I have been hinting about getting a new phone for Christmas and guess what, someone was listening as I received the ASUS Zenfone 5 LTE last week as a bit of an early present. It has been ages since I had a new phone and my old phone was looking a little old and tired, fed up with battling with my constant use and the smeary fingers of my children. ASUS is a new brand to me and I have never owned an android phone before, so I was curious to see what the phone was like.
ASUS are known as the budget smart phone brand, so I was pleased to find that the phone didn’t look like a ‘budget’ model at all. The RRP is around £150 for the Zenfone 5. It is quite a big phone measuring at just under 6 inches in height and just under 3 inches in width, it seems a lot bigger than any other phone that I have ever owned but it is extremely light which is a nice surprise.
Like a child in a sweet shop, I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and have a play and I found it really easy to use and set up. I quickly read through the user guide which is very short and off I went.
The Zenfone 5 LTE is ridiculously easy to set up and I was astonished to find how quickly I was moving around the different functions of the phone. It has a touch screen and is really responsive and once I had signed into my Google Account and synchronised the phone with it, most of the apps that I use on a regular basis were there and ready for me to use. In fact, I only had to download Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the WordPress apps to ensure that all of my go-to apps were at hand. These downloaded apps all appear on the home screen so that you can access them really easily. Downloading new apps is simple thanks to the Play Store which offers a range of apps that don’t disappoint and the children quickly realised that they would have to add a few games to my phone and every time my back was turned, they had downloaded a few games. All for my benefit apparently.
Within minutes, I was up and running. I used the micro sim card from my old phone and so my contacts were there and this phone also adds contacts from your Gmail account into your People contacts app which is quite nice as I can access a much wider range of people; real and online, at the touch of a button.
One thing that you notice as soon as you start using the phone is the What Next which appears when you swipe away from the home screen. This is a list of upcoming events such as meetings, birthdays, the weather and is a useful reminder list that appears on the lock screen and as someone who is always forgetting things, this is a really useful feature.
By far my favourite feature of the ASUS Zenfone 5 LTE is the camera. At first glance, it seems like a normal camera and it takes great quality photos with autofocus and a LED flash. It is easy to access the camera and you can swipe the camera icon on the lock screen to access quickly on the go. Then I discovered the different camera settings and as someone who takes a lot of photos, I was very impressed. There are 13 different settings that are all accessible at the touch of a button.
- Time Rewind
- Low light
- Depth of Field
- Smart Remove
- All Smiles
- GIF Animation
The Zenfone 5 has two built-in cameras, with the main 8-megapixel PixelMaster camera for professional-looking photos. This camera boasts a backside-illumination (BSI) sensor and wide-aperture f/2.0, 5-element lens with exclusive ASUS PixelMaster technology to capture images that are on par with most standalone digital cameras; while the 2-megapixel front camera comes with an f/2.8 lens. PixelMaster technology improves camera performance.
I have only had the phone for a few days so I haven’t had a chance to try all of the different functions, but in those few days I have managed to take over 100 photos as the decorations are up and we are in a festive mood, which always makes me want to take lots of photos. Auto is great and I have been pleased with the results.
Depth of Field is amazing and really helps to create some special and very professional photos with a sharp focus on part of the image, with the rest of the image being blurred out. I love this setting and it is one that I will use a lot.
During the darker afternoons and evenings, the Low light is a really useful setting and I have been capturing some lovely festive shots of decorations with this setting.
The Selfie setting is fun and although it takes a bit of getting used to, I have now mastered the art and have managed to take some lovely photos with my ‘babies’. For the selfies, you have to use the rear camera, you tell the camera how many faces it is looking for and it beeps to tell you that it has found the correct number of faces and when it is taking the photo. You can see the results for yourself.
I am looking forward to experimenting more with the different camera settings and what better time than over the festive period as there will be plenty of great photo opportunities.
The perfect Christmas present?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many useful features in this phone that I haven’t yet had time to try out. In the few days that I have used it, I have become quickly accustomed to it. I spent a day in London and I took the Zenfone along. I was using the phone all day and the battery needed recharging on the journey back (the charger is very nifty and easy to pack into your bag), so the battery life was reasonable.
It does everything that I need from a phone and more and the camera really is a bonus. For the price, this is a budget smart phone but it rivals many of its much higher priced competitors and if you are looking for a present with a wow factor and you are on a budget, then this is definitely the phone for you.
I was sent this phone for the purpose of the review. All opinions and images are my own.