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[Share] ZenFone 5Q Full Review

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Zer0 PHL Level 5 | All posts
Last edited by Zer0 on 2018/3/27 14:45

Dual cameras and expanded displays while maintaining standard smartphone size maybe due late last year, but are still the trending features this early 2018. ASUS reintroduces them along with newer, never-before-seen technologies thus the ZenFone 5 series was featured last February 27, 2018 at WMC 2018 Barcelona, Spain. The new series consists of the flagship 5z, the base 5, and 5 Lite or 5Q for the Philippines, which will be featured in this thread. Will this be your next ZenFone? Find out through this full review!

(Disclaimer: the ZenFone 5Q unit is only made for tests, therefore specs are subject to change depending on the region. Two system updates were implemented before reviewing.)

ASUS ZenFone 5Q (ZC600KL) key features:
  • 6.0 inches FHD+ (2160x1080) IPS display, 80.3% screen-to-body ratio, 402ppi
  • 2.5D curved glass, front and back
  • Octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Adreno 508 GPU
  • 64GB internal storage, LPDDR4 4GB RAM
  • 16MP f/2.2 26mm + 8MP f/2.4 13mm 120-degree wide angle rear cameras w/ LED flash
  • 20MP front camera f/2.0 SONY IMX376 sensor 23mm + 8MP 13mm, 120-degree wide angle, w/ Softlight LED flash, Face Unlock
  • 4G LTE, Dual SIM Dual Standby
  • Fingerprint scanner and NFC
  • ASUS ZenUI 4.0 (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
  • 3,300mAh battery, no Quick Charge support
  • Size, 160.52 x 76.06mm x 7.75 mm, 168.3  g
  • Colors: Midnight Black, Moonlight White, Rouge Red

ASUS still adopts the unibody design making antenna lines hidden without comprimising the phone's aesthetics, function, and overall beauty. The unibody is covered with 2.5D contoured glass both at the front and back held by the frame, just like the base ZenFone 3 and 4 phones. It's fairly dated, but it looks sturdy and elegant, and the antenna lines are absent, which says a lot about the company when it comes to aesthetics.

A thin phone with a 7.75mm with rounded edges makes it comfortable to hold. It's not the lightest phone weight at 168.3 grams, a fairly decent weight for a 6-incher, combined with the thin, rubbery sides of the phone gives a better grip with one hand. An all glass design phone is obviously slippery, so one has to be careful when handling it.

The dual rear camera lens is protected by the same glass used for the front and back. The lens are vertically adjacent to one another and it's placed almost near to the top part of the phone, rather than placing on the top-left corner. The portruding camera lens glass is thinner than the ZenFone 3's. A fingerprint scanner is near the bottom of the lens. The smudges from using the fingerprint several times can only be seen when placed in a strong source of light.

Navigation keys are now digital instead of physical to give way to the expansion of the display. Bezels especially in the sides and bottom seem obvious. Like other midranger phones, they have drawbacks in order to give way to other special features.

The unibody design enforces the phone to use a sim and memory card tray. If one has to remove either SIM or memory card, they have to sacrifice several seconds of their usage. The volume rocker and power button still possess the concentric design and is a little harder to press creating a faint snapping sound that signals the user that the buttons are working well.

A 6-inch FullHD+ display sizing up to 2160x1080 occupies the 80.3% screen-to-body ratio. Color reproduction is close to accuracy and vibrant, details and visuals are clear despite the smaller 403ppi pixel density. It is definitely a delight to the eyes whenever you play games or FHD flicks or series. Viewing angles are great and having 500nits of brightness makes it eligible to read outside. The screen temperature tend to be on a warmer side, but it's not that subtle. It also supports bluelight filtering for eye care at darker environments and a mode to support glove touch. The glass is very smooth to touch even if the glass appears smudgy. Unfortunately, after ZenUI 3.5, the Splendid app no longer exists as the display is already calibrated to its best settings.

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The ZenFone 5Q is powered by Android 7.1.1 Nougat with brand-new ZenUI 4.0 as its default skin, retaining some Android features like long screenshot and multi-window, but ASUS has guaranteed that Android Oreo upgrade will commence to ZenFone 5Q as well as the brand-new ZenUI 5.0 later this year.

On paper, (or rather the Launcher), swiping up the home screen, a cleaner list of apps appear in front of the user's eyes, categorizing Google apps and some select ASUS apps, then frontlining the most used and important apps like Phone, Messages, and File Manager to follow the Minimalist look. Like previous ZenUIs, bright and eye-popping colors were used from icons to the theme itself.

