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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The ZenFone 5 is a new smartphone from ASUS, with a five-inch HD (1280 x 720) touchscreen, Android 4.4 “KitKat” operating system, and powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 1.6 GHz CPU. (There is also a budget version of this phone with a 1.2 GHz processor.) It has 2 GiB of RAM and 8 GiB storage space, an 8 MP main camera, and a 2 MP frontal camera. Let’s take a good look at it.

The model number of the sample we reviewed is A501CG.

Figure 1 shows the box of the ASUS ZenFone 5.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 1: box

Inside the box, besides the smartphone, we found a wall charger, USB cable, earphones, extra inserts for the earphones, and user manual.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 2: accessories

Figure 3 reveals the ASUS ZenFone 5. The three buttons required for Android are present as touch buttons below the screen, and the camera is at the top right corner. The area below the touch buttons uses brushed aluminum plate, which gives a nice design to the phone.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 3: the ASUS ZenFone 5

[nextpage title=”Overall Look”]

The ASUS ZenFone 5 uses an Intel Atom Z2560 processor, which has two cores (recognized as four cores due to the Hyper-Threading technology) running at 1.6 GHz. (Keep in mind that there is another version of this smartphone with a 1.2 GHz CPU.) It has 2 GiB of RAM and 8 GiB of internal storage in the version we tested, but the phone can also be found with 1 GiB of RAM and/or 16 GiB storage.

The five-inch IPS LCD screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, with an excellent image quality.

Figure 4 shows the back side of the device. The back cover is removable, made of high-quality plastic that gives the phone a sturdy aspect. Our sample came with a white cover, but black, red, purple, and gold covers are also available. There are openings for the camera, LED flash, and the speaker on the back side of the phone.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 4: back side

Figure 5 unveils the top of the ZenFone 5, where you will find the earphone connector.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 5: top

At the right side of the smartphone will will find the power button and the volume adjustment buttons.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 6: right side

At the bottom of the phone there are the MicroUSB/charger connector and the microphone hole.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 7: bottom

At the left side of the phone, there is no button or connector.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 8: left side

In Figure 9, you see the back cover removed, exposing one microSD and two micro-SIM slots. The ZenFone 5 supports microSD cards up to 64 GiB. The battery is not removable by the user.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 9: back cover removed

[nextpage title=”Using the ZenFone 5″]

In use, the ASUS ZenFone 5 is excellent. The dual-core Atom Z2560 processor running at 1.6 GHz gives the phone a lot of agility, specially in the model with 2 GiB of RAM. The screen is big and bright, with crisp and clear images and colors.

The phone is big, measuring 5.8 x 2.9 inches (148 x 73 mm) and light, weighting 5.1 oz (145 g), but not very thin, being 0.4” (10.3 mm) thick around the center. But, thanks to the thinner borders, it is comfortable to hold and to talk.

The screen resolution is good for the screen size, although a Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen could offer a better experience. Of course, such a screen would position the ZenFone as a high-end device, making it more expensive.

The ZenFone 5 comes with the Android 4.4 operating system (if you buy an early model with Android 4.3, it will update itself to version 4.4), which is easy to use, powerful, and intuitive. Figure 10 shows the initial screen when you turn on the phone for the first time.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 10: main screen

Pressing the icon with six dots, you enter the list of applications, shown in Figures 11, 12, 13, and 14. The ZenFone 5 comes with several preinstalled apps and games; actually, the operating system is very customized by ASUS.

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 11: list of applications

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 12: list of applications

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 13: list of applications

ASUS ZenFone 5Figure 14: list of applications

You can install new applications using the Google Play Store, which has thousands of applications and games available.

The smartphone uses a 2,110 mAh lithium battery, which barely lasted two days with a few calls and a couple of hours browing the internet. According to the manufacturer, it can last up to 353 hours (14 days and 17 hours) in standby and up to 18 hours of talk time in a GSM network.

The 8 Mpixel main camera is excellent for a mid-range smartphone. You can check the quality of unedited photos taken with the device by clicking here and here. It can also record videos at Full HD.

The front camera (for video chats and “selfies”) has 2 Mpixel resolution.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the ASUS ZenFone 5 (model A501) include:

  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches (148 x 73 x 10.3 mm)
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces (145 grams)
  • Display: 5″, 1280 x 720, IPS touchscreen
  • Operating System: Android 4.4 (“KitKat”)
  • Main Processor (CPU): Intel Atom Z2560, 1.6 GHz, two cores, Hyper-Threading
  • Graphics Processor (GPU): PowerVR SGX 544MP2, embedded in the CPU
  • RAM: 2 GiB (also found with 1 GiB)
  • Storage: 8 GiB (also found with 16 GiB)
  • Memory Card Slot: Yes, MicroSD
  • GPS: Yes
  • FM Radio: Yes
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass, light, Hall
  • SIM slots: Two micro-SIM
  • Networks: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 MHz (there are also models with 4G LTE support)
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth:  Yes, 4.0
  • Rear camera: 8 Mpixel
  • Front camera: 2 Mpixel
  • Flash: Yes
  • Battery talk time: 18 h
  • Battery: 3.7 V, 2,110 mAh Li Ion, not removable
  • More information: https://www.asus.com
  • Average prince in the U.S.*: USD 260.00

* Researched at Amazon.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The ASUS ZenFone 5 is an excellent mid-range smartphone with a terrific cost/benefit ratio. It is as resourceful as the Sony Xperia T3 (which is more expensive), and costs as much as the Motorola Moto G, famous for its excellent price point.

Strong Points

  • Excellent cost/benefit ratio
  • Big screen (but not too big), with crisp and vivid images
  • Sturdy, with nice design
  • Light
  • Excellent performance
  • Frontal camera for video callings
  • Memory card slot

Weak Points

  • No support for 4G LTE networks in the reviewed model
  • Could be slimmer