ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S Unboxing And First Impressions - A Major Upgrade?

Previously, the original edition of the ZenFone 2 Laser was one of our most recommended phone of last year by bringing high end Asus features and ultra fast Laser AF on a budget. This year, the Taiwanese giant introduced here in the Philippines a revamped variant of the same mold with a slightly different name, the ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S. A device that's touted to be smarter, seamless, sweeter, stunning and superior.
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser unboxing and first impressions
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser unboxing and first impressions

Disclaimer: This review unit was provided by Asus Philippines for an honest review

Related: The Asus ZenFone 2 Laser Review, A Gorgeous Performer On A Budget!

We're those claims real? How did Asus level themselves against the rest of the competition. Let's find out in this review.

ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S (ZE550KL) Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch HD 1280 x 720 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 267 ppi
CPU: 1.5 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 615 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 405
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card up to 128 GB
Back Camera: 13 MP f/2.0 w/ laser AF and dual real tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP f/2.0 and 85 degree wide angle lens
Battery: 3,000 mAh Li Pol
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop w/ Zen UI
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, A GPS, Dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass, light, gyroscope
Others: Colors: gold, red, grey, white
Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
Weight: 170 g
Price: 8,995 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

The same old box
The same old box

When you take a look at the packaging of this phone, it will be hard to distinguish this phone from the old Laser. Upon opening the package, you'll be greeted with almost the same inclusions that includes a more compact yet smaller powered 1A wall charger, thick but memory wire prone USB to micro USB charging / data cable, ZenEar, extra set of eartips and paper documentations.
Inclusions inside
Inclusions inside

While the rest of the accessories inside is more on the average side, we'd like it better if there's an included case, even just a silicon one. However, for the price, it's hard to complain.

Build Quality / Design

The brushed aluminum back
The brushed aluminum back

This ZenFone model feels like the bigger ZenFone 2 Laser 6.0 that has a tougher look. While I like the texture and look of the matte painted ZenFone 2 Laser, that doesn't takeaway the fact that this phone looks more durable. Its back cover is made out of brushed metallic like thick plastic, black glossy plastic upper frame and the highly acclaimed Gorilla Glass 4 protection in front. The brushed metal like plastic at the back and Gorilla Glass 4 won't be prone to scratches, but the plastic frame will surely get annoying hairlines in time. That's why we'll still recommend using a case to ensure longevity of use. 
Power button and 3.5 mm female port on top
Microphone, power button and 3.5 mm female port on top
Micro USB port and another mic below
Micro USB port and another mic below
View at the side of the phone
View at the side of the phone

Going to its look, basically, nothing has changed as this handset looks sleek and very presentable as a whole. It just has the usual thickness of frame and bezels, but it's nothing that serious which we can live with.

Ergonomically, it goes with the well though off semi curved back cover that makes it looks slimmer and feels better in the hard by giving you a better grip. The brushed like texture and lack of sharp edges also helped in department.

The just like all the ZenFone 2 series sans the Zoom and Max, we find the button placements quite okay, but not as excellent compared with the conventional ones who has the power button and volume rocker on one side instead of placing it on top and at the back. The capacitive keys isn't still back-lighted as well that makes it hard to use in the dark if you're not used with the phone yet.

Anyway, most of our criticisms with this unit in terms of build and design are more on the minor side that doesn't take away the fact that this is a well made device. 

Camera Samples

Rear camera sample
Rear camera sample
Selfie test
Selfie test

On try, this appears to still have the same image signature compared with the other editions of the Laser we tested with slightly faster software and post processing. Looking better so far.

Specs and features analysis

What are the major improvements? First, Asus used the Snapdragon 615 coming from Snapdragon 410 which is faster and has a better GPU with Adreno 405 for gaming and other processing purposes. Second, it now has more RAM by using 3 GB that should result to a better multitasking experience. Third, this phone now has double the internal storage at 32 GB that enable users to install more apps and store more files. The Zen UI still looks the same on Android 5.0, but Asus also made the camera software and UI better.

As a whole, all those hardware upgrades should affect the performance of this phone in a very positive way. So far, it's more fluid and has less hiccups compared with its predecessor. 

Related: Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S Now In Stores And Lazada Philippines For 8995 Pesos!

As of the moment

For us, even as early as now, we're very much impressed with the way Asus placed this best in class configuration for the priceWhile this handset is still enclosed with the same old body, the major upgrade they did here boosted the excitement over this ZenFone further. A very promising phone and there's a good chance that this will be a hit soon.

For our full review: Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5 S Review - The Major Upgrade!