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ASUS ZenFone 5Q review: Fighting for five

By Luke Tan - 30 Jul 2018

Performance & Battery Life

Benchmark Performance

We mentioned in our review of the ZenFone 5 that we were not very impressed with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip. In Qualcomm’s 6xx series of mid-range processors, the 636 currently plays second fiddle to the 660, with both employing Kryo 260 (modified ARM Cortex-A73) cores.

The ZenFone 5Q, on the other hand, uses a Snapdragon 630 processor that actually uses a conventional Cortex-A53 core setup. You’d expect this to produce numbers for the 5Q that are somewhat different from the ZenFone 5, and actually closer to the previous-generation Snapdragon 625 chips.

To see if this is indeed true, our mix of devices today includes both the Snapdragon 636-toting ZenFone 5 and a Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus, which employs a Snapdragon 625 - and which costs just S$299.

 
 

First up: SunSpider, which measures JavaScript processing performance. SunSpider takes into consideration not just the underlying hardware performance, but how optimized a particular platform is in delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. Shockingly, the 5Q isn’t even close to the 636-powered ZenFone 5; it’s actually some distance from even the 625-powered Redmi 5 Plus. One wonders if slow RAM is to blame:

 

3DMark Sling Shot Unlimited 3.0 uses a mix of graphics and physics tests to measure hardware 3D performance. Qualcomm claims the Adreno 508 GPU in the Snapdragon 630 is 30% faster than “prior generation” devices. We’re guessing this means the Snapdragon 625/Adreno 506 combo in the Redmi 5 Plus going by our findings:-

 

BaseMark OS measures overall system performance over a number of different metrics. The ZenFone 5Q only manages to edge out the Redmi 5 Plus by 200 points, yet the gap between it and its more luxurious cousin is much bigger:-


Finally, here’s our standard battery test, which involves:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

Now for the second big surprise of the day. Given that the 5Q has only a 3,300mAh battery, we expected it to be handily pipped by the Redmi 5 Plus, which has a larger 4,000mAh juice pack.

But no, the tables have been turned! The 5Q lasts almost an hour more than the Xiaomi!

In day-to-day use, the 5Q was certainly also able to power comfortably through an entire workday, and better yet, while it doesn’t appear to support any form of fast charging, a quick and dirty test seemed to confirm otherwise, with currents peaking at almost 2 amps on a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 charger:-

  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • User-Friendliness 7
  • Performance 7
  • Value 6
The Good
Good build quality
Great battery life
Full-featured camera
Triple-slot card tray (dual SIM + microSD)
The Bad
Old version of Android
Mediocre display and loudspeaker
Unimpressive camera
Micro-USB port on a 2018 phone
RRP only $20 less than the ZenFone 5