Asus is all over with an entire battalion of Zenfone 2 series and we have a sharp shooter – the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser. What is important is with the Laser, Asus brings the laser technology on the camera to be more affordable and dims the halo out of the flagships.
Even within the Zenfone 2 Laser there is a ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 with 2GB of RAM and Snapdragon 410 priced at Rs. 9,999, and the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 with 3GB of RAM and Snapdragon 615 at Rs. 13,999. And then there is also a Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE601KL) with 6.00-inch 1080×1920 display but it is not yet available in India yet. What we have here though is the most affordable of the Laser variant, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL.
Out of the box, we get only the basics apart from the handset.
- Standard USB Cable,
- User Manual and
- Warranty Card
All the Zenfone 2 devices look all the same, so you don’t really have to stress out which of the models looks better. You just have to choose between the screen size and the innards.
The Laser we got here sports a 5.5-inch display with a 720p resolution. The quality of the display is as good as any best in the category, if not better. It’s brighter, sharp and crisp. While there are a 1080p displays out there in the same price band, you don’t really miss out much here. Plus, the display looks natural.
The design of the Laser could very well be the deciding factor when you choose it. To go curvy or for smooth, straight back. The Laser like the other Zenfone 2 devices has the curved body that hides the 10.3mm thickness on mid-point, making it sit pretty on palm and offering a good grip. For those looking at the numbers, its 143.7 x 71.5 x 10.5 mm and 170 grams in weight.
Asus has taken a leaf out of the LG and has housed the volume rocker to the rear. Though it is meant to be more natural to use, you need to warm up and reconcile to the new alignment. It might not take much time to get used to but it cannot be said about the power button which is awkwardly placed on top, which is a disaster to reach out considering the big real estate of the phone’s screen. Luckily, Asus has added ‘touch to wake’ feature, which negates the need to reach out the power button each time to light up the display or to send it back to standby mode.
On the rear is a promiscuous black eye on the side of the 13-megapixel rear camera which has a chrome ring to it. The black eye is the laser technology, the sole reason for the name of this device.
Alongside the power button on the top is a 3.5mm audio jack and a noise cancellation microphone. The bottom has the microUSB port and a primary microphone. The left and right side are devoid of any controls. A speaker grille dots the rear side bottom.
There are three capacitive buttons and sadly, they are not backlit. Below the navigation buttons is a plate with a signature concentric circles pattern. a familiar customary design language with Asus phones.
The Laser runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Zen UI layered heavily on top of it. I quiet liked the Zen UI in spite of it being a bloatware. Many of the pre-installed apps can be fortunately uninstalled and for the few that won’t budge, there is an auto-start manager where you can deny them from starting in the boot and digging into the memory resources.
You can quick access three apps from the lockscreen and you can customize them with your own set of apps. The notification drawer comes with big icons and occupies almost the entire screen, you can prune the list else might have to scroll down to access notifications. Asus has populated the screen with many folders, segregated on the basis of categories. I am not a fan of folders, though they reduce the clutter on the screen and makes accessing apps easier. Long pressing the home screen or swiping up from the bottom, opens the manage home where you can fiddle around the look and feel, there is also a theme section to browse many themes.
For more on the features, you should take a look at the video below.
Asus are traditionally staunch proponents of intel chipsets but for Laser they have opted for Qualcomm chipset. The Laser ZE550KL is powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor. This is a quad core processor with four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.2Ghz each. It is combined with a 2G B RAM and Adreno 306 GPU
I was quiet satisfied with the overall performance of the Laser. It is very responsive and does not lag in day to day tasks. It is only when you play very heavy graphic intensive games, you find the graphics under performing and throwing occasional spanner in between but overall gameplay is smoother. The every day multi-tasking and usage is a breeze. Asus has crammed in 16GB of internal storage with around 11GB user available, thankfully you can expand via microSD card. Another plus point of the Laser is a good battery life. The 3000mAh battery does a neat job and delivers a full day;s battery life. Connectivity options include 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. The sensors included are Accelerometer, eCompass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Hall Sensor.
Now let’s dig into the camera capabilities and of course with a laser technology to boast, it is the talking point of the phone. It is equipped with a Toshiba sensor, 5 piece lens setup. The laser autofocus lives up to its name, it locks the focus under 0.3 seconds when the subjects are closer. The images are overall good, with good color spread, tone and detailed. The day light pictures come really well and the phone even manages the low light conditions fairly better for its price. The camera mode is pretty slick with lots of ready presets. The 5MP front camera does a neat job too.
Overall, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is a great all rounder at the listed price of Rs 9,999. The price segment it comes in is crowded and faces stiff competition but the Laser is no slouch. It’s a phone that gives your overall performance is every department with battery life and camera in its favour.