Update: The Zenfone 5 currently available in the market packs 2GB of RAM, instead of 1GB.
I’ve been looking to get a mid-range smartphone to replace my two-year old device for some time now, but I can’t seem to find one that I want. ASUS – that of the PadFone and Fonepad fame – has infiltrated the mid-range market with a brand new line – the ZenFone, and in my hands is the ZenFone 5. Could this be the mid-range upgrade I’m looking for?
The ZenFone 5 is the middle child of the ZenFone family, and is incidentally the face as ASUS is pushing it more than its 4in and 6in siblings. The ZenFone 5 is a wonderful device to hold with a matte soft touch back that has a slight curve for ergonomic purposes. Weighing 145g, the device has a satisfying heft to it. The metal plate below the capacitive buttons rock a concentric circle pattern, evoking the look of another ASUS Zen product – the Zenbook. While this also makes the device longer than other 5in offerings, it still looks great.
Time to Procrastinate
The ZenFone 5 runs Android 4.3 overlaid with ASUS’ ZenUI, with the sole purpose of making you procrastinate – and it is amazing. The UI does so with ‘What’s Next’ and ‘Do it Later’, two features that negate the need of organisers. The former is a calendar app and widget on steroids, keeping tabs on future assignments, weather information, and birthdays, giving you reminders as you go along. As you can tell, it’s insanely useful for people like me. The later alerts you of pending tasks, like a person you need to contact or a YouTube video you can put off watching.
The ZenFone 5 runs on an Intel Atom Z2560 processor paired with 1GB of RAM (refer to “Update” at the top of the article). Peeling the back cover reveals a non-removable 2110mAh battery, a pair of SIM slots and a microSD card slot. You will definitely want to invest in a microSD card as the ZenFone 5 comes with only 8GB of internal storage. The 5in display packs 1280 x 720 pixels, which is sufficient for HD media consumption and games.
Using an 8MP rear-facing camera and ASUS’ PixelMaster technology, the ZenFone 5 has one mode that bears special mention: Low Light. By merging four adjacent pixels to one, this smartphone can take better low-light shots than most premium smartphones. However, this does mean that you only get a quarter of the total resolution, so no large prints.
Price: RM 599
Dimensions: 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.34mm
Processor: Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core
Memory: 1GB RAM
Storage: 8GB internal, expandable via microSD
Display: 5in, 1280 x 720 pixels
Battery: 2110mAh Li-ion
Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 2MP front-facing
OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat
3DMark Ice Storm: 6404
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme: 3596
GFXBench T-Rex: 702 (12.5fps)
GFXBench T-Rex 1080p Offscreen: 404 (7.2fps)
Anomaly 2 High Quality: 199538
Basemark OS II Overall: 384
Verdict: The best mid-range device, by far.
Total Score: 9/10