ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser Review: When Price Doesn’t Matter

Introduction

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Smartphones nowadays are good at taking photos, you don’t need to spend much to get a smartphone with good camera. ASUS recently had launched the ZenFone 2 Laser, which focuses more on camera but at an affordable price tag.

ICYMI: Unboxing & First Impression: ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser

Same Design with Improvements

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The ZenFone 2 Laser has the same design as the regular ZenFone 2. As I mentioned in the “Unboxing & First Impression” post, it’s really hard to differentiate between the ZenFone 2 and ZenFone 2 Laser because they both look nearly the same.

Despite having an identical look, the ZenFone 2 Laser actually comes with a few improvements over the regular ZenFone 2.

#1 – Better Buttons

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I complained a lot about the power button of the ZenFone 2 as it is pretty hard to press. No, the ZenFone 2 Laser’s power button is still at the same position, but it is now more clicky than before. The rear-mounted volume rocker has also improved as well, which feels better to press. Additionally, the haptic feedback of the capacitive buttons feels really good. Goodbye to the weird haptic feedback from the ZenFone 2!

#2 – Soft Touch Matte Back Cover

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The back cover of the ZenFone 2 Laser is made up of soft touch matte plastic material. Even though it is not as nice looking as the brushed back cover of the ZenFone 2, it provides better grip on hand.

#3 – Removable Battery

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Removing the back cover, you’ll notice that the battery is now removable! It has two SIM slots and the MicroSD card slot is located right above the first SIM slot.

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Overall the ZenFone 2 Laser has improved over the ZenFone 2. Oh yeah! The trademark concentric circle at the bottom chin of the phone now looks even better with more reflecting surface.

Lower Resolution Display, Not A Problem

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Similar to the ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML), the ZenFone 2 Laser comes with a 5.5-inch display but the resolution has downgraded to 720p instead of 1080p. Well, it certainly is the downside of the device, but the good thing about lower resolution is better battery life. Compared to the regular ZenFone 2, the Laser actually has a brighter display, which is better for outdoor visibility.

ZenUI Works Well with Qualcomm Snapdragon 410

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ZenUI has been improved a lot over a year since it’s first debuted in the first generation ZenFone smartphones. You’ll get the same features and functionalities as the ZenFone 2, but the experience is different.

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Rocking the ZenFone 2 Laser is a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 2 GB RAM. I always prefer using Qualcomm SoC, and it works pretty well on the Laser. Although the Snapdragon 410 processor is a little bit poorer than the Intel Z3560 processor on paper, but in fact it actually has a better performance in my opinion. True, the Intel Z3560 is more powerful than the Snapdragon 410, but the Snapdragon 410 is optimized with ZenUI.

Same Camera with Laser Auto-Focus

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The camera is the main focus of this review, as well as the main selling point of the ZenFone 2 Laser. The ZenFone 2 Laser has the same 13 MP camera as the ZenFone 2, but ASUS did improve the Laser’s camera.

As the naming suggested, the ZenFone 2 Laser comes with an additional laser auto-focus. What’s so good about the laser auto-focus? It helps the smartphone to have faster focus time as fast as 0.2 seconds. The infrared laser gets the most accurate distance of the object and the lens simply accelerate itself to the precise position for the imaging. Not only that, I found that the ZenFone 2 Laser is able to take even more closer macro shots compared to the regular ZenFone 2.

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HDR
HDR
HDR
HDR

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Low Light Mode
Low Light Mode

Image quality in general is pretty good, you’ll get to shoot clear and sharp images with large depth of field thanks to the f/2.0 aperture lens. HDR did improve and it is not over-saturated like previous ZenFone. Color temperature tends to be slightly warmer, but it actually looks good in my opinion. Low Light Mode works well in certain conditions, but not always the best. Overall, I’m really satisfied with the ZenFone 2 Laser’s camera. ASUS had really improved it a lot!

Price Tag

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The ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser comes in three variants – 5-inch (ZE500KL), 5.5-inch (ZE550KL) and 6-inch (ZE601KL). The unit used for this review is the 5.5-inch model (ZE550KL), which is priced at RM 799. You can get it now from ASUS Malaysia Online Store.

Final Words

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The ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser proves that you don’t need to pay much to get a smartphone with a decent camera. Trust me, a smartphone with such camera hardware normally will cost you RM 1.5k or above. Let’s just back to the basic, stop talking about noise level, color saturation, etc. Smartphones nowadays are capable of taking good enough photos, and I’m pretty sure that the ZenFone 2 Laser is able to fulfill your needed of a smartphone camera. Because most people only post their photos on social media. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 indeed is a little bit underpowered, but at RM 799, you can’t find any other smartphones like the ZenFone 2 Laser.

Yay

  • Improved hardware
  • Better camera
  • Affordable price tag

Nay

  • Lower screen resolution compared to its competitors
  • No fast charging
  • No NFC