My New Smartphone – the Asus Zenfone 5 LTE :
I’ve been using a Samsung S5 for the last 6 months or so, an upgrade from my old S3, so I am an android smartphone lover and one who prefers the large, slim Samsung to chunkier models. So I was keen to try out the Asus Zenfone 5 LTE which is sometimes dubbed the ‘budget’ version of the phone I’ve been using.
In my case, a preference for the larger screen format, found in smartphones like the S5 and the Zenfone 5, is down to the fact that I can see a little more of what I am texting or tweeting. Very useful when you are in the half light of a restaurant. Although I did still manage a particularly dismal failure tweeting Brigitte Jones style that I was enjoying the Shaggy concert on Sh****ly Heights rather than Shirley Heights. My excuse, it was dark and I’d been awake for 26 hours (travelling from London, then staying up for the concert!). It wasn’t anything to do with the rather good rum punch…of course not!
I was keen to expore some of the feature differences between the S5 and the Asus Zenfone 5 LTE. In terms of size and weight they are pretty comparable, the Zenfone is just a little thicker and longer than the Samsung. Not enough to make it feel clunky to an S5 user though. The Samsung has a smart metal trim but there’s not much else that’s visually different
Unboxing was a piece of cake. The Zenfone comes with a built in battery which has advantages and, I suspect in the longer term, some disadvantages. If you are like me and tend to keep your phone for years rather than months, you’ll find the battery gradually degrades. Unlike the Samsung, phones like the iPhone and the Zenfone can’t be restored by buying a new battery, so you end up having to replace the phone because of the battery. The counter to that is that the sim and memory slots inside the phone are much easier to use.
I much prefered the micro usb port *without* the fancy cover you get on the Samsung, which I find fiddly and awkward to plug in. And, the result was an unboxing in minutes.
The Gorilla Glass screen is a nice touch. I’m one of the sticky finger brigade and my phone screen always ends up smeary so, particularly in a budget smart phone this is a great addition that adds class. And, I found the interface really straightforward. When I tried to take a photo for the first time there was a nice little tutorial. While the phone lacks the finesse of the Samsung or iPhone, I tend to take a camera with me for high quality images and use my phone for spontaneous pictures on the move. For photos to use on the web it really is good enough.
As it is winter, having the ‘Glove Touch’ feature is a real benefit. Being something of a techno-numpty, I tried this out at home first. It was really simple to set up – once I’d found the ‘settings’ menu, which isn’t in the same place as on the S5.
Settings -> ASUS customized settings -> GLOVE MODE is all it takes. And then your phone will work with gloves on.
Does it work? Well yes definitely. I tried with woolly gloves and with leather ones. The woolly ones were more successful, but that had more to do with the accuracy of my finger when covered in leather, which made it pretty much impossible to text and hard even to take a photo.
Something of a godsend in this kind of weather – I set out to see what kind of photos I could take.
All in, so far I like the ASUS Zenfone. The tutorials are really helpful – I found using the camera and getting features like the zoom to work very simple (even with gloves). There are a few things I am still struggling with – for example, my laptop isn’t recognising the bluetooth connection properly bu I suspect that’s down to using a 10 year old computer rather than a fault with the phone. For the most part this is one of the easiest and most intuitive smartphones I’ve tried.
So, if what you are looking for is a phone with a good range of smartphone features that doesn’t blow your budget completely, I’d recommend the Zenfone. It currently retails for around £150 without a contract – about a third of the price of the S5 – and for most of us comes with everything we will need and a few features (like glove-touch) that you won’t find elsewhere. I particuarly like the user friendly interface and if, for example, you are upgrading from a traditional mobile and want to try some smartphone features like internet access, gaming and photography this would be a good place to start.
Just get your letter to Santa in quickly and remember to ask nicely for a Zentastic Christmas.
Disclaimer: I was sent the Asus Zenfone 5 LTE to review free of charge. All opinions are my own and I was not paid for this post.