• Operating System: Android 8.0 Nougat
  • System on Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB, expandable with microSD
  • Display: 6.2-inch 1080 x 2246 IPS
  • Camera: 12+8MP (dual rear), 8MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 + A2DP + LE, 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Dimensions: 153 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 155g
  • Pros:
  • Beautiful display
  • Good audio
  • Cons:
  • None

Multimedia Powerhouse

Revealed at this year’s Mobile World Congress, the ZenFone 5 takes many of the current design trends and runs wild with it. It has a solid metal body that’s either silver or black, rounded edges and a glass back too, which fortunately didn’t feel slippery in our hands. However, its body is relatively large, so it might not all too comfortable to hold for people with smaller hands.

On the front is a display with minimal bezels, a notch for that extra bit of flare, and an 8MP front camera. A USB Type-C connector is found at the bottom, along with the speaker and a 3.5mm audio jack, which ASUS saw fit to retain. As for the back, you’ll find at a dual-camera with dual-tone flash, plus a fingerprint reader.

In terms of specs, the ZenFone 5 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 chipset. This consists of an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU and Adreno 509 GPU, as well as support for Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Besides that, it also has 4GB of RAM (or 6GB if you choose the other variant) and 64GB of internal storage space. When using it, we found the ZenFone 5’s visuals and transitions fluid, while its hardware is more than capable of handling all modern apps and games. A respectable 3,300 mAh battery and the PowerMaster utility app also means you can keep the phone running for a full day, despite semi-intensive use, before needing to recharge. It even has a speedy face unlock feature, which more or less negates the need to use the fingerprint sensor.

The best feature of this device is its display, which has a colour range of 95% DCI-P3, giving it jaw-dropping colour reproduction. It’s a real pleasure to watch videos and play games on the ZenFone 5, due to the vibrant colours and excellent contrast ratio. On top of that, it gives an incredibly immersive viewing experience since it’s almost bezel-less. Some may find that the notch could disrupt that experience, but it can easily be disabled through the settings. In addition, the speakers are surprisingly loud. It also supports Hi-Res Audio bitrate (24-bit/192KHz), meaning it can deliver very high-quality audio to your games and movies.

Another highlight of the ZenFone 5 is its cameras, which deliver sharp pictures with plenty of detail. It has great dynamic range too, though the colours are a bit oversaturated. For fun, features like the ZenMoji and SelfieMaster allow you to snap funky photos to upload on your Instagram.

CHIP CONCLUDE: A top-notch (pun intended) midrange device with decent specs, an incredible display, and quality cameras, all without burning a hole through your pocket.

(previously published in issue July 2018)