Wed. Feb 20th, 2019

Asus Zenfone 5Z review: A stunning performer that beefs up the sub-Rs 30,000 smartphone segment

Specifications | 6.2″ Full HD+ IPS display | Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU | 6GB/8GB RAM options | 64GB/128GB/256GB storage options | 12MP + 8MP dual-rear camera | 8MP selfie camera | Dual-SIM, supports 4G and VoLTE on both SIMs | Android Oreo | 3300mAh battery

In the past few years, Taiwan-based Asus has given stable performers like the Zenfone Max Pro M1 at affordable price points. The company now hopes to replicate the success with Asus Zenfone 5Z. If Max Pro M1 took on the affordable phone segment titan Redmi Note 5 Pro, Zenfone 5Z priced at Rs 29,999 aims to take on the mighty OnePlus 6.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Design

Zenfone 5Z incorporates a 2.5D glass back design held by metal casing carved out of aerospace-grade aluminium. The unibody phone with rounded edges looks great and is comfortable to hold. Though we didn’t conduct drop test, the smartphone looks sturdy and probably can withstand a few accidental drops.It is noteworthy that while the back panel is a fingerprint-magnet, seldom does the smudges dent its character.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Display

Zenfone 5Z sports a 6.2” Full HD+ IPS notched-display with 19:9 screen aspect ratio. The screen is bright even in outdoor conditions with deep and punchy colours. Images and videos look sharp and crispy.

Asus’ decision of not using an OLED display came as a surprise to some. However, it is noteworthy to mention that Zenfone 5Z has one of the best looking LCD panels out there. The device’s camera’s colour temperature sensor automatically adjusts the screen brightness according to current ambient lighting.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Performance

Asus Zenfone 5Z handles almost every operation thrown at it with zen-like calm. Be it handling CPU/GPU-intensive apps such as PUBG, Asphalt 9, Sniper 3D or multi-tasking, thanks to the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.7 GHz.

During the Asus Zenfone 5Z launch, Asus had laid special focus on the device’s AI skills. While most AI-enabled devices utilise the technology on the camera front, Zenfone 5Z puts AI to use on multiple levels including camera, performance, and even battery.

The device has a special AI Boost mode which provides a power surge when a resource or a graphic intensive app demands for it. This was confirmed even by AnTuTu, a widely-used benchmarking app. Zenfone 5Z scored a cool 270,852 which nearly matches that of Samsung Note 9 (283,641), Mi 8 (283,641) Mi Mix 2S (264,078) and OnePlus 6 (286,134).

Having said that, we noticed the device heated up slightly at times. This occurred only during AnTuTu’s ‘stress test’ — which examines the stability of a device during performance.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Camera

Asus Zenfone 5Z sports a dual rear-camera setup with a 12MP primary camera and 8MP secondary sensor with wide-angle lens. At the front the device sports an MP sensor. The primary camera at the rear has f/1.8 aperture and phase detection auto focus (PDAF) which helps the camera to autofocus very quickly.

Pictures clicked by the primary camera came out really crisp and clean in well-lit conditions. In fact, in bright surroundings the camera was noticeably quick at focussing, thanks to PDAF. The primary camera duo captured sharp images with stellar details and very less noise. Portrait mode photos came out well balanced with the camera doing a great job in capturing the subject’s edges accurately while blurring out the background.

As mentioned earlier, Zenfone 5Z comes with AI enabled cameras with features such as AI Scene detection and AI Photo Learning. AI Scene detection helps the camera to detect a particular scene (for example the camera can recognise objects or scenes such as grassland, beach, mountains, animals, flower and people) and make changes which suit them the best.

Meanwhile, AI Photo Learning comes to play post clicking a picture. Once an image has been captured, AI Photo Learning automatically suggests preset edits which can be applied to the image. Further, it learns the changes made by you as your preferences and applies the changes in the future.

The camera could capture a good amount of light in dark environment, however, focus is a bit of a hit-and-a-miss low-light ambience. The 8MP front camera captured clear selfies. The front camera also supports HDR feature boosts the quality of images.

4K videos captured on the device came out quite sharp, and EIS works well.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Battery

Last but not the least, Zenfone 5Z packs in a 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery. Under normal use, the device was able to sail through the day with ease, with more than 33 percent juice still remaining. However, we experienced heavy battery drainage during gaming sessions or capturing 4K videos. Still, the device was able to last for more than 13 hours before it needed to be charged.

Battery usage can be controlled through various modes such as Performance, Normal (default mode), Power saving mode, Super saving mode and Customised (customisable by the user). In addition to these, there is a Smart switch mode which when enabled automatically switches to Super saving mode when the battery level drops lower than 10 percent.

Upon charging, the battery reaches 100 percent mark in about 1 hour 15 minutes. With AI-charging technology, the device can avoid charging stress. For example, when put to charge overnight, the device charges normally till 80 percent, but slows down thereon to trickle charging.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Pros

Great performance with latest OS and SD 845 processor
Affordable pricing
Stunning looks
Audio clarity is good
Excellent battery life

Asus Zenfone 5Z Cons
Glass back is easily prone to smudgingSlight heating issue when performing intensive tasks

Asus Zenfone 5Z Review

Priced at Rs 29,999 for the base variant Asus has delivered a stunner in the Zenfone 5Z. With AI-enabled features, Snapdragon 845 at its heart and glass design the phone is a beauty and the beast at the same time. With right pricing and flagship performance Zenfone 5Z gives buyers a worthy alternative to the likes of OnePlus 6, Vivo V11 Pro, among others.