Asus Zenfone 5 was announced in CES 2014 and has been recently been made available in India. We were lucky enough to get one of these devices to try even before the actual consumer launch in India.
Asus Zenfone 5 is built out of plastic so it feels really light. It doesn’t feel cheap although and give a nice touch. Any device that’s above 4.7″ inch cannot be used comfortably with one hand, Zenfone for the most of it feels comfortable to use with the plastic back cover, holds really well and doesn’t slip out with its size. The back panel is interchangeable so that adds to the customizability. The phone itself comes in five different colors. The back panel can be opened to reach the two sim card slots and the micro SD card which supports up to 32GB.
Zenfone 5 has a 5″ inch 720p Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Screen. The pixel density is not that high, with just about a mere ~292ppi for a screen size. The pixel were quite noticeable when held close. The display definitely isn’t the sharpest I’ve seen on a 5″ inch phone. Asus has gone with hardware capacitive keys which are not backlit. It’s really hard to figure them in the dark until you get used to them.
The external speaker of the phone comes on the back of the device, this is seen in Asus Fonepad as well. The sound produced is not that great even when turned around. To make up for this, Asus coupled it with a pair of in ear headphones which sounds really good.
Zenfone 5 comes with a 2 GHz dual core processor with Intel Atom Z2580 chipset and 2 gigabyte of RAM. Zenfone 5 comes in two different internal storage options – 16GB or 32GB. It has the standard set of sensors like the Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, GPS, Compass and Bluetooth 4.0.
The phone comes with a heavily customised Android 4.3 Jellybean out of the box. The lock screen has shortcuts for the camera, phone and messages app which increases accessibility and also the weather and calendar showing the upcoming appointments.
Next up the home screen launcher which Asus calls the Zen UI, which looks pretty neat. It comes with a host of Asus Apps along with Google default apps. There are two apps for Gallery and Mail, which allows you to choose between them. Asus Apps like what’s next for calendar and splendid which changes the colour of your display are some really nifty software additions for the phone. There are a set of ZenLink apps which lets you connect your phone to the computer to share files.
The phone comes with a 8 megapixel rear camera which is powered by their pixel master technology which is a combination of software, hardware and optical technology to deliver great pictures. The pictures that come out of the camera are great, the camera performs really good under well lit conditions and has a decent performance in low light conditions. It is also capable of shooting 1080p videos. The front camera on the Zenfone 5 is 2 megapixels along with face recognition.
There are a bunch of camera software features like time rewind, image stabilisation and 360 degree panoramas. It also has a lot of editing tools to quickly fix the images for sharing to various social networks instantly.
It has dual sim phone and supports dual standby. Such a huge phone comes with a small battery size of 2110 mAh Lithium Battery. This is not the best battery for a five inch dual sim phone but it did last a day under moderate usage of email, phone, messages and a few other apps. Under heavy usage which is using multiple apps continuously over a short periods, the phone had to be put on charge before the end of the day. It’s best advised to carry around a battery pack just in case for such a phone.
At the end of the day, how well the phone performs running through all the tasks matter. The phone was put through usage of multiple apps, games and a bunch of different different launchers like Aviate and Nokia Z Launcher. Zenfone 5’s performance was not bad and it was able to take on some of the hardcore games very well. The usual set of games which I try out like Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3 worked fine with no noticeable frame drops. The only real difference you notice between different devices with different hardware configuration is the time it takes to collects resources to launch the game.