Last May, Asus launched the Zenfone 2 smartphone in the Philippines, and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a unit to use and review. Though my review was based on just two days of use, I’ve continued using the unit until a couple of weeks when I received the Zenfone 2 Laser to review.
To easily differentiate between the two Zenfones in this review, I shall refer to my Zenfone 2 as Miss Satsuki.
I was given another red colored unit, and upon first sight, I thought it was identical to Miss Satsuki. The Laser is just slightly smaller though, measuring at 5 inches. Though I have gotten used to Miss Satsuki’s 5.5 inch screen, I have to admit the Laser is a more comfortable fit for my hands.
The Zenfone 2 Laser features the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which was developed for better performance when the phone is dropped. This was a huge relief to read, since clumsy idiot that I am, I dropped Miss Satsuki (which has the Corning Gorilla Glass 3) just 10 days after receiving the unit, cracking the screen.
Miss Satsuki was my first dual sim phone. Since I travel often and stay longer in foreign destinations, I prefer to buy a local sim card. Since the Zenfone can handle two sims, I was able to keep my Globe sim on the second sim card slot, so I can send and receive calls and SMS (and SMS spam) on my Philippine number, without having to worry about accidentally incurring roaming fees, as the second sim card only has 2G connection.
Last September, when I was using two different local sims, and had to switch between networks for a data connection, I had to pry open the back cover and switch the two sim cards. I was grateful that I can easily pry open the back cover to switch the cards, but it’s still a small hassle having to do that several times in the course of the week.
It’s a minor grievance, but I was ecstatic when I found out that the Zenfone 2 Laser allows for a data connection on both sim slots. However, it only allows for one sim card to have a data connection, but that can easily be set through the Dual Sim Settings.
ZenUI and Android
After six months of using the Zenfone, I’m quite happy with the Asus ZenUI. The interface does not feel clunky, and there are plenty of ways you can customize the phone based on your usage.
What I do miss from using a Nexus 4, is the quick updates when a new Android version comes out. The Zenfone 2 Laser is still using Android 5 Lollipop, but I read that there are plans for an update to Marshmallow.
Bloatware is present in the phone (and it seemed that there are more now than when I first started using Miss Satsuki), but I was happy that though you can’t uninstall, where was an option to disable them.
Laser-autofocus and 8MP PixelMaster Camera with f/2.0 aperture
The phone’s name comes from the super fast autofocus feature of the camera. It is really fast — it focuses in less than one second, which is great if you’re wanting to take a stealthy photo of a cat before they notice you and run away.
The 8MP camera has a f/2.0 aperture, which means that it’s good for low light conditions, and if you’re a sucker for bokeh and shallow depth of field, you’d like this feature.
Here are some shots I took using the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0. Apart from some cropping (my shoddy composition is not the camera’s shortcoming), and image optimization for faster loading, these images are unedited.
Unless otherwise stated, all photos are taken in Auto mode, Standard quality at 6 Megapixels.
The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser retails at Php 7,295, which is not a bad price for the phone’s features and capabilities. Not a bad Christmas gift for yourself, eh?