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Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Heats up the competition

Review of the Asus Flagship of the year, Zenfone 5Z powered by the Snapdragon 845.

3.8
Overshadowed
Asus Zenfone 5Z - Buy now

Zenfone 5Z is the Asus’ flagship phone for this year, launched in the market this July. Yes, we are a bit late to the party – but as they say, better late than never.

Zenfone 5Z comes with the tagline “Flagship Redefined” sporting Snapdragon 845 with AI Engine. Zenfone 5Z at the time of its launch directly competed against the OnePlus 6 and had no idea that Xiaomi’s Poco F1 was coming soon. The Zenfone 5Z is the first Snapdragon 845 phone we’re reviewing and we have the Poco F1 review coming soon.

Asus Zenfone 5Z Review

Let us start the review with the box. We got the Midnight Blue, 6GB RAM and 64 GB variant. I’ve used this phone as my primary device for more than 15 days. Haven’t received any updates during this period but Asus claims to have done many improvements by updates as of now.

Inside the box

  • Asus Zenfone 5Z Handset
  • 5V-2A Fast Charger Adapter
  • USB Type-C Cable ( I got USB Type 2 Cable by mistake  )
  • 3.5mm In-The-Ear Headphones
  • Transparent TPU Case
  • Warranty Info and other papers with SIM ejector pin.

Specifications

  • Model Name: Asus Zenfone 5Z
  • Dimensions and Weight: 75.65 x 153 x 7.7 mm, 165 g
  • Display: 15.75 cm (6.2 inch) 2246 x 1080 Pixels Full HD+ , Super IPS+
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa Core 2.8 GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 630
  • RAM and Storage: 6GB RAM and 64GB Internal Storage, Expandable Storage upto 2 TB
  • Camera: Primary Camera 12MP + 8MP and Secondary Camera 8MP
  • Flash: Rear – LED Flash
  • OS: Android Oreo 8.0.0, ZenUI 5
  • Battery: 3300 mAh
  • Other:  UFS2.1, FM Radio, Dual VoLTE.

Build and Looks

The phone has got a glass-sandwich build with both front and back covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It is, arguably,  one of the best-looking smartphones out in the market. It has a medium sized notch on the top which has the front-facing camera, notification bulb (multicolored), proximity sensor, ambient sensor and of course the earpiece. To the bottom, it has a small chin and it is great. Below that, we have a 3.5mm Headphone jack, USB Type-C Port, Microphone and Speakers. It has both volume rockers, power button to its right and SIM tray to its left. It has two noise-cancellation microphone vents to the top and left sides which is something we don’t see in other phones these days. It has 5 antenna bands, two to its top, one to the bottom and remaining to the bottom of either side.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-3-GeekySplash

Talking about the display, it has 6.2″ FullHD+ ( 2246 x 1080 ) SuperIPS+ display with 402 ppi. The screen is quite bright and had no issues being used in sunlight. The review unit we’ve gotten has a lot of scratches though, which makes us wonder how effective Gorilla Glass really is.

All in all, Zenfone 5Z has a great design with a beautiful glass body (It doesn’t support wireless charging, though – not that it is a deal breaker at the price). I’d say the phone is kind-of light-weight to medium, makes a comfortable phone to carry around.

Hardware and Software

Justifying its tagline of redefining flagship, it comes with the flagship processor Snapdragon 845 powered by Adreno 630 GPU. The variant we are reviewing is 6GB RAM and 64 GB storage out of which 50GB is usable. It supports dual VoLTE and runs on Android 8.0.0 with Asus custom skin ZenUI 5. It comes preloaded with uninstallable apps such as – Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Asus essential apps such as – Asus Data Transfer ( Uninstallable ) Clock, Calculator, Contacts, Gallery, Mobile Manager, Sound recorder, Weather, WebStorage, Themes and Camera Apps such as Selfie Master.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-ZenUI

The ZenUI is a lot improved from its older versions. It has fewer applications, is more light-weight and is considerably faster. It has a lot of features and customizations, such as DTS Equalizer for Music, Twin Apps, Game Genie, and ZeniMoji. ZeniMoji is obviously inspired by Apple’s Animoji. Though it stands nowhere near Apple’s perfection, it is still fun to use. Game Genie is something gamers can fall in love. It offers features like adding macros, live streaming of the game and turning off notifications. One feature I liked in the UI is the extra button that pops-up on the navigation bar, which helps in hiding and showing it. It makes us use the phone screen in its complete resolution.

Quoting the artificial intelligence in the 5Z, I liked the AI Ringtone which adjusts volume according to your surroundings and the AI Gallery. Being a Computers Student, I don’t think these are great applications of AI and they are just for the namesake. I hardly noticed the need for other AI features that came with the phone. Asus says the Zenfone 5Z will receive updates up to 3 years and security patches up to 2 years. Being a flagship, updates are something we have to bother about.

