After rolling out quite a few tablets, Asus is now entering the Indian smartphone market with the ZenFone line-up. The company is prepping to launch the Zenfone 4, 5, and 6 this month. Out of the lot, the Zenfone 5 is a mid-range smartphone. The pricing details aren't out yet, but we expect it to cost around Rs 15,000. Currently, it's one of the few phones based on Intel's Atom platform. Let's find out how good it is.
Build The ZenFone 5 is a quite a looker. At a first glance, it looks a lot like the HTC One. Inspired by the HTC's offering, this phone is tall and has a slightly curved back. Due to its large screen size, the handset is not ideal for single-handed usage. The metallic strip below the capacitive keys look inspired by LG's G3. The phone's back-panel is removable, which gives you access to a microSD and SIM card slots. However, the battery is non-user replaceable.
Asus has used good quality materials to put together this handset. The build precision is another area this phone shines. The company has paid heed to small details such as buttons and even the speaker grille on the back-panel. Another thing worth mentioning is that the ZenFone 5 comes in eye-catching colours — red, purple, and gold. If you want something safe, you can go with white or black. Overall, the ZenFone 5 is an aesthetically pleasing and sturdy device.
Package Contents: Handset. Earphones. Wall charger. USB charger.
Display The phone features a 5-inch HD IPS screen. Its sharpness is nothing short of impressive. The colour reproduction and viewing angles are good too. The display is reasonably bright. However, the contrast could have been a lot better. The panel is protected by Gorilla Glass.
Specifications The Asus ZenFone 5 is powered by Intel's Dual-Core Atom Z2560 chipset clocked at 1.6 GHz. It packs in 2 GB RAM, 8 GB internal storage, microSD card slot, 8 mgapixel camera, 2 megapixel snapper for selfies, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, A-GPS, and 2110 mAh battery.
Software The ZenFone 5 runs Android JellyBean 4.3 out-of-the-box. The software (ZenUI) looks nothing like your run-of-the-mill Jelly Bean though. The interface is heavily inspired by HTC's Sense, which in a way, is a good thing. The UI elements are minimalistic. As opposed to biggies such as Samsung, Asus has refrained from using gaudy colours. The overall colour schemes are also easy on eyes.
Intel and Asus have done a good job with optimisation. During my week's usage, there was hardly any stutter or lag. Asus has promised the 4.4 KitKat update in future. However, Intel chipsets are generally the last ones to receive the software refresh.
For those interested in numbers, we ran a couple of popular synthetic benchmarks. Take these results with a pinch of salt through as these tools aren't optimised for Intel's Hyper-Threading technology.
Closing Thoughts The Asus ZenFone 5 flaunts a good design and sturdy build. We are also pleased with its display and performance so far. However, as mentioned earlier, Asus is yet to put a price tag on its ZenFone 5. Judging the device without knowing its price is pointless, so we will save the verdict for our review.