Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL Review: Budget Laser AF

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL in action

PixelMaster 2.0 Camera

Now let’s go into detail on the main feature of the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL which is its Laser Autofocus. As I understand it, instead of using contrast-detect or phase detection, the Zenfone uses a separate infrared laser to swiftly and accurately detect the distance of the subject. PixelMaster 2.0 is the camera app that utilizes this technology. The app has a wide array of preset options available from HDR, Night, Low Light, Miniature, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Depth of Field and even Manual Mode.

Plenty of shooting presets
Plenty of shooting presets

The Manual Mode would appeal to photographers. The app has a level indicator and histogram graph on screen. ISO can be configured from ISO 50–800, Shutter Speed from 1/2 to 1/1000, Exposure Compensation up to 2 stops and White Balance from 2500k to 6500k. It was nice to play around with the settings I just made sure to have it on its own tripod to keep the camera steady.

Horizon level indicator and histogram graph
Horizon level indicator and histogram graph

On how snappy the phone camera? On general shooting conditions, the autofocus does quickly locks into focus. Though I have no way to measure the speed, in good light, the photos did come out sharp. Low-light shooting steps back a bit on speed slightly but its still finds focus. What I do like about the phone is its close focusing distance which is quite impressive which left me wondering why it didn’t have a Macro preset on the PixelMaster app.

Shutter speed priority shooting is also available
Shutter speed priority shooting is also available

In terms of image quality, the 8MP Toshiba Sensor retains real-life colors and contrast on the photos. Exposure is even in most situations while White Balance handled various lighting situations well. Pixel-peeping though, the sensor do try to produce a lot of details as much as possible but the noise reduction seems to wash-out the details a bit. From how it looks, these 2.5–3mb files can get decent prints up to 8×10 without suffering detail loss.

The PixelMaster 2.0 also shoots video in full hd 1080p at 30fps. To make it more fun, the camera presets allows users to easily shoot Time Lapse and Slow Motion videos for creative film effects.

Summary

For a mid-range category smartphone, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL is a bang for your buck. The smartphone itself is a well-rounded performer with enough juice to handle intensive gaming task to social media activities though one has to mind the battery drain on heavy use. The 8MP camera with its Laser Autofocus technology doesn’t break grounds in terms of image quality but it is a highly responsive cameraphone with a lot of shooting options available. The design and look also has a lot of appeal and better than average earphone audio adds to its multimedia value.

Water lily bloom
Water lily bloom (1/1127, f/2.0, ISO 50)
100% crop
100% crop

What I like

  • sleek design and built
  • solid performance
  • Highly responsive camera especially with the Laser Autofocus
  • Lots of camera shooting options including Manual
  • Good sound quality on the headset
  • Great value in its price range

What I didn’t care for

  • Uninspiring ZenUI
  • Some bloatware
  • Average battery life
  • Average speaker

Check Price and Buy Online

Low-light 2MP mode
Low-light 2MP mode (1/6, f/2.0. ISO 680)
100% crop
100% crop
Flower and a bee
Flower and a bee (1/818, f/2, ISO 50)
100% crop
100% crop
Pililia wind farm and horses
Pililia wind farm and horses (1/1957, f/2, ISO 50)
100% crop
100% crop

Check out the full-sized sample gallery here.

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