Reviews

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 – Sharp shooter phablet – Review

What I like
  • The Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has got a sharp camera module. It’s dual SIM slots and dedicated microSD card are boon in this segment which has mostly seen hybrid SIM trays.
What I didn’t like
  • The usual design and there is nothing to differentiate it from the other Zenfone models, not even the name.

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6! Yes, it’s yet another Zenfone 2. I tried hard to keep up with all the Zenfone 2 models, but I gave up. It’s really confusing. Here is a business idea for Asus. Make an app where the user input is their requirement and the output is the suggestion. Well, Asus has it all covered. They now have a Zenfone to cover each and every market segment. The Zenfone 2 Laser 6 is an extension of the Laser line up and the Laser 6 will cover the phablet segment. There is a 5 inch, 5.5 inch and now a 6 inch Zenfone Laser. The other Laser mobile was the Zenfone Selfie, which had a laser autofocus mechanism on the front as well. Now if you are still with me, lets dive in and check if the Zenfone Laser 6 is worth buying.

Design

The Zenfone 2 Laser 6 is a 6 inch phablet. It has the same design language of the other Zenfones. The curved back, metal brush finish removable back, volume buttons at the back and power button on top, we have seen it all in the other Zenfones. So nothing new here, except for the size. Its a huge phone and it barely fits in a hand. It is not slippery, yet it is very difficult to manage the Zenfone 2 Laser 6 in one hand. Under the back panel we have the 3000 mAh removable battery, dual SIM slots and a microSD card slot. The front has the large 6 inch display with thin bezels and a deep chin. The chin holds the off-screen navigation keys and they are not back-lit. The front facing camera is 5 MP and the rear facing camera is the 13 MP laser assisted camera with dual tone LED flash.

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Below the lens is the volume buttons. I would have loved to see the power button also integrated with the volume buttons at the back, but in the Zenfone 2 Laser 6, the power button is placed at the top, making it very inconvenient to reach. The placement of volume buttons at the back is something you will get used to and once you are used to it, you would want it that way in all the mobiles. However that is not the story with the power button. The power button has feeble tactile response and you need a large hand to handle it with ease. Anyway the Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has tap to wake and tap to sleep function and make the power button redundant most of the time. The curved back is convenient to hold but when the device is operated while placed on a flat surface, it shakes and wobbles. Yet, the build quality and the design make me conclude that it is a sturdy device, with a stylish finish to it.

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Display

The Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has a 6 inch IPD LCD display. It supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The screen produces decent black levels and brightness levels. Outdoor legibility was good, but under direct sunlight, the readability of the device is just average. Under normal conditions, the color reproduction is vibrant and the display has decent viewing angles. It is not among the list of brilliant displays we have seen this year, but it definitely a better display among the devices in this segment.

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Hardware

The Zenfone 2 Laser 6 is powered by a octacore Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615 processor with Adreno 405 GPU. It has 32 GB internal memory and has 3 GB RAM. The memory is also expandable using microSD cards by upto 128 GB. The mobile handles resource heavy applications with ease. There were a few hiccups and frame drops while playing some graphic intensive games, but it did not hamper the gaming experience. The mobile did not heat excessively. On continuous gaming for over 30 minutes, the temperature went upto 35 degree Celsius. The quality of graphics rendered is good. It runs on Android 5.0 with Zen UI on top. It handles the UI with ease and there is no lag.

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The call quality was clear and the signal reception was consistent. However, the rear facing speakers are weak. It lacks audio quality and finesse when it come to sound range. The mobile does not include headphones in the package. I tried it with various headphones and earphones and found out that the audio performance was good.

Decent scores on bench mark tests
Decent scores on bench mark tests

Camera

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has 13 MP sensors at back and 5 MP on the front. The rear camera lenses are 5 element lens and has f/2.0 aperture. It has dual tone LED flash and laser assisted focus system. The laser assisted focusing is precise and has grown to become more accurate than its predecessors. The quality of images produced have also improved. It performs well in low light and day light conditions. The Zen camera UI is simple and powerful. In the auto mode, the UI controls are simple. Though there are different preset modes, the HDR and Low light mode are automatically suggested based on the light conditions. The gear button reveals the menu for both camera and video. In the ZenFone the manual mode can control the White balance, Exposure compensation, ISO, shutter speed and focus. As for the image quality, under normal or well light conditions the images seems to be good. Under low light conditions, the Zenfone performs well. It produces good details and usable images even under extremely low light conditions. In total, the Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has a fast and accurate camera that impresses.

Zenfone 2 Laser 6 Camera Samples

Software

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 runs on Android 5.0 out of the box with the Zen UI on the top. The Zen UI has a long list of pre-installed applications. Most of these apps have better alternatives in the Google Play store and these apps cannot be uninstalled. So I would call them bloatware sitting on the mobile and eating up the space. I like the Zen Mini movies and Super Note apps out of all these bloat wares. Asus has also tried to reinvent the Notifications UI. But this has already been done by the Native android lollipop and I don’t see a pressing need to redesign it. When the Native android experience is really good these days, I don’t see a need to force fit a skin on top of it. Do you need an app and an icon for a function like torch-light, or permission manager or auto start manager? Asus must really have gone the Motorola way, which gives “Close to pure android” experience with a few custom apps preinstalled. Zen UI has very little customization possibilities. But overall the UI is fast and snappy. It does not lag and definitely smoother than the likes of Touch Wiz or SenseUI. In total, the Zen UI is a mixed bag.

Intuitive Help for first time users
Intuitive Help for first time users

Battery

Like most of the mid and top end Zenfones, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 is also powered by a 3000 mAh battery. The battery usage is much better optimized when compared to ZenFone 2. It does not have the turbo charging feature like the ZenFone 2. It takes well over 2:15 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. My average usage would mean a few minutes on call everyday, constantly checking social media updates, 4G always on, connected to WiFi 10 hours a day, watching video clips and listening to music for a few hours. With my average usage, the mobile lasted for 28 hours on a single charge.

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Verdict

The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 is a mix and match between the Zenfone 2 and the Zenfone Selfie. Zenfone Laser has been the best mobile that I recommend to anyone looking for a mobile under 15k. The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6 has all the features of a Zenfone Laser combined with the power packed specs of the Zenfone Selfie. If you are looking for a phablet and comfortable with using a 6 inch device, then you must consider the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 6. It has a great camera along with a tried and tested formula of design and specifications. If you have small fingers, go for the 5 inch of 5.5 inch Zenfone Laser. If you want a great battery life in a 6 inch phablet, check out the Oppo R7 plus.

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Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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