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Asus Zenfone 4 review

Andrew Williams



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Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
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  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
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  • Asus Zenfone 4
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  • Asus Zenfone 4
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  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
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  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4
  • Asus Zenfone 4


Our Score:



  • Decent internal storage at the price
  • Fair day-to-day performance
  • Colourful design
  • Feature-packed camera app


  • Rubbish battery life
  • Non-IPS screen
  • Interface fiddly in places

Key Features

  • Intel Atom Z2520 1.2GHz CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android 4.3 with ZenUI
  • 4-inch 480 x 800 LCD screen
  • 8GB storage
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: £99.99

What is the Asus Zenfone 4?

The Asus Zenfone 4 is Asus’s first attempt at a mainstream budget phone. It has made a few oddball mobiles to date, like the Asus Fonepad and Padfone 2 hybrids, but this one is downright normal.

It costs just £99 SIM-free, but can Asus compete with budget giants like the Motorola Moto G with virtually no experience in the area? Predictably, the Asus Zenfone 4 is less than perfect, and quite troubled in some areas. However, it’s far from the worst budget phone out there.

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Asus Zenfone 4 – Design

The Asus Zenfone 4 is a cute little phone that is a pretty good design effort from a company that doesn’t have a huge amount of experience in the field of phone-making. It’s plastic, has easy curves and features just slight tweaks from an archetypal small handset design.

First, you get colourful backs. Ours is yellow, and it has a nice, slightly metallic shade. We got to see it next to the yellow Motorola Moto G, and it lacks that phone’s slightly sickly green tinge. It’s nice. Other colours include pinkish red, blue, white and black. The more colourful Zenfones all have a hint of pastel to their shades to avoid looking too brash.

Asus has also plugged one of its design signatures into the Zenfone 4 – the concentric circles texture seen in its Zenbook laptops. There’s a bit below the screen with this look. It’s normally applied to aluminium in Asus’s other gear, but this being a £99 phone, it’s plastic.

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It's hard to spot in this shot, but the bottom lip is a bit shiny

The Zenfone 4 is also small even among budget phones. Thanks to a 4.0-inch screen it’s a good deal dinkier than the Moto G or EE Kestrel, which are two of our top picks around the £100 mark.

It’s not a slim phone, though. At 11.5mm thick it has the classic design trait of the small low-cost phone – small footprint, but a bit chunky around the middle. Ergonomically it’s pretty good, though. It’s small enough to put all the buttons within easy finger’s reach, and both the volume rocker and power button sit on the right edge.

Zenfone 4 21

The back of the Zenfone 4 pulls off easily, with a little recessed bit on the edge to help out. The back cover hides the microSIM slot and the microSD memory card slot. However, some of you won’t need a memory card as the UK version has as much as you could expect at the price.

You get 8GB internal memory. That’s not masses of room, but many £100 phones have 4GB. That said, the EE Kestrel and baseline Motorola Moto G have 8GB too. It’s not enough to store a lot of movies on, but having the extra 4GB of storage makes it a lot easier to fit in a few storage-heavy 3D games and still have enough room for a couple of dozen albums of music.

Zenfone 4 33

Asus Zenfone 4 – Screen

Of course a 4-inch screen like the Asus Zenfone 4’s is never going to be top-class as a gaming machine. While the iPhone 5S only has a 4-inch screen and is a positive gaming factory, we’re spoilt with Android. These days it’s not hard to get a 4.5-inch screen phone at this price.

It’s not a top-notch screen either, as it uses a TN-style panel rather than an IPS one. The main issue with TN screens, which are still used widely in lower-cost laptops and monitors, is that they suffer from contrast shift. Tilt the Asus Zenfone 4 back or forward at all, and you can see effect of it – tilt it back and contrast reduces, forward and it increases.

This sort of inconsistent screen experience is one of the Zenfone 4’s biggest issues.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Phones

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For a TN-type screen it’s not too bad, though. Colours are nice and bold, and while the screen is a bit recessed (rather than laminated) – something that affects how contrasty the screen appears in sunlight – contrast is otherwise reasonable.

Like Asus’s tablets, the Zenfone 4 also gives you control over the character of the display using an app called Asus Splendid. It lets you tweak the colour temperature of the screen, and its saturation. You can also change the hue completely (turn reds into greens etc.) but we’re yet to find a good use for this.

Splendid lets you tune the colours, to make them as vivid or subdued as you like, and you hardly ever get this control in a £100 phone. It’s a nice touch.

Zenfone 4 23

However, there are a few other issues with the screen too. Resolution is only just passable at 800 x 480. Pixel density is 233ppi, which is still significantly bettered at the price by the £80 Moto E (256ppi), the Moto G (326ppi) and EE Kestrel (245ppi). All of these screens are a good deal better than the Zenfone 4’s display – they’re higher-res and use superior IPS panels.