Camera

Sporting a dual rear camera setup 12 MegaPixel 1.4µm large pixel size F1.8 aperture + 8 MegaPixel Wide-Angle Camera and 8 MegaPixel F2.0 aperture to the front. Regarding image stabilizations, it supports both Electrical Image Stabilization (EIS) and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).

Talking about the Camera App of the phone, it is featured filled and is great unlike the Zenfone Max Pro M1. It had Google Lens integrated with its UI, how cool is that! If you swipe to the left, you can find different modes and to the right you can find different filters with live previews.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-Cameras-UI

Photos shot from the rear camera are good but look a bit pale. HDR is preferred most of the time. Unlike following the trend of adding a telephoto lens, Asus came up with a wide-angle lens whose performance is just decent. Unless adjusted manually, the wide-angle lens by default clicks photos with 5 MegaPixel instead of using its 8 MegaPixel. Talking further about the rear camera, low-light photography with this phone is great thanks to its aperture and large pixel.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-Cameras-Comparison

The 8MP front-facing doesn’t have any LED flash. In some cases, it overexposes white backgrounds when not in HDR. The color tones from the selfies look okay-ish and could’ve been better.

Stabilization during shooting videos is great. Colors look faded out when the videos are shot in low light and performs perfect alright under good lighting and day light conditions.

A few camera shots from the Zenfone 5Z are below.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Camera-1
Colours look a little washed out during low light
Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Camera-2

Performance

Housing Qualcomm’s powerful processor, the 845 and Adreno 630 GPU, the Zenfone 5Z excels in performance and there is no doubt about it. The RAM Management in the phone is excellent. With 6GB of RAM, it had all apps in the memory and switching between apps was very smooth.

During my review period, I’ve played PUBG extensively with HDR and Ultra mode. I didn’t face any lags or heating during my gameplay. The ZenUI on top of Android Oreo, though feature filled doesn’t eat much of battery or RAM, it is light and highly optimized.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-1-GeekySplash

Signal reception and call quality is good. Output through the speakers will surprise you with the Stereo output. It is great during gaming with the speakers turned on. Though the DTS powered Equalizer is a lot to offer by Asus, I found a hard time picking one audio mode out of Rock, Pop etc. and simply turned it off while listening music through the headphones that is bundled with the box.

The fingerprint sensor is fast – not blazing fast. Face unlock is decent but doesn’t work in darkness.

On a whole, the Zenfone 5Z undoubtedly offers great performance and it fits as your daily driver.

Battery

The Zenfone 5Z sports a 3300 mAh battery and with my normal usage I got around 5 hours of screen-on-time, lasted for a day. Even with heavy usage, I say it can give up to 4 hours of screen-on-time and you may need a power bank when you do gaming all day. Housing a powerful processor and heavy specifications, a lower battery life is expected. However, thanks to quick charging, it takes only about 2 hours to completely charge and it’s pretty good.

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-Battery-Screen-On-Time

Value for money

Zenfone 5Z was the most value for money and cheapest mobile with a Snapdragon 845 before Xiaomi came up with the Poco F1 (6GB/64GB). Pushing the 5Z back, the Poco F1 offers better front camera and better battery (at least on paper) for a price of almost 8K rupees lower.

However, if the design is something that bothers you and if you keep an eye on the online shopping offers like the Flipkart’s Big Billion Days, you can get Zenfone 5Z as low as the Poco F1 is priced.

Issues

  • Couldn’t decrease the brightness to reading levels during low-light usage especially during nights.
  • Over-exposure of bright objects while using front camera.

Finally,

Asus-Zenfone-5Z-Review-2-GeekySplash

Directly pit against the OnePlus 6, the Zenfone 5Z is a successful attempt and gives a great competition. The 5Z excels in aspects like battery life and stands in par with performance and specifications, it couldn’t beat the OnePlus 6’s camera and its software.

As said earlier, if not for Xiaomi’s Poco F1, the Zenfone 5Z is truly a great phone for people who chose more value for money devices as I do. I personally wouldn’t choose it over Poco F1 but to each his own. Not to say Poco F1 is perfect – it has its own issues like lack of Wildvine L1 and screen bleeding as few people quote, and the Zenfone 5Z does offer more features than the Poco F1.

Now, if you are looking to purchase this phone – be it for its design, its processor or just plain because it’s ASUS, this is still a great phone that does well is all departments and is a great bang for the buck. Let us know in the comments below if you loved the review or would like to know more – we’d love to hear back from you guys. Stay tuned for the Poco F1 review. Peace!

3.8
Overshadowed
Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Heats up the competition
Pros
Peformance
Features
Design and Looks
Cons
Wide-Angle Camera
Asus Zenfone 5Z - Buy now

Written by Suryanarayana Murthy

Computer Grad. Web Nerd. Tech Enthusiast. I run this blog 😎

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