The "1-Minute" Review
- Slippery glass back
- No waterproofing
- Complex settings menu
While Asus has yet to become a mainstream contender in the mobile market, they are developing a reputation for high-end performance at mid-tier prices. Their latest release, the Asus ZenFone 5z, looks to contend with the best phones of 2018. But with low prices often comes compromises hidden in the specifications.
Looking at the phone, it takes cues from the current mobile trends. The aluminum and glass chassis impressed reviewers with its rounded corners and crisp edges. Unfortunately, the glass back is both fingerprint-prone and slippery. So you’ll want to use the case included with the phone to prevent any damage should you drop it.
The back of the phone features minimal branding or flair, with a circular fingerprint scanner in the middle. Reviewers found the fingerprint scanner responsive -- though a few had the occasional delay that would require them to scan twice to unlock the phone.
Heading around front, you’re greeted by a 6.2-inch 1080-by-2246 pixel IPS display with the controversial notch at the top trending in 2018. Reviewers raved about the display, with many comparing it to AMOLED displays in terms of brightness, clarity, and color reproduction. With a 90% screen-to-body ratio, bezels are minimal with just a tiny chin on the bottom and the notch at the top. Should you wish to hide the notch, Asus includes options to enable a black bar at the top of the screen.
Powered by the same chip used in many of this year’s flagship releases, the 2.8Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 845 processor keeps things humming along with zero lag or stuttering. Variants with 4 to 8GB of RAM allow you to match pricing with your intended use. Regardless of your pick, multitasking is snappy. Reviewers also found the phone great for gaming -- though the phone warmed slightly during longer gaming sessions.
The phone ships with Android 8.0 Oreo and the ZenUI skin. Apart from a few gestures and graphical tweaks, the ZenUI offers a fairly stock Android experience. Bloat is minimal, leaving plenty of space for your apps, games, and media.
With 64 to 256GB of internal storage and microSD support up to 2TB, you won’t need to worry about running out of storage.
Cameras are one area where mid-tier phones often struggle. While the ZenFone 5z won’t keep up with the Google Pixel 2 or iPhone X, reviewers loved the image quality, low-light performance, and color balance of the phone’s dual-lens rear camera.
It combines a 12MP main lens and an 8MP wide-angle lens to provide greater flexibility when shooting. While low-light performance wasn’t perfect, many reviewers complimented the phone for bringing out details while not adding tons of noise to shots.
The 8MP front-facing lens received great reviews as well. Asus’ software-powered portrait mode offers creamy bokehs and the beauty mode adds a nice touch to selfies.
The phone’s 3300mAh battery with USB Type-C Quick Charge 3.0 support lasted through a full day for reviewers -- some even squeezed a second day of light use out of a single charge. Full top-ups take just over an hour. The phone also includes an AI feature that adjusts charging to match your schedule and prevent battery wear.
Audio lovers will find a lot to enjoy about the ZenFone 5z. It includes stereo speakers, DTS Headphone:X support, and Hi-Res Audio support. Whether you’re listening on your favorite headphones or cranking up the speakers, you’ll find rich audio that highlights mids and highs to help the speakers punch through ambient background noise.
Overall, reviewers had no issue recommending Asus’ latest release. Phone Arena says, “... The ZenFone 5Z is a device you won’t regret buying -- especially considering how much you can save in buying a phone of such capability with the few shortcomings it has.” BGR India heaped on equal praise, saying, “... Thanks to top-notch specifications and fine-tuned software, you get the best flagship experience on [a] budget.”
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