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The ZenFone 2 range by Asus is a bit confusing, because there are so many different variants. Different chipsets, RAM, display resolutions and storage capacities make it a difficult phone to purchase, and you need to study the spec-sheet and price carefully before hitting the ‘buy’ button. As if this wasn’t confusing enough, Asus has decided to launch more ZenFone 2 models, and the one we’re reviewing today is the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE550KL).
You can leave it to Asus to be even more confusing than you expected, with multiple models within the ZE550KL sub-model of the ZenFone 2 Laser. The device we have for review has a 5.5-inch 720p screen, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC and 2GB RAM on board, while there is also a Snapdragon 615-powered option with 3GB RAM.
What’s so special about the Laser, you ask? The Rs. 9,999 smartphone has a laser-powered autofocus system, which fires an invisible laser pattern onto the subject area to map the scene and properly adjust the focus accordingly. This should theoretically lead to quicker focusing and better shots, but is that the practical reality? Read on to find out.
Look and feel
The Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) looks similar to the Asus ZenFone 2 (Review | Pictures). Both handsets are the same size and shape, and Asus retains its distinctive concentric-circles pattern on the chin of the device. It’s near-impossible to tell the difference between the two phones at the front.
The sides remain free of any buttons or slots, and the bottom has the Micro-USB port. The power button and 3.5mm port are at the top of the device. Touch gestures within the user interface allow you to wake the device with a double tap and launch certain apps, so you won’t really need the power key for much apart from powering on and off the device.
Like the ZenFone 2, the volume rocker of the ZenFone 2 Laser is at the back of the device, just under the camera. Although it takes some getting used to, we eventually got comfortable with the positioning and it’s a convenient place to put the volume controls. We were also satisfied with the display, which at 720×1280 pixels is suitably sharp for a budget device. Colours and brightness are adequate as well.
The Laser departs from the design of the ZenFone 2 in one small way; the dual-tone flash is to the left of the camera instead of above, and the laser is to the right of the camera. The rest of the rear of the device is exactly the same as the predecessor, with a similar curved rear that is just slightly slimmer at 10.8mm, and a speaker grille at the bottom. The back panel is removable, with the replaceable battery and SIM-slots underneath. The Laser uses a hybrid SIM slot, which means you have to make the annoying choice between micro-SIM dual-SIM connectivity and expandable storage. Since the internal storage is limited to just 16GB, you’re likely to be forgoing dual-SIM connectivity.