Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 Review! The Right Midrange Phablet To Get?

After several weeks of using the ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 inch variant, we were finally able to get all the data needed to back our first impressions and came up with a conclusion. Now let's all find out if this new and enhanced in internals and size device is worth all your hard earned bucks.
ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 review
The biggest ZenFone today


Display Quality

Display
The big screen of Laser 6.0

This Laser edition boast the largest display among all ZenFone's in the Philippines today at 6 inches. Fortunately, it's not on 720p resolution only like other phablets in the market. This handset rocks a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with OGS tech for better viewing angles at 367 ppi.
Multi touch test
10 point of multitouch!

It also features a warm tone just like the what we normally see with the likes of ZenFone 2 and ZenFone Selfie, except that the screen of this is bigger and has less sharpness that's fortunately hardly noticeable even when you look at it closely.

I also like that Asus packed this one with a bluelight filter feature which is great when you're reading e-books in low light situation as its safer and friendlier to the eyes. Aside from that you can adjust the color tone depending on your preference, whether its warm or cold.

Overall, even if the bezels aren't as thin and struggles a little under direct sunlight, this device packs the nicest display in the midrange phablet category. It's undeniably pleasing to use when watching movies, taking photos and browsing on a bigger smartphone screen.

Audio Quality

Speaker test
It packs a dual 1 watt speaker at the back

Touted as one of the best speakers found on a smartphone, the speaker of the ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 is superb. It's the loudest and clearest among all ZenFones out there thanks to its close to 1 watt each dual speaker chamber located at the back. Asus also boast that it can go up to 97.4 dB loudness with pretty good frequency response with slight mid-bass boost.

The volume is actually strong enough to fill my small room with good music on just 70% of volume with low distortion level even on max volume. However, don't expect the same loudness of X-Mini speakers of the old here, but the level of instrumental separation is surprisingly distinguishable with this one.

In terms of the DAC included here, officials of Asus Philippines told me that this handset is using an unknown type of Wolfson Chip that's capable of producing HiFi sound. It's also the reason for that warm and smooth sound signature that I fell in love with the iPhone 3G before (the best sounding iPhone until 2015). The lows were on point here with slight boosting and it can extend pretty deep and has great sub-bass response which is pretty rare on a phone. The mids were decent too even if there's bass bleed sometimes and the highs has that sparkle with slightly fatiguing peaks.

Anyway, if there's one thing I'm disappointed here is the inability of the default music player to play 24 bit lossless tracks. A Wolfson card should support that so I'm expecting that a software update will make playing audio with that level of quality possible.

Update: Just download an app with 192 KHz / 24 Bit audio support and you're good to go.

In totality, Asus molded this device to please the bass loving crowd. Anyway, if you lessen the bass region response by at 2-3 dB, then you'll get a passable audiophile grade sound as well. A good music all rounder as a whole.

Note 1: It comes with a good and clear sounding FREE ZenEar in its package that should be great enough for most
Note 2: This phone is equipped with a dual microphone setup that made it great for recordings and calls.
Note 3: It's capable of driving medium sized can. The audio output of this phone is strong for a phone.

Battery

The battery life
The battery life

In terms of battery life, this edition of the ZenFone is performed decently considering its large 6 inch screen with Full HD resolution. I got a screen time under super heavy usage of more than 4 hours. That's pretty optimized as it can match other HD devices in a smaller screen with the same battery size.

When playing games and videos occasionally, there's little battery drops and I was satisfied in general. Under normal usage, it has more than enough juice to last with you for more than a day under normal usage with SMS, Social Media and taking photos.

Camera

The camera interface
The simple feature packed camera interface of Asus

The camera setup of this phone is something we are familiar with, Asus well renowed 13 MP w/ f/2.0 aperture, real tone flash and laser autofocus and 5 MP f/2.0 sensor in front with 85 degree wide angle lens. As a result, it has the same level of goodness found with the 5.5 inch variant of the ZenFone 2 Laser which is a very capable camera.

