Asus ZenFone 5 (2014) review

Can this phone bring you a little zen?

Asus ZenFone 5 review
A decent performer, but it's a little late

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Asus is touting a wide array of interesting features for the ZenFone 5, many of them unique at this end of the smartphone market.

The screen has a very fast touch response time and you can tell. Asus say its touch response is 60ms, which is faster than the iPhone 5S and among the best in the business. It is super responsive and a real pleasure to use.

With a fast touch response, scrolling feels more immediate and everything feels more direct. It is part of what has made some of the flagship HTC devices of late appear to be so much faster than the competition and the same trick has been pulled off here.

Asus ZenFone 5 Review

The Asus ZenFone 5 will come in a range of fetching colours

As the icing on the cake for the screen, it has a glove mode for additional sensitivity when wearing gloves, which will no doubt be useful through winter.

Combine this fast touch response with a fairly powerful chipset and the ZenFone 5 definitely feels faster than other mid-range Android phones. It has an immediacy in its reaction to inputs that is missing even from some phones costing more than twice as much.

Asus Splendid is a pre-installed app that allows you to adjust the colour temperature of the screen as well as its saturation and hue. I didn't find I wanted to adjust any of these settings, but it is quite unusual on a device at this price point.

Asus say that the on-board speaker provides SonicMaster audio technology that makes the speaker better quality. While it is never going to come close to HTC's BoomSound as found on the likes of the HTC One M8, it is a noticeably better speaker than most.

The output is not the loudest, but it is very clear and provides decent sound reproduction and even has a little bass to it. What a shame it is rear firing though. There is just a single speaker behind the long grille on the back but it is a good one. I noticed no distortion even at high volumes.

Asus ZenFone 5 Review

Asus offers an attractive flip-cover for the screen that allows you to see your notifications

With the Asus music app there is a simple graphic equaliser that doesn't seem to make much of a difference to the output through the speaker but does through headphones. When listening with headphones the output is good without being great and volume levels are ok.

The camera on the ZenFone 5 comes with Asus' PixelMaster technology, which is designed to deliver superior quality in a range of conditions.

Asus says it allows for professional quality images. I am not convinced about that claim, but the camera is quite good in some conditions and very flexible with some unique features.

Asus has a rather nice looking Zen Case that is a book style flip-cover for the screen. It has a sensor that can switch the screen on and off as it is opened or closed. There is also a circular cut out on the front through which you can see the time and notifications.