Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review

Introduction


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
After the release of its Zenfone 2, Asus is doing all it can to capitalize on the phone’s success by doing what they do best – and that’s by coming up with several derivatives of its prized phone. The Zenfone 2 line has expanded to several variants since its inception, and for those who didn’t think its camera was fast enough, the Zenfone 2 Laser solves that by being fashioned with laser auto-focus tech. While it seems that the _phone_ is otherwise unchanged, it’s still finding itself in that attractive mid-ranger space with its sub $200 outright cost.

The package contains:

  • Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
  • Wall Charger
  • microUSB cable
  • User guide
  • Warranty card

Design

No surprises here, it looks exactly like its sibling.

Not shockingly, the Zenfone 2 Laser looks exactly like its sibling, featuring the same faux metal finish casing. It’s not downright ugly, nor is it really stunning either. Sure, a sense of style is available by wisely choosing any of the interchangeable rear covers that Asus sells for the phone, but it’s still by and large conventional looking.

Nothing has changed with the arrangement of its buttons and ports, they’re all in the same locations as before. Taking a page from LG, the volume controls are located in the back of the phone, which are relatively easy to access by our index finger, but the power button still takes some getting used to because of its placement in the top center.

 

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Front view | Side view
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

OnePlus 2
OnePlus 2
5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches
151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm
6.17 oz (175 g)

OnePlus 2

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review

Display

Not much has changed, but at least it continues to exude favorable qualities.

Specs-wise, there’s not a whole lot different here, seeing that it’s slapped with a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS-LCD display. Frankly, we have no major complaints given its sharp looks, good details, and punchy color tones. Even though most of its characteristics are unchanged, its peak brightness output now maxes out at 403 nits, which is less than before and makes it a bit tougher to view on those sunny days. Another subtle change includes the switch to newer Gorilla Glass 4, ensuring that it’s more resilient to scratches and scuffs.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
OnePlus 2 564
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:2091
(Excellent)
7554
(Average)
2.46
2.18
(Good)
4.7
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 403
(Good)
23
(Poor)
1:1213
(Good)
7248
(Good)
2.68
3.25
(Good)
5.2
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 73.9%
78.3%
77.3%
16.9%
1.5%
9.5%
41.3%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
OnePlus 2 79.3%
85%
80.4%
11.1%
5.3%
58.7%
50.9%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review

Introduction


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
After the release of its Zenfone 2, Asus is doing all it can to capitalize on the phone’s success by doing what they do best – and that’s by coming up with several derivatives of its prized phone. The Zenfone 2 line has expanded to several variants since its inception, and for those who didn’t think its camera was fast enough, the Zenfone 2 Laser solves that by being fashioned with laser auto-focus tech. While it seems that the _phone_ is otherwise unchanged, it’s still finding itself in that attractive mid-ranger space with its sub $200 outright cost.

The package contains:

  • Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
  • Wall Charger
  • microUSB cable
  • User guide
  • Warranty card

Design

No surprises here, it looks exactly like its sibling.

Not shockingly, the Zenfone 2 Laser looks exactly like its sibling, featuring the same faux metal finish casing. It’s not downright ugly, nor is it really stunning either. Sure, a sense of style is available by wisely choosing any of the interchangeable rear covers that Asus sells for the phone, but it’s still by and large conventional looking.

Nothing has changed with the arrangement of its buttons and ports, they’re all in the same locations as before. Taking a page from LG, the volume controls are located in the back of the phone, which are relatively easy to access by our index finger, but the power button still takes some getting used to because of its placement in the top center.


Front view | Side view
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

OnePlus 2
OnePlus 2
5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches
151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm
6.17 oz (175 g)

OnePlus 2

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review

Display

Not much has changed, but at least it continues to exude favorable qualities.

Specs-wise, there’s not a whole lot different here, seeing that it’s slapped with a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS-LCD display. Frankly, we have no major complaints given its sharp looks, good details, and punchy color tones. Even though most of its characteristics are unchanged, its peak brightness output now maxes out at 403 nits, which is less than before and makes it a bit tougher to view on those sunny days. Another subtle change includes the switch to newer Gorilla Glass 4, ensuring that it’s more resilient to scratches and scuffs.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
OnePlus 2 564
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:2091
(Excellent)
7554
(Average)
2.46
2.18
(Good)
4.7
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 403
(Good)
23
(Poor)
1:1213
(Good)
7248
(Good)
2.68
3.25
(Good)
5.2
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 73.9%
78.3%
77.3%
16.9%
1.5%
9.5%
41.3%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
OnePlus 2 79.3%
85%
80.4%
11.1%
5.3%
58.7%
50.9%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

For a mid-ranger, the ZenUI has no shortages of features.

Love it, or hate it, Asus’ ZenUI running on top of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop comes with its perks. For being one of the smaller players in the sea, Asus invests a lot into its customized Android experience, which is rich with various features that can cater to users who crave for a balance between personalization and functionality.

Sure, the visuals lean towards a cartoonish looking interface, but there’s a sense of control because nearly everything can be customized – including the fonts, transition effects, and much more. Even better, if the default theme isn’t to your liking, it can be swapped for any of the myriad in Asus’ online store.

Functionally, ZenUI competes to the same degree as some other power-centric experiences, like Samsung and LG’s custom skins, seeing that we have an abundance of tools and features at our disposal. On one hand, it’s nice having such a comprehensive set at our disposal, but it can come off as overcomplicated to some users.

System Performance

Even with the switch to Qualcomm’s chip, it performs to the same standards.

