We unbox the latest refresh of the Zenfone Laser!
While everybody went crazy with the Zenfone 2 last year, the fastest and most consistent selling product in the ASUS smartphone lineup is the Zenfone Laser. With the right blend of performance, camera quality and price the Zenfone Laser quickly allowed the Taiwanese brand to climb up the smartphone charts here in the PH.
A few days ago the company announced a new, improved 5.5-inch model that swapped out the aging Snapdragon 410 processor for a slightly faster Snapdragon 615 and 1GB of extra RAM, all the while retaining the aggressive Php 8,995 price tag. ASUS sent over a review sample of the Zenfone Laser 5.5 S so you know what that means: unboxing time!
ASUS Zenfone Laser 5.5 S ZE550KL
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch HD display wtih Gorilla Glass 4 protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera with laser AF, LED flash
- 5-megapixel front facing camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- 3000mAh Battery
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- Php 8,995
Packaging and contents:
The new version of the 5.5-inch Zenfone Laser still comes in the same familiar box that its brothers and cousins shipped with. One thing we like about the packaging of ASUS phones is that you’ll immediately see the pertinent features of the phone you just purchased on the side of the box.
Anyway, the box contains pretty much the standard fare as far as phones go – charger, USB cable, headphones and warranty documentation.
Initial impressions: still looks and feels the same, but it’s certainly quicker this time around
Like we said earlier the Zenfone Laser 5.5 S is essentially a rehashed version of the original 5.5-inch Zenfone Laser with new internals. That means the externals of the new 5.5 S is identical to the previous iteration, for better or for worse.
The Zen-inspired lower chin and physical capacitive keys are still present, as well as the rear-mounted volume keys and the metal-looking-but-actually-plastic back with the brushed aluminum finish.
Overall the design language of the Zenfone Laser and the Zenfone 2 is okay – the curved back allows you to get a good grip on the phone with a single hand though the overall 10.5mm thickness of the phone makes it a little thicker than your average smartphone.
Going through the rest of the features of the phone, the 5.5-inch display has a resolution of just HD but is protected by Gorilla Glass 4. The removable back that reveals the microSD and SIM slots and the removable 3000mAh battery. There’s no change to the 13-megapixel rear camera as well as the laser-assisted AF system that gives the phone its name.
While the externals of the Zenfone 5.5 S remained unchanged, the insides of the phone is another matter entirely. ASUS has chucked the old Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor into the void and replaced it with a better performing Snapdragon 615, and added 1GB of RAM to the mix as well as 16GB more storage while they were at it, bringing the total RAM to 3GB and storage to 32GB.
Despite what some people may say about the Snapdragon 615 processor, it’s still one of the most reliable, all-around processors in the market today. AnTuTu benchmarks of the SoC isn’t going to blow you away, but it’s more than enough for casual use.
How about that additional 1GB of RAM, does it make the phone more responsive overall? Short answer is yes. If there’s one thing we hate about ZenUI and phones made by ASUS in general, is that there’s simply too much pre-installed software in them that eats up memory. That additional 1GB of RAM gives you more wiggle room as far as the user experience is concerned, though we really wish that ASUS would calm down with all the pre-installed apps already. Seriously guys, stop it with the bloatware.
That’s pretty much it for this unboxing and hands-on. Remember, ASUS is pricing the new Zenfone Laser 5.5 S at the same price as the previous iteration – it’ll retail for a measly Php 8,995.