Asus recently announced its budget Android Device, the Zenfone 2 Laser at an attractive price of just Rs 9,999. The key aspect of this device is the 13 MP shooter at the back which is not at all new in this sub-10k price point, but the laser focus is making it one of the best smartphones to buy under the 10k price point. Other than that, does it stuck up against its competitors? Well, that’s what we are going to find out in this review.
Sliding the box cover, we are presented to the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser itself Wraped in a plastic film. Keeping that to the side, and digging further in the box, we get our usual warranty and user guides in English. We also get an Asus branded power brick with the device which charges at 5.2V/1 A. Other than that we get the USB to microUSB cable but there is no presence of a pair of earphones in the box which is a bit disappointing.
The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser has the exact same desgin that of its ancestor, the Zenfone 2. At the front their is a 5.5 Inch display with three touch type capacitive buttons at the bottom for the back, home and the multitasking tray. Just above the panel, we get the earpiece with the usual set of sensors alongside the 5MP selfie shooter and a tiny notification light.
On the bottom is a microphone along side the Micro USB slot that can be used for charging as well as data syncing. At the right we find an indent to open the back panel, other than that, both the left and right sides are completely clean. Asus has placed the power button at the top which is a pretty awkward position in my opinion but no one would bother it much because the Zenfone 2 Laser features double tap to wake up screen and put the phone to sleep. There is also a 3.5mm jack and a noise cancellation microphone. At the back of the device, Asus has included a laser focus alongside the 13 MP shooter with LED flash, below which we find our volume lockers. There also is the Asus logo, Zenfone logo as well as a wide speaker grill even though the speaker is just on the left side. Opening the back panel of the device, we are introduced to the huge 3000 mAh removable battery along with dual SIM card slots capable of 4G connectivity and a microSD card slot supporting cards upto 128 GB.
The back of the phone is made up of matte plastic and feels good to hold. The matte finish also has it’s disadvantage, the phone attracts fingerprints which destroys that classy look. The phone is thick at the center while just 3.5mm on the edges. This design also increases the grip of the phone making it more comfortable to hold.
The Zenfone 2 laser features a 5.5 Inch panel which is still 720p. Although the resolution is not FHD, the viewing angles are decent and the color saturation is good as well. Comparing the display with the Moto g 3rd Gen, I really think that Zenfone 2 laser has better display, the blacks are more black, It has higher contrast and even the saturation is better. The display tweaks we can do is a cherry on the top.
The display of the Zenfone 2 have always been decent and this one follows the regime. I mentioned in the Moto G3 review that if someone tries to look carefully, you may see the pixels but its not the case on Zenfone 2 Laser.
The device packs some impressive specs at the price point that it has to offer. It packs in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Processor (MSM8916) which is a quad core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz coupled with Adreno 306 GPU for handling the graphics department. This is not one of the chipsets which provides you with the best in class performance, but it surely handles Zen UI without any issues but lag may be faced by users during intensive gaming at the highest available settings. Coupled with the chipset we have 2 giga-bytes of DDR3 memory for snappy multitasking along with 16 GB of storage for installing your apps and games.
I tried playing heavy games like Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3 , Fifa 15 etc. and it worked well. I noticed a bit of lag in Asphalt 8 but other than that, the gaming performance is good. Talking about the multitasking capabilities, the phone starts to restart the apps with the fourth App which is really bad. The Moto G 2015 is able to handle 8 apps at once that is double os this phone. This is due to the Zen Ui which eats up the major part of the free RAM. But a casual user most of the time uses only around 3 apps at a moment so it should be fine. We also did some benchmarks with this guy and It really impressed us. It outperforms Moto G 2015, Redmi Note and even Yu Yureka.
Now let’s get back to the main striking feature of this device by Asus, the camera. As I mentioned earlier, the Zenfone 2 Laser comes with a 13 mega-pixel shooter at the back of the device with LED flash and a laser auto focusing unit which is unique at this price.
As the camera is the main factor, we would be doing a separate camera review, so check this space in 2-3 days and you will find the link of it.
The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is a dual SIM device and is capable of 4G connectivity. The device handled 4G without any issues. I am based in Delhi so I used Airtel 4G and with full bars I was able to get around 30MBps which is extremely good as on the same location with same SIM I was only getting around 20MBps on Motorola Moto G. The device supports 802.11 B/G/N Wi-Fi and has Bluetooth 4.0. The sound quality through the earpiece is also excellent and I had no problem what so ever.
Battery back-up is one area where Asus has definitely improved over the flagship Zenfone 2. The smartphone is backed by a 3,000 mAh battery unit. Zenfone 2 Laser manages to deliver a decent battery back-up. The smartphone lasted for 14 hours with heavy usage that includes a lot of reading, texting, music playback, social networking, a bit of gaming, calling, etc. With moderate usage, you can make it work for 16 – 18 hours on a single charge.
This new device by Asus still comes with the Zen UI, a skinned version of Android based on Android Lollipop, which has some really impressive features but it tends to slow down the device. ZenUI comes with Zillions of pre-installed apps and If you have a 512Kbps connection then you will have hard time updating them. I have used other UIs too and a lot of companies pre install several apps but they make sure that the phone doesn’t slow down. This is not the case with Zenfone 2 laser. It gave me several hiccups and lags which I really don’t like at all. Addition to that we also get a little customizablity but that animations and stuff eventually slow dowsn the phone and with mere 2GB of RAM, it may become worse.
Coming to the good part, we do get options like double tab to wake, smartgroup and One-handed mode which I really envy. Here are some screenshots of the UI-
The Zenfone 2 laser is a great phone for Rs. 9,999, It has an awesome camera, Good battery life and equally good 720p Screen. Overall the Zenfone 2 laser is something we call bang for the buck. Zen UI is one the best customisable Android version in which you can change almost everything, One handed mode and double tab to wake is a cherry on the top.