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Review: AI Powered ZenFone 5

ASUS decided to go back to their roots with the ZenFone 5 lineup. As they say, the most beautiful thing that you can wish for in this life is “Timeless Beauty”, and that is what ASUS has created with the ZenFone 5.

Not just beautiful to the eyes, the ZenFone 5 also prides itself with a beefy internal specifications. Alongside its undoubtedly eye-popping innards, it also boasts an A.I technology that not only helps in mobile photography but also learns the habits of the user and uses the information it gathered to further enhance user-experience.

But, before you pull the purchase trigger on an ASUS ZenFone 5, let us first help you know more about this AI powered smartphone.

So, lets start with…

What’s inside
ASUS chose to walk the subtle path of packaging with the ZenFone 5. An all blue theme that has an elegant look which easily captures the eye. 

Inside its box are all the little things that one will need from a brandnew smartphone, such as its USB Type-C cable, Fast Charger, Earphones with extra ear buds, SIM ejector, and ASUS has also included a transparent case so you won’t need to look for one. 

However, it would've been a home-run for the inclusions if ASUS had included a screen protector.

If elegance is what you aim for, you came to the right place
As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, the ASUS ZenFone 5 is just elegance epitomized. A six incher that has a near 90% all-glass build which not only looks luxurious to the eye, but also exudes a caustic aura to those who’ll lay eyes on it.
Found on the lower part of the ZenFone 5 are the USB Type-C port, audio port, and speaker.
The volume buttons and power/lock button will be found on the right, and the SIM/SD card tray will be seen on the left. 
There are two small holes that can be found on the top part and near the SIM/SD card area, which will dive into next.

A perfect match for audio and video buffs
Video and audio consumption on the ZenFone 5 is, by far, the best i’ve had with a smartphone. It prides itself with an IPS+ panel with a screen resolution of 1080×2246 pixels, which outputs images and its colors more vibrant and lively.

We mentioned above that there are two small holes on the upper left portion of the smartphone. These small holes are speaker holes. A nifty addition if you would ask us, especially when you are someone who binge watches on a smartphone. The ZenFone 5 also has an audio equalizer that is of DTS, which gives users control over their headphone configuration and listening preferences.

Also, if you’re of the kind that shares video and audio consumption with friends or loved ones, the ZenFone 5 features an Outdoor mode that basically takes the volume a notch higher, so sounds are heard even in a crowded situation.

One with the crowd of AI powered shooters
As we’ve been accustomed to by now, a dual sensor main camera is nothing but usual on a top tier smartphone. The ZenFone 5 has a 12-Megapixel and 8-Megapixel sensors for its main camera, while the front camera is built with an 8-Megapixel sensor.

And most of the people nowadays are fans of the AI powered cameras. The ZenFone 5 does not get left behind in that department, its cameras are imbued with AI technology. AI technology makes mobile photography an easy task. It automatically detects shooting conditions and situations and automatically switches to the mode that is most appropriate for the situation.
The main camera’s color reproduction is on point, however, sometimes, it goes one notch above realistic. But, if you’re someone who loves overly vivid images then this little point won’t bother you, it would even be a plus for you.
One thing is for sure, the zoom function and low light capability of the main camera are something near, or in, the realm of the Leica powered smartphones.

Fast, but not that fast
The ZenFone 5 has adapted to the USB Type-C era. The Type-C enables fast charging and faster data transfers compared to the previous generation.

Zero-to-full will take only an hour and fifty minutes. A near two hour charging time is nothing but measly when compared to the usage time it can give. A fully charged ZenFone 5 with the AI boost turned off will last you more than 8 hours in medium usage. However, if you are to switch On and let AI boost run in the background, the 3300 mAh battery of the ZenFone 5 can give you a near 7 hour usage time in medium usage.

Included above is the benchmark result of PCMark Work 2.0 battery test, because we won’t just force our claims without data to back it up.

Performance backed by AI
Under its elegant exterior, the ZenFone 5 hides a beast inside. Based on a SnapDragon 636 chipset, the ZenFone 5 wields an Octa-core processor which is partnered with 4GB of RAM and an Adreno 509 for its GPU.

Gaming and all-round performance of the ZenFone 5 is as good as it is on black and white, but ASUS has yet again raised the notch one step higher with the inclusion of the AI boost technology that not only optimizes user-experience, but enhances the overall performance as well. As seen in the benchmarks above, the ZenFone 5 with its AI boost function scores impressively higher than without it switch On.
However, according to an anime that I really love, “to obtain something with equal value must be lost”, that is called equivalent exchange. It applies to the AI boost technology as well, so, to obtain a much higher performance than its default values, something equal must be lost, and in this case that is the battery. 

When you let AI take control and optimize everything, the processor and the other components that enhances the user-experience require a greater cut from its power source, thus, lower usage time. However, it will still boil down to the user preference. So, we suggest that if you are to get the ZenFone 5, pick your AI’s battles intelligently.

What we think
ASUS raised the bar one notch higher with the inclusion of AI technology in the ZenFone 5 that not only helps in mobile photography but also boosts its overall performance.

With that said, if you’re someone who looks for a better overall performance, rather than specifics, then the ZenFone 5 is a perfect fit for your hand.

The ZenFone 5 retails at PhP 17, 995 and is available at all ASUS partner stores.

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