Asus Zenfone 5Z Review 4

Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Is It Really a Budget Flagship Killer?

Camera & Samples

Another highlight of the Asus Zenfone 5Z is the camera configuration. On the rear, we have a 12 MP (Sony IMX363, f 1/1.8, OIS, PDAF) + 8MP (unknown, f 1/2.0, no OIS). More importantly, the camera itself is great but what makes this section shine is the camera software. It’s what all that matter for a person like me, who believes that software optimization and tunning is what makes the camera sensor work brilliantly (like what Xiaomi did with Xiaomi Mi 8 camera tunning). They provide regular camera updates to make the shooting experience much better.

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The most recent one received two days back had:

  • HDR Functionality improvement
  • Improve Manual White Balance function in PRO mode
  • Selfie Camera improvements
  • Boost audio quality in a video to 192kbps bitrate

For the rookies, it has the AI Scene detection and AI Photo Learning modes as well. The AI Scene detection lets the camera recognize the scene and automatically shift to that mode. Indeed, for the professionals, there’s the Pro Mode.

Let’s move to the actual camera samples to know how the duo of great configuration and well-tuned software makes a stunning result despite the mid-end camera specs.

1) Daylight Samples:

The best result of the camera can be judged in a surrounding with adequate lighting. Asus Zenfone 5Z performs excellently in daylight samples. The rear camera focuses and sets the right exposure within 1 second (0.3 – 0.7 seconds). Apart from the quick focusing, the photos have some nice details, vibrant colors with a stellar color accuracy.

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Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Camera Sample Daylight
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Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Camera Sample Daylight 2

If you want to do some zooming and check the pixels, here’s a sample as well.

You can see the details like the droplets clearly visible along the smooth texture on the flower. In most pictures, each color exposed maximum to the light making the image quite vibrant. However, due to the mid-end camera configuration, the details weren’t that extraordinary such as the detailed fur of the dog wasn’t that clear. This is where you start to know why flagships like Huawei P20 Pro and iPhone X are that much expensive. The camera results of the 5Z are slightly better than OnePlus 6.

2) Portrait Mode:

The portrait mode was simply praising. Unlike the OnePlus 6, it had great light exposure, neither did it made the portrait look more unrealistic or should I say cartoonish. I think that the background blurring was just a bit over the limit. Let me know if it is me who is skeptical about that aspect.

Here are a sample 1 & 2 for zooming in.

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Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Portrait Mode

However, one thing I loved the most is that the edges around the portrait are smooth and perfectly blurred with the background. I have seen many flagships’ portrait mode getting ruined by the edges problem. Indeed, Asus makes the use of AI Portrait mode, like Xiaomi, Huawei, and OPPO.

3) Low Light / Nightlight Samples:

Thanks to the f 1/1.8 aperture, the camera manages to capture some good low-light shots. It’s not as good as Xiaomi Mi 8, Huawei P20/P20 Pro, iPhone X, and other high-enders, but like the daylight samples, it can compete with OnePlus 6.

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Asus Zenfone 5Z Review – Camera Sample Low Light
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Overall, the pictures in low-light have no background noise, however, some slight noise can be seen with the boundaries (if you zoom in the photo). In the scene of dawn, we can clearly see the kites in the sky around with the buildings.

Providing only a single lens with OIS can be sometimes troublesome while video recording. However, that’s not the case with Asus Zenfone 5Z. The stabilization is average and would have been a lot better if there was IOS in both lenses. However, in comparison to the other phones with only one OIS, it’s fairly better. Moreover, the maximum video resolution one can record is 4K with 60fps with EIS to keep everything stable.

There’s the front 8MP f 1/2.0 camera with face recognition. It isn’t a big deal. However, the beautification of the software does is exceptional.

In short, despite a mid-end camera configuration, the software optimization makes the Asus Zenfone 5Z camera fun to use and improves the overall quality of the pictures, especially the portrait ones.

Continued to page 7 (OS & Battery):