Asus ZenFone 5 full review

We strongly recommend the ZenFone for those who need a stylish phone with a great camera and dependable performance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: July 9, 2014 3:29 pm
The Asus ZenFone is available with 4, 5 and 6 inch screens The Asus ZenFone is available with 4, 5 and 6 inch screens

Once in a while comes along a phone that at least some of us so-called “reviewers” in our very limited wisdom end up calling a game changer. I am making that call for the Asus ZenFone series not because of one spectacular feature, but a nice mix of small things that ends in an incremental experiential difference for the user. I had done a quick first impression review of the Zenfone 5 after spending 24 hours with it. Now, it’s been almost a couple of weeks and I think I know what this phone is all about.

Specs

Display: 5″ 1280*720 IPS+ Panel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3; CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Atom Dual-Core Z2560; RAM: 2GB; Storage: 16GB & 8GB; Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0; Camera: 2MP front, 8MP rear; Battery: 2110 mAh; OS: Android JellyBean 4.3 (will update to 4.4 KitKat)’; Memory Slot: MicroSD card (up to 64 GB); SIM: Dual Micro SIM card

Price: For 4-inch – Rs 5,999; 5-inch – Rs 9,999 and 6-inch- Rs 16,999

DESIGN: The design has the Asus trademark with brushed metal rings and sharp edges. You will like the feel of this phone with the matte finish rear flap and metallic buttons. It is not a flat design, but the slimmer proportions give you the feel of holding a very thin device. Everything on the phone is minimal and nothing cries out for attention.

The Asus ZenFone is available in 4, 5 and 6 inch screens The brushed metal rings are a Asus trademark

DISPLAY & AUDIO:  I think an HD display is good enough for a regular phone user. And the 5-inch IPS panel on the ZenFone is among the best HD displays around. You just have to see the visualisation on the homescreen when you run your finger through it to fall in love with this one. The viewing angles are good too. While the phone, like most other Androids, is not very loud when you are making a call, the speakers are really loud. The phone also comes with HD audio recording, which I used successfully to create a SoundCloud after a very important meeting.

SOFTWARE: This is an important element of what this phone is all about. For me, the Zen UI is the best Android tweak since the HTC Sense. While the phone is sadly not on the latest Android version at the moment, you will not miss it much. It is slick, stylish and over all quite functional. The lock screen gives a lot of information even before you are in. Instead of the just the camera icon, this lock screen lets you access messaging as well as the phone. Zen UI is good enough for you not to have a weather or To Do app as both of these have been integrated wonderfully well. Asus has redesigned even the icons for the ZenFone and while they look good, you have to fight a lot of muscle memory to find and recognise some of the most used apps. Another quirk is the fact that the notification panel does not always open to notifications and sometimes opens quick settings first. The phone also loads some important apps likes PCLink, which lets you mirror and control the smartphone screen from a PC.

The PCLink show the phone on a Windows laptop screen The PCLink show the phone on a Windows laptop screen

CAMERA: The ZenFone features a new PixelMaster camera, which, put simply, combines four pixels into one to improve light sensitivity. So while smartphone cameras are traditionally bad for shooting indoors, the ZenFone comes with a low-light Owl mode. The option to shift to this mode is presented whenever you are trying to shoot in low light. The results are stunning and good enough to put this phone at the very top of the phone camera hall of fame. All pictures shot in this mode are bright, in fact all photos shot with the phone are brighter than normal. Which is a bit of a problem for someone like me who likes to play with light and prefers an underexposed photo once in a while. I guess we just have to go with what the masses want. The camera comes with a host of modes and tweaks that give the average user a lot of versatility and options. You don’t need another camera app with this phone.

 

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Performance: I used the ZenFone as my primary phone for almost 10 days and encountered no issues as far as performance in concerned. The Intel Atom processor was more than good for whatever I had to do, and that is a tall order any day. The benchmarks puts this phone in the middle rung and the specs might not be stunning on paper, but at the end of the day what matters is how the phone holds up to the rigours of its owner’s digital life. It is also among the coolest phablets I have used and we have to thank the low thermal footprint of the Intel processor for that.

