ASUS Zenfone 5Q Review: More Premium Than Lite

Last week I wrote about my unboxing and first impressions of the ASUS Zenfone 5Q. I’m liking the 5Q so far and have been using it a lot more than my iPhone X. As promised, here’s my full review of the lite version of the ASUS Zenfone 5.

ASUS ZENFONE 5 SPECS

OS:Android 7.1.1 Nougat with ZenUI 4.5
Processor:2.21 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-Core processor | Adreno 508
Display: 6" Full HD+ IPS Display, 2.5D Curved Glass
Wireless Connections:LTE-A, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, A-GPS, GLONASS
Memory:64 GB Internal Storage expandable with a Micro SD Card up to 200GB, up to 4GB RAM
Connectors:Micro USB 2.0; OTG Support
Cameras:16 Megapixels f/2.2+ 8 Megapixels f/2.4, 120 degree wide-angle (Main Cameras), 20 Megapixels f/2.0 + 8 Megapixels f.2.4, 120 degrees wide-angle (Front)
SIM Card Slots:2x Nano SIM Cards required
Battery:3,300 mAh
SRP:P16,995

THE LOOKS AND FEEL

The body of the Zenfone 5Q is a metal frame sandwiched by 2 glass panels. It is really sleek and gorgeous, and it looks way better than any Zenfone variations in the past. I can’t stop staring at the phone, and so do my friends whom I hang out with a few days ago. They were in awe of the Zenfone 5Q’s good looks which they thought is an expensive device (ASUS Philippines told us that the 5Q will definitely have a good price, but we have to wait ’till April 14.) I applaud ASUS for still using the metal body and 2D glass panels for a “lite” phone which gives more value for the end-user.

The only caveat that I have here is the phone’s length. Because ASUS managed to fit in a 6″ screen into its frame, it made the phone a bit longer. It’s actually longer than Zenfone 5, which has a bigger display at 6.2″ and yet smaller than the 5Q. I mentioned in my first impressions post that it’s hard to reach the top portion of the screen when only used with one hand. It seems the ZenUI 4.5 doesn’t have an option to make the top of the screen smaller or go lower similar to OPPO or the iPhone. I hope the folks from ASUS R&D would read this and consider it an option for phone’s with bigger screens.

THE DISPLAY

Despite of that caveat I’ve just mentioned, the 6″ screen display is superb! Full HD+ with 18:9 screen ratio is a good combination that made me enjoy watching streaming videos on iflix and Netflix. Mobile games were awesome to watch as well, even from different viewing angles.

THE PERFORMANCE

The ASUS Zenfone 5Q is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, a move I find quite surprising for a “lite” smartphone. The ASUS Zenfone 3, the flagship in 2016 used a Snapdragon 625 processor which I had high praises for its significant performance. According to my research the Zenfone 5Q’s Snapdragon 630 offers 30% more performance than the 625, meaning this “lite” Zenfone can beat the flagship Zenfone of 2016.

In real world usage, the Zenfone 5Q did not disappoint. I played mobile games like PUBG Mobile (light settings), Arena of Valor and Tekken and they all performed smoothly. The 4GB of RAM was a big help in today’s generation of apps and I’m glad ASUS was generous to provide such for a “lite” phone. All other tasks I’ve done with the phone were flawless as expected. By default, ASUS cleans the memory of your phone every 4 hours so you can be sure that it works perfectly whenever you need it.

While I’m impressed with its performance, I found some quirks which I hope ASUS will resolve in the near future. First is the face recognition software. I had a similar issue with the Zenfone 4 Max Lite recently and it annoyed me every attempt of unlocking the phone. The face recognition of the 5Q was set under a good amount of light but unlocking it was still a hit and miss. Thank goodness the fingerprint scanner worked fine. I didn’t have this issue with the OPPO A83 I reviewed recently which was still able to unlock by scanning my face in low light conditions.

The speakers of the 5Q lacked some oomph and oftentimes I had to slightly cover it with my palm to make it a bit louder. Another issue is I always hit the home button whenever I swipe up for the control buttons to appear.

THE CAMERA

The ASUS Zenfone 5Q is equipped with two main cameras: a 16 Megapixels and 8 Megapixels with 120 degree wide-angle lens. With good amount of lighting, pictures can turn out really great. Indoor photos can be challenging sometimes but most of the time the Zenfone 5Q did a great job. I’m also impressed with the images taken with its wide-angle lens. Taking photos at night are mostly challenging and I had to be patient in tinkering the PRO settings to get my desired results. Here are some sample photos:

Photo Zoomed In. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Normal mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Wide-angle mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Slight adjustment on white-balance. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Pro Mode ISO 32000, Shutter Speed 1/8. There was a better photo of this but sadly, it was not processed by the phone. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Normal mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

HDR Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Normal Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

 

What bothered me though is the processing time of some of those photos. There were times that I had to wait for a couple of minutes to process before the photo I took is done, while there were other times when some of my photos weren’t processed at all. Not sure if it’s a firmware issue, but that was my observation for the past few days.

To improve their selfie game, the 5Q also comes with two front cameras: 20 Megapixels and 8 Megapixels also with 120 degree wide-angle lens. The beauty mode by default reduced the stress of my face and the wide-angle lens was helpful in taking group photos. Here are some sample photos:

Normal Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Beauty Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Normal Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

Wide-Angle Mode. (Click to Enlarge Image)

THE BATTERY

The ASUS Zenfone 5Q’s battery is equipped with 3,300 mAh which can last a day with normal use. In my case, I unplug the phone at 5AM, watch videos offline from 6:30-10:30am which left me with around 70% of battery life. I go online for the rest of the day with LTE on and still have juice left upon lying down on my bed. Charging the 5Q is really fast. The Snapdragon 630 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 and I’m able to quickly charge my device in less than 2 hours!

THE CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for a simpler, cheaper but reliable version of the flagship Zenfone, then the ASUS Zenfone 5Q is the best choice. Sleek and premium form-factor, dependable performance, great cameras and definitely value-for-money. ASUS has raised the bar for “lite” smartphones.

YAYS

  • Sleek and Premium Form-Factor
  • Reliable fast processor and generous RAM size
  • Cameras take good images
  • Battery Life

NAYS

  • Phone is quite long
  • Face recognition does not work properly
  • Image processing can be slow sometimes or doesn’t get processed at all.

CONTEST TIME

Our friends from ASUS Philippines is generous enough to sponsor a contest for our readers. Up for grabs is One (1) ZenPower Slim 6000 and a VIP SEAT to the ASUS Zenfone 5 #BackTo5 Launch which will happen on April 14! Mechanics are simple:

  1. Like and share this ASUS Zenfone 5Q Review. (IMPORTANT NOTE: POST MUST BE SET TO PUBLIC)
  2. Your caption must indicate the price guesstimate of the ASUS Zenfone 5Q along with the hashtags #WeLovePhoto, #BackTo5, #ZenFone5 and must tag facebook.com/DRontheGo and facebook.com/ASUSPH
  3. Entry with the closest guess of the price will be chosen at random.

Good luck and share this away!

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