With the Zenfone 2’s eye-catching specs, it helped Asus to be the number 2 Smartphone brand in SEA. And just last October 2015, Asus introduced feature-pumped Zenfones: The Zenfone 2 Deluxe, Zenfone Selfie, and Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0. These new additions made ASUS’ ZenFone lineup a solid competitor in every market tier.
The Zenfone 2 Deluxe is Asus’ pitch to storage-hungry crowd, with its 128GB of storage. While the Zenfone Selfie is their offering to the camera centric crowd and to those who love to take selfies. And the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0, which we have in the lab, is their offering for the budget conscious crowd.
The ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0 is basically the spiritual successor of the popular ZenFone 5 (we have one) but steps it up in many aspects. Let’s take closer look at the new offerings from this smartphone and see if it takes over the mid-segment crown from its predecessor.
The Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 is basically a revved down Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5. The Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 sports a 5-inch, HD 1280×720, display that is clad with a Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Talking about a revved down variant, under the hood, the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 is powered by a Qualcomm QuadCore processor that runs at 1200Mhz, an Adreno 305 as its GPU, and an ample 2GB LPDDR3 RAM.
Like other Zenfones, the Zenfone 2 Laser is stylish and elegant looking, thanks to its arched back cover which has a brushed metal-ish finish. Also seen at the back is the rear 8MP PixelMaster camera that is equipped with a Toshiba Sensor, Blue Glass Filter, Two-tone flash, and the Laser Auto-focus, which makes the Zenfone 2 Laser standout among the other same-tier competitors. Just under the back cover hides the dual sim slot (Micro SIM, Dual Standby), a memory card slot, and its 2070Mah removable battery.
Tho it’s kinda big for some, the 5-inch Zenfone 2 Laser is still easy to hold. Thanks to its arched back cover and its 3.55mm edges, the Zenfone 2 laser rested perfectly on the palm of our hand. The placement of its volume buttons, which are located just below the rear camera, are easy to reach and can double as a capture button for the camera. The only thing that seems off is the placement of the power/lock button, which is on the top part of the phone, making it hard to reach for some, specially those who have small hands and short fingers.
The Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 doesn’t boast about its internals, but some of us really wants to see how it performs in some benchmark apps available for Android devices. We decided to test the Zenfone Laser 5.0 with three benchmarking apps. We picked the ever famous Antutu benchmark, the 3D Mark Slingshot, and Geekbench to test on the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0.
Charging time and Usage time:
Most of us look for a phone that can last for over 8 hours, because most of us have nine-to-five jobs. To measure if the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 can last for more than 8 hours, we tested it with a basic usage scenario. The test was the usual usage of a phone which consists of using social media, messaging(text and viber), and a little bit of gaming for entertainment. In this usage test the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 was able to last for 7 hours. After using it for a day on our first usage scenario, with its battery completely depleted, we then plugged it in its charger. Charging its 2070Mah battery with its original charger only took 1 hour and 45 minutes to be fully charged.
The Laser-Autofocus PixelMaster Rear camera:
Zenfone 2 Laser got its name from the laser system it uses, which enable its camera to focus faster than any other mid-tier smartphones in the market.
The Zenfone 2 Laser’s 8MP rear camera is equipped with ASUS’ own developed technology, the PixelMaster. The PixelMaster technology enables the Zenfone 2 Laser to capture pictures even in low-light situation, it has image stabilization that helps ensure that the photos you capture will remain still and shake-free, and just like other phones with their own camera technology, the PixelMaster also has built-in effects that can brighten up and make pictures look more creative and fun. Another useful feature of the PixelMaster is the Smart Remove, which enables PixelMaster equipped phones to remove unwanted moving objects in its shots. Aside from these features, the PixelMaster also has the Beauty mode which adjusts the subject’s facial features and soften their complexion automatically, but to make it more realistic, you can opt to adjust these features manually.
The Zenfone 2 Laser’s low-light feature is true to its word, with its 2.0 aperture camera that takes in more light, the pictures taken in low lighted situation will come out brighter, but in the expense of the picture’s detail. As you can see on the pictures we’ve taken, the scenes are brighter but lacks detail.
The Laser-Autofocus is clearly the selling point of the Zenfone 2 Laser. With its Laser-Autofocus we were able to shoot from inside a moving car at a speed of 20km/h. Its focus time is much faster than those of other high-end brands. Tho the lack of detail is still noticeable even in this picture which was taken sometime in the afternoon. It doesn’t need a professional to notice and point out the smoothness of this picture.
Overall, the Zenfone 2 Laser’s 8MP camera is a so-so when it comes to details, but it is impeccable in the autofocus and low light realm.
The Zenfone 2 Laser is powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, and on top of that is the ZenUI. The ZenUI has a smooth and responsive user interface, but is a little heavy for a 2GB RAM.
User Experience & Conclusion
Overall, the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0 offers very good performance and a snappy camera experience to compliment its souped-up specs. Performance overall is satisfactory although we do feel a bit shorted with the display as it could have a higher resolution to compete with some mainstream offerings brandishing FHD displays. Still, the screen is crisp and while direct sunlight may knock it out, the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0’s screen is bright enough for any occasion. We do like to mention that ASUS likes to cram a lot of software bloat with their phones and that’s something we’d like to see less off in the future.
Available for Php7,295 (Lazada), it competes in a heavily populated mainstream market but if you’re the kind that wants to whip out your phone, get a shot quickly this is easily the best phone in this price segment. As a long-time LG G3 user, the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0 definitely feels faster in terms of focus capability. Software performance is decent and just right for a phone in this segment.
In conclusion, the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0 (ZE500KL) is an excellent mainstream phone for anyone who is very much in-touch with their mobile photography. While details may not be the best overall, its snappy focus coupled with decent image quality you’ll definitely have a lot of memories captured with this very pocketable phone.
ASUS backs the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.0 with a 1-year service warranty. We give it our B2G Recommended Award!