BATTERY: The 2000 mAh battery is not one of the strong points of this phone. It will last you a full working day, but will be in the red if you have to put in overtime or go for an after-office dinner. You can get much more out of the battery if you are careful about the apps running in the background.

VERDICT: At a price point between Rs 5,999 and Rs 16,999 the entire ZenFone range seems like a great proposition for buyers in countries like India. The phone has all the features an average user would want and much more, while not costing the earth. It also sets right all the small things that were missing in Android phones for so long. We strongly recommend the ZenFone for those who need a stylish phone with a great camera and dependable performance.

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  1. P
    Padmanaban
    Feb 20, 2016 at 6:06 am
    Its one of worst mobile phones i have seen so far
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      Prakash Bachhhav
      Jun 24, 2016 at 9:21 am
      Asus Zenfone 5 is very bad phone I have this mobile every 6 month problem created phone switch off.lt;br/gt;customer service center thane. after every 6 month i will be there for repariring software.lt;br/gt;what is the problem i dont know but using 6 month then problem will be there means mobile switch off.lt;br/gt;every 6 month repariting charges 500 to 1000. it is not good.
      Reply
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        Punit
        Sep 30, 2016 at 7:19 am
        I faced problem of Mic. While talking stronger can't hear properly.
        Reply
        1. V
          virender manocha
          Jan 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm
          ASUS Zen phone 5 poor/worst per I bought a new Asus Zen Phone 5 on 09-03-15 Imei no-- 357003065662903 Order Id- OD202275790047553600 through Flip Kart n Bill Amt--8089 Rs. After 15 days of buying this phone I started facing several issues like hanging issue, Slow down, Auto shut down, Mic Issue, Auto disconnect of calls, Network Issues, and when I Try to make a call It disconnect 8 to 10 times before making the call. I visited Asus Service centre several times but the problem remained same n I've asked to flipkart and Asus for replacement of phone within 15 days of buying. But they didn't provide me any solution. So finally my experience was worst with flipkart and Asus. I'll never advice anyone to buy any ASUS product. It's a worst mobile in market.
          Reply
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            Ashley Maynor
            Jan 21, 2015 at 11:24 am
            better option than the ASUS zenfone 5 is :-Acer liquid e700.The phone’s HD display works very well with MALI GPU, rendered game just right. This phone is affordable and with awesome functions. I’ve been using it for a week and it is PERFECT! Super long battery life. Three network connections, all in one phone! SUPER CONVENIENT! I love ACER for developing this phone. It’s affordable and perfectly user friendly!
            Reply
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              Eddy
              Jan 1, 2015 at 3:56 am
              Good battery life, it lasts a day (with one SIM) with moderate to heavy use. Pictures taken from its camera comes out decent and the camera itself has numerous features. The UI is great too; lively and functional but still elegant. The form factor is wonderful. And if you have decided to become a proud owner of this device, perhaps you’re in the market for a solid and beautiful protection case as well. :9cases/2014/12/best...
              Reply
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                budinantro
                Mar 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm
                Problems: -- overheat issue on 3G and gaming; -- battery drains so fast; -- asus preinstalled apps can not be disabled.
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kalpana Sachdeva
                  Jan 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm
                  Zenfone 5- Ergonomically designed feature loaded phoneDisplay: A 5 inch wide screen size with HD display quality makes it a front runner in terms of display graphics in its price segment. The IPS Panel Technology gives wider viewing angles and true colours.Features: Zenfone 5 is an appropriate mixture of aesthetics’ and functionality. The Sonic Master audio technology gives an unprecedented movie theatre like surround sound experience in earphones. The gloved hand operation owing to GloveTouch Technology is another smart feature of this phone. A 2GB RAM with internal memory options of 8 GB/ 16 GB is well suited to the functionality of this phone.Processor: Intel Atom Dual-Core Z2560 1.6GHz processor makes it a true entertainment phone with lapse free 3 D gaming experience and running multiple applications without any glitches.Battery: The 2110 mAh battery will support 18 hours of talk time.Camera: The combination of 8MP main and 2MP rear camera with brightness enhancing lens take high end pictures matching any stand alone professional camera. The Pixel Master Technology with 18 modes helps taking pictures and video of rich graphic quality.Verdict: Zenfone 5 caters to both price sensitive and performance seeking customers. At Rs 10,000 it’s a great catch!
