 10,000, for the 8GB model. In our books, that seems like unbeatable value when you consider its rich feature-set and good all-round performance. It’s really hard to fault the Zenfone 5 as it doesn’t really stumble much in any department. The Moto G seems to have met its match, finally!
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Asus Zenfone 5 review: A worthy mid-range smartphone contender
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Mar 3, 2015