Asus is planning its dominance in the Indian market with the launch of the Zenfone 5. It has perfectly captured what value for money is with its Zenfone series, be it the Zenfone 4, now the Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 6. The topic for today's discussion is the Zenfone 5 which comes with a HD display, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB storage and Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor with HT enabled. All in all it seems like the best smartphone to get in the sub Rs. 10,000 segment other than its dual-core processor but let's find out more in our unboxing.
In The Box
Asus continues the same packaging as the Zenfone 4 here. Its sturdy, looks good and is neatly arranged. Inside the box apart from the Zenfone 5 you will get a USB Wall Charger, USB Data-cable, User manual and an in-ear headset with several tips to fit all ear sizes.
Asus Zenfone 5 A501CG (Black)
All accessories are good in quality, there is no battery in the box as it is fitted into the phone and is non-removable.
The Asus Zenfone 5 is powered by the Intel Atom Z2560 chipset which packs a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor with Hyper Threading enabled and PowerVR SGX544MP GPU. One might think that this dual-core processor is no match to the quad-core MediaTek offerings available in phones priced similarly.
But you would be wrong. The Z2560 easily out performs even the Snapdragon 400 in some benchmarks. Coupled with 2 GB RAM on the Zenfone 5 this chipset is blazingly fast. There’s 8 GB internal storage out of which 5 GB is available for installation of apps and games. Storage is expandable with a microSD card slot up to 64 GB.
But Asus doesn't stop here, you also have a 8 MP Auto Focus rear camera with LED flash and 2 MP front camera. There’s a 5-inch HD 720p display in the front clad in Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.
Asus carries its brilliant workmanship and design aesthetic forward with the Zenfone 5. You can easily identify a Zenfone from the chin just below the display, which adds additional functionality on the Zenfone 5.
Asus has made a new flip cover for the Zenfone 5 which has a circular hole in the middle on the front just like the Quick Circle case made by LG. The chin at the bottom is metallic which activates the sleep sensor when the flip cover is closed and you get a circular interface in the front which shows the time, notifications, music playback buttons and a lot more.
The entire front of the device apart from the metallic chin is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance. Just below the display you can find three capacitive buttons for back, home and recent apps. Just like the Zenfone 4 the capacitive buttons here too are not backlit.
Above the display you have the main earpiece, 2 MP front camera, Asus branding, proximity and light sensors alongwith a notification LED. I do feel that the capacitive buttons should have been on-screen, it would have reduced the height of the device by quite a margin. The Zenfone 5 is quite a bit taller than other 5-inch smartphones available in the same price bracket.
There is just a space to open the backcover on the left and its good to see that it is easier to remove than its smaller brethren. On the right you have both the volume rocker and power/lock button with concentric circular texture just like the chin on the front. Both the buttons offer excellent tactile response and don’t wobble.
A secondary noise-cancellation mic and 3.5 mm audio jack can be found at the top while the micro-USB port has found its right position at the bottom alongwith the primary microphone.
At the back you have the 8 MP Pixel Master camera, LED flash alongwith the Asus Zenfone, Intel Inside branding and the speakerphone right at the bottom. Asus has bundled in its Sonic Master tech to enhance sound on the Zenfone 5. The back has a very subtle curve which makes the phone easier to hold and flat sides help in gripping it.
Coming back to the back-cover, it has the same rubberized matte finish as the Zenfone 4, but is not as sturdy. There is a bit of flex here but not when its on the phone. On opening the cover you are greeted to two micro-SIM card slots right in the middle and just behind them is the 2110 mAh non-removable battery.
On the right just above the camera module is the space to insert a microSD card. Overall the build of the device is really solid and premium. By looking at the Zenfone 5 you won’t be able to tell that it costs less than Rs. 10,000.
The Zenfone 5 carries the legacy of the Zenfone 4 forward. At its price point it is an excellent competitor to the Moto G. It brings excellent specs including 2 GB RAM, good design, good performance and much more to the table.
Although I do have some qualms with the device like the non-backlit capacitive buttons, slightly pale and darker colors on the display but there are more positives than issues with the Zenfone 5.
We need to still find out how Intel’s chipsets perform in real life and if there are any compatibility issues with apps. But for the time being, both Asus and Motorola are showing the world how to make an excellent mid-range smartphone that doesn’t need to break the bank.