Review: Asus Zenfone 5

I received an Asus Zen Fone 5 to review, and the phone was returned after about 20 days. I was compensated for my time and effort with Flipkart vouchers.


“It’s sleek.”

“It’s so light !”

“Look, the reverse is white.”

I listen to the excited comments of my department colleagues as they examine the Asus Zen Fone 5 that has just been delivered to me at my work address. I hear their comments, but all I can see of the phone is its size.

“It’s so big. It’s bigger than my current phone ! How will I use it?”

“Just like you use your other phone,” retorts a colleague. “Don’t whine about the phone size till you have actually used it.”

I wisely shut up.

That evening, the first thing I do when I reach home is to transfer the sim card and contacts from the old phone to the Asus Zenfone, and set it up. It is surprisingly seamless and within minutes the phone is configured and ready for use.

Another few minutes to download the social media apps that I use — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and I am all set to use it and begin the review.

Asus Zen Fone, review, RippleLinks, Android, Smartphone

And use it I did over the next 20 days or so that the phone was with me (though it has taken me almost 2 months to write this review !) This is what I have to say about the Asus Zenfone.

1. Size: I don’t like to carry my cell phone in my hand while travelling or even while attending office meetings. In the case of the former, the phone is either placed in my bag and in the case of the latter in my salwar pocket. At almost 6 inches in length, my concern was whether the Asus Zenfone would fit in my salwar pocket. To my surprise, it did. What I liked the most was the good grip and feel as well — not once did I feel that I was handling something unwieldy or unmanageable.

2. Weight: At 145 gms, the Asus Zenfone has been the lightest smartphone I have used and considering its size, its light weight did come as a surprise. Initially, I felt like I had nothing in my hands, but got used to the feeling of ‘weightlessness’.

3. Call Quality: Both my office and residence are located in areas where cell reception quality is very poor. In fact, at home, I have to half hang out of the window and shout speak into the phone. Once again, the Asus Zenfone surprised me. I didn’t have too much problem with receiving or making calls at work and at home and the voice quality was good as well. I have always blamed my service provider for the call quality, but now wonder if the phone itself contributes to the call quality. Definitely something to think about.

4. Battery Life: Even with either the Wifi / 3G enabled, I only had to charge the phone every alternate day. If I did not use either Wifi / 3G, then I could use the phone for up to 3-4 days without charging.

5. Camera: I switched from a regular cell phone to a smartphone only because of the camera phone. For someone who is into photography and likes to keep a decent camera handy, a phone camera is the best option since I don’t want to lug a camera everywhere. The Asus Zenfone 5 has an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 0.3 megapixel front camera (which I did not use at all). The Zenfone arrived just in time for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2015 and was put to full use there. A collage of the some of the pictures taken at the Festival is given below:

Asus Zen Fone, review, RippleLinks, Android, Smartphone I also used the phone for a Restaurant Review, which gave me the opportunity to test out the phone’s claim of low light photography.

Rockville Deli Vashi, Navi Mumbai Foodies, Restaurant Review

The camera wasn’t as good as the one in my regular phone, but was still satisfactory. I felt that the colours were not true to the real ones and the camera settings added an extra pop of colour which did not always work. I tried some of the inbuilt camera options and particularly liked the panorama setting.

Because of the camera’s android system, I found that backing the photographs on Google drive was automatic and didn’t have to take any extra efforts.

6. Ease of using Apps: I am not much into apps and the only ones I use are those which help me access my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. I had no problems in using any of them.

7. Headphones: Okay, its confession time. I don’t like headphones and I don’t use them unless I have to transcribe something as part of work. But since headphones were included in the box and I was reviewing the phone, I decided to try them out by listening to the radio on my commute to work. The sound was clear, but a bit tinny and it didn’t convince me to listen to podcasts or any other audio- or video-related stuff.

8. Flashlight: The Asus Zenfone comes with a built in flashlight and it was something that I discovered by accident while looking for a particular phone setting. After that, I was like a kid with a new toy and would use it just like that. Oh, and to irritate my mother as well 😉

Asus Zen Fone, review, RippleLinks, Android, SmartphoneThe Asus Zenfone quietly wormed its way into my life in the 20 days it was with me. It is not a flashy phone, and yet it left an impact on everyone who saw it. Most people liked for the fact that it was so light and that it was very nice to hold. My mother’s reaction to the Asus Zenfone was the most surprising, considering that she is quite indifferent to smartphones.

“I like it” was her first reaction when she saw the phone. And in the time that I had it, I would often see her holding the phone with a sense of ease and confidence in her arthritic hands. In fact, she said something very significant: “I have never felt so confident about holding a phone. I know that I will not drop it.” Was it the size of the phone, or the grip or the weight? My mother couldn’t pinpoint the reason, other that saying that it felt “just right”. The phone felt ‘just right’ for me too. If only the camera were better, then I would say that the Asus Zenfone would be perfect for me.

As for me, I miss the phone. Yes, I know its been almost two months since I returned it. Maybe its a sign saying that the next phone I buy should be an Asus Zenfone 5. What say? 🙂

17 thoughts on “Review: Asus Zenfone 5

  1. Thanks for the review. I am more interested in knowing how the Asus Zen Fone compares with the Lumia 1020, the phone you use. While I like the review, I think it could have been better if you had given a comparative review.

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    1. Welcome to ‘My Favourite Things”, Lokesh. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      The review is not meant to be a comparative review; rather it is about my experience of using an Asus Zenfone. But since you have asked let me tell you that the Asus is far easier to use and navigate as compared to my Lumia 1020. But, and this is big one, the camera on the Lumia is much better. The Asus phone, while good, was not as good as the Lumia. I doubt if any phone camera can match up to the Lumia’s.

      Hope you’ll keep visiting.

      Like

  2. What was touchscreen like? What was the time lag to take photographs? Did you use the flash? Did the phone have the option to increase text / font size? Can you let me know?

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Swami. My review doesn’t mention all these and I should have mentioned it. To get back to your question…

      1. The touchscreen was pretty good, responsive and fast. The screen never froze even once.
      2. The time lag was alright I think. I managed to capture whatever I wanted to, even from a moving vehicle.
      3. I don not like flash photography and do not use it even with my DSLR. Therefore the question of using a flash on my mobile phone does not arise.
      4. I did not check out this option in the phone, Swami, so I do not know. Sorry I cannot help you any further.

      Like

  3. My personal experience with all smartphones are more or less same. One thing that you must ensure is the screen sensor. If that does not behave then your phone calls are likely to go haywire. The phone will either not be switched off or you might connect with some else. The second is battery. With wifi and bluetooth on all claims of better life inflated. Always better to carry a battery backup to recharge it. The third is the personal security of the phone because most of the information is usually stored through emails and etc For the price it seems a good deal…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The screen sensor of the Asus phone was good; wish I could say the same of my current phone (struggled the whole morning with it). Personally, I have not had a problem with the battery of my phone as I always keep the bluetooth off and Wifi/3G connection off when not in use.

      As for personal security, it is a genuine concern and I’m still not sure/clear about how to make the phone more secure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Security with smartphones is as safe or dicey, as with a notebook or a laptop. Fairly safe if you have initial passwords or thumb/finger identifications. If lost the data recovery is much faster and quicker with iPhones or Mac books. The latter has a heavy price and sometimes makes you wonder what’s there for you to lose for the price you pay. Screen sensors are most irritating when they don’t behave…

        Liked by 1 person

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