Large phones don’t come around the corner everyday, especially by the big names. By large phones we mean “Phablets”
I’ve been usingToday we got our hands on Asus’s Zenfone 2 Laser which has that dope large 6″ inch Full HD 1080p screen, packed with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. More specifically, the phone’s model is ZE601KL if you want to find this exact phone out in the wild! Let’s see is the bigger screen hype on a budget worth it? Let’s find out!
01| The Unboxing/Showoff
I usually am not a fan of boxes but I must say Zenfone boxes sure catch my attention. To be honest, I can’t judge the phone just for its box.
Well, you get everything you need in the box, the phone, a charger, Micro-USB cable, an earphone, three serial stickers (pretty handy I guess) and some extra earbuds to spare. One thing I was let down was the absence of Asus’s Quick charger.
02| Design & Build Quality
The design of the Zenfone 2 isn’t anything fancy. It carries the same traditional Asus design elements and weight, which doesn’t feel bad at all.
On the top, there’s a power button and a headphone jack.
On the rear, there’s a 13MP shooter with dual LED flash and laser auto-focus along with the volume rocker and dual speakers at the bottom rear.
One the bottom, there’s a Micro-USB charging port only.
Towards the front of the device, you’ll find the 5MP selfie cam, the so-obvious large 6″ inch display, earpiece, touch-capacitive buttons and finally Asus’s signature chin.
The phone sure seems to show about Asus’s plans to focus more on ergonomics of their devices. The ackward position of the power button could be forgiven. I didn’t miss the power button for most of the time since Asus has implemented the “Double-tap to wake feature on their Zenfone lineup which is a life saver.
The build quality of the phone seems to be good. I haven’t noticed anything that I could complain about. One thing I must bring into note is that the device is not made of metal, its plastic but that’s not all bad here. You get access to alot of goodies here such as, dual sim cards, MicroSD Card slot and your classic user-replaceable battery.
03| Display & Speakers
So the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE601KL) sports a 1920 x 1080 display at a pixel density of 367PPI, covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Coming from the Asus Zenfone 2 ZE550ML with a 720p display, I sure was able to tell the difference. The screen was cleaerer on the ZE601KL side and I really loved to have a fact that I was using a large screen. The real estate is just great on this phone.
At first boot-up the display looked dull, but Asus has included an app called “Splendid” which tweaks the screen to your liking. After setting up the screen to my liking, the screen was gorgeous. I am a huge fan of having the ability to tweak my screen to full fill my taste. I just went out crazy, I chose the customized mode in the Splendid app (which you can access in the Display Settings too), maxed out the Saturation bar, kept the color temperature neutral and set the brightness to 100% and turned off the auto mode. This revamped my expectations to watch more content on this device.
When it comes to the brightness of the screen I could say it done s a fine job. Its okay but not bright enough outdoors and its pretty good indoors.
Watching media on this device was great. The large screen is a delightful catch to many especially for media consumers becuase 6 inchers aren’t released so often especially from manufacturers like Asus and others.
Another great catch for media consumers about this phone is the dual speakers. I really like them. It sure is loud but it sure isn’t the best even when comparing it to my old Asus ZE550ML I really prefer the sound quality there. However, if it weren’t to compare it I just loved the speakers.
04|Performance & UI
Asus’s ZenUI plays well with Lollipop. Out of the box, it comes pre-installed with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with the ZenUI being the star of their show. According to our meeting with Asus they claim that the ZE601KL/this device is going to recive Android 6.0 Marshmallow by Q2, 2016.
Coming back to the review, I really like how Asus has implemented Zen UI on top of lollipop. Sure the current sweet OS is Android Lollipop, but the bloatware on this phone is simply unnecessary. I literally don’t like the extra apps that Asus has included, they are of no use to me. Thankfully, they are uninstallable, but what’s the use of pre-installing them in the first place? is my question to most manufacturers, if the consumer needs something thankfully Play Store is there. I’d really love to see zero bloatware on devices such as this Asus Zenfone lineup and many more.
As of the Zen UI, the RAM management is good, After having all your favourite apps in the background I still have 500-600MB left otherwise expect to see 900MB-1GB always available.Resuming apps that were used yesterday or even before that resumed as if I never left them thanks to the 3GB RAM. But literally, excluding stock Android and Cyanogenmod, I think Zen UI is “Lollipop done right. Yes Zen UI is the best non-stock Android or whatever you want to call it, but my personal view to all manufacturers is… Yes I do undertsand manufacturers that depend on Andoird use their own custom UI to add their cherry signature on top but please get rid of the bloatware. The best example I can remember is a Samsung and HTC’s Google Play edition phones implemented on their S4 and One M8. That’s what I really love to see from Asus as a separate cherry on top and I think they can nail it!
However, there are some reasons why I don’t install a custom launcher on my Asus phones. First of all, the customization, it has everything you need from the ordinary wallpapers for your home and lock screen to, fonts, icon packs, scroll effects, and much more! The second reason why I love the Zen UI is the way how it resembles close to Stock Android Lollipop.
As of the performance, thankfully we Asus went with the Snapdragon 616 as their CPU, well im not thanking becuase of their surely there are better CPU’s out there but the thanks is becuase of avoiding the Snapdragon 615 which received a ton of bad reviews for overheating even at simple tasks. KUDOS to Asus on that too! I can say the phone doesn’t heat up on any normal tasks. However, I found it to slightly warm up when playing games for quite a while.
Anyways, speaking of gaming. The phone handles high-demanding games very well when you set the battery mode to “High Performance” in the Power Saver app. I tested Real Racing 3 which sure is a taxing game for many budget devices out there and it played very well I didn’t really notice any lags. However, if you’re looking for some Candy Crush frenzy, this phone handles it like a boss(Of course)!
The Ze601KL has a 13MP camera with laser autofocus.The camera just didn’t impress me. It just got the job done. Noise in images are evident most of the time. However, tapping into the full manual mode did aid things up a bit. Still, the majority of users want to just simply tap and shoot and dont want to mess around with the camera’s manual mode. Here are some pictures you can have a look yourself at!
06| Connectivity and Battery life
The connectivity on this phone is pretty good. I don’t have a huge house but even at the far end of my house it gets pretty good signals from about 18 feet away with obstruction from walls present. I tested the Wifi in the farthest room and out of 30Mbps I got usable results. Out of 30Mbps I got 16Mbps Down and 11Mbps up which I know can be improved if I was a bit closer.
Second up, the battery life. Its okay. Its a media consumption device and why wouldn’t it have a decent battery? I must say that under Medium usage with 100% brightness all the time with my wifi connected it managed to get me through a day,
If you’re heavily on Youtube, it would get you from 2 and 1/2 hours to 3 hours which is quite good. One thing I would really like Asus to implement is a simple toggle to switch between Power Saving and High Performance mode.
I must say the phone is excellent for those who are media consumers. I really love the 6 inch screen and the battery life fair well too. I really could ask for more but for now its decent and could be improved, of course. However, I’m pretty cheesy on the camera, the camera is good and the auto focus is super fast that’s for sure. But the Tap tap Focus takes time, which is a bummer. I liked the way that the phone held up the heat. But coming at a price of RM1099 which is approximately USD $265, there’s sure tough competition around it!
I’d like to award Asus’s Zenfone 2 (ZE601KL) our Silver Award! Oh man! we always have to type the exact model number, Please ASUS could you work on the name scheme? Anyways, a great phone! And yeah, thanks to Asus Malaysia for providing us the review unit which made this review possible.