Monday, February 15, 2016

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL Review, Bigger and Better

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL Review, Bigger and Better
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL Review, Bigger and Better

INTRODUCTION:

During the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, ASUS Philippines launched three new ZenFone smartphones, the Zoom, the Max and the latest addition to the laser line-up, the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL is the third device under the same family tree, the first two are the 5-inch and 5.5-inch variants. Apart from having bigger display, it is also much better and more superior that its two predecessors, having an octa core Qualcomm processor and 3GB RAM as opposed to the quad core chipset and 2GB RAM found in the previous models.

CPU-Z Info
CPU-Z Info

In terms of specifications, it is more closely related to the ASUS ZenFone Selfie. Although it does not have the huge 13MP front camera of the latter, it comes with slightly better Snapdragon 616 chipset with clocked speed of up to 1.7GHz versus 1.5GHz of Snapdragon 615.


UNBOXING:

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 (ZE601KL) Unboxing and Hands-on

The retail package comes with the unit itself, charger, USB cable, ZenEar headset with extra ear buds, warranty card and user guide. It has the same DNA with almost any other ZenFone devices available in the market today, no buttons on either side and volume keys placed at the back directly below the main camera. In terms of laser sensor and led flash placement, it follows the pattern of the Selfie rather than that of its predecessor. For more information about its physical appearance, you can check our video unboxing and hands-on above.


DISPLAY:

Display
Display

The ZenFone 2 Laser ZE601KL boasts a massive 6-inch display with Full HD resolution, giving it a pixel density of 367PPI. It also has IPS technology for better viewing angles and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top for added protection. Users can also customize the screen color mode, color temperature, hue and saturation, giving them freedom to tweak the display output to their own liking.


SENSORS:

Sensors
Sensors

Aside from the usual accelerometer, light and proximity, the phone is also loaded with different kinds of sensors, see above screenshot as evidence. All these sensors are working fine thru app testing and real life usage.


BENCHMARKS:

Bemchmarks - Antutu, Quadrant, PC Mark
Benchmarks

As mentioned above, it uses a newer Qualcomm chipset, a MSM8939v2 Snapdragon 616, it has a marginal CPU frequency difference, having four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz and another four clocked at 1.2GHz as compared to 1.5GHz and 1.1GHz respectively of the generation one Snapdragon 615 running inside the ASUS ZenFone Selfie. If I am not mistaken, this is the first device to arrive locally with this kind of chipset. As expected, it scored slightly higher in Antutu at 39K, 3450 in PC Mark, 2106, 1111 and 1790 in Vellamo Browser, Metal and Multicore test. In Quadrant it got almost 22K while in NeMark2 is 58.9fps.


SOFTWARE:

Software
Software

Like most, if not all, recent ASUS ZenFone devices, it also runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with ASUS' own ZenUI on top. This simply means that their interface looks and feels the same. The ZenUI offers intuitive and convenient ways to navigate the phone for the best possible user experience. To learn more about it, visit http://www.asus.com/ZenUI/


CAMERA and VIDEO:

Camera Interface
Camera Interface

The camera interface has the same treatment with any other ASUS Android device running on the same ZenUI. It offers lots of shooting modes, such as Manual, Smart Remove, Super Resolution, Low Light, Night, GIF Animation, Time Rewind and Beautification to name a few, each of which has their own respective tutorial for users wondering how to use them.

Sample Photos:

Day Shot without HDR
Day Shot without HDR
Day Shot with HDR
Day Shot with HDR
Another Day Shot without HDR
Another Day Shot without HDR
Another Day Shot with HDR
Another Day Shot with HDR
About 2 to 3 feet away
About 2 to 3 feet away
About 3 cm away
About 3 cm away
Night Shot without Flash
Night Shot without Flash
Night Shot with Flash
Night Shot with Flash
Night Shot with HDR
Night Shot with HDR
Night Mode
Night Mode
Low-Light Mode
Low-Light Mode
Miniature Mode
Miniature Mode

The main camera can shoot photos up to 13MP resolution with 4:3 aspect ratio, by default it is set to 10MP at 16:9, so we suggest to change it immediately to avoid taking images at lower resolution. If my memory serves me right, it has the same camera module and construction with that of the ZenFone Selfie - five-prism Largan lenses, f/2.0 aperture and Toshiba sensor covered with Blue Glass filter. And, as mentioned above, the placement of the laser auto-focus sensor and dual LED real tone flash are identical.

As it turns out, their image quality is really comparable, if not the same. Photos taken under good lighting condition has high color accuracy, great tone reproduction, right amount of sharpness, well-balanced contrast and nice amount of details. Focusing ability is quite good too, it is fast and able to capture the subject as close as 3 centimeters.

Meanwhile, images captured at night or similar conditions are still very usable, especially when using  HDR, Night or Low-Light mode, however, noise is evident and details are less compared to those shots made in day time.

Sample Videos:

1080p sample video

720p sample video


The rear camera can capture videos up to 1080p resolution. It also has video stabilization, however, the output is max out at 720p.


GAMING:

Modern Combat 5
Modern Combat 5
CraneBalls OverKill 3
CraneBalls OverKill 3

Casual and those that are not resources-hungry games can be played well without any issue or any kind of hiccups. Some HD games also work just fine, with the like of Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2. Meanwhile, Overkill 3 and Modern Combat 5 experience slow down and lags when the screen are populated with lots of enemies, this can be attributed on the game optimization itself, as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 chipset and 3GB of RAM is already a powerful combination.


BATTERY STATS:

PC Mark Work Battery Life Test
PC Mark Work Battery Life Test

The phone is equipped with 3,000mAh battery, the same capacity (and I believe the same size) found on the 5.5-inch ZenFone 2 Laser variant and the ASUS Selfie. We have placed it on standby mode (two SIM cards inserted, no WiFi) for 3 days and the power consumed is only 12%. As a secondary phone with few texts, several minutes of calls and about an hour web browsing, it managed to last through the day with still 66% juice left. Meanwhile, in PC Mark work battery life test, it got 8 hours and 15 minutes.


CONCLUSION:

The ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL is one of the best, if not the best, all-rounder in the 6-inch category, it has a bright and vibrant display, above average camera capability, nice set of dual loudspeakers and good battery life. It is highly recommended for those people who loves to consume multimedia contents on the go, and if you factor in the huge 32GB of expandable storage, not to mention the modest asking price, you can never get wrong with this beast.

PROS:

Huge and vibrant display
Dual stereo speakers
Capable cameras
Good battery life

CONS:

Lots of non-removable pre-installed apps

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 ZE601KL Specifications:
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3G/WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100MHz
  • LTE: 800/850/900/1800/1900/2100/2600MHz
  • Dual micro SIM, dual standby
  • 6-inch IPS capacitive Full HD (1920x1080) touchscreen display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection
  • Dimensions: 164.55mm x 84mm x 3.9-10.55mm
  • Weight: 190 grams
  • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with ZenUI
  • 64-bit 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 CPU + 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, Adreno 405 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8939v2 Snapdragon 616 chipset
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via micro SD card
  • 13MP f/2.0 auto focus main camera with dual-color Real Tone flash, Laser Auto Focus technology
  • 5MP f/2.0 secondary camera
  • Multimedia player
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • GPS with A-GPS & GLONASS
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
  • Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC
  • Sensors: accelerometer, light, proximity, gyroscope, magnetic, hall
  • Battery: 3000mAh Li-Po, removable
  • Price: Php11,995
  • Colors: glacier gray, sheer gold, glamour red

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