Be it a super-luxurious Lamborghini suddenly going up in flames in a crowded Delhi street, a car crash on a wet highway or a stray bovine running in a bewildered manner and disrupting office-hour rush—people are quick to take out their smartphones from their pockets and start recording the sequence of events. Point the camera at someone or something and start shooting instantly seems to be the in-thing nowadays. The point to be noted is that as smartphones become ubiquitous, they are quickly replacing traditional point-and-shoot cameras as the go-to devices for taking quick photos. These devices also make it easy to share those images with others.
In order to woo this fast-growing mobile phone-cum-camera wielding audience, the Taiwanese device maker Asus has debuted its latest device, the ZenFone 2 Laser, which promises to have the best smartphone action camera.
ZenFone 2 Laser models all benefit from a powerful 13 megapixel PixelMaster camera with an f/2.0 wide-aperture lens to capture crisp and high-resolution photos with zero shutter lag—augmented by laser auto-focus technology that empowers users to capture perfect clarity in just 0.3 seconds. Available in 5-inch (ZE500KL), 5.5-inch (ZE550KL) and 6.0-inch (ZE601KL) versions with upto 1920 x 1080-pixel Full HD resolution, ZenFone 2 Laser also incorporates the latest and toughest Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It boasts an upto octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with upto 3 GB of fast memory for robust performance.
The good folks at Asus India were kind enough to send us a review unit of the 5.5-inch Asus ZenFone 2 Laser, which retails for R13,399. Here are some of our impressions on the latest Asus phone’s hardware design, build and performance.
Out of the box, the ZenFone 2 Laser is pretty comfortable to hold in the hand. And, it has an incredibly slim profile.
The phone features a 5.5-inch HD IPS display. The screen has the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for protection, which is adequate to protect the device from any accidental bumps and scratches.
Under the hood, the ZenFone 2 Laser packs a 13 megapixel PixelMaster camera with Dual LED Real Tone flash, laser auto-focus f/2.0 aperture lens, which helps to capture high-resolution pictures with zero shutter lag. On the front, it sports a 5 megapixels with f/2.0 aperture and Auto-focus. The camera also comes with Low Light mode that works on pixel-merging technology to capture upto 400% brighter images at night or in low-light condition.
Further probing the innards, the latest Asus device comes packed with a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm 64-bit octa-core processor Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) CPU coupled with 3 GB LPDDR3 RAM and a Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU. The handset runs on brand-new ASUS ZenUI 2.0 with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. It offers 16 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 128 GB via a microSD card. The handset is powered by
a 3,000 mAh Li-Polymer removable battery.
The ZenFone 2 Laser comes with dual microphone support with noise cancellation. In terms of connectivity, the device comes with 4G LTE support, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, GPS, A-GPS/GLONASS, Micro USB 2.0 (OTG support), and a 3.5 mm audio jack port.
For many people, a phone’s cameras are one of the biggest priorities when choosing a new phone. For the simple reason that since you carry your phone everywhere, you are more likely to use it as a camera more than a DSLR or separate compact camera. The latest Asus ZenFone 2 Laser puts a lot of emphasis on its camera performance. The phone’s 13 megapixel PixelMaster camera with its f/2.0-aperture lens captures stunning, high-resolution photos with zero shutter lag. The brand-new laser-autofocus feature greatly reduces blurring and enhances image stabilisation, and the Low Light mode employs pixel-merging technology to capture upto 400% brighter photos at night or in low-light scenes—all without the need for a flash. Backlight (Super HDR) mode lets you see clearly through daytime shadow and Super Resolution mode helps you to capture detailed images at resolutions of upto 52 megapixel.
At my end, I took a couple of photos and the phone’s 13-MP rear camera took vivid, sharp images in all of my test scenarios. I was impressed with how much detail the phone’s camera captured; I zoomed in on a flower shot and even the tiniest insects were captured in sharp detail. The front-facing, 5-MP camera took sharp, colourful images of my face, even under the weak lighting. When I held the phone in landscape mode, it captured plenty of the background behind my head. Overall, I had a satisfying experience with the phone’s camera capabilities.
With its 1.5 GHz Qualcomm 64-bit octa-core processor Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) CPU coupled with 3 GB RAM, the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser was fast enough to handle any task I threw at it with aplomb, whether I was surfing the Web or watching videos. If you want a phone that looks great and takes superb photos, give the ZenFone 2 Laser your highest consideration. Highly recommended.
* Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 3.9 ~ 10.8 mm (W x D x H)
* Display: 5.5-inch HD resolution, IPS display
* CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
* Operating system: Asus ZenUI with Android 5.0 Lollipop
* Memory & storage: 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM; 16 GB eMMC Flash
* Connectivity: WLAN 802.11 b/g/n, USB, Bluetooth V4.0
* Camera: 5 MP (front); 13 MP rear camera
* Battery: 3000 mAh Li-Polymer removable battery
** Estimated street price: Rs 13,399