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ASUS Zenfone 5 Review: Premium Phone for Less

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ASUS is back in the game! The company did spice up the competition with the launch of the new ASUS Zenfone 5 series. Along with the new phones come with very competitive pricing.  With so many phones under 20k, can the ASUS Zenfone 5 compete with other phones from OPPO, Vivo, Huawei and Samsung? Let’s find out!

ASUS Zenfone 5 Specs:

  • 6.2-inch 19:9 FHD+ IPS display, 2246 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.5D Gorilla Glass
  • Octa-core with A.I. Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, 14nm CPU
  • Adreno 509 GPU
  • 64GB internal storage expandable via microSD (SIM 2 slot) up to 400GB
  • 4GB RAM
  • 12MP Sony IMX363 f/1.8, 1.4um, with OIS/EIS, PDAF, and Night HDR main camera
    8MP 120-degrees wide-angle secondary camera
  • 8MP f/2.0 front camera
  • Abdroid 8.0 Oreo with ZenUI 5.0
  • Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
  • Fingerprint Scanner, Face Recognition
  • Hybrid dual-SIM or SIM and microSD card slot
  • 3,300mAh battery
  • Price: P19,995
  • Status: Available at ASUS stores and retailers

HARDWARE AND DESIGN

Zenfone 5

Premium! That’s the best way to describe the ASUS Zenfone 5. Wrapped in a metal and glass material, the Zenfone 5 looks so sophisticated and elegant. Despite the metal and glass, the phone is surprisingly light and easily pocketable.

The elegance comes fingerprint and smudge. Its a scratch resistant glass but it is still prone to dings and scratches if unprotected.  That can be avoided thanks to the free jelly case included in the package.

DISPLAY

Zenfone 5

This is by far, the best display we’ve seen on a Zenfone. The 6.2-inch display is just stunning. Sunlight legibility is superb and usable under direct sunlight. We just find the auto brightness is a bit dim so we decided to turn it off and adjust the brightness manually.

The notch? Oh yes the notch. Though it is a cool design when using the phone for everything but it bothers us when some apps icons are still not supported by the implementation of the notch like when using the IG stories. Other than that, the display is just terrific.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

Zenfone 5

ZenUI, the custom UI on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. ASUS has trimmed down much of its customization and reduced its bloatware and redundant apps. Chrome is the default browser, Android Messages is the default SMS app and Google Calendars is the default calendar app. There are still ASUS apps present here and we find them helpful. We honestly love the simple and clean look.

As for the daily grind, the Zenfone 5 is quite a performer. It takes extreme multitasking very well and playing games is smooth. It seems the Snapdragon 636 takes the beating very well.

CAMERA

Zenfone 5

ASUS has also stepped up the camera department. We rarely see a dual camera set up in which the secondary camera is a wide angle shooter. This type of set up is also present with last year’s LG G6 and LG V30.  It is a 12 megapixel main sensor and 8 megapixel 120 wide angle secondary lens.

It packs Optical Image Stabilization, Electronic Image Stabilization, Night HDR, Phase Detection Autofocus. Whew! Not to mention it does have bokeh effects too. Come and check out our sample photos.

Normal vs Wide-angle (outdoor)

Normal vs Wide-angle (indoor)

Bokeh Effect

P_20180505_233926

Pro Mode

Selfies and Groupfies

CONNECTIVITY

Zenfone 5

As for the connectivity, 4G/LTE is stable though we noticed that we get slightly slower speeds as compared with other smartphone with the same network. Calls are clear and signal reception remains stable. Fingerprint scanner is on point and unlocks the phone pretty quick.

BATTERY

Zenfone 5

We must say that the 3,300 mAh battery is average. It can still last a whole day of average to heavy use. We think ASUS could make the battery bigger given the 6.2-inch display sips more juice. We are also happy with the AI Charging technology equipped on this device because it simply boosts the charging time and completes the battery juice for less than 2 hours on average.

VERDICT

We can describe the Zenfone 5 as a bang-for-the-buck smartphone. ASUS has made the lowest price that they can give on a smartphone which is loaded with high specifications and premium look. With a lot of other devices available in the market, the Zenfone 5 will never make you regret once you chose it.

Having said that, we therefore giving the Zenfone 5 our #FTASealOFReccommendation award for having a premium look and good specs on its price.