Will it kill the competition? Let's find out.
- AI features
- Battery is mediocre
- Rear panel is smudgy
- Display is bit warmer
We have always seen in movies or books, a story of an underdog who makes it way up to the top despite all the hardship he/she has faced during the journey. Well, in the smartphone industry, let this underdog be Asus. The company faced tough times keeping up with the competition in the past. However, it is now making its way up to the top with its aggressive pricing and insane specifications.
We already saw that the brand disrupted the budget segment and it recently made some tremors in the mid-premium segment its latest Zenfone 5Z. The phone comes loaded with flagship specs and it is priced at just Rs 29,999 for the 6GB RAM with 64GB storage variant, the 6GB RAM with 128GB variant is priced at Rs 32,999, while the top-end variant touches Rs 36,999. So, the question here is, will it kill the competition? Let's find out.
It comes with impressive design…
The first thing you will love about this device is the design language. The back panel is made of glass, but the company has added its iconic Zen-inspired concentric-circle patterning. This simply means that you will see lines that rotate when you throw some light on it. Click here to see the pictures of the Asus Zenfone 5Z.
It is just 7.85mm thin and weighs 155 grams. The phone feels quite lightweight and it is easy to hold, thanks to the rounded metallic edges. However, using a glass panel has its own set of disadvantages. First of all, it is surely a fingerprint magnet and it is more fragile as compared to a metallic phone. That said, the phone does score some good marks in the design department.
…and not-so-disappointing display!
Coming to the display, the Zenfone 5Z features a Zenfone 5Z sports a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19:9. The display looks good in most of the scenarios as you get wide colour gamut with deep blacks being to the point.
However, we found out that the screen emits way too warmer colours for our liking. Thankfully, Asus has given Splendid mode through which you change the colour temperature according to your own need. There is also an option to customise saturation and hue as well. But, still, the LCD display does not look that bright when compared to AMOLED display present in OnePlus 6. The phone also comes with a top-notch which allows giving a 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio. We liked the fact that the company has made some good use of the notch.
So, for example, whenever you swipe down from left, you will see notification panel and a swipe down from the right will open shortcuts menu. The company also gives an option to scale applications and it is visible just next to recent menu button when you open an app, which requires scaling.
Performance is meant to kill competition...
The Asus Zenfone 5Z is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor along with Adreno 630. The smartphone is backed by up 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. We got the 6GB of RAM with 64GB storage variant for review, which comes with a price tag of Rs 29,999. Being the same processor that powers OnePlus 6, you get a flagship performance here. Whether be it gaming or multitasking, you will not feel disappointed at all. The phone ran buttery smooth during our review period.
On the gaming front, the phone handles causal games like a piece of cake and graphics-intensive games like PUBG is pretty smooth with no lag or frame drops. The phone runs on Android 8.0 Oreo, which is based on ZenUI 5.0. The company has drastically changed its user interface and has made it more user-friendly. The UI now comes with minimal bloatware, a problem that was quite annoying in the past. You now get a simple yet smoother interface with some high-level of customisation options. We liked the fact that the company has focused on providing ease of use with its latest ZenuI 5.0.
So, for example, when you open Chrome or any other browser for that matter, you will see a Page Marker option just next to the recent menu button. This option allows you to save, bookmark and turn the page into a readable format makes it easier to read an article or more. When you are gaming, there is Game Genie that gives a variety of options like speed up, go Live, lock screen, and more, which comes handy during your gameplay. Coming to fingerprint and other security functions, the face unlocks and fingerprint sensor is fast enough to unlock the device within few seconds, however, it is not as fast as the one we have seen in OnePlus 6.
...and AI is the secret ingredient for this!
What makes the Zenfone 5Z is the usage of artificial intelligence, which is actually useful in daily usage. The company has added a host of interesting AI features and the prominent one if AI boost. The company claims it gives a significant boost in performance. Then there is Suggest Apps, which suggest you most used apps at the bottom when you open the app drawer. Optiflex 3.0 reduces app load time, while the smart screen mode extends screen on time while you're looking at it.
There is AI in ringtone as well. The phone automatically adjusts the volume of the ringtone according to the environment. So, for example, if there is a quiet environment, the ringtone will be subtle and too loud. That said, all the AI features works mostly on the background and you will not notice it at first glance, however, as the time passes you will feel the difference.
Camera is impressive
The smartphone features a dual-camera setup with a combination of 12 MP and 8MP sensors. The main 12 MP camera has Sony IMX363 sensor, f/1.8 aperture, 83-degree field of view, 24mm equivalent focal length, and a Softlight LED flash. The 8-megapixel sensor has 120-degree wide-angle lens, a f/2.2 aperture, and a 12mm equivalent focal length in a 35mm film camera. For selfies, there is an 8-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree field of view, and a 24mm equivalent focal length in a 35mm film camera. Click here for the camera samples of Asus Zenfone 5Z.
The camera on this phone seizes to impress. The phone was able to take some really good shots when the lights are bang on right. You get clear shots with ample amount of detailing and colours being close to the source. The wide angle lens in the dual camera allows to capture a wider as area, however, there is a slight drop in quality while you click photos. The macro shots look good, though we found out some focus issue. In low light, the phone does a good job clicking photos with good detailing and less noise as compared to other phones at this price range. The selfie camera does a decent job and it also comes with beauty mode to hide your faults!
The camera is infused with AI features as well. The phone features AI Scene Detection, which basically tweaks the camera settings in the background to 16 different types of scenes, which at the end of the day enhances the photos. The AI also uses real-time portrait mode, which highlights the main subject and blurs out the background. Then there AI Photo Learning, which the brand claims learn how you like to take photos and then automatically adjusts the camera settings for future shots and improves the camera performance.
The battery is bearable, although the sound is good!
On the battery front, the Zenfone 5Z is backed by a 3300mAh battery with fast charge. The battery gave quite average results. When you use it moderately, you will get a day’s battery backup, while under power usage you get almost 4 to 6 hours of backup. The phone also comes to AI and scheduled charging. This basically allows the phone to charge at a moderate pace when it reaches above 80 per cent. This helps to prolong the battery life of the device, which becomes a problem after a lot of charge and discharge cycles.
Asus has added a host of premium features like Hi-Res audio, DTS headphones X, Qualcomm Audio CODEC and dual speakers that delivers some really good audio output whether you are using headphones or playing sound in speakers.
The Asus Zenfone 5Z is probably the best device you can get under Rs 30,000. The phone comes loaded with an impressive design coupled with flagship-level performance. The camera does a good job most of the time and battery is mediocre. However, what makes it stand out from the crowd is the AI-centric features. To conclude, if you are looking for a device that gives you flagship-level performance along with some standout features then Asus Zenfone 5Z is the device for you.