Asus Zenfone 5 Review updated to Android Kitkat 4.4.2.

Review of:

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 29, 2014
Last modified:November 28, 2016

Summary:

Very few times there comes a budget smartphone from a reputed brand which not only shakes the market but also offers a valuable proposition to the consumer. Asus recently launched its Zenfone Series which includes Asus Zenfone 4, Asus Zenfone 5 and the mammoth Asus Zenfone 6.

Though the Zenfone 4 and 6 offers good products at their respective price bracket, Asus Zenfone 5 is the beast of the lot which offers mouth watering specifications at a truly affordable and aggressive price point.

Last year we saw the Motorola Moto G do the same with its consumer friendly smartphone. This year its Asus with its Zenfone series stepping into the smartphone race for the first time.

Priced at Rs. 9,999, Asus Zenfone 5 is not only affordable to the working class Indian but also for college student and people who wish a decent smartphone at a doable price range. Lets find out what Asus Zenfone 5 updated to Android Kitkat 4.4.2 has to offer.

Asus Zenfone 5 – Specifications Overview

Asus Zenfone 5 comes with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 Dual Core Processor with Intel’s Hyperthreading technology. Practically the processor contains 4 CPUs inside two cores, so in layman’s terms its either similar or a little superior than Quad Core offerings from brands like Mediatek and Qualcomm.

It comes with a whopping 2GB RAM which is never ever seen in smartphone under Rs. 10,000 along with 8GB internal memory (16GB model costs at Rs. 12,999/-), It packs in 8MP PixelMaster Camera with Flash at the back whereas a 2MP front facing camera. It offers 5 inches 1280X720 pixel HD display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Asus Zenfone 5 – Design and Built

The first time you hold this phone, it feels rock solid with no squeaking parts whatsoever. It’s sturdy and at the same time is lightweight at 145 grams. The phone we’re reviewing comes in Champagne Gold colors and helps itself to stand out from crew of other budget Android Smartphones. However only the back panel is colored whereas the entire phone is black.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Build Quality

Just like the phone, the back panel stands its ground; similar to the ones we’re used to see in Lumia smartphones. On the front Asus Zenfone 5 features a 2MP camera with a bunch of sensors, at the bottom we have 3 capacitive buttons (which aren’t backlit) whereas on its chin it has faux metallic strip which features concentric circles that adds a class to this phone.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Durability

The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 that gives absolute scratch less experience. The top and bottom has 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB port. The left side features faux metallic volume Up Down buttons and just above it we have the Power Lock/Unlock button.

One major problem I do have with Asus Zenfone 5 is its Notification Light. Since it’s embedded a little too deep inside, it becomes impossible to see the notification light blinking from a distance. Tilt the phone by 60° and its hard to notice the Notification Light is ON. This LED light comes in color like Red, Green and Orange

“Since this is the first time, Asus has put forward a bunch of smartphones, I am impressed in seeing the craftsmanship gone under making this phone. It has got everything right on its first step forward.”

Asus Zenfone 5 – Screen

This Taiwanese company has been kind enough to provide an HD display in the Asus Zenfone 5. The display is 1280×720 pixel IPS display which offers 294ppi on a 5 inch screen. The cherry on the cake is, it’s provided with Cornering Gorilla Glass 3 that exceeds all my expectations from a phone under Rs. 10,000.

The screen looks pretty sharp and offers great color reproduction. The display doesn’t lose colors even if you see it from the edges. Asus does offers a small screen customization utility called ‘Splendid’. Using this app, you can change the color temperature, add in hue and saturation, make colors look vivid and punchy or one can even make the Asus Zenfone 5 screen black and white using Splendid.

“A 1280 X 720 HD IPS Display with Gorilla Glass Protection, what more can you can for in a smartphone under Rs. 10,000.