The rear camera has fast focus speed that's good enough to capture even some moving objects, can let more light in compared with other sensors with lower aperture, has great sharpness, fantastic in macro photography and can produce vivid shots on a slightly warmer tone.

The shutter speed is pretty quick in daylight as well, but struggles normally under challenging lighting especially in low light. Saving photos is decently fast even if there's a 1 second delay in it. Anyway, this phone also has a burst mode that can take up to 100 photos when long pressing either the up or down volume rocker at the back which is great for action shots.

What we like about the camera of the ZenFone, is it is one of the best in the budget in terms of video recording. It isn't shaky as a whole even if we're not sure if it has OIS in it. Mount in a tripod, then you can make this a substitute video camera on a mobile phone factor.

In terms of selfie camera, the 5 MP sensor is good and sharp enough considering that it's just a secondary camera. It also has a beautify function that can make you really look good in photos. This is also pretty capable for recording front facing videos. However, it has one issue though, your hand should be steady in taking selfie videos especially in the dark to avoid blurred shots.

The camera app is simple and powerful as well. It has a professional (manual mode), depth of field capability, the famous super lowlight mode, night shots, HDR and etc.

Rear camera samples

Color accuracy is pretty nice, it's just a little warm for some
Regular (left) HDR (right)
Regular (left) HDR (right)
It's good enough to capture moving objects.
Notice that the car on the right is still clear even when 100% cropped
DOF
As usual, Asus mastered depth of field macro shots
Dim light shot on yellowish lighting
Dim light shot on yellowish lighting
Good night mode shot, especially for a phone
Good night mode shot, especially for a phone
Sample shot on challenging lowlight condition
Sample shot on challenging lowlight condition
Flash test
Flash test (the flash is actually strong enough)

Selfie camera samples

Selfie test
Wide angled selfie sample in good light
Beautify mode
Sometimes, the beautification could be excessive
Outdoor night shot
Outdoor night shot (a little blurry because I moved)
Dim light test
Dim light test

Video Samples



Performance

Antutu and Geekbench benchmarks
Antutu and Geekbench benchmarks

This big edition of the Laser features the newer gen Snapdragon 616 octa core chip with a higher clock speed at 1.7 GHz. It still has the same Adreno 405 GPU and has an upgraded 3 GB of RAM coming from the Laser 5.5 inch variant which is great as a whole.

That combination of hardware proves to be a great one, first it has near the same power level of the ZenFone Selfie. It still goes with the usual Antutu score that we often see with Snapdragon 615 handsets even if this one is higher clocked by 0.2 GHz. Anyway, it has one main advantage as the 616 chip boast better thermal management from my observation. It has less heating even if you're on 4G and playing games.

In terms of speed, this is more than enough for casual users that's not into heavy graphics. It's snappy, doesn't lag and rarely crash unless there's too many apps opened and you're cache isn't clean. That's something great that we are accustomed to with the Zen UI skin of Asus.

I wouldn't cover the ZenUI that much as it still goes with the same speedy UI that's full of features and complete with capabilities such as smart gestures, full double tap to wake and etc. However, just like what our other gripes tell from Zen devices, it still has those bloats that updates regularly and eat your data. It could be a good thing for some and a bad thing for others.

I wasn't also able to experience problems and bugs in connectivity in WiFi, 4G, calls and OTG. A pleasant device to use overall.

Pros - Big beautiful screen, fast performance, large ram, less heating, good battery life
Cons - Bloatwares, not that bright display, might be too big for some

Verdict

This is the best midrange phablet in the land today. There's no question that the ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 is the only way to go if you're gunning for a midrange tablet with close to high-end features and performance. I highly recommend this to anyone who's in need of a big phone that's great for reading e-books, watching videos and playing music with loud sound on the go, playing games and taking decent photos that cannot go beyond the 15K range.

Again, Asus mastery of targeting untapped market segments is on point again with this device. Another steal of a deal from them.

GIZ Rating: 4.75/5 Stars
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