The Zenfone 5 from Asus is using the Intel dual core processor with Hyper Threading Technology running Android 4.3 over a 5 inch screen with HD resolution. The handset supports dual SIM and comes with 2110 mAh built-in battery. The Asus Zenfone 5 (A501CG) is priced at Rs. 9,999.

What’s inside the Box Pack?
There is the Zenfone 5, travel charger, data cable, user guide, warranty card and earphone with free ear plug caps. The earphone ear plug looks weird quite small but fits well and sounds really good.

Design and Display
On the first look you will fall in love with the handset. There are very few handsets in the Rs. 10,000 price range that will impress you on the first look. Zenfone 5 looks different especially because of the iconic concentric circle texture just below the navigation buttons. That small design makes a big difference.

I got the red colour version. The back cover is made of plastic with metallic finishing. It is soft to touch and gives a good grip. The power / volume rockers are on the right, 3.5mm audio jack on the top and micro USB at the bottom.

Asus Zenfone 5 box pack

There are dual Mics for noise cancellation – one placed at the bottom side and other on the top side. Build quality and the finishing are excellent.

Asus Zenfone 5 sports a 5 inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution. It is using the TruVivid technology for impressive quality and colour reproduction. And the best part is that the screen comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection (you don’t need a screen guard). Viewing angles are very good and touch is very smooth and responsive – Glove mode is supported.

Asus Zenfone 5 review and unboxing

There are accelerometer, magnetic, light and proximity sensors. There is LED notification (Yellow + Orange) too.

OS, Memory and Storage
The Zenfone 5 sails on Android 4.3 and will get the KitKat update. It however runs the Zen UI that is another added feature. The UI is loaded with lot of options and the lock screen in particular looks pretty exciting with the what’s Next feature.

There is a good 2GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage. There is a micro SD card slot too which can add up to 64GB of external storage. Of the 2GB RAM you will get 1.4GB free and of 8GB storage there is 4.8GB of free space for apps.

Asus Zenfone 5 review

OTG is supported. Asus is rolling out frequent software updates to fix issues and to improve performance. You cannot install apps on the external storage directly, however once the app is installed on the internal storage, you can move it to external storage. I installed Asphalt 8, MC4 and Real Racing games and was able to move the app along with the data on to the external storage.

Update: There is an option in Asus Customized settings -> App Installation settings, use it and set the prefer install location to external storage, that way you can install apps directly on to the external storage.

Performance and Benchmark
This handset is using the Intel Z2560 dual core chipset (x86 architecture – 32nm process) clocked at 1.6GHz. It is dual core but can perform like a quad core using hyper threading technology. GPU is PowerVR SGX 544MP that does a pretty good job.

Asus Zenfone 5 5 inch screen with FHD resolution

The performance is very smooth, lag free but the handset does tend to heat up when hyper threading, especially when using heavy apps or playing high end games.

Benchmark scores

App Result
Quadrant 9085
Antutu 19247
Vellamo Browser (1694) Metal (802) Multicore (1035)
Nenamark 2 60.4fps
Multi Touch 10 point

I played Asphalt 8, Modern combat 4 and Real Racing 3 all of these games at first got installed on the internal storage but I was able to move them to the external storage. (Note: Asus Customized settings -> App Installation settings – set to external storage to be able to install apps directly to external storage). The game play was smooth without any lags. Handset heated up a bit.

Camera and Entertainment
There is 8MP rear AF camera with flash and 2MP on the front. It’s a PixelMaster camera that gives crispy clear day shots and vivid night shots. The rear camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps. There is video stabilization mode, however that works only in 720p resolution. The camera interface is also customized and you will find  a lot of options, effects and modes.

Asus Zenfone 5 8MP rear AF camera with LED flash

The interface is simple to use. When using the camera in low light condition you will get an option to switch to low light mode for better output. Do check the video review and sample images at the end of this article.

The still images and video quality are very good.

The Zenfone 5 supports dual SIM with dual standby mode. You need 2 micro SIM’s and you can use 3G on either of the SIM’s (both the SIM support 3G). You can call directly from any of the SIM using the phone dialer. There is voice input option too. I did not find the native 3G video calling option in the dialer. In call sound is clear and volume is good.

Sound is a bit low as compared with other handsets, but acceptable – just choose the ringtones / notifications that is loud. Notification volume is by default set to very low make sure to increase it.

3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS worked well. I got the first GPS lock within 10 seconds. The handset comes loaded with lot of features some are covered in the video review – Smart Mode, FM radio, Torch, splendid option to change the colour temperature, Reading Mode, What’s Next, etc..

You can remove the back cover but the battery is non-removable. It is of 2110 mAh capacity. For the review all power saving modes were disabled. It is recommended that you use the handset with the power saver mode enabled for extra battery performance.

Asus Zenfone 5 2110 mAh battery

Task Time Battery drop (%) (max temp)
Running Benchmark apps 24 minutes 9% (40)
FHD video playback (loop) with Wi-Fi on + full brightness 30 minutes 16% (37)
Asphalt 8 + MC4 + Real Racing 3 GamePlay 17 minutes 13% (42)
Battery Charging, handset in on state using wall charger. 1 hours 51 minutes From 6% to 67%.

For heavy usage you can expect usage time of 2:30 to 3:30 hours and with moderate usage about 3:30 to 5:00 hours. Battery can be fully charged in under 3:00 hours.

For the price of Rs. 9,999 this is the best available in the market, for now. You get 2GB RAM and screen is with gorilla glass 3 protection. The Intel chipset also does a pretty good job, sound is a little low and handset does heat up when using heaving apps but it is not too hot.

The 8GB version is not easily available and buying the 16GB version for 3K extra doesn’t make any sense. Over all the Asus Zenfone 5 is a premium handset available for a budget price, a must buy if you can grab one. The handset is already giving a tough competition to other brands in the same price segment.

Get the Asus Zenfone 5 for Rs. 9,999.

Zenfone 5 Image Gallery

Sample Images (Rear Camera)

Sample Images (Front Camera)

Asus Zenfone 5 full video review

FHD video shot using the Zenfone 5 handset

By Rajeev Rana

Founder and Chief Editor -