Asus Zenfone 5 – Software

Asus Zenfone 5 comes pre-installed with Jellybean 4.3 and can be upgraded to Kitkat 4.4.2. out of the box immediately via its System Update utility. The Android UI is heavily skinned with Asus’ own Zen UI, Zen UI does looks modern and pleasing to the eye. Asus Zen UI doesn’t looks gaudy usually seen by OS customized from brands like Sony, Samsung, Lenovo and so on. Asus has kept it simple, even the icons are neither flat nor with glossy gradient, they look pretty neat.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Home Screen
Simplistic Homescreen
Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Feature Toggle
Features Toggles

Since the software is highly optimized for the 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor, its hard to see any lags during basic mobile operations and even while playing HD games. The company has been kind enough to provide 2GB RAM in Asus Zenfone 5, hence switching between apps is butter smooth, even portrait to landscape switching is instant.

Asus has even added some extra elements to its Zen UI, like swipe down from the left side of the screen and you get notification panel whereas swiping down from right shows up the toggle buttons.

Though everything goes right about the Zen UI, one thing I’m not conviced is the pre-installed keyboard. Its not the best to type on, either in landscape or portrait mode and has two version of it. If you’re doing basic text messaging you’ll get a keyboard shown below.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Chat Keyboard
Normal Keyboard While Text Messaging

But

When you move to browser, the keyboard’s bottom layout changes badly as it cuts down the space bar and pushes it left to accommodate other (not-so-important) elements. While typing in browser, mostly I ended up hitting the colon button instead of space. Though one can easily change this by grabbing a new keyboard off Google Play Store.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Web Keyboard
See how the Space Bar moves left

Asus Zenfone 5 comes with various useful pre-installed applications like Do-It-Later, What’s Next, Audio Wizard, Party Link, Remote Link, PC Link, Share Link, Power Saver, Quick Memo, SuperNote and Omlet. In this What’s Next aggregrates info from your social accounts and displays upcoming birthdays, Reminders, Events, Festivals and so on either on its widget, the Lockscreen or in the notification panel. Do-It-Later is basically a reminder To-Do app that you can configure basic reminders or calling someone, messaging someone at particular time and so on. Remote Link turns your Asus Zenfone 5 into a virtual TouchPad through which you can control your PC automatically, turn slides in Powerpoint Presentation, Zoom-In and Out Pictures and basically do everthing a touchpad does wirelessly.

“Though being a smartphone under Rs. 10,000; Asus has invested and has put immense efforts on software front rather than slapping stock Android on Asus Zenfone 5”

Asus Zenfone 5 – Performance

Performance on the Asus Zenfone 5 is nothing less than impressive. Basic operations like Calling, Messaging, Switching between apps are totally Lag Free.

Even Benchmark Applications like Quadrant Standard, Antutu and Nenamark 2 speak out excellent for Asus Zenfone 5.

Gaming on Asus Zenfone 5 is marvelous. You can play almost all HD Games on it. Games like Asphalt 8, Frontline Commando D-Day, Blood and Glory: Legend, Real Racing 3 run smooth without any stutter, though you can expect rare frame drops here and there.

Asus Zenfone 5 is therefore a budget gamer’s delight and offers better performance than SoC like Snapdragon 400 and Mediatek 6582 usually seen in smartphones under similar price range.

There is hardly any smartphone that can provide performance similar to Asus Zenfone 5 under Rs. 10,000.

Just to satisfy your number needs, here are some scores from synthetic benchmarks like Quadrand Standard, Antutu and Nenamark 3.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with-Kitkat 4.4.2 - Antutu Benchmark
Antutu Benchmark: 22,473
Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Quadrant Benchmark
Quadrant Standard: 9,452
Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Nenamark2 Benchmark
Nenamark 2: 60.0 FPS

“Great Performer at an incredible aggressive price point. Two years ago I had bought Micromax Canvas 2 A110 which scored 1,700 on Quadrant and 6,500 on Antutu at same price. You can see what more you get for the same price you pay”

Asus Zenfone 5 – Camera and Video Recording

Asus Zenfone 5 includes 8MP PixelMaster Primary Camera coupled with Flash along with a decent 2MP Camera just next to the caller piece.

Pictures from the 8MP camera excel in capturing excellent colors and as Asus claims, its PixelMaster technology captures 400% more light stands true to its words. This 8MP PixelMaster Camera does sees more during low light where phones from same range and even Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo sees nothing at all. After activating Low Light mode on the Asus Zenfone 5, it captures more light (with noise) where the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo shows pitch black.

