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ASUS Zenfone 5Z Review: an affordable flagship phone

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ASUS Zenfone 5Z

ASUS Philippines has made a big comeback with the launch of their Zenfone 5 line-ups. This includes the Zenfone 5 on the mid-range category and the Zenfone 5Z on the flagship category.

The Zenfone 5 has become one of the most bang for the buck mid-range smartphone because of its premium design and above average specifications for a PHP 20K budget.

On the other hand, even though they share the same body, the Zenfone 5Z has different internal configurations like having the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, bigger internal storage and memory, and a faster battery charging technology.

On a PHP 10K price difference from the Zenfone 5, let’s see if the Zenfone 5Z is a worthy upgrade. Read our review article.

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

ASUS Zenfone 5Z Specs:

  • 6.2-inch Full HD IPS display (1080x 2246 pixels) 18.7:9 aspect ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-core processor
  • Adreno 630 graphics
  • Android 8.0 Oreo with ZenUI 5.0
  • 128GB ROM expandable up to 512GB
  • 6GB RAM
  • 12MP (f/1.8) + 8MP (f/2.0) rear cameras with PDAF, gyro EIS, dual LED flash
  • 8MP (f/2.0) front camera with gyro EIS
  • 4G/LTE, Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • USB Type C
  • 3,300 mAh battery with Fast Charging

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

The premium-looking glass back cover of the Zenfone 5Z can easily compete with other flagship devices. With its very distinctive design that creates a circular sunburst-like effect when subjected to light, this phone is surely an eye-catcher.

It has curved edges that makes the device very comfortable to hold in the hands and one-sided buttons that are very easy to reach.

So far, after almost one month of use without the included protective case, the Zenfone 5Z has managed to retain its sophisticated look without having any scratches on the display and on the glass back cover.

DISPLAY QUALITY

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

Just like what we have said on our  and on our Zenfone 5 Review and on the Zenfone 5Z Unboxing and First Impressions, the Zenfone 5 series has the best display among all Zenfones. This also means that the Zenfone 5Z can complete side-by-side with its flagship competitors.

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

Having a display with a notch is one of the popular ways to extend the proportion between the display and the phone’s body. But some people are being bothered with the notch. Just in case, you didn’t know it, ASUS has made a software update to address this issue. You can now add a black bar along with the notch to simulate a display without a notch.

OS, SOFTWARE, UI

The Zenfone 5Z has a cleaner and improved OS compared to the past Zenfones. The ZenUI custom skin of ASUS on top of the Android 8.0 Oreo works pretty well and we didn’t encounter any issue while using it. If you wish to change it, you can still download your favorite launcher on the Android App store.

The number of pre-installed apps are also lessen since some of the ASUS apps have been incorporated inside the Settings. Most the apps are just ASUS system apps and Google apps.

We are also glad to see that ASUS have been pushing patches via OTA to solve some issues on the device and for improvement of the performance.

PERFORMANCE

We all know that the Zenfone 5Z is equip with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor paired with 6GB of RAM. It even once top the AnTuTu benchmark score ranking and outscore other flagship smartphones.

To test its performance, we run different applications side-by-side with the Zenfone 5. And yes, there is a noticeable increase in the performance that results to faster opening/loading of apps and games.

CAMERA

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

The Zenfone 5Z has a dual-camera setup on the back which composed of a 12 Megapixels main camera sensor with f/1.8 aperture and an 8 Megapixels wide-angle secondary lens with f/2.0 aperture.

It can shoot good quality photos even on low-light environments with a little amount of noises. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) is working very well in balancing the amount of light into the subject from back-lighting.

Personally, we also prefer having a wide-angle secondary lens as compared with telephoto or monochrome lenses. Although we are looking forward for a better wide-angle camera lens from ASUS specially on low-light in their upcoming smartphones. And even though the Zenfone 5Z has a wide-angle secondary camera, it can still shoot good photos with Depth Effect.

The 8MP front facing camera is also capable of shooting good quality images. What we  like about it is that, it does blur out the rest of the group when having groupie. On low light conditions, it has a screen flash to provide an alternative lighting.

Sample Photos:

BATTERY LIFE

ASUS Zenfone 5Z

The 3,300mAh of battery juice inside the Zenfone 5Z is enough for a single day of above-average usage like browsing the internet, checking on different social media, using the camera, playing music on your wireless earphone, and other stuff that you might be doing on a day-to-day basis. In case you run out of battery, you don’t have to worry about the charging time because it has Fast AI Charging technology from ASUS that can fully charge the battery from 10% within an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

VERDICT

The Zenfone 5Z is one of the most affordable smartphone equipped with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor. ASUS has proved that cheaper doesn’t mean you will be having less when it comes to other specifications. The Zenfone 5Z can actually compete with other flagship devices when it comes to overall performance, camera, and the design.

If you are choosing between the Zenfone 5 and the Zenfone 5Z, we can say that the Zenfone 5 is still a good choose for having same design, same camera, and good internal specifications on its price point. But if you want a faster device and a smartphone that can still complete with the upcoming flagship phones, then choose the Zenfone 5Z.

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