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The classic ZenMotion still exists and can command the screen with gestures while the display is off and offer a ome-hand operation for smaller hands. Another useful app Mobile Manager monitors battery and data usage as well as limiting the apps permissions to save the former. There are also new apps exclusive to the UI version like the Page Marker for saving pages, and Twin Apps useful when using two accounts at the same time without switching.

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In reality, more ZenUI apps are scattered around both Quick Settings and the Settings app. We wish that some of it like AudioWizard and FM Radio stayed on the Launcher's all apps screen for a quicker access. People who aren't familiar to the UI might take a little time to get around the Settings app in order to find and use ZenUI's features to its potential. Luckily, a search button is placed in case the user doesn't remember the features' location.

Performance and Benchmarks

The processsor used is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 clocked at 2.2gHz, a slightly upgraded SD625 for faster  but with the same ARM Cortex A53, then partnered with Adreno 508 GPU for better graphics and a 4GB RAM. A newer processor seems fit for a new phone, and a safe bet for it to be able to unleash its full potential. Benchmark apps used like AnTuTu 7, Geekbench 4, PCMark, & Vellamo will test the CPU and its ARM cores, while 3DMark app tries out the new Adreno 508 GPU. All benchmarks have 50% of brightness as well as Performance battery mode enabled.

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AnTuTu 7 Normal vs. Performance battery mode

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Geekbench 4 Normal v. Performance battery mode

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PCMark Work 2.0 Normal vs. Performance battery mode

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Vellamo Single-core Normal vs. Performance mode
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Vellamo Multicore Normal vs. Performance battery mode

  • AnTuTu 7: 87245 and 87498
  • Geekbench 4: 859 and 864 (single-core), 4105 and 4127 (multi-core)
  • PCMark: 4867 and 4947
  • Vellamo: 1501 and 1510 (single-core), 2362 and 2369 (multi-core)

All benchmarks scores are favorable to the new Snapdragon 630. Single-core scores are generally lower because of the absence of the powerful ARM A72 cores like the ones from the Snapdragon 800 series.

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3DMark Slingshot Normal vs. Performance battery mode

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3DMark Slingshot Extreme Normal vs. Performance battery mode

  • 3DMark Slingshot: 1339 and 1350
  • 3DMark Extreme Slingshot OpenGL: 819 and 824
  • 3DMark Extreme Slingshot Vulkan: 661 and 664

The newest Adreno 508 is only a slightly upgraded Adreno 506 that's why the scores are closer to the old GPU. It could still render graphics well without stuttering and affecting performance depending on the screen resolutions and displays.

Launching and multitasking apps and navigating the UI is seamless. Lags and millisecond hiccups weren't seen on most tasks thrown to the ZenFone judging by its hint of 30fps frame rate that flashes to your eyes during navigation. Camera app is snappy and responses well with the camera lenses and sensor. Fingerprint is fast and responsive to unlock the phone even if your finger is a bit damp. SD630, like its predecessor SD625 is a good, all-around daily driver. 4GB RAM could get you to the oldest app possible without reseting its current state, unless the phone has RAM-consuming apps on background.

Select games are going to be tested to see how powerful Adreno 508 is.

The dated Need for Speed is smooth at its best graphic settings available giving rich details to the game without making lags.

Even the graphically intensive Mortal Kombat X barely makes any drop of frame rates from fighting and cutscenes. Not to mention the loading times is twice shorter than older Adreno GPUs.

At default settings, MMO PVP Mobile Legends managed to be playable and not making stuttering even during the graphics as its peak.

Rules of Survival is lag-free and enjoyable up to Excellent graphic settings with FPS enabled. The basic graphics (FPS enabled) gives much flawless gameplay.

The newly released PUBG Mobile is set at Low by default and does have frame rate drops at certain times.
Overall, some dated games can run in the ZenFone 5Q with barely any lags encountered.


The phone sports a 64GB internal storage leaving 51GB after the system uses 12.44GB of storage in order to function well. The leftover internal storage might not be enough for on-the-go users like photographers and media junkies, so ASUS generously made a dedicated slot for microSD maximing its capacity up to 2TB, rather than making a hybrid SIM slot. ASUS also offers 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage up to 2 years from redemption. Both SIM slots support dual standby and network connections from 3G up to 4G+, but only one SIM can connect at 3G/4G at a time.

A loudspeaker can be found in the bottom-right of the phone. Audio CODEC integrated into PMIC and the preloaded AudioWizard app puts it to advantage to other midrange phones.