Various modes are offered on the Zenfone 5 like Time Rewind, HDR, Panorama, Night mode, Low Light Mode, Selfie, Beautification, Miniature mode, Depth of Field (Macro) Mode, Smart Remove, All Smiles and GIF Animation which all work as advertised. Below are the pictures taken Auto Mode and Depth of Field Mode.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Camera Test
Pictures in broad daylight, Good Color Reproduction. Auto Mode. Click to view Full Image
Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - Camera Test 2
Depth of Field (Macro) Mode, Click to view Full Image

The only problem I face with Asus Zenfone 5 camera is with its metering (focusing), one has to tap almost 4-5 times to get the lens to focus where you want; during macro photography this does acts a spoilsport. I believe Asus would do come with a fix during its next update.

Coming to video recording, Full HD 1080p video recording is supported by this phone at 30fps. You can capture decent videos from it and with smooth playback.

“The front camera is somewhat average and adds more reds in an image, since the primary 8MP Pixel Master Camera has a Selfie Mode, I’d advice to not take pictures from the front camera. :-)”

Asus Zenfone 5 – Battery

The 2110 mAh battery on Asus Zenfone 5 offers impressive battery backup to my surprise. It’s hard to believe but Asus Zenfone 5 offers 1.5-2 days of battery backup on full charge. Lot of people have complained on sites like Mouthshut.com that the battery drains completely in 6-7 hours after charging. I’d advice them to update their smartphone to Android Kitkat 4.4.2., as Asus has weeded out this battery drain problem which I too faced (on Jellybean).

With moderate Gaming, Calls, frequent Text Messaging and screen brightness set to 0% indoors and 80-90% outdoors, battery manages to keep the phone alive for 2 days. Though continuous HD gaming might want you to reach for the charger after 4-6 hours.

“Recommended to install Juice Defender Android App, as it kills background apps during sleep mode and manages to provide some extra juice.”

Asus Zenfone 5 – What’s Inside?

There’s nothing extra ordinary in this smartphone under Rs. 10,000 but it does comes with whats important. You get an Asus Zenfone 5 along with USB Cable, Wall Charger, Literature (User Manuals) and in-ear style earphones.

Asus Zenfone 5 Review with Kitkat 4.4.2 - inside the box
Here’s Whats Inside

To my surprise the in-ear style earphones performed remarkable, just a tad inferior than my SoundMagic ES18. Yes! you don’t need to run for an aftermarket earphones once you purchase this smartphone.

The wall charger and USB Cable are of superior quality, only the wall charger fits a little loose on wall socket and even on spike guard.

Asus Zenfone 5 – Final Verdict

Asus Zenfone 5 being the first lot of smartphones from the Taiwanese Company is priced aggressively tearing up the competition very well. Its Specifications, Performance and Premium Built Quality do put smartphones like Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, Sony Xperia M2, Lenovo S860, Moto G2, Xolo 8X-1000 and similar to a shame.

Even with its all plastic body construction, Asus has managed to make the Zenfone 5 look premium and the dual tone color of Black and Champagne Gold at the edges gives it an extra ordinary finish in its class.

Every element on this phone, be it Build Quality and Construction or Software front has been beautifully designed putting the user on driver’s seat. Pre-installed utilies on the phone gives more power to this budget smartphone.

“Asus Zenfone 5 is one those phones which not only performs great but also can be a great show-off. This is the reason, I waited for almost 1 month to grab it from Flipkart. Its hard to find such a good looking performer either from Indian or International brand at Rs. 9,999. Its that one phone I can suggest to person of any age with eyes closed.”

Yes! This phone is better than Moto G 2nd Generation, Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 and slew of devices out there. Don’t Wait and buy yourself one at Rs. 9,999 from Flipkart.

If you loved this review, do share it with your friends and family on your favorite social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and help them make a better choice while choosing their next smartphone.

Recommended Accessories with Asus Zenfone 5:

SoundMagic ES18 in-ear Headphones @ Rs. 630

Xiaomi Mi 5200 mAh Power Bank @ Rs. 599

Have a great day!