Asus partnered with Intel when it released the original Zenfone 2 earlier this year, but for the Zenfone 2 Laser, they’ve swapped out Intel’s silicon with one from Qualcomm’s camp – an octa-core Snapdragon 615 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 405 GPU.

The real-world performance out of the handset is pretty good for a mid-ranger, delivering enough responsiveness to all of the basic tasks we tend to do with our phones. Results from its various benchmark tests show us that its performance is very much typical of a mid-ranger, but hardcore gamers won’t be satisfied by its choppier graphics processing performance.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 50188
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 37548
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 32175
Motorola Moto G (2015) 22406
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 2258
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 975
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 933
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1224
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 3479
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2022
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2254
Motorola Moto G (2015) 2186
Sunspider
Lower is better
OnePlus 2 1236.9
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 1472.2
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 1306.7
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1361.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 45
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 14
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 15
Motorola Moto G (2015) 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 15
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 6
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 1068
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 309
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 495
Motorola Moto G (2015) 581
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 876
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 579
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 664
Motorola Moto G (2015) 528
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 3673
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2320
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2402
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1554
View all


Camera

The snapshot time is improved dramatically, but it does nothing to change its so-so image quality.

As we’ve detailed earlier, the handset’s main distinction is found in the laser auto-focus sensor that’s slapped on the back next to its 13-megapixel PixelMaster camera sensor from Toshiba. The same hardware configuration is present here, so that includes a 5-element Largan lens, f/2.0 aperture, and a dual-LED Real Tone Flash.

Much like its overall software experience, the camera interface certainly appeals to shutterbugs because of the vast shooting modes it offers, as well as the handy manual mode. Compared to its sibling, which had a snapshot time of 6.2 seconds, the laser auto-focus sensor cuts its time tremendously down to a mere 2.4 seconds. That’s undeniably fast and an improvement in itself!


Image Quality


The decrease in its snapshot time is swell and all, but it does little to change the camera’s overall quality. Images exhibit decent detail levels, with mostly realistic, though sometimes slightly warmed-up colors. Overall, images look quite good for such an inexpensive smartphone. When using some of the Zenfone 2 Laser's special modes, however, we notice some inconsistency in the results. For example, one of our test panoramic images ended up with an overexposed area, while most of the HDR pictures we took looked as if they have some kind of filter applied to them.

Unfortunately, low light performance isn’t a total wash – shots from the Zenfone 2 Laser are decently exposed, but there isn’t much to indicate it’s a strong contender either. In particular, details are smeary looking, colors appear dull in tone, and there’s some heavy presence of noise. There’s specifically a low light mode that increases the exposure, but images are scaled down to 3-megapixels – with even less detail present.

Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2.4
2.7
574
376
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.4
5
658
641
OnePlus 2 3.7
4.3
No data
No data
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 4.2
No data
368
281
View all



Video Quality


Video recording leaves more to be desired. It’s tolerable with its quality, but its a bit short on details, while its color reproduction seems a bit bland.


Multimedia

Strangely, the speaker output is weaker.

Choosing between the Google Play Music app and Asus’ own music player is completely going to be up to you, seeing that functionally, there’s not much separating them – albeit, Google’s music player sports a more visually appealing interface.

Micro dots on the back of the phone comprise its speaker grill, which unimpressively churns out a maximum 68.8 dB of audio power – short of the original’s tally of 72.7 dB. Everything sounds light and insignificant, even when it’s at the loudest volume. However, the AudioWizard tool offers some useful equalizer settings to better tune its quality.

Watching videos on its screen is a likeable experience, thanks in part to its sharpness, effortless playback, and some punchy colors to retain our attention. The only thing missing here is a multi-tasking implementation of some kind.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 0.91
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 0.489
Motorola Moto G (2015) 0.377
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 0.223
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
OnePlus 2 76
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 77.7
Motorola Moto G (2015) 78.5
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 68.8
View all


Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser Review
Call Quality

Average is a good way to describe its call quality.

Unable to escape its sibling, the same robotic-toned voices are evident through using its earpiece. Despite that, at least the volume output through the earpiece is loud enough to allow us to use it in the noisiest of conditions. On the other end of the line, our callers mention that we sound subdued, but not entirely inaudible.

Battery


Under the hood, there’s no change to the battery cell – it’s still a 3000 mAh capacity in there. However, it should be noted that it’s now removable. Who knows if it’s due to the Snapdragon chip it’s using now, but the Zenfone 2 Laser doesn’t achieve the same longevity in our battery benchmark test as its Intel-based sibling. Topping out at 6 hours and 52 minutes, it’s a full 42 minutes less, which isn’t comforting because it now takes an obnoxiously long 208 minutes to recharge.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 8h 29 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 8h 3 min (Excellent)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 6h 52 min (Average)
OnePlus 2 6h 38 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 206
Motorola Moto G (2015) 251
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 208
OnePlus 2 150
View all

Conclusion


Saturation seems to be the tactic that Asus believes will get them to reach new heights, but it’s almost maddening at the same time because the Zenfone 2 Laser offers very little distinction over the original model. Yes, its starting price point of $199 outright makes for an attractive prospect for consumers who are pinched. However, we can’t fully commit to recommending this over the original model solely due to its faster laser auto-focusing tech.

That’s an incentive for sure, but at the same time, there’s no substantial improvement to its overall quality. Additionally, there are other areas where the Zenfone 2 Laser lags behind its sibling. Taking into consideration that the hardware here is by and large similar, save for the chipset, we’d think that it would receive more of a discount at this point. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so you might be better off picking up the original model – more so when it can be fetched at a discount nowadays.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.0.2
Build Number: LRX22G.WW_user_1.14.40.550_20151008
Kernel Version: 3.10.49-ga8ebe4f




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