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At default settings cranking the volume up, the loudspeaker output is loud, treble-y and clear enough for a quite room or an open space with no other sounds. Turning the AudioWizard app to Outdoor mode gives it more treble and sacrifices a little clarity just to make it louder. There are also other modes to suit media and environment like Vocal, Pure, Music, Gaming, and Movie. If one wants to give music a flair, a vocal recognition toggle, an adjustable Bass and Treble meter and an Equalizer is preset and customizable for their needs.The bundled ZenEar gives generous amounts of loudness and a subtle bass which can be adjusted by the AudioWizard app.

As suggested by its catchphrase "We Love Photo" the camera setup is one of the highlights of the phone. The hardware seems intriguing, but the real magic on capturing quality photos is on its sensor and native camera application, the PixelMaster 4.0.

The main camera has 16MP with F2.2 aperture, 22mm focal length, a Phase Auto-Detection Focus, and an OV/16880 GA5A sensor on board. It's partnered with a secondary 8MP, 120-degree wide-angle lens with F2.4 aperture and OV/8856. An LED flash is included for dark environment settings. It can record up to 4K UHD videos and 1080p with 60fps.

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The camera app is minimal following ZenUI 4.0's language. The rear camera screen has important modes by swiping from the left side like Auto, Beauty, Pro. Fun modes like Super Resolution, Panorama, Time Lapse, and GIF Animation were also added. An auto-HDR toggle is present in Auto mode only in case of shadows in daytime sceneries. There's a quick record button and an adjustable, instant mode switch from the left of the shutter. Above the shutter is a wide-angle toggle for fitting in more viewing space. There are 8 additional filters from swiping the right screen. In the front camera screen, it has the same setup as the main's, but the modes were reduced to four: Auto, Beauty, Selfie Panorama, and GIF Animation. The PDAF is set at 0.03 especially at daylight and manages to capture subjects with no blurry effect even at night.

Auto mode kept its colors true and natural and details preserved. Wide-angle mode enabled gives saturation and overexposes some parts of the photo.

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Auto and Auto HDR

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Wide angle and Wide angle HDR

HDR delivers highlights and more detail with no overblown contrasts for both modes, fixing the wide-angle mode's overexposure but saturation remains unchanged.

Resolution mode ranges from 21MP to 64MP producing HD photos. This mode apparently fixes the wide angle mode's overexposure with crisp details and good dynamic range.

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At night, the rear camera manages to make the photos a bit saturated and give good contrast despite its low F2.2 aperture. However, enabling the wide-angle degrades the quality of the photo with excess contrast and noise.

Both rear and front cams have portrait mode that is able to create a blur effect on the background (aka bokeh) while focusing on the subject nearby at the same time. Daytime and good lighting made photos clear and sharp.

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During indoors and limited lighting, the rear camera manages to capture cleaner photos comparing to wide angle mode with visible noises when zoomed in.

The LED flash when enabled appears crisp with fine details and accurate colors. The wide angle gives a hint of flash flare around the subject.

The front camera setup is adopted from the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro, but virtually doesn't have the same specs minus the softlight LED flash. The first camera has 20MP F2.0 aperture, 23mm focal length, and Sony IMX376 as its sensor in tact to a 6P Largan lens. To complete the front camera setup, another wide-angle lens with 8MP F2.4 aperture and OV/8856 as the sensor is added.

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The front cam mode is excellent at suppressing noise and preserving details during daytime. Enabling the wide-angle mode corrects the white balance, but slightly smudges the photo.

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You rarely see colored noises when using the front cam at indoors with limited lighting. Enabling the wide angle corrects the white balance and contrast.

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The front cam at night produces accurate colors, however the wide-angle mode has more noise and better contrast.

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The softlight LED flash doesn't overblow the subject with improper colors and contrast. It doesn't have much effect during wide-angle mode and its sensor had its limitations on lowlight environments.

The rear cam can record up to 4k UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) while the front is up to 1920 x 1080 with 60 fps, which is also present in the rear camera. Both cameras have Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) for steady and blur-free recording. You could also start recording with the wide-angle lens, but is not available at 4K resolution and cannot be enabled or switched while recording.
This windy daytime 4K UDH video made by the rear camera is great at producing colors. It's not near the 60fps mark and less steady as the EIS fairly responded to my hands' slight mild shakiness. The sound produced comes out clean and no excessive noise were heard.
At night, the 1080p 60fps video quality's decent when there's adequate lighting. Decrease the amount of light, and dynamic range drops, but still manages to be smooth and almost blur-free.
During indoors with lots of lighting, some parts of the video are overexposed. Enabling the wide-angle fixes overexposure, but some hints of noise appear.
During daylight, the front camera gives a little color saturation while having great contrast. Wide-angle corrects the colors but slightly decreases the contrast.
The front camera video during indoors has good color accuracy with small hints of exposure and decreased contrast. Overexposure is always present when using the wide-angle mode.
The front camera on limited lighting and the video appears well when there's enough light for the sensor to gather. Wide-angle makes the video appear softer and more noise apppear.

