The ASUS ZenFone 5 is perhaps one of the most notable devices to launch this year. It was a symbol of the company’s comeback from the mishaps of the previous generation. At the time of its launch, it offered specs that exceed what one would expect from a typical mid-range smartphone. A Snapdragon 636, an FHD+ display, and AI-assisted optics. Most of all, at PhP19,995, it was a properly priced device. In fact, ASUS has recently dropped its price to PhP17,995, making it accessible to more consumers.

Fast forward three months, and the mid-range segment is now more saturated than before. Just about every OEM is battling it out with their devices- each one squeezing in more features and horsepower at the most competitive price points.

As such, it’s become a question of whether the ZenFone 5 can still keep up with the other teams. Does it still have the spark and magic that it had when it was launched? and moreover, is it still worth your hard-earned money? let’s find out.

Specifications
ProcessorSnapdragon 636 (Octa-Core)
RAM4GB
Storage64GB (Expandable)
Display6.2-inch FHD+ 19:9
Rear Camera12MP (f/1.8) + 8MP (f/2.0, 120° Wide Angle)
Front Camera8MP (f/2.0)
Other FeaturesNight HDR, PDAF, OIS, EIS, Scene Detection, 4K Video Recording, Hi-Res Audio, DTS Headphone:X
OSZenUI 5.0 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo
Battery3,300mAh with BoostMaster and AI Charging
Design and Build Quality

zenfone 5

These days, just about everyone is pimping up their phone’s design to look as premium as they could be. Good examples would be OPPO with their flower petal pattern on the F9, and Huawei with their gradient colors on the Nova and P20 series. An it’s not a bad thing, it’s called moving with the times.

zenfone 5

The notch itself has even had a makeover, and is getting smaller and smaller with each new phone that comes out. In fact, the one on the F9 is shaped like a tiny waterdrop, and rumors have surfaced about the notch on Vivo’s next contender having an even smaller one.

zenfone 5

While the ZenFone 5 may have been left out in the “who has the smaller notch” game, I personally think that its design isn’t. In fact, I’d say that it’s still one the most beautiful looking devices out there. Its still one of those handsets that’s a breeze to use with one hand, and its display is still an eye-candy, even when compared to newer devices.

Performance

The ZenFone 5 runs on a Snapdragon 636, which is quite a common processor of choice for mid-range phones today. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 has it, and even the more affordable ZenFone Max Pro M1 is equipped with it. And why not? it delivers a good balance of performance and efficiency, without bloating up the cost. (Hello, Snapdragon 660).

As a daily driver, the phone is still more than capable of taking on your activities – Social Media, Music, Videos, and more. And while the mid-range segment is starting to get phones with 6GB of RAM, 4GB should still be enough, depending on how many apps you actually use at the same time.

zenfone5 s 10 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?

As for a gaming test, we pitted the ZenFone 5 with two of today’s newest mid-rangers, the Huawei Nova 3i and the OPPO F9, focusing on four games. Arena of Valor, Real Racing 3, Dragon Nest M, and of course, PUBG Mobile. We used GameBench as our benchmarking app to measure fps, along with cpu, memory, and battery usage.

PUBG Mobile

Dragon Nest M

Real Racing 3

Arena of Valor

Based on our tests, the ASUS ZenFone 5 can go head to head with the competition across different genres. Of the three, it was even the only one which had the High Frame Rate setting for Arena of Valor, enabling it to reach 60 fps at certain points of the game. It’s not all roses though, as the phone clearly needs some work in terms of resource and battery management.

Camera

zf5 cs b 1 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 2 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?I found the ZenFone 5’s AI-assisted rear cameras to be more than decent at the time it was launched. And thanks to numerous feedback from users, it has received numerous updates that supposedly improves its performance.

zf5 cs b 3 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 5 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 11 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?Well, the good news is that so far, so good. It’s able to take photos with a good level of detail and sharpness. Its HDR mode in particular, is quite impressive, as most objects around the focal point appear well illuminated, even in less than ideal lighting conditions. It’s scene detection is more often than not, on point, and the depth of field effect looks more refined.

zf5 cs b 8 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 7 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 9 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?Night shots are also quite a spectacle, as it’s able to capture good levels of detail while keeping color accuracy in check and graininess to a minimum.

zf5 cs b 6 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 4 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?zf5 cs b 10 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?Unfortunately, it seems that the front camera didn’t get the same treatment, as it’s still quite a mess – photos appear out of focus when they clearly were, and the details still aren’t as refined.

Software

Since its launch, ASUS has really been at it, as far as updates are concerned. The ZenFone 5 has already received many of them, which could mean two things – The company is working hard to eliminate bugs and improve performance, or there were really that many bugs to begin with, and they’re just catching up with the fixes.

In any case, the new ZenUI 5.0 is a huge step in terms of overall performance, it runs smooth and snappy, it seems to be a whole lot lighter, it’s a joy to use, and it’s packed with features that aren’t there for show, but are really useful – OptiFlex, Game Genie,  AI Charging, Splendid, Audio Wizard, Face Unlock, and more.

If there’s anything I’m disappointed at with the new updates, it has to be with what they’ve done to the audio department. The ZenFone 5 sounded really great with headphones when it was launched, but after a certain update, the maximum volume was reduced, and the overall sound quality took a hit. Now, even at normal settings, the treble is just too sharp, and its sound now lacks the warmth and detail that it originally had.

Battery

From our first review, the ZenFone 5 clocked in at 8 hours and 50 minutes in PC Mark’s Work 2.0 battery test, which simulates numerous tasks from basic video editing to data manipulation.

zf5 sys b 1 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?To see it there’s an improvement in battery, I ran the same test again. And guess what, it now clocked at 9 hours and 50 minutes. Not that an hour more of battery life is that big of a deal, but more uptime is still more uptime. Of course, that translates to even more hours in a real life usage scenario. This phone should last you at least a full day with light to moderate use. .Charging time is pretty much the same – 0 to full takes shy of 2 hours when using a QC 3.0 charger. 

p20 lite zf5 3 2 150x100 - Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?
Three Months After its Launch, is the ASUS ZenFone 5 Still a Good Buy?
Our Verdict
The ZenFone 5 may not be the most powerful mid-range phone out there, but it certainly has the muscle to keep up even with newer devices. Its build quality is superb, the rear camera can take some great looking shots, and its software has improved a lot since the previous version. Of course, it can't escape quirks. The front camera is still a mess, and the sound quality isn't as good as when it was launched. It's big notch also isn't as attractive, compared to newer devices. Now, a lot would say that even for its new price of PhP17,995, there are phones that outperform it by miles, and offer better value for money, like the Pocophone F1 when it arrives here, and the Honor Play, and to some extent, I agree. If you want sheer performance, then by all means, go for those phones. But I'd say the ASUS ZenFone 5 offers a unique experience that has its own charms that you won't find in other brands, and is still worth a buy, for what it offers, and despite its flaws.
Design and Build Quality
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
What's Good
Decent gaming performance
Sleek and premium design
Above average rear camera performance, AI scene detection works well
Fast facial recognition
Refined software
Above average battery life
Charges fast
What's Not
Front camera needs some work
Audio quality isn't as good as it used to be
3.9

Leave a comment

Author

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

Write A Comment

Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

41711344 10155988194573337 3113579199126831104 o - We are going to Tokyo Game Show 2018

Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Get the tech trends in Philippines pushed to you!