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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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 😉
The 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? 🙂