While all videos appear smooth and nearly blur-free, the EIS didn't help much on resolving the shakiness on all videos. This is only a review unit meaning the EIS might be calibrated in the final retail unit.

Inside the unibody frame is an non-removable 3,300mah Li-ion battery. Interestingly, it is accompanied by the Snapdragon 630 processor and like its predecessor SD625, it harnasses optimization and balance on performance and power conservation putting the 3,300mah battery on its full potential. To test the battery automatically, synthetic benchmark app PCMark is used.
ZenFone 5Q has received a score of 9 hours and 24 mins from PCMark's 2.0 battery benchmark; impressive for a 3300mah battery.

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To full charge from 20%, it only took 1 hour and 44 minutes to finish using the stock charger. 1.5x faster than phones with the same battery and its regular 5V/2A chargers.

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The first battery usage result came from using the phone with moderate usage: minutes of camera, social media with mobile data, and 45 minutes of PUBG Mobile using Wi-Fi while keeping the adaptive brightness enabled at 35%.

The next graph shows the usage is heavier than before: 2 hours of Wi-Fi with select online games, and 2.5 hours of mobile data alloted and used at different times and social media, as well as having auto-rotate activated at all times and 35% of brightness.

Final thoughts
ZenFone 5Q is delivering as its peak against upper midrange phones. The unibody design covered in 2.5D glass and bezels may not be new, but it's very elegant to see and hold. The display offers rich and vibrant colors without comprimising text and details.

One has to take time around the colorful ZenUI to find the unique features when navigating the UI. Multitasking is a breeze and performance is consistent whatever app is thrown to the phone. Most old games are close on getting buttery smooth frame rates as the GPU optimizes well along with the screen resolution.

The big 3,300mah battery can last a day with mixed, moderate usage thanks to the 14mm FinFET LPP technology from the processor. While it doesn't possess a Quick Charge due to the processor's limitations, the bundled charger is fast enough to get the percentage you wanted.

Both the auto and wide-angle modes seemed to have mixed results.The Auto mode produces sharp, detailed photos, has correct white balance, and noise in control, even during indoors. HDR and Super Resolution has better contrast, color accuracy and dynamic range than wide-angle mode. The front cam is excellent at noise control and contrast, keeping sharpness and detail at daytime, but falls short on white balance. The wide-angle front cam fixes it, but increasing the noise especially during indoors. The opposite happens when the front wide angle mode is enabled, but adds more noise. At night, not enabling the wide angle mode gives the photo more color accuracy comparing to wide that increases contrast and noise destaurating the colors. While videos appear to be smooth, there are times that both rear and front cameras make it a bit saturated and overexposed during well-lit environments. Wide-angle mode corrects it giving accurate colors but compromises the quality with minimal noise. At night, both wide and auto cameras produces color-accurate videos as long as lighting is present.

ZenFone 5Q could rule out other midrangers with its premium specs alone, and the final pricing determines how its competitive to other phones. It already exceeded on having the best display, processor, sound and design-wise. Watch out for the price reveal soon this April 14!

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PHL Dr.Zen | All posts
wow! you almost covered all possible benchmarking tests of the unit. Very informative. Great review, and helpful. Thanks C!
Zer0 PHL Level 5 | All posts
gjmsds112510 posted on 2018/3/24 19:39
wow! you almost covered all possible benchmarking tests of the unit. Very informative. Great review, ...

Thanks! I'm not sure how an in-depth review works, but hey why not I just give my best shot a possible.
The front cam might need some white balance tweaking, then it's perfect! It's as almost there are no noise at all.
PHL Dr.Zen | All posts
Zer0 posted on 2018/3/24 03:56
Thanks! I'm not sure how an in-depth review works, but hey why not I just give my best shot a poss ...

true, but if the camera mode is set to manual, it will work just fine. But would be nice if it gets some update fixes on the actual retail unit soon.
IDN Level 1 | All posts
<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">SEBUAH pertanyaan apakah asus zenfone 5 q dengan dual camera dapat berfungsi semua??</font></font>
PHL Level 1 | All posts
I did'nt get what I paid for, 4000 battery is a lie. only 2000, tried charging it with my powerbank 10000, and it only takes 1 blinking light to fully charge. I want a fullrefund. this trash is very disappointing.
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