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                    Ankit
                    Apr 13, 2015 at 6:45 pm
                    Hi, I had bought a asus zenfone 5 on 24th feb 2015 through flipkart. Around 1 week back the metal strip at the bottom of the phone came off itself. The phone was safely kept in my pocket and it came off automatically. There is no external damage to the phone and it is working fine. When i went to the service centre i was informed that it is not covered under warranty. I did not expect such a response from a organization like ASUS. I also talked to the asus helpline (Ref No A150424783) and i was informed as there is no external damage and the phone is working fine then it should be repaired/replaced. Please let me know what to do as i will not get this repaired under my expenses. The phone is barely a month and half old and clearly this is a manufacturing defect as the phone does not have a external damage and is in perfectly fine working condition. So finally they are not going to repair it. Very bad service quality from Asus. Think ten times before buying Asus. A big let down Asus
                    Reply
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                      Neena Khonsla
                      Feb 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm
                      Everything about this phone is appealing. Initially, I bought this phone for its beautiful and sleek design but now the display graphics provided by its 5inch wide HD screen impresses me more. The 8MP main camera takes highly detailed pictures. I carry my phone along with me to take pictures whenever I travel. I highly endorse this phone for its looks, features and performance.
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                        Pankaj
                        Jan 20, 2015 at 5:10 am
                        I am confused about Ausus b. I want to know in ausus zenfone 5(16gb) any problem is found like slow internet browsing, hanging, slow working?? Please help me for this purchase
                        Reply
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                          Sunanda Gandhi
                          Jan 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm
                          Zenfone 5- Intuitive features backed by intelligent technologiesDisplay: The display screen which is 5 inch wide and renders HD quality earns high accolades to this phone. The IPS Panel Technology provides life like natural colours at wider viewing angles. Features: Zenfone 5 is built to ease up things for users. The intelligent & intuitive, Do It Later feature provided by Zen UI allows and reading web pages later, return calls later and even watch You tube videos at a later time. It provides an array of smart icons to access different phone sections easily. To enhance b effect in earphones and provide surround sound effect, Asus has designed Sonic Master Audio Technology which is impressive. It has dual SIM slots and 2 GB RAM. The internal memory can be chosen between 8GB or 16 GB. It runs on Android KitKat version OS.Processor: To provide rich user experience while 3D gaming or running heavy applications, Intel Atom Dual-Core Z2560 1.6GHz processor has been used. It provides glitches free performance.Battery: The 2110 mAh battery can support Wifi browsing (12.4 hrs), & calls(18hrs) for longer hours.Camera: Asus designed & developed Pixel Master Technology provides the camera of the phone some powerful functions like 400% brighter pictures, Shake free photos, high end Selfie using main camera etc. It has 8 MP main camera and front camera is 2 MP. There are 18 professional camera like modes namely Time Rewind, Depth of Field, Low Light, HD, Selfie etc.Verdict: Zenfone 5 is a cl apart phone in terms of features, performance & cameras at its surprising low price tag. Thumbs Up!
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                            Anita Thakur
                            Oct 17, 2014 at 10:51 am
                            Zenfone 5-Ergonomically designedphone with powerful displayDisplay:The phone has a big 5 inchscreen which is protected by Corning Gorilla Gl making it scratch resistant.The IPS plus panel technology gives clearer picture at wider angles. The phoneis highly sensitive to touch.Features:A16GB internal memory and 2 GB RAM is sufficient. It runs on Android’s latest kitkatversion. The phone has two SIM slots. The phone comes in lucrative colors likeBlack, White, Purple, Gold and Red. The surround sound in the earphones owingto Sonic Master Technology is impressive.Processor:The phone comes with a powerfulIntel Atom Dual-Core Z25601.6GHz processor which is designed to handle multiple applications runningsimultaneously.Battery: The phone has battery lifeoptimization features. The 2110 mAh battery provides 18 hours talk time.Camera:The phone impresses with thequality of its pictures and videos owing to Pixel Master Technology. The phonescaptures pictures efficiently, whether its night or day. It has 8MP rear and2MP front camera.Verdict:Thephone is an all rounder as it is functionally powerful with sleek design
