Armed with a larger screen, faster processor, better rear camera and double the internal storage, the Asus Zenfone 6 is the big brother of the Zenfone 5. The flipside is that at 196g, it is 50g heavier and costs $80 more than the Zenfone 5.
The Zenfone 6 is still good value for money, though I feel that it should have been priced below $300. Unsurprisingly, it was sold at a promotional price of $299 when it was launched.
It may not have the full high-definition 1,920 x 1,080 resolution of premium smartphones, but even at 720p, photos and videos look sharp. Audio is quite loud but rough and at maximum volume, sounds distorted.
Personally, I found the Zenfone 6 too big. The screen is slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's but the Zenfone is so much larger that it was a challenge to hold it with one hand.
Like the Zenfone 5 and the Xiaomi Redmi, the Zenfone 6 has dual SIM card slots. Both slots are 3G-capable, which is great if you happen to have two Singapore phone lines and want to be able to maximise the bundled data that comes with them.
The Zenfone lasted slightly more than six hours in our regular battery life test where we looped a video with screen brightness and audio turned up to the maximum, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also switched on. The smartphone should last an average user a full working day. Premium phones typically are good for about nine hours.
The Zenfone 6 has several interesting features for photo lovers. It performs amazingly well in low light. Note, however, that the images often turn out grainy. But being able to even see your subject in near darkness is already outstanding.
Its unique selfie mode lets you shoot up to five people using the rear camera. Indicate the number of people in the photo, aim the rear camera at the subjects and move the phone till you hear a series of beeps. They tell you that the phone has detected the correct number of subjects. The phone will then shoot the photos automatically.
Other clever features include Smart Remove, which deletes images of people who walk unexpectedly into your frame; the All Smiles mode, which takes a burst of five images of a group and individually selects each person's best expression to create the best group picture; and PC Link, which lets you sync the phone to any Windows laptop so you can mirror the phone's screen. You can then use your mouse and keyboard to control your phone, including typing WhatsApp messages.
Although it is good value for money, I find it too bulky. I would rather go for the Zenfone 5.
Processor: Intel Atom Z2580 2GHz
Display: 6-inch 1,280 x 720 IPS+ (400 nits)
Operating system: Android Jelly Bean 4.3 (upgradeable to 4.4 KitKat)
Network: Quad-band HSPA+ (3G)
Storage: 16GB (internal) up to 64GB microSD card (external), 5GB Asus Web Storage for lifetime
Value for money 4
Battery life 3
This article was first published on August 13, 2014.
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