Comments

  1. says

    I am very glad Abhishek, that you’re going ahead with Asus Zenfone 5 after reading this review. To be true, I researched a lot before I triangled on this device.

    On my every bet, I’d suggest this smartphone to anyone who wants a smartphone even around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 18,000

  2. says

    Hey Abhishek,
    This is one of the most comprehensive reviews I have read about smartphones. There is no doubt that the most important features and functionality of the Asus Zenfone 5 have been dissected and covered in this review.

    Its now easier to make comparisons and take a stand as to whether this is the right smartphone.

    The Asus Zenfone 5 is indeed a “beast” looking at its performance and processors. It beats my imagination that this is budget smartphone. Well, this is good news for many with shoe string budget anyway.

    With a 2GB RAM and an extended 2days battery life, what more can I ask for in a smartphone?

    I have shared this comment in kingged.com where this review was posted.

  3. says

    Thank you very much Sunday for this lovely comment after a long time. Yeah Asus Zenfone 5 is a beast of a smartphone and the specifications offered by Asus are wonderful.

    Since I own this phone, this review is very dear to me and your comment added a gleam to it.

  4. says

    Hi Abhishek,

    This is my first visit to your blog and I impressed with your writings..

    Wonderful review, I have read ever about smartphone. You shared very detailed review as well as with your personal experiences. I will look forward to have it soon.

    I really enjoyed reading here. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Have a nice day ahead!

  5. Sheik says

    Hi Abhishek, It ‘s Nice Review. I jus want to know two things.1. Really the battery life is good. 2. After Kitkat update, is there any heating issue. Pls let me know. My dilemma is between MotoG 1st gen and Zenfone 5. Suggest me a good one. Thanks!

  6. karthik says

    Hi, excellent review. I too am thinking of buying a zenfone 5. Which colour would be the best? Does champagne gold really look hood? Please suggest.
    Thanks,
    Karthik.

  7. says

    Hi Abhishek between ASUS Zenphone 5 and Moto G 2nd Gen which has best camera and battery quality. Pls waiting for your response

  8. says

    Mani, I’d suggest the Asus Zenfone 5 anytime over Moto G2.

    Zenfone 5 has Pixel Master technology which helps in taking the best photos one can get and with timely updates the camera app has improved a lot.

    As a mentioned, battery life of 2 days is what I get from Zenfone 5, what more reasons do you need?

  9. Rakesh says

    Abhishek I want to update my Asus zenfone 5 to Kitkat 4.4.2. Is there any problem after updating to Kitkat. Please reply a litte quick on should I update it or should I stick to 4.3 Jellybean version?

  10. says

    Hi Friend,

    i really liked this article soon i will be sharing it on my facebook profile.
    You did with your level best and I advise you being my colleague to take every comment and suggestion especially the critical one very patiently and with open heart. When you try such strictly monitored topics you equally receive criticism so just receive it and take all the positive points from it.
    thanking you
    Keep up your good work!
    Have a good day
    Akshay Naik

  11. Rupam says

    I’m going to order the newer variant of this zenfone 5 with 1.2 processor. The only thing that I’m worried about is the battery life. As you have already mentioned that you need to keep the brightness level to zero in order to get through the day. I don’t game or watch videos, so if I keep the brightness 50% will it last a day ?

  12. anusha says

    Hi abhishek, I have small doubt on update my zenphone5 into 4.4 since most of reviews from the users after updating it to 4.4are negative and as per them they are experiencing so many issues. Is it true… I love to update this to 4.4 but afraid to do so.

  13. says

    Rather than keeping the Brightness at 50% Rupam, you can use the auto-brightness option.

    It works like a charm on the Zenfone 5.

    In my opinion don’t go for the 1.2GHz version, it’s not worth it!

  14. kuntal says

    i want to buy a smart phone under 10,000 INR. I really like asus zenfone 5 & i’m thinking about going for the 16gb variant but i’m worried about battery life, so please help me. Also whn will zenfone 5 get the lollipop update??????

  15. kuntal says

    i want to buy a phone within 10000 INR within april. i really lyk zenphone 5 16gb variant but i’m worried about the battery life. should i go for it???? and when will zenfone 5 receive the lollipop upgrade?????

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