Thursday, September 8, 2016

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Review; Still A Good Catch

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Review; Still A Good Catch
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Review; Still A Good Catch

INTRODUCTION:

The new line of ZenFone devices was already unveiled locally about a few weeks ago and some of them are actually out now in the market. But, before we delve into the third generation ASUS smartphones, there are still a lot worthy ones from the previous iteration, a very good example is the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s. Come, join us as we dig deeper with what it has to offer in our comprehensive review.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s is the last generation from its bloodline, it is physically identical to its predecessor, making them share the same model number, which is ZE550KL. While on the inside, it is pretty much similar with 6.0 variant, having 3GB of RAM and octa core Qualcomm processor. Given those facts, we can safely say it is a hybrid or a union of the two phones.


PHYSICAL:

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Unboxing and Hands-on

As mentioned above, its outer appearance is exactly the same as the original Laser 5.5, from screen size (resolution and quality are the same too), placement of the buttons, design and even dimensions, in short, they are identical twins. To learn more, you can read our ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser Review or watch the above unboxing video.


SOFTWARE:

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Software
Software

It is not just the tangible aspects that are the same with the 5.5 and 5.5s, their software are pretty much similar, if not the same too! Both runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with ASUS ZenUI on top. The ZenUI offers tons of customization and features, which, according to ASUS, are more than 1000. Two of our favorites are the ZenMotion for touch gesture and one hand operation, and Kids Mode that allows you to control what particular apps a youngster can access. Of course, ZenUI is not for everybody, but proprietary UI like this one gives the device its own software identity.


PERFORMANCE:

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s CPU-Z Info
CPU-Z Info

Under the hood comes the major upgrade of the "S" variant, it packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset that has octa core processor clocked up to 1.5GHz paired with Adreno 405 GPU compared to the 1.2GHz quad core and Adreno 306 GPU of its older sibling. The RAM has also increased from 2GB to 3GB. This simply means that Laser 5.5s is more powerful than the Laser 5.5 with raw processing power being doubled and 50% increase in volatile memory to handle more instructions.

In terms of synthetic benchmarks, it is able to achieve the same results as other devices using the same chipset, such the ASUS ZenFone Selfie. Moreover, it is also able to match outcome of the MSM8939v2, or commonly known as Snapdragon 616, even if the latter has slightly higher frequencies. The scores are as follows:

  • Antutu v5.6 - 41,077
  • Antutu v6.1 - 37,218
  • Quadrant - 23,349
  • NenaMark2 - 59.9fps
  • Geekbench - 623 (single core)
  • Geekbench - 1,863 (multi core)
  • PC Mark - 3,374
  • Vellamo Browser - 2,470
  • Vellamo Metal - 1,035
  • Vellamo Multicore - 1,791

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Benchmark Scores
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Benchmark Results
Benchmark Results

In real life usage, the handset performs well in handling day to day tasks, navigating in and out of the interface are smooth, even when there are multiple applications open in the background. Gaming wise, it can handle demanding titles without problems or difficulties, Modern Combat, Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8 are all running at ease, even in high settings.

Meanwhile, basic phone functionalities, namely calls and texts are working OK, individuals are able to hear each other on the line clearly. Moreover, signals are strong, we never experience dropped calls or cases where we are unable to send messages. In terms of multimedia capabilities, it is able to play 1080p videos of different codecs smoothly, sounds coming out are strong, thanks to its five-magnet speaker, and ASUS ZenEar bundled in the package provides above average audio output. By the way, out of the 32GB advertised internal storage, you only able to get access to 24.80GB upon completing the startup procedures.

See Also: ASUS Republic of Gamers Unleash New Gaming Laptops 


CAMERA:

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera UI
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Interface
Camera Interface

Since the handset runs on ZenUI on top of the Android OS, the camera interface is practically the same with other ASUS devices that have the same skin, such as the ZenFone Selfie and the Laser 6.0.

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Sample - Without HDR
Without HDR
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Sample - With HDR
With HDR
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Sample - Without HDR
Without HDR
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Sample - With HDR
With HDR
ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s Camera Sample - Closeup
Closeup

The camera modules are also the same electronic pieces found on its predecessor, a 13MP f/2.0 made by Toshiba at the back accompanied by a laser sensor for faster auto focus, and a 5MP wide-angle at the front for taking selfies. Surprisingly, the quality is better than the previous variant, at least under good lighting conditions, the output details are sharper, colors are more vivid and dynamic range is spot on.


CONNECTIVITY:

The ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s sports dual SIM slots, each card can give you high speed data connectivity via LTE, but if you do not have a data plan and wants to save some, you can always relay on its WiFi. It also supports WiFi direct and wireless display, which is the norms these days. The USB port still uses the micro 2.0 standard, fortunately it has on-the-go function, we have tested thumb drive and wireless mouse working fine.


BATTERY:

Using the phone as our secondary driver usually gives us an uptime of about two days, that is one SIM card active used to communicate mostly with family members. Placing it under PC Mark test results in a score of more than 10 hours, that is similar number we got from the original Laser 2 5.5, which has the same 3000mAh battery. Meanwhile, continuous video playback with brightness and volume set to around 50% knocks the battery down in about 6.5 hours.


CONCLUSION:

The third generations of the ZenFone devices are already out in the market, but it does not mean previous iterations are less valuable, in fact, most of them are still worthy contenders. Take the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s as a good example, it still has enough firepower to drive even the most demanding tasks, has good sets of cameras, long battery life and an affordable asking price. If fingerprint sensor and USB Type C are not your major concerns, then, it is still a good option to look at.

ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5s (ZE550KL) Specifications:

  • Tetra band 2G/3G, hepta band LTE
  • Dual micro SIM, dual standby
  • 5.5-inch IPS capacitive HD (1280x720) touchscreen display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection
  • Dimensions: 152.5mm x 77.2mm x 3.9-10.8mm
  • Weight: 170 grams
  • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with ASUS ZenUI
  • 64-bit 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 CPU + 1.1GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, Adreno 405 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615 chipset
  • 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via micro SD card, free 5GB ASUS WebStorage
  • 13MP f/2.0 laser-guided auto focus main camera with dual-tone LED flash
  • 5MP secondary camera
  • Multimedia player
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Sensors: accelerometer, light, proximity, hall, magnetic
  • Battery: 3,000mAh lithium polymer, removable
  • Price: Php8,995

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