Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL Review: Budget Laser AF

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL in action

A smartphone’s camera is no longer just an added feature but a necessity in this age of Instagram and Facebook social statuses. High-quality cameraphones tend to come with a steep price tag though. But here comes Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL, a mid-range priced shooter boasting a class-leading Laser Autofocus that can lock into focus in 0.3 second. We put this camera into real-world use in my recent trips and see how it performs as a smartphone and cameraphone.

Inside the box
Inside the box

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL Specs

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL is a mid-ranger phone with a price tag of Php 7,295 SRP. The infographic below sums up the main features of the phone against its previous model:

Asus Zenfone vs Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
Asus Zenfone vs Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
  • 5.0-inch HD IPS display protected by the tough and tested Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The 720p HD resolution screen has viewing angles of up to 178 degrees occupying 72% of the phone body.
  • Dual-sim phone with LTE Connectivity. Runs in Android 5.0.2 Lollipop skinned by their native ZenUI interface.
  • 16GB internal memory expandable with MicroSD slot of up to 128gb capacity.
  • Supports USB On-the-go
  • 2GB RAM
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (quad-core) 1.2ghz
  • 8MP Toshiba Sensor and f/2.0 5-element Lens with Dual Tone Flash and Laser Autofocus
  • 5MP f2.0 front selfie-ready camera with 85% angle
  • SonicMaster 2.0 5-magnet Speaker
  • 2070mAh battery
Sleek curved back design
Sleek curved back design

Build and Performance

Let’s go briefly into the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL as a smartphone. I like how sleek the design of the body is curving thinly on the sides with a classy metallic finish on the back cover. The phone is light to carry and easy on the hands. The screen has decent colors and details. I had to get used to the interface though of having the power button at the top and volume buttons on the rear but it made sense and quite convenient having them there.

SonicMaster Speakers
SonicMaster Speakers

The SonicMaster 2 speakers were just okay for me. Sound leans more on the trebles and reach is apt only for small radius distance. The headset quality though was a lot better bringing in a balanced bass and clearer sounds.

ZenUI notifications
ZenUI notifications

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL runs on the latest version 5.0.2 Android Lollipop and is also upgradeable to V 6.0 Marshmallow. The ZenUI is the driving interface of the Zenfone and personally, the interface doesn’t look that appealing to me unlike Honor’s EMUI 3.0. However, looks aside, the phone interface is functional and transitions smoothly. There’s the main home interface for the often used apps and an app drawer as well. The ZenUI components actually are OEM apps pre-installed and some of them cannot be uninstalled since they are already part of the UI system. Themes are also available for download but strangely there’s no uninstall option for them (or I haven’t found it yet).

ZenUI homescreen and app drawer
ZenUI homescreen and app drawer

The performance though, fortunately, delivers on whatever apps I throw at it. The 2GB RAM and Quad-core Processor is a workhorse that makes apps functions seamlessly. My Dead Trigger 2, which is a resource intensive first-person shooter game doesn’t stutter. Used my MapMyRun+ app to track our 21km WalkEDSA. A slew of mobile editing apps like VSCO, Afterlight and Snapseed works fine.

Battery life with its 2070 mAh capacity isn’t the most enduring out there but it can last throughout the day on regular use.

Battery, Dual SIM card slots and MicroSD slot
Battery, Dual SIM card slots and MicroSD slot
Stylish back cover design
Stylish back cover design

PixelMaster camera, review summary and sample images on the next page…

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