In use, there’s another annoyance too. The Asus Zenfone 4 has no automatic brightness setting, meaning you need to manually alter the phone’s brightness slider whenever you go from indoors to outdoors. We find this pretty annoying, because the reflective screen needs to be at max brightness for outdoors use, but the battery isn’t good enough to make keeping it at this level remotely viable.

Ultimately, the Zenfone 4 screen is a disappointment in a few areas.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


January 7, 2014, 9:40 am

This is an obsolete 2013 spec. It's dead in the water for anyone who's heard of the Moto G.


January 7, 2014, 12:10 pm

That depends a little more on price, though. The Moto G is from £99 in the UK, but more like £130 in most places. This is slated at $99, so ought to be more like $79. I'd still buy the Moto G of course, but I wouldn't write if off just yet.


January 9, 2014, 12:47 pm

It will depend on the applications you're using but it's an unproven stretch to suggest this product is more powerful than a Moto G.


January 10, 2014, 4:00 pm

All I can tell you is I had an Atom-based ZTE and it didn't impress me at all (not to mention it couldn't even run about 20 percent of Android apps).

Kasem Asawaprecha

August 27, 2014, 3:06 am

I believe that this article is a mismatch. In terms of specs and pricing, the Moto G should be compared to the Asus Zenfone 5 instead. Earlier this year I would have bought the Moto G in a heartbeat should it be available in Thailand. However, months passed and the new Zenfone 5 becomes a better buy because it offers more RAM and better cameras. I consider the Snapdragon 400 and Atom Z2560 CPUs comparable. Perhaps, the Moto G is nearing the end of its product life cycle and the price has been lowered to clear the stock or to compete with the competitors.

priyadarshan kothmire

December 23, 2014, 9:08 am

Asus Zenfone gets hang up while messaging or while viewing contacts. two most important things we use each and every time. needs some improvement


December 27, 2014, 1:54 pm

Cheap and great mobile phone... always faster !

Mihika Rustagi

February 24, 2015, 12:11 pm

Zenfone 4 has a powerful 5MP camera which takes beautiful pictures even at night. I also like its surround sound in earphones. It is a dual SIM phone which serves well the purpose of managing my personal and professional contacts separately. On top of that it’s just cost me Rs 5,000.

Naresh Singh

February 27, 2015, 9:51 am

A good phone with some intelligent features like Zen UI widget, surround sound in earphones and advanced camera technology. It only cost 5,000 rupees but it has features and performance to match a high end phone. I have been using it since three months and I am very satisfied.

Ravi Khanna

March 11, 2015, 7:54 am

I brought Zenfone 4 for my younger sister to stay in touch while she is hanging out with friends. This is her first phone and I think it is best for her as it has dual SIM, 5MP camera and plays good music in earphones. I really liked the fact that it just cost me Rs 5,000 as I don’t want my sister to use an expensive phone until she learns to value things. A great phone indeed!

Manish Sinha

March 12, 2015, 7:47 am

My best investment so far on any gadget is Zenfone 4 as it hardly cost Rs 5,000 and has some really good features. It has 5MP main camera which is better than most high end 5Mp camera phones as it provides shake free photos with good background lighting. It has other advanced features as well.

Neetika Singh

April 3, 2015, 11:37 am

I was planning to buy a budget Smartphone and I am glad I came across Zenfone 4. At a price of Rs 5,000 it is the best budget phone in the market especially as it has 5Mp main camera and a good music listening experience. Great phone indeed!

Darshnik Kumar

April 15, 2015, 10:47 am

Totally satisfied! At a price tag of Rs 5,000 Zenfone 4 offers more features than I could have imagined. I really love clicking pictures through its 5MP camera. High end performance!

Ayush Cheema

April 17, 2015, 12:35 pm

I think at a price of Rs 5,000, it is very difficult to get such a performance oriented, feature loaded phone. I have been using this phone since 2 months and I am amazed by its advanced features like ZEN UI widget which takes care of content sharing and task scheduling apart from other functions.

Jagmohan Sinha

April 20, 2015, 7:40 am

For its price, this phone will amaze you. If I don’t tell my friends I brought this phone for Rs 5,000, they believe that it’s an expensive phone owing to its features and performance.

Hrishita Khanna

May 5, 2015, 7:41 am

It is one of the cheapest Smartphone available in the market. Its touch is so smooth that you never mess while you switching in between the apps. Browsing and surfing on this phone is so smooth and quick, that it takes only few seconds to upload my pictures on Facebook. I love being called Selfie Queen.


May 8, 2015, 2:22 pm

Zenfone is an affordable phone with Intel processor with android 4.4 versions. It has fast processing speed with customized user interface. Its UI is so smooth, even our tech savvy grannies can easily operate it. Sound quality of this phone is just too good.

Navneet More

May 11, 2015, 12:37 pm

This is the best phone ever used by me. It has no problems, easy to use, good camera quality, long-lasting battery and every feature is awesome and the price will not make a hole in your pocket. It is a smart choice for Smartphone users.

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