ASUS ZenFone 5 Review

Launched together with the ZenFone 4 and Zenfone 6, the ZenFone 5 made waves with its premium design, notable specs and popular price. How does ASUS’ 5-inch Intel Atom ““ powered flagship smartphone compare to other Android smartphones in its class? Check out on our review below.

Design and Construction

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The ASUS Zenfone 5 makes an impression right out of the box with its sleek display and red metallic-finished back cover. The dedicated buttons and concentric circle finish at the bottom of the display extends the length of the ZenFone 5 but the slim side bezels and rounded rubber matte back cover makes up for this and provides a comfortable grip on smartphone. We were hoping that the home buttons were illuminated too but most smartphones under this price range skip the backlit keys, probably to save on production costs.

You get the usual button and port placements on the ZenFone 5. In front, on top of the display, you have the sensor, earpiece receiver and front camera plus the shiny ASUS logo. Below the five-inch display are the home buttons and the prominent circular patterned piece present on every ZenFone device.

On top of the ZenFone 5 is the audio jack; on the bottom is the micro-USB port. The volume and power keys are located on the right side of the smartphone. On the left side, you can find the groove for opening the back cover. The plastic back cover looks a bit delicate and needs to be opened gently.

At the back you have the rear camera, flash and the speaker together with the ASUS and Intel logos. Opening the back cover reveals the two micro-SIM slots and memory card slot.

Overall, the build and quality of the ASUS ZenFone 5 does not reflect its cheap price at all. Aside from its good looks, this Intel Atom powered smartphone is sturdy and well built.

ASUS ZenFone 5 hands on and photos

Display and Multimedia

While some are not enthusiastic about the HD 1280×720 resolution, the ZenFone 5’s 5-inch HD IPS display is sharp, bright and offers accurate color reproduction and wide viewing angles, making gaming and watching videos nice and easy. You can also set the Reading mode to adjust the screen color for a more comfortable reading experience.

The ZenFone 5 is one of the few mid-range smartphones to make use of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display. Additionally, the GloveTouch feature allows its users to use the smartphone even with gloves on.

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The ZenFone 5 uses ASUS SonicMaster technology to boost its audio. Its AudioWizard also provides different audio modes including Music, Movie and Gaming to achieve your preferred sound effect when using the smartphone. While the said features provide optimized sound quality, the ZenFone 5’s speaker is not the loudest.

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The ZenFone 5 has a nifty Movie Studio that offers advance video editing effects.

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OS, UI, Apps

The ZenFone 5 uses ASUS ZenUI which features flat icons and colorful themes. The ZenUI includes a number of useful apps including “˜What’s Next’ for tracking and managing your schedules and “˜Do It Later’ to manage your tasks.

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A ZenLink app allows straightforward ways to connect and share data to other devices in four modes – PC Link, Remote Link, Share Link and Party Link.

The ZenUI also introduces the ASUS Open Cloud technology which basically integrates Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive allowing you to store and access your data from the cloud. The ZenFone 5 also comes pre-loaded with Omlet Chat.

The ZenFone 5 comes with an Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box and ASUS recently released an Android 4.4 KitKat update enhancing and adding new functions to the ZenUI and the smartphone.

Altogether, the ZenUI is lightweight, easy to use and provides an intuitive user interface.

Camera

The ZenFone 5’s camera is equipped with PixelMaster technology – combining software, hardware and optical design in delivering superior images. The ZenFone 5 presents a number of settings and advanced camera features including Time rewind, HDR, Panorama, Night, Low light, Selfie, Miniature, Smart Remove, All Smiles, Depth of field and Timelapse.

One of the key selling points of the ZenFone 5’s is its ability to capture clear and bright low-light images and videos. Putting it to the test, the ZenFone 5’s ability to shoot photos in poorly lit scenes is on par and on occasion higher than the more expensive flagship smartphones.

ZenFone 5 sample photos (click to view full size images)

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ASUS ZenFone 5 sample video


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Performance and Benchmark

Reinforcing the ZenFone 5’s 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Multi-Core Processor with Hyper-Threading is a 2 GB RAM. It’s worth noting that most mid-range smartphones come with just 1 GB of memory. The ZenFone 5 provided a smooth and snappy performance overall, we hardly noticed lags when running apps or even when playing resource-hungry games. The ZenFone 5 also features a Memory Booster, further improving the smartphone’s performance. Benchmark results below

Antutu- 23221
Quadrant Standard -8894
Vellamo Browser ““ 1582
Vellamo Multicore ““ 1057
Vellamo Metal ““ 784
Ice Storm Unlimited ““ 5814
Ice Storm ““ 6515

Battery Life

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On the average, the ZenFone 5’s 2110 mAh Lithium battery lasts for 9 hours with data on, automatic brightness and occasional gaming. Nevertheless, the ZenFone 5 has an advanced Power Saver that allows you to optimize its battery.

Conclusion

The ASUS ZenFone 5 is without a doubt one of the best mid-range smartphones in the market today. For Php 6,995, you get a premium designed smartphone with a brilliant and scratch-resistant display, fast and responsive UI with loads of useful apps, impressive low-light camera and speedy and power-efficient processor. If you’re looking for a low cost, high performance Android smartphone, then the ASUS ZenFone 5 is definitely for you.

Good

Beautiful and solid design

Impressive display and UI

Speedy processor

PixelMaster low-light camera with lots of features

Bad

Speaker sound quite low

Fragile back cover

ZenFone 5 specs

CPU Intel Atom Multi-Core Z2560 Processor 1.6GHz with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
Memory 2 GB
Display 5inches, HD 1280×720, IPS with Capacitive Multi touch panel
Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Supports GloveTouch input
Camera Front 2 Mega-Pixel, F2.4 Aperture
Rear 8 Mega-Pixel, Auto Focus, LED Flash, F2.0 Aperture, PixelMaster
Storage 8GB eMMC Flash
Memory Slot MicroSD card (up to 64 GB)
Dimensions 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.34 mm (LxWxH)
Weight 145 g
Battery 2110 mAh Lithium
Others Dual Micro SIM
OS Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (KitKat Upgradable)
Color Charcoal Black/Pearl White/Cherry Red/Twilight Purple/Champagne Gold
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  • Enya

    How so LATE your review! Oh my god.

  • <em>Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (KitKat Upgradable)</em>

    According to ASUS PH, the Zen line is already upgraded to KitKat

  • Jan-Jan Defante

    My friend got this phone, I think its decent one and the price is reasonanble