Asus Zenfone 5Z is the new flagship phone from the company with high-end specifications and a more affordable price. Previously, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 impressed me with its minimal design and display. It was actually the “no non-sense” display phone to arrive at the time when some of the brands like Vivo and Oppo were busy ripping off an Apple iPhone X-style notch up front. It’s just one design element at the end that has suddenly become a new obsession. Now, the Asus Zenfone 5Z joins the same table, featuring a notched display.
Starting at Rs 29,999 for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, the Asus Zenfone 5Z will be up for grabs exclusively on Flipkart starting from July 9. Here are my first impressions of Asus’ Zenfone 5Z smartphone.
Asus Zenfone 5Z first impressions: Display, design
Asus Zenfone 5Z features a notched display. The definition of a flagship phone these days seems to focus only the notch and Asus simply does not want to miss out on the trend. Oh yes, it is flagship phone after all. It looks like an Apple iPhone X clone, which may be a good thing for those who are unable to afford the iPhone X and desperately looking for a cheaper, Android alternative. The 6.2-inch Full HD+ display looks crisp and feels premium to interact with. But it also attracts fingerprint smudges.
It features a glass back, which feels somewhat slippery. Given how prone this is to smudges, you might have to carry an extra cloth to keep it clean. The size of bezels and bottom chin has reduced significantly. As a result, the fingerprint reader can be found on the rear. The phone measures 7.7mm in thickness and weighs 165 g. It seems more bulky and heavy than OnePlus 6 and Vivo X21. Thankfully, it retains a 3.5mm headphone jack and offers a USB Type-C port on the bottom.
Asus Zenfone 5Z first impressions: Software, performance, battery
Unlike the previous Zenfone Max Pro M1, this one runs the company’s own ZenUI 5 skin on top of Android Oreo. If you prefer stock Android experience, this UI is not made for you. I find ZenUI a bit cluttered and confusing. It has an app drawer to let users search through installed apps. The ZenUI 5 includes its own launcher, themes and a security suite called ZenUI Safeguard. Additionally, it bundles some proprietary apps like ZenMotion, Selfie Master, Game Genie, Mobile Manager and more. The reduced bloatware could be a good sign, though.
Read more: Asus Zenfone 5Z launch HIGHLIGHTS
The performance should not be a reason to worry, courtesy of a Snapdragon 845 chip paired with Adreno 630 GPU for graphics. Yes, it is Qualcomm’s current top-of-the-line octa-core processor and the same chipset powering OnePlus 6. In fact, Asus Zenfone 5Z has now become the most affordable flagship smartphone in India, featuring Snapdragon 845 chip. I played quite a few graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 8 and PUBG. During my brief usage, I faced no issues or any kind of lag whatsoever.
Thanks to 6GB RAM, multitasking experience was soothing too. I had over 30 apps running simultaneously in the background and still around 2GB of RAM was still available to consume, which is laudable. Asus Zenfone 5Z appears to have delivered a promising performance.
One of the most important factors to consider while buying a new smartphone is battery capacity. Asus Zenfone 5Z packs a 3300mAh battery under the hood, similar to the one inside OnePlus 6. During my brief usage though, I couldn’t put it to thorough tests. However, we are expecting it to deliver a day’s worth of moderate to heavy usage, which is a common expectation these days from a phone priced well above Rs 25,000.
I play PUBG a lot which a graphics-intensive online multiplayer game. The handset managed to last somewhere around 3 hours 30 minutes with continuous PUBG gameplay. If you are a hardcore gamer, this phone may not last a full day, which is often the case with many other phones available in the market as well.
Asus Zenfone 5Z supports fast charging, thanks to which I could charge the handset from 5 per cent to 100 per cent in 1 hour 5 minutes, which is impressive. However, I would like to hold my opinion about Zenfone 5Z’s battery capabilities until I put it to our in-depth tests.
Asus Zenfone 5Z first impressions: Camera
On-paper, Asus Zenfone 5Z houses 12MP+8MP dual-rear sensors that support PDAF, OIS and 4K video recording. But when it comes to a real-world performance, I have mixed feelings about its photography capabilities. Of course, I need to spend some more time with Asus Zenfone 5Z’s camera before I comment anything conclusive. For now, I feel the rear camera could have been a little bit better.
Colours seem a bit dull and washed out, and they often miss out on details. I captured a couple of sky shots. It failed to recognise a blue sky due to an inaccurate white balance. It seems to fail at determining accurate contrast and exposure levels. But selfie experience, on the other hand, was fairly up to the mark and it has enough potential to stand out. It sports an 8MP camera on the front for selfies and video calls.
Asus Zenfone 5Z first impressions: Early verdict
Overall, I am pretty much impressed with my initial experience with Asus Zenfone 5Z. It can compete with OnePlus 6, courtesy of Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and 3300mAh battery, and both of them performed really well during my usage. It is also better value for money in terms of comparison with OnePlus 6 and Vivo X21. Although the software experience could be a little confusing at first, getting used to should not be difficult. It flaunts a decent design and notched display (if you want to go for an Apple iPhone X lookalike). Stay tuned for our full review.