Asus, Zenfone 5Z, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with full HD screen having 19:9 aspect ratio.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Earlier in the month, Asus launched the much-awaited Zenfone 5Z in India. With a price tag that does not exceed Rs 30,000, Zenfone 5Z is the most affordable flagship phone with Snapdragon 845 processor in the market.

Asus phone not only comes with a super-fast Qualcomm chipset, it houses Artificial Intelligence-powered top-notch camera hardware, long-lasting battery and premium build quality. I have been using the device for close to two weeks. Here's my take on Zenfone 5Z.

Design and display:

Except for aping the Apple iPhone X-like notch on the display, I have no complaints with the Zenfone 5Z. I really loved the glass-clad concentric design on the back. That's what sets the device apart from other brands in terms of the look.

The Zeonfone 5Z features standard candy-bar design and comes with a curved metallic rim around the edge. Apart from adding to the look of the smartphone, it also makes the device sturdy enough to sustain an accidental fall and protect the internal hardware. It also offers a good grip for the fingers to hold, so it is less likely to slip from your hand.

Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with vibrant and bright LCD panel.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

As far as the display viewing experience is concerned, the LCD panel used in the Zenfone 5Z is really good; it is bright and vibrant and offers a delightful experience for watching high-resolution videos and playing games.

1/5
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with metal-shell with glass cover on the top.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with hybrid SIM tray and a mic on the left side of the edge.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with volume rockers and power button on the right side of the edgeKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with Type C USB port with single-grille speaker to the left with a mic and a 3.5mm audio jack on the right.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with Type C USB port with single-grille speaker to the left and a 3.5mm audio jack on the right.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Performance:

With Qualcomm's beast Snapdragon 845 octa-core under the hood, Zenfone 5Z is blazingly fast in terms of the opening apps and launching the camera. Also, while playing power intensive and graphics-rich games, the phone astonishingly remained cool. At no point in time, while using the device did I witness any app crashing. The phone showed no signs of slowing down either.

For the sake of statistics, I ran a Geekbench 4 performance testing on the Zenfone 5Z and it scored an impressive 2377 and 8513 points on single-core and multi-core tests, respectively.

As far as the user-interface is concerned, Asus has done a commendable job by reducing the number of pre-loaded apps in the phone. The Zenfone 5Z is clutter free and easy to navigate to find a feature or set shortcuts. We come to understand that the Asus phone supports Google Project Treble. This device currently runs Android Oreo and is assured to get upcoming Android P soon after it is released to the Pixel phones later this year.

Camera:

The camera hardware of previous Asus flagships - the niche Zenfone Zoom series, the standard Zenfone 4 series and 3 series before that - all took great photos under varied light conditions. The new Zenfone 5Z too is no different; it took incredibly great shots in the early morning, broad daylight and late evening. However, the pictures did show some noise in the night light.

Also, it can be noted that the auto-focus and processing of images takes a tad bit longer in low-lighting, but it is good enough for a phone priced under Rs 30,000.

Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
Asus Zenfone 5Z comes with good pair of cameras on the back.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India

High Dynamic Ranging (HDR) mode is the best option to get great pictures in the Zenfone 5Z. The detailing of the scene is well captured with less saturated colours offering realistic images. Also, the wide-angle mode is praiseworthy.

And with the AI-mode on, it automatically optimises the camera settings as per the scene in front of the lens. The phone was able to detect various types of subjects including pets, flowers and landscape, among others.

The front camera too is really good for its price. With Selfie Master, Zenfone 5Z offers a truckload of tools to tweak the selfies and make it more presentable and fun on social media platforms.

1/12
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z camera sample taken in the eveningKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, first impression, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera sample shot taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, first impression, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera sample shot taken in the morningKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, first impression, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera sample shot taken in the evening under normal modeKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, first impression, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera sample shot taken in the evening with wide-angle modeKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken in the eveningKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, first impression, hands-on, review India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera sample shot taken in the morning.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken in the morningKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken with Portrait Mode.KVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken in the night without flashKVN Rohit/IBTimes India
  • Asus, Zenfone 5z, review, hands-on, India, launch, price, specs
    Asus Zenfone 5Z primary camera photo sample taken in the night without flash light supportKVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Battery:

In this aspect too, Zenfone 5Z aced the battery life test. During the trials, I tried calling (audio), video calling (WhatsApp) and played some minutes of gaming, binge-watched videos on YouTube (mostly movie trailers) and Facebook (viral clips) for a minimum of half hour and also caught up with news on Google Now cards. And from time to time, I used to message on the phone.

With a full charge, after all the aforementioned activities, it was able to last until bedtime with more than 20 percent juice left. If I was little more conservative, it could have lasted one and half day easily. The power management feature of the Zenfone is laudable as it monitors apps, which are draining power and notifies the user to block them to conserve battery life.

Another attribute of the Zenfone 5Z I loved is the AI smart charge, it intelligently slows the device's charging time over the night and fills up the remaining in the last few minutes just before I plan to pick up the phone. This technique apparently helps in slowing the chemical degradation of the battery and sustain for several hundred more charging cycles compared to rival brands.

[Note: The daily routine of author begins at 5:30 am and ends at 10:30 pm]

Special mention:

The loudspeaker sound quality is exceptional in the Zenfone 5Z. The company has done a commendable job by focusing on subject matters. Yeah, Zenfone 5Z is not competing with the Bluetooth speakers, but the sound output is loud enough to be used in a small room to create a party atmosphere with a close group of friends.

Final thoughts:

Asus Zenfone 5Z offers more value than the price it commands. Rs 29,999 starting price is just ridiculously low and, make no mistake, Asus has not compromised on any aspect of the Zenfone 5Z. It has top-notch build quality, surprisingly good LCD display, powerful processor and long-lasting battery.

If you are looking for a flagship phone that does not burn a hole in the pocket, Asus Zenfone 5Z is a phone you will not regret buying.

Pros:

  • Premium build quality
  • Really good display
  • Super powerful processor
  • Decent camera
  • Exceptionally long lasting camera
  • Most cost-effective flagship phone in the market.

Cons:

  • Though the picture quality of Zenfone 5 in the low light condition is a bit of concern, it is not a deal breaker. This can be fixed with a software update and also, it is good enough for a phone under Rs 30,000 price-range

There's is absolutely nothing else to write negatively about the Zenfone 5X. It will surely send jitters to premium market leaders especially Samsung, Apple and OnePlus. Even Xiaomi can learn a thing or two from Asus on how to market premium phones in India and find success like it has marvelously achieved in the mid-range segment.

 Stay tuned. Follow us @IBTimesIN_Tech on Twitter and on Google News for latest updates on Asus.