Head-to-Head: ASUS Zenfone 4 vs OnePlus 5 Comparison + Review

Head-to-Head: ASUS Zenfone 4 vs OnePlus 5 Comparison + Review

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ASUS Zenfone 4 vs OnePlus 5 TN

With its little brothers out, the vanilla Zenfone 4 has.. no, not the 2014 Zenfone 4. The one that was released this August in Taiwan and Philippines is what I’m talking about. For the price that it goes for in the market, many will find it to be a bit too much for what it offers. At $550, is it actually worth $50 more than the OnePlus 5?

Included Accessories

Before I get into the included accessories, let me give props to ASUS for establishing distinctiveness between the Zenfone 4 and its smaller brothers. I don’t know about you, but the premium feel is already radiating just with the packaging.

Opening it up didn’t disappoint. Putting the phone aside, ASUS included a soft jelly case amongst the usual accessories.

ASUS Zenfone 4’s included accessories:

  • 3.5mm in-ear headset
  • 10-18W variable USB power adapter
  • 1m USB Type-C cable
  • Soft Jelly Case
  • SIM ejector pin

Whilst the OnePlus 5’s included accessories are less than that of the Zenfone 4’s, at least they included a sample photocard and a weirdly-shaped SIM ejector pin.

OnePlus 5’s included accessories:

  • 1m USB Type-C cable
  • 20W USB Dash Charger
  • SIM ejector pin
  • Pre-installed screen protector

Winner: ASUS Zenfone 4

Design

 

Off of the front and with the screens off, differences aren’t noticeable at spitting distance. The OnePlus 5’s solid state home button shines more with its lighter color and is more rounded. Despite the Zenfone 4’s more premium feel, I find the OnePlus 5’s matte back more appealing and easier to hold.

ASUS’s iconic concentric circles are still here and gives the Zenfone 4 a rather eye-pleasing aesthetic. Both may be protected with Gorilla Glass, but ASUS’s rear face is also protected. The Zenfone 4’s convex sides are definitely more catchy, but OnePlus 5’s thinner profile with the alert slider gives the latter a more functional appeal.

It wouldn’t be wise to say that the Zenfone 4’s design is dysfunctional, considering that its antenna lines are well hidden and run on the top and bottom sides. Single-sided button placement works better for general one-handed use and is elevated at a pleasing height.

Considering the 128GB of internal storage that the Midnight Black variant has, I still think that it’d be nice to still have expandable storage.

Winner: ASUS Zenfone 4

Display

 

With both sporting 1080p AMOLED panels, various display stats come into play. Brightness and colors are the OnePlus 5’s Optic AMOLED panel’s strengths. While both screens can be calibrated to a few color spaces, it is only the Zenfone 4 whose saturation can be adjusted, which potentially allows for a longer battery life.

Looking at both phones from extended vertical angles shows the Zenfone 4’s warmer tint that some may find off-putting.

Feature-wise, night mode is pretty much available on both, but the OnePlus 5’s night mode is more advanced. It can be set on full-auto or with a custom time range.

Reading mode is also available on the OnePlus 5’s end, giving users a text-optimized temperature and calibration.

Winner: OnePlus 5

 

ROM/UX

OxygenOS and ZenUI 4.0 were both built on top of Nougat, but the experience differs