Asus Zenfone 5Z review: The price to specs and performance ratio make it a worthy buy
The AI charging prolongs battery longevity with intelligent charging.
Rs 32,999 (6/128GB)
Rs 36,999 (8/256GB)
Specs: 6.2-inch IPS LCD (2246 x 1080 pixels), Snapdragon 845, 6/8GB DDR4X RAM, 64/128/256GB UFS 2.1 storage (expandable, up to 2TB cards, hybrid SIM slot), 12MP f1.8 + 8MP f2.0 rear camera, 8MP f2.0 front camera, rear fingerprint scanner, face unlock, WiFi ac, BT5.0, FM, 3,300mAh battery, 155 grams
Pros: Flagship specs & performance at a great price, included ZenEar Pro Hi-Res earphones & case, premium build quality, excellent FHD+ screen, wideangle cameras
Cons: Design lacks the wow factor (very similar to past devices), no IP rating or water resistance, skips wireless charging
It was Henry Ford who said that ‘competition whose motive is to simply drive the other fellow out never carries very far’. The Indian smartphone market is probably the most competitive industry in the world! It’s been a tough run for Asus in the smartphone space. Rivals pulled out all stops to win a slice of the pie — and its high time Asus did too. Their new phone is a flagship in every sense: premium build quality, fancy materials, top-end hardware, excellent dual camera and beautiful screen. It’s just the second phone in India (after OnePlus 6) with the beastly Snapdragon 845 chip and it has all the features you would expect from a top-tier device. Except that it doesn’t cost Rs 60k!
It’s quite obvious that Asus has OnePlus in its sights so our review will closely focus on the differences between the two. The Zenfone 5Z starts at Rs 29,999 and when you factor in bank discounts of ?3,000 (ICICI bank offer at the time of writing), it makes for a very significant discount compared to OnePlus 6. OnePlus 6 currently has an HDFC bank discount of Rs 2,000. Which means that depending on the storage variant you choose, the 5Z will be cheaper by Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000.
AI & Other Features
The 5Z has some useful AI features (looking past ‘AI’ as a marketing term). For instance, it figures out, over time, which apps you are likely to use at what time and brings them up faster. The AI charging prolongs battery longevity with intelligent charging. For instance, if you usually charge overnight, it won’t charge up to 100% right away but will wait till just before the time you usually unplug. Some of the other useful features on the 5Z include call recording, theme engine, motion gestures, swipe down on fingerprint to show notifications, game genie (record or livestream your gaming prowess to YouTube or Twitch) and twin apps (two accounts on the same device).
Zenfone 5Z vs OnePlus 6
So the 5Z is cheaper, but how does it compare to its main competitor? First, it has an LCD (albeit a really nice one) while OP6 is amoled (we prefer amoled because of the richer blacks). The 5Z has FM radio, powerful 5-magnet stereo speakers and expandable storage while OP6 doesn’t have any of these. That being said, OP6 offers water resistance for daily use which can be quite helpful. It’s up to you to decide which of these is more important. Then let’s look at variants. The 5Z is available in two colours (Meteor Silver, Mighnight Blue) across three storage variants while OP6 has three variants and five colours so far (Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White, Avengers Edition, Red). Asus’ ZenUI is fast and fluid but we still think OnePlus has the best implementation of Android. Oxygen OS looks and behaves like stock Android, is on the newer version 8.1 and offers all the customizations you would need. The 5Z supports fast charging but OnePlus’ Dash Charge is still the fastest charging tech around. But more importantly, OnePlus has already captured a big chunk of the premium market and they have a great track record. You’ll also get a whole lot more first and third-party accessories/cases for the OnePlus.
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Comparing the Camera
Looking only at the specs, the OnePlus has higher resolution. OP6 is 16MP f1.7 + 20MP f1.7 while 5Z is 12MP f1.8 + 8MP f2.0. However, the 5Z’s has 4-axis image stabilization and a significantly wider angle of view. We found that the 5Z does a better job outdoors and with landscapes (a higher dynamic range). OP6 does better in low light/indoors (lesser noise) and portraits (better edge detection). Both record excellent 4K video @ 60fps with EIS. OP6 records ‘slower’ 720p slo-mo @480fps (5Z does 720p @ 240fps). As for the front camera, 5Z has a wider angle of view which is quite useful but OP6 captures more detail thanks to twice the resolution. Overall, it’s kind of a toss up here (depends on what’s more important to you) but they’re both very capable cameras.
And in Conclusion
No one can deny that Asus has done a great job with the Zenfone 5Z. The price to specs/ performance ratio alone is what will entice a lot of buyers. And it’s a great overall package too, with a high-quality super LCD+ screen and capable camera. As for us, if price wasn’t the main concern, we would still pick the OnePlus 6 because they’ve built and lived up to their reputation of putting fans first. And they have guaranteed updates for each device for three years post launch. Simply put, the OP6 is for the enthusiast while this Zenfone is for the person who wants the best deal right now.