My boyfriend asked me to research what new phone he must get, since he wants to retire his old one. He’s on the lookout for something easy to hold and not bulky, durable, can take great photos, can play videos and music, and affordable. Besides calling and texting, these are the things he uses his phone for, so these are his non-negotiables.
It was perfect timing that ASUS asked me to review the ZenFone 2 Laser 6 (ZE601KL) which, at first glance, seems to meet all of my boyfriend’s requirements—and even comes in his current favorite color: red. (It also comes in Sheer Gold and Glacier Gray.)
So before I recommended it to my boyfriend, I decided to road-test it, keeping in mind the qualities we look for in a smartphone:
1. Comfortable to hold and use
The phone is really slim: 3.9mm at the thinnest edge. But, don’t let this fool you: They were able to fit a powerful 64-bit Octa Core processor—Qualcomm Snapdragon 616, dual sim card slots (especially for those like my boyfriend and me, who keep two mobile numbers), and a lot of kick-ass features into this thin, lightweight design that’s surprisingly comfortable to hold and use, even if it’s wider and longer than my usual phones at 6in. I also like its metallic look and solid grip.
ZenFone 2 Laser 6 has a highly-intuitive control layout, incorporating a physical rear key as part of the new Ergonomic Arc design. They moved the volume and shutter button to the back to reduce the thickness of the phone. Snapping selfies and adjusting the volume feels completely natural.
2. Durable and battery efficient
One of the things I love the most about the ZenFone 2 Laser 6 is its battery efficiency. In fairness, ang tagal nga ng battery! I only charge every other day—and that’s with 4G or WiFi on the whole time, and I use it for calls daily pa. It has ample power for your daily tasks and activities: shoot sharp photographs, record and edit Full HD video with minimal battery draw, and use the integrated 4G/LTE to share everything you do.
It also boasts of strong Corning Gorilla Glass 4, the latest ingenious creation from the world-renowned Corning. The display offers twice the drop-damage resistance of its predecessor, a 2.5X increase in retained strength, and is 85% less likely to break in daily use—making it safer and stronger than ever before, and perfect for my boyfriend and me, since we’re guilty of being very careless and always dropping our phones, haha!
3. Fast Internet Capabilities
As my boyfriend and I are a social media couple in a long-distance relationship, it’s important for us to have a phone that makes communicating online—via Viber, Facebook, and Skype—fast and convenient. This phone is great for browsing and staying connected because it has the latest 4G LTE advanced technology for the highest-ever mobile data speeds: up to 150Mbps, provided your mobile service provider can keep up, like Globe Telecom!
But, no worries if you’re dependent on Wi-Fi, as the ZenFone 2 Laser 6 is equipped with 802.11ac Super Fast Wi-Fi, which is a supercharged version of 802.11n (the current Wi-Fi standard that your smartphone and laptop probably use). It offers speed from 433Mbps and operates in up to eight spatial streams (MIMO), employing an advanced technology called ‘beamforming’ to increase throughput and reduce power consumption.
It’s equipped with all of Google’s apps too, among others, and this bonus: ZenFone 2 Laser comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage, free for two years, so you can access files on-the-go. Redeem this offer on the Google Drive app by April 1, 2018.
4. Reliable Camera
Whenever we are together, we just love to take photos, wherever we go, whatever we do. And I’m pretty happy with the ZenFone 2 Laser’s 13MP PixelMaster rear camera, with its f/2.0-aperture lens that captures stunning, high-resolution photos with zero shutter lag, which means you’ll capture the photo you want without missing a moment.
LES Bagels photo taken using the ZenFone 2 Laser 6 rear camera
The laser-autofocus feature greatly reduces blurring and enhances image stabilization, and the Low Light mode employs pixel-merging technology to capture up to 400% brighter photos at night or in low-light scenes—all without the need for a flash. Backlight (Super HDR) mode lets you see clearly through daytime shadow to ensure the photos you capture in any scene with strong back-lighting look totally natural, and Super Resolution mode helps you capture detailed images at resolutions of up to 52MP, with more detail and less noise.
Its PixelMaster technology automatically adjusts the ratio of maximum contrast (the brightest point to the darkest point of the image) to enhance the ability of framing features and shapes of the subject, improving the detail of darker areas. With WDR, you capture clear photos even under the most challenging lighting conditions.
Another one of our favorite features, since my boyfriend and I love taking selfies, is the Selfie Panorama. With this special wide-angle mode and 85-degree field of view, we can capture panoramic selfies to up to 140 degrees. We can snap our photos and be able to include a good view of our surroundings, or up to over eight companions. To use this, simply follow the instruction to slightly rotate your ZenFone 2 Laser from left to right.
Selfie taken using the ZenFone 2 Laser 6 front camera
And for nice selfies, the Beautification mode makes you or your subjects even better looking, as it balances facial features, softens complexions, and removes skin blemishes to create flawless photos in real time.
ZenFone 2 Laser’s dual-LED Real Tone flash creates the most natural illumination for indoor shots. The moment you press the shutter button, it delivers the perfect combination of yellow and white light to produce flash-lit shots that capture the real tones of your subjects.
Do you have a DSLR? Then you’ll enjoy the camera’s Full Manual Mode, in which you can adjust all the settings to your liking. In total, there are 13 professional settings and controls you can manually adjust.
LES Bagels photo taken using the ZenFone 2 Laser 6
5. Clear Videos & Music
Okay, now that I’m done raving about the camera, it’s time to talk about the display quality. ZenFone 2 Laser is equipped with a crystal clear, maximised 6-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display that offers wide 178-degree viewing angles, perfect for watching videos on your phone and working while on mobile (especially for those who take work with them wherever they go, like me and my boyfriend). Its ultra-sharp display reaches 72% of the NTSC gamut, so you see more colors, just as precisely as your eyes enjoy the real world. Photos and video are brighter, clearer, and as vivid as can be.
And as for its sound, it’s tuned by the renowned ASUS Golden Ear team to provide great smartphone audio. ZenFone 2 Laser’s SonicMaster technology delivers richer, crystal-clear, more detailed audio, whether you’re on headphones or speakers. This is a particular feature I know my boyfriend will love, because he loves watching videos and playing music on his phone. Sometimes we even watch downloaded movies.
To enhance the sound further, it also boasts of dual, five-magnet speakers and ASUS AudioWizard, the smart software that provides the best listening experience in different scenarios, including Movie Mode, Gaming Mode, Keynote Mode, Music Mode, and Smart Mode.
6. User-friendly Interface
This phone has a user-friendly, smart, yet simple interface, and a lot of really useful tools, like flashlight and my favorite: Mirror. Haha!
The ASUS ZenUI has an exquisite visual design plus a wide range of new features—including ZenMotion, SnapView, Trend Micro Security, and ZenUI Instant Updates—that enhance usability, ensure security and privacy, and deliver a seamless user experience.
ASUS ZenUI has more than 1,000 features that improve upon the standard Android interface, placing the information you need front and center. It knows what you need, with simple and intuitive gestures that launch apps in a snap, and you can customize it with their many cute themes.
P11,995 for all of these features? Sold!