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Asus ZenFone 5z Review: The New Flagship Killer

Asus Zenfone 5z is a new contender in the race of becoming the best smartphone in India's affordable high-end smartphones category. With price starting from Rs 29,999, Asus Zenfone 5Z is the brand’s latest flagship offering in the Indian market which is packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, AI-backed dual rear cameras, 19:9 ratio display with 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, Android 8.0 Oreo but is this phone really as good as its specs look on paper? Let’s find out in the review.

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Taiwanese electronics company Asus has launched their new mid-range smartphone Asus ZenFone 5z in India. From a long time now, OnePlus has been ruling the mid-range smartphone segment which offered features of high-end smartphone at much cheaper prices and this strategy has worked well for OnePlus. Asus has done their research well for making a smartphone which can bring the company to limelight again.

Asus Zenfone 5Z is the brand’s latest flagship offering in the Indian market which is packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, AI-backed dual rear cameras, 19:9 ratio display with 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, Android 8.0 Oreo but is this phone really as good as its specs look on paper? Let’s find out in the review.

Asus ZenFone 5z (6GB+64GB) – Rs 29,999

Asus ZenFone 5z (6GB+128GB) – Rs 32,999

Asus ZenFone 5z (8GB+256GB) – Rs 36,999

At this price, Asus ZenFone 5z will compete with the likes of OnePlus 6 (Review) and Honor 10 (Review).

 Pros Cons
 Good Design No IP rating for water resistance
 Solid Performance Selfie camera could have been better
 Impressive Display Face unlock is slow
 Value for money product 


Design and Display

The front of Asus Zenfone 5z is all display just like OnePlus 6, Vivo X21, and Honor 10, this phone comes with a notch display which Asus proudly claims to be smaller than that of Apple iPhone X. The Zenfone 5z’s notch houses an earpiece, selfie cam, proximity sensor and a tiny pulse LED notification light.

Zenfone 5z comes in two colours- midnight blue and meteorite silver. Asus has managed to keep the Zenfone 5z’s weight less at 165 grams making it comfortable to hold.  

The handset’s body is a combination of metal and glass which really looks beautiful and yes it is slippery and gets smudges very easily like every other glass body mobile.

At the back is the vertically aligned dual camera module with a LED flash and a fingerprint scanner. It is placed at right spot i.e. upper centre of the phone where the finger automatically falls when you hold the phone.

The dual-SIM tray sits on the left side, power and volume buttons are on the right side. The bottom of the phone incorporates a 3.5mm headphone-jack, USB Type-C port and loudspeaker. There is no mention of any official IP rating for waterproofing, so you should avoid letting your phone falling into water.

Talking about the display, it is a 6.2-inches FHD+ (2246x1080) Super IPS+ display with 19:9 aspect ratio, 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass. The display is crystal clear, vibrant with deep blacks and produces good colours. In other words, display is great you need not to worry about it.

For notch haters, there is an option present in the Settings to hide it. Users also get a lot of options to customize the display like notch can be masked, color temperature can be changed to warmer or cooler colors, and the display quality can also be dropped down at lower resolution to save battery.  

Asus ZenFone 5z measures 153 X 75.65 X 7.7mm and weighs 165 grams.   

Also Read: Vivo Nex Detailed Review

Software

Asus ZenFone 5z runs on ZenUI 5.0 which is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. Asus’ custom UI runs smoothly on the Zenfone 5z and gives its users a lot of options. A lot of features fall under Advanced section in the Settings which includes Touch Gestures which lets users to turn off or wake up the screen by double tapping it. There are Motion Gestures with which you can turn down the device face down to mute incoming call, and lift the device to your ear to answer calls automatically.

It also have gestures for various commands for example draw ‘Z’ on the dark screen to launch gallery app or draw ‘C’ to launch camera app. However, the most important feature which we all expected was control gestures which lets us hide the on-screen navigations buttons but this feature is missing on the Asus Zenfone 5z.

If you have two accounts of social networking sites like Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter, you can use them at the same time using Twin Apps feature. With Game Genie, gamers can record their games and also live stream the game through YouTube.

Then there is ZeniMoji, as its name suggests, it is similar to Apple’s Animoji which lets you record something as an animal like bear and share it over social media.

With Kids Mode, you can restrict kids’ access to your device with a PIN to choose suitable apps like games for instance. The most promising AI feature is OptiFlex decreases the launch time of the apps which you use frequently by monitoring your app usage pattern. To some extent OptiFlex did launch apps faster. However, its full potential could be seen after using it more.

