April 21 2018
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Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550L: Decent battery coupled with amazing camera

Asus has definitely put its weight behind its Zenfone range of phones. After successfully testing the waters with the First-Gen Asus Zenfone, Asus has come out blasting to create its niche in the Indian market. But the Asus Zenfone 2 range follows a Samsung-esque paradigm of creating different versions of the same phone. The Asus Zenfone 2 comes in different models with varying RAM, onboard memory, display resolutions, chipsets and even back covers. One such model is the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550L).

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550L) Specs

  • 5.5-inch 720p display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 2 GB RAM/ Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, 3 GB RAM
  • Adreno 306/ Adreno 405
  • 16 GB onboard memory
  • Up to 128 GB MicroSD support
  • 13-megapixel rear cam/ 5-megapixel front cam
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop OS
  • 3000 mAh battery

This one comes for a price of Rs. 9999 and stands out in this price range with a laser powered autofocus camera. While that is what Asus claimed it as, is it worth going for this phone? Well, let’s find out in our holistic review of the device.

Display

There are two models of the Asus Zenfone Laser available in India, one with a 5-inch display and the other with a 5.5-inch display. The 6-inch model hasn’t been outed for Indian markets. As far as the display is concerned, Asus has genuinely put in a competitive display in this price segment. While it is not a full HD display, but in its price range, it is a decent display. The 5.5-inch display comes with a 720p resolution and 267ppi display density, which don’t seem great on paper. But the actual performance is quite decent, owing to the responsiveness of the display.

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Where the display lags behind is in terms of sunlight visibility and also due to excessive smudginess.

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The screen gets smudgy sooner than you can imagine, but Asus has put in a ‘Blue Filter’ mode that makes the phone work better in Sunlight by muting the colors and thereby decreasing the reflectiveness.

Hardware

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In terms of hardware, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser isn’t too far placed from the other phones in the Zenfone range or even the first range of Zenfones. Due attention has been paid to the ergonomics and despite accommodating a big display, the device easily fits in the hand.

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One of the changes in the Zenfone range in its new iteration is the volume rocker at the back. Asus has kept the sides clean and placed the volume rocker at the back just below the camera.

The Asus Zenfone 2 has its 170g weight distributed even across the device with the bulk of it being concentrated in the middle, which makes it easy to carry. This does make it a little thick though, which is something that Asus needs to work on.

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The back panel comes in matte finish, which adds to the appeal of the device. While the placement of the back buttons helps avoid pressing it accidently, it is a little difficult to reach, which kind of mars Asus’ whole product philosophy behind the Zenfone 2 range.

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The power button sits on top of the device while the MicroUSB port is located at the bottom of the device.

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The speakers are located at the top of the device and close to the bottom rear of the device.

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The 13-megapixel rear cam is located at the back of the device along with laser autofocus on the right and flash on the left.

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Below the display rest the back, home and open apps button. These buttons are not backlit and sometimes a little hard in terms of response.

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Under the hood rests the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410/615 processor and a 3000 mAh battery. Above it, are located the dual-SIM slots and the MicroSD slot. The device does overheat a little sometimes, but I would blame that on the processor mainly.

Overall, the Asus Zenfone is craftily created smartphone. It feels good to hold and we would rate it as a responsive handset in terms of hardware.

Software

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The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser comes runs on Android 5.0 along with Zen UI 2.0.

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The Zen UI 2.0 is a heavily designed interface, which retains some of the features of stock Android Lollipop. There are many themes available from Asus and a huge range of customization including the layout, apps, font and icons. Double tapping on the home button reduces the vertical length of the screen for one-handed operation.

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Asus has taken Android Lollipop and altered it for the Zen UI which works well. Asus also offers stuff such as the Asus Cover, which is a smart cover application (You have to buy it seperately) and Music Mode, which let’s you use the equalizer according to your requirements. Things such as a wireless PC remote and mirroring are inbuilt to the interface, which is great. The camera app too, offers a lot of modes for an affordable device.

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The software on the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser works well, but we did experience some lags during gameplay. There is also an Ultra-saving mode onboard, which lets you manage those times when you are running out of battery and need some extra juice.

Camera

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The Asus Zenfone 2 comes with a 13-megapixel rear cam with f/2.o aperture.

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The shutter speed of the device is decent and camera modes such as beutification, slow motion, low-light and time lapse work well.

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There is a ‘super resolution’ mode, which can shoot detailed photos in up to 52-megapixel resolution. The autofocus works fast thanks to laser AF onboard. The camera provides crisp shots and mostly makes best of available light.

The rear camera comes coupled with a laser autofocus and LED flash.

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Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Daylight shots

Daytime photos worked well, but sometimes did face from a lack of detail in some shots. The camera algorithm adds a little bit of light to the shots but doesn’t totally undercut the noise in the shots.

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Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Indoor shots

The indoor shots had a little noise, but the detailing was brilliant considering the lighting.

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The 5-megapixel front cam too works well.

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The laser autofocus on the device is actually worth the hype and lends credence to daylight shots.

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser can shoot decent full HD videos, thanks to the laser-guided focus. The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser comes with one of the best cameras in its price range.

Performance

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Asus has switched from the Intel processors that it used in the first iteration of the Asus Zenfone to a quad-core 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon M8916 along with 2 GB of RAM onboard.

The phone does heat up sometimes when you play graphic-driven games. But, it works well when it comes to regular usage in terms of calls, video streaming, music playback or gaming, the device performance is pretty decent.

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser comes with 8/16 GB onboard memory along with 128 GB MicroSd support.

The battery life of the device is pretty impressive. The camera works well.  The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser supports 4G in both SIM slots and the call quality on the device was decent.

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser performs well, mostly thanks to the Zen UI 2.0.

Verdict

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is one of the best value-for-money devices in its price range. It is something that a regular consumer can consider. Be it software or hardware, Asus has delivered on both counts.

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser competes with the likes of the Yu Yureka Plus and Lenovo K3 Note and can definitely give them a run for their money.

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