Thursday , 14 November 2019

ASUS ZenFone 5 Review: Long Awaited Comeback

They’re finally back on track

ASUS’ first ever ZenFone devices launched 5 years ago signaled the arrival of a new value-for-money king. By the second generation, the Taiwanese company had a small, but rabid (and loyal) fanbase. Drawn in by the promise of “empowered luxury”, their second generation devices defied the pricing and performance norm of the period, and unsurprisingly expectations were high for the third generation of ZenFones.¬†Unfortunately, the company’s higher pricing for the two succeeding generations of Zenfones left many of their fans angry and disappointed, and many jumped ship to competing brands.

ASUS’ launch and subsequent pricing of the Zenfone 5 family showed us how serious they were in regaining the trust of their current and former fans. The company certainly nailed the pricing of their Zenfone 5, but does the phone deliver the performance that their fans are looking for? Let’s find out:

ASUS Zenfone 5 Specifications

  • AI-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
  • Adreno 509 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of storage (expandable via MicroSD)
  • 6.2-inch Full HD+IPS display; 19:9 aspect ratio, 2246√ó1080 resolution, DCI-P3 wide color gamut
  • 12-megapixel main rear camera, Sony IMX363 sensor, f/1.8 aperture, Night HDR, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF, RGB sensor
  • 8-megapixel secondary rear camera, 120-degree wide angle view
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Facial Recognition
  • USB Type-C port
  • 3300mAh battery with BoostMaster and Smart Charging
  • Android Oreo with ZenUI 5.0

A design inspired by the iPhone X, with a few ASUS improvements

If the past two years was the era of metal, unibody designs this year’s bandwagon design trend is all-glass backs. ASUS isn’t the sort to be left behind, with the ZF5 sporting a glass rear along with a vertically arranged camera module. The camera module is raised a few mm from the body which is a concern, though ASUS does supply each ZF5 with a silicone soft case for that reason. The fingerprint scanner is at the rear too, which is far better than a front-mounted solution, at least if you ask us.

ASUS has gone through a lot of trouble to make sure that their design stands out from the pack, at least visually – the body that sits behind the glass panel is finished using zircon-sandblasting technology and an intricate eight-layer optical coating process gives that trademark Zen-inspired concentric-circle pattern an extra luster.

The frame of the phone is made out of metal (aluminum to be precise) and the physical controls are all located on the right side. The hybrid SIM tray is on the left, while the 3.5mm jack, USB Type-C port and speaker grille are all located on the bottom of the phone.

Display looks great, but the notch is unhide-able

The ASUS ZF5 uses a 6.2-inch, full HD+, 19:9 aspect ratio IPS panel that has a screen-to-body ratio of 90 percent. Just like its contemporaries, the ZF5 has a notch at the top that houses the earpiece, sensor and the 8-megpaixel f/1.8 front-facing camera.

We’ve spoken about the notch before, and while it is a polarizing design element for sure it’s something you’ll have to get used to if you want a new shiny smartphone to use. Unfortunately the ZF5 doesn’t have a way to “turn off” the notch by putting black bars in either side of it like Huawei’s implementation on their P20 family of devices.

As for the actual display, it looks pretty nice. The FHD+ panel looks crisp, and viewing angles are pretty generous. Color reporduction is pretty good, though we really didn’t see a lot of difference in the color temperature with the AI-assist feature on.

Check out how the phone performs on the next page

2 comments

  1. Avatar

    Don’t forget that at that price point, only Asus has OIS for its main back camera.

  2. Avatar

    Thanks for the review. I plan on buying a ZF5 in the next few days. My ZF2 still works great but it’s time for an upgrade. What amazes me is that with a 6.2 inch display it is only slightly larger than my ZF2 with a 5 inch display. I really like that. As for the notch I don’t get why people want to hide it other than some folks can’t handle change.

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