Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ReviewSimple Yet Powerful
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser was launched sometime last month. The one that we will be covering in this review will be the 5.5 inch version which is currently sold in Asus Store Online for RM 799. We are mentioning this at the beginning itself because we do not want you to be confused with the 5 inch model (ZE500KL) which was just launched about a week ago.
What are the differences between the 5.5 inch and 5 inch version?
- Price. 5.5 inch version is being sold for RM 799. The 5 inch version is sold for RM 150 cheaper, at RM 649.
- The battery capacity of the 5.5 inch version is 3000 mAh. The 5 inch version comes with 2070 mAh battery. Well, if you have a powerbank, probably that will be fine.
- The 5.5 inch is slightly bigger on your palms. It is also about 30 grams heavier than the 5 inch version.
Other than those mentioned above, the rest are all same. The processor is the same. Both comes with 16 GB of internal storage and 2 GB of RAM. So if you are okay with the disadvantages above (especially the battery capacity) and want to save RM 150, you may consider the 5 inch version.
Also, take note that there is also a 6 inch version coming soon. More information about the 6 inch version HERE.
Zenfone 2 Laser vs previous gen Zenfone 2.Which one is better?
Now let’s take a look at the specifications :
- Asus Zenfone 2 Laser.
- Standard charger.
- USB cable.
- Warranty card and user guide.
There is no handsfree inside the box. The charger’s output is 1A.
Basically the phone looks exactly like Zenfone 2. The only difference is the back area near the camera where the LED flash has moved to the side of camera and there is a laser autofocus beam now. Phone is solid overall. No complaints.
The 3.5mm jack, microphone and power button is at the top. There is nothing on the right. On the left bottom, there is a place where you can place your fingernails to pull out the battery cover. The micro USB port and another micrphone is at the bottom of the device.
At the front top, there is proximity / light sensor, earpiece, LED indicator, front camera. At the front bottom, you will ind the the touch sensitive keys. They are not backlit but they are reflective. So you won’t have issues using them unless it is pitch dark. Well, by then you will get used to the positions.
Under the cover, there is a removable battery. We don’t know if a removable battery has any advantage in short term because if you realise, the previous gen Zenfone 2 had a non-removable battery. The only time we will probably find this useful is probably two years later once the battery has worn out.
However, there is a disadvantage with the removable battery (kind of). On Zenfone 2 (previous gen), you can insert both your SIMs without restarting or switching of your phone. On this Zenfone 2 Laser, your SIM 1 slot is only accessible if you remove the battery. Well, the SIM 2 slot is still accessible without removing the battery. So we don’t really have an issue with this.
Can the memory card (micro SD) be removed without removing the battery? We don’t know because we don’t use an external memory card and we discourage you from using one (on any phone) because it can make the phone slow and sometimes even cause some app to go haywire when you temporarily remove the card from the device (based on our personal experience on many phones, different brands). Even if you need to use one, please make sure that you turn of your phone before removing the memory card and put it back in before turning your device on as some apps automatically use the memory card to store their files.
The device is not dual-active like previous gen Zenfone 2. Dual active allows you to receive call / SMS on your second SIM while you are e.g. on a call on your first SIM. This may not be that important (or at least not very important for us). As such, we don’t really mind not having this feature.
Of course, 4G penetration in Malaysia is not up to the mark yet. So don’t put the blame on the phone if your 4G reception is not very stable.
So connectivity wise, you will not have anything to complain. As for NFC, we personally don’t use that feature extensively. Majority of us will not find NFC useful, thus not having it will be a wiser option because that brings the price down.
Somehow in the previous Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML), the phone frequently hangs and lags terribly. Probably Intel processor was resource hungry and 2 GB of RAM was not sufficient. Fortunately you don’t see that problem in Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550KL). Everything is quite smooth. There are occasional lags and app crashes but they rarely happen. So this device definitely won’t make you feel frustrated with slow performance etc.
This part will be the highlight of the device. Even if you check on Asus official website, the camera will be the main thing that Asus will be focusing on. The camera on Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is definitely made of great hardwares. It has 5p Largan Lenses and using Toshiba sensor with an aperture of f2.0 for both cameras. The laser auto focus does a great job especially in low light condition. The camera even has blue glass filter and other nice features such as dual LED flash to make sure that your image has a natural colour.
We personally feel that apart from the hardware, the software need to be good as well to produce great photos. That is where the Asus PixelMaster kicks. To be frank, we have a mixed feeling with the photo quality BUT let’s not forget that the camera hardware on this device is as great as in other Asus flagship devices such as Zenfone Selfie. So if the photo is not up to the mark, the software is to be blamed. At first, the photos were very bad in quality. We were shocked to see that the photos are so terrible. However, after performing several updates (firmware as well as PixelMaster app), the photos got much better. Night photos could be a little more better. They look blur and dark but before we performed the software update, the night photos were very bad. The photos were over processed and looked too fake. After the update, the photos have greatly improved but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The photos from the main camera are very much similar to Asus Zenfone Selfie and Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML). So if you’ve read our review regarding that phone, you will have a good idea of how the photos look like. As for the front camera, they take good photos as well. The beautification mode works nicely where it removes your pimples / scars. If your face is round, you can also make your face look thin and beautiful. Again, the software plays an important part. So if for any reason you find your photos to be bad, blame it on the software. Well, of course, you also need to play with the settings because the default setting might not be suitable for everyone.
The camera photos that we’ve shared below is merely to show on how the quality was before the software update was done and how the quality is after performing the update.
Before update :
After update :
Below are some extra photos that were taken using the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser. These photos were taken while we were moving in a car, just to see how fast the laser could focus certain objects that we were quickly passing by. So please ignore the reflections :p.
For RM 799, we feel that the device made enough justice. It has a great camera (depending on the software) and overall, the performance is good. Everything works consistently well and there is no issue in general. The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) is definitely a worthy successor of previous gen Zenfone 2 (ZE550ML)
Our score for Asus Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) :
- Design / Outlook (90%)
- Features (80%)
- Camera (84%)
- Hardware Performance (77%)
- Software / UI (80%)
- Battery Life (77%)