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                              Julian Bennet
                              Oct 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm
                              Hi Poonam, Could you tell me how long the battery lasts (and your usage). I am waiting for my own Zenfone 5.
                              Reply
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                                Julian Bennet
                                Oct 15, 2014 at 6:28 am
                                Thanks Poonam. I got mine delivered on Sunday 13th. I have to look out for the charger only after performing some average to heavy tasks (650mb downloads[apps and videos], whats app for 2 hours, call 15mins, browsing in shopping sites for 3 hours and 2 sims on, and 20 mins watching HD videos). I think this is fair.When compared to moto-g2 both are almost similar in this aspect.BTW have you got the 4.4 update.
                                Reply
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                                  Er Bijay
                                  Oct 26, 2014 at 8:53 am
                                  poonam can we take out d battery or not?or is it fixed?
                                  Reply
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                                    LAST_WORD
                                    Jul 17, 2014 at 7:07 am
                                    ALL the technical details of ASUS zenphone 5 is avaible in its facebook page "Asus Zenfone 5 India" or doomisapproaching
                                    Reply
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                                      Ninad D
                                      Jul 9, 2014 at 10:51 am
                                      Good specs. ...but wat about led flash...GPS...mulasking..work connectivity??
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                                        Nisha Rajput
                                        Oct 22, 2014 at 9:50 am
                                        Zenfone 5 - Complete package phone at an unbelievable priceI was skeptical about Asus as a b as I haveheard more about phones from other bs but when I discovered Zenfone 5, Iwas swept away by the features it host at its price. I think Asus was savingthe cost on marketing and loaded the phone with features at a considerablylower price tag. The big 5 inch display renders great picture quality. Thephone has a great processing speed owing to 2 GB RAM and the advanced IntelAtom dual core Z2560. The sound quality is phenomenal. I would suggest everyoneto checkout this phone before buying a Smartphone.
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                                          Payal Pandey
                                          Oct 20, 2014 at 10:31 am
                                          Zenfone 5- Impeccable performance with state of the art featuresDisplay: The 5 inch HD screen with Corning Gorilla Gl protection layer and high touchsensitivity.Features:The phone is crafted for performance. Be it running on Android’s latest Kitkat OS or 2 GB RAM, it is built to perform. The phone comes with 8GB or 16 GB memory options. It has two SIM slots. The phone has an intelligent widget called Zen UI, which sits on the home screen and provide all event notifications at a touch of a button.Processor:The processor is very efficient and can handle heavy comtions. The phone is equipped with Intel Atom Dual-Core Z2560 1.6GHz processor.Battery:18 hours of talk time provided bya 2110mAh battery.Camera: The cameras in the phone give it a cutting edge over its compeion. The cameras are designed for a social media generation with Selfie, Miniature and someother modes to take impressive pictures. The main camera is 8MP and the frontcamera is 2MP.Verdict: No second thought needed before buying this phone.
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                                            Poonam Singh
                                            Oct 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm
                                            ASUS 5 rocksI ordered ASUSZenFone 5 after a lot of researching and got it last week. After one week ofusage, I can say this a super phone. The phone runs all the games smoothly,there are absolutely no lags at all. Although the phone is a little long, it isvery slim, and operating it with one hand is not a problem. Its Zen Ui is colorful and has nice tweaks. The camerais another strong point of ZenFone 5. The battery is OK and charges 100% in quicktime. The phone has lots of great specs. It came with Android Jelly Bean andupdate to KitKat is available. I think the phone is for everybody, be it acollege student or an office goer.
                                            Reply
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