When you’ll use this phone, you’ll notice a lot of notifications which will include AI prefixes. For instance, there is AI charging which protects battery through learning charging history to adjust charging rate and AI ringtone which 

With Smart screen, you can extend the screen on time while you are looking at it and holding the device upright.  

Performance and Battery Life

It is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor which has eight Kryo 385 cores, Adreno 630 GPU, faster connectivity, improved AI performance and brings better photography performance.

Undoubtedly, this phone works smoothly without any lag. Multi-tasking, switching between apps, using RAM intensive games, everything worked fine.

On Geekbench, Asus Zenfone 5z achieved single-core score of 2,451 and multi-core score of 8,727. AnTuTu gave it a score of 2,59,287. When compared to other flagship smartphones Zenfone 5z’s scores were quite impressive. 


Asus Zenfone 5z comes in three RAM+Storage options of 6GB+64GB, 6GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB. The second SIM slot also doubles as a MicroSD card holder and the storage in all variants is expandable up to 2TB.

The Zenfone 5z also supports DTS Headphone: X and High-res audio certifications which certainly enhances the audio experience.

The dual-SIM smartphone is backed by a 3,300mAh battery which supports fast charging. To reach from zero to hundred percent, Zenfone 5z takes less than 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you are a moderate user than you’ll easily get 15 hours of battery life after single charge.

The ZenUI offers many options to tweak with the battery optimizations, one of them is battery saving options where you can detect battery-draining apps. There are various battery modes like Performance, Normal, Power saving, and Super saving which limits phone’s performance and various functions for an extended battery life. Also, there is AI charging which protects battery through learning charging history to adjust charging rate.

For security, there is a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock feature, both are apt but face unlock feature is slower than the OnePlus 6.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, 3.5mm audio-jack, USB Type-C, and Location.

Camera

Asus ZenFone 5z sports a dual camera setup of 12-MP+8MP. The primary 12-megapixels camera has 1.4µm large pixel size, dual pixel image sensing, f/1.8 aperture and quick autofocus. The secondary 8-megapixels camera is a wide-angle lens. On the front is an 8-megapixels selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture.    

The camera app is simple to use with options like Settings, Depth effect, HDR, timer and Flash at the top and Pro mode, Video recording, and an option to switch between the primary and wide-angle lens. By swiping left from the camera screen you’ll find Pro mode, Beauty mode, Time Lapse, slow-motion video, super resolution and GIF animation. On swiping right, you will find some camera filters. 

The rear camera is also capable of recording 4K and FHD videos at 60 frames per second but it shoots slow-motion videos at 240fps only.

As AI prevails in every feature of this phone, how could it not be present in the camera? The camera has AI scene detection which recognises 16 scenes like People, Food, Night, animals and more. The AI kicks in the as soon as you focus the object and it is detected. 

The pictures clicked from this handset turned out be be amazing, it just misses some details during low-light and noise is tad high where OnePlus 6 is better but the Zenfone 5z did a better job than its nemesis during outdoor shots with higher dynamic range. Zenfone 5z's Auto HDR does a better job and keeps coming in whenever it is required. 

Also Read: OnePlus 6 Detailed Review

Verdict

Starting from Rs 29,999, Asus has managed to bring a great smartphone with such specs which has is clearly a good competitor of OnePlus 6. Asus Zenfone 5z has everything which a phone at this price should have for example, Super IPS+ display with 19:9 ratio, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, decent cameras, good design, solid 3,500mAh battery and amazing sound experience.

Asus Zenfone 5z is a value for money phone which is priced much lesser than its competition.

Even in some areas, Zenfone 5z has a little extra to offer than the OnePlus 6, like the MicroSD card slot, dual speakers (earpiece doubles as a loudspeaker) and a few AI enhancements which most of the times do a better job. Also, most phones doesn’t come with earphones but Asus Zenfone 5z comes bundled with ZenEar Pro high-res earphones. 

Well it all boils down to one thing when choosing between OnePlus 6 and Asus ZenFone 5z and it is the software. While OnePlus 6 runs on OxygenOS which offers near stock Android experience and the company has also promised software updates for next three years.

On the other hand, Zenfone 5z runs on ZenUI which comes with a lot of customizations and less bloatware but Asus’ history of providing timely software updates has not been very good.

Also Read: OnePlus 6 vs Honor 10: Design, Specifications and Camera Comparison


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