A few days ago, I reported that Asus Philippines just released a new and much-improved version of one of its hit smartphone offerings, the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5S. Today, I am happy to announce that I was sent by our friends over at Asus PH a review unit of this device. Yes, it is the same Zenfone Laser we knew and loved, but with much more in tow for better user experience and pegged at a retail price that does not hurt our pockets.
So here is my unboxing article about this Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5 S
In case you are kind of lost, and if my memory serves me right, this is the third Zenfone Laser variant we have in the local market since its inception last year. The first two are the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5 and the second being Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0, these two sport the same HD IPS display panel with slight differences in terms if internal specs and size as well as retail prices.
The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5S, does not really try to fill a vacant slot in the Laser Autofocus-equipped family of Asus smartphones, but to improve more an already-powerful, budget-friendly, and existing Zenfone 2 Laser device.
Packaging did not actually change at all, it's still has the same box design like the normal Zenfone 2 Laser handset comes in. I am thinking, this is just a recycled packaging that was first used in the initially released Zenfone Laser. Because at first I was really expecting a slightly updated outer box design to easily distinguish this phone from its brothers. As you can see in the image above, it just has the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser name on it, there's no "S" anywhere. So how can you make sure you are purchasing the right smartphone? Thankfully, the key specs are found on the back section of the box. Make sure you are seeing the following specs
- ZE550KL (Unit number)
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8939 (1.5GHz octa-core)
Those are the new (or upgraded) technical specifications this Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5S has.
Screen, Display and Front Panel
Like most Asus Zenfone smartphones, the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5 S has the same 5.5-inch screen size bearing an HD resolution or 1280 x 720 pixel arrangement throughout the devices large IPS display. It's very clear and bright actually. The display's brightness works really well even when used outdoor during daylight.
Above the display panel is where the earpiece is found, right above the Asus branding, then on the right of it is where the 5MP front camera is situated. This selfie shooter is equipped with f/2.0 aperture lens as well as 85-degree wide-angle lens for the best selfie photos and videos. And then way down at the bottom section are the three familiar-looking Android capacitive and unlit buttons; Back, Home and Multitask. Then little below those keys is nothing but a textured surface sporting the Asus-exclusive pattern they call the concentric circles, which is actually a nice touch.
Design and Configurations
Being a new and enhanced variant of the well-established and existing ZenFone 2 Laser line-up, this phone borrows its entire looks from its brothers. It's not a bad thing and a bit expected since all of the improvement happens on the inside.
Not a bad thing because as well, it's the design that many Asus users really really loved especially how the back panel arcs which makes the device feels a lot thinner that it already is, plus the brushed finish makes the device less slippery in the hand and look more premium. In fact this Asus' signature smartphone design earned an IF Product Design Award in 2015 at BMW Welt Event Forum in Munich. The only complaint I have with this device is where the volume rocker is placed.
And that's on the back panel of the Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5S, as you can see in the image above, it's quite busy as this is the place where we can find the volume rocker which also sports the same textured surface. See, if there is one thing I do not like about this design, that would be it as these two most used buttons are awkwardly placed here. I like them when they are found on the side, like the ones from Zenfone Max (see unboxing here) and Zenfone Zoom (see unboxing here).
Up top is where you can find the 3.5mm audio jack port, power/lock key another microphone.
Joining the volume keys are of course the main 13MP rear camera with PixelMaster 2.0 technology. PixelMaster is Asus' own feature that lets the camera to capture more light up to 400% brighter than the usual phone camera resulting to better quality of photos especially when captured in low-light scenes.
Sitting next to the main camera are the dual-tone LED flash and the Laser Autofucos sensor. Laser autofocus is a super fast feature of this smartphone where it can focus on a subject as fast as 0.03 seconds. That should be fast enough to capture even a moving subject, and since the processor has been upgraded from a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 to a 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615, we should really feel that laser autofocus to work fast even if there are other apps running in the background at the same time. Talking about running multiple applications at once, well this is no longer be an issue here as Asus also upgraded the RAM from 2GB to 3GB, leaving more room for multitasking activities.
Together with the smartphone itself are the usual accessories that a smartphone comes with, like the USB cable, Wall Charger and the ZenEar earphones. Now, I got to tell, as I always do whenever I talk about Zenfone devices, is how nice the audio quality is of the ZenEar. Up until today, I still use mine that was first arrived with my original Zenfone 2. I use my ZenEar for listening to music, and watching my favorite movies and TV series, and also its microphone, very clear when used to make calls or recording audio.
Software wise, this handset runs on Android 5.0.2 right out of the box, however an Android 6.0 Marshmallow for most Zenfones including this one is now expected to be fully rolled out in the country this quarter. So that's a good news right there. Below is the images showing how much RAM is used and free right after turning the phone on and the amount of free or available internal storage (out of 32GB) straight from the box.
|LEFT: 1.9GB free RAM at boot. RIGHT: 24GB free storage upfront|
And yes of course Antutu benchmark score. See below.
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5 S (ZE550KL) specs:
- 5.5" HD IPS Display
- Gorilla Glass 4, 267ppi
- 1280 x 720 resolution
- 1.5GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 615 Processor
- Adreno 405
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- Supports microSD card up to 128GB
- 13MP PixelMaster Rear Camera with Laser Autofocus
- 5MP Pixelmaster front camera with wide angle lens
- Android 5.0 Lollipop OS with ZEN UI
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
- 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
- 170 g
The Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S is now available for purchase from any Asus retail stores nationwide for a price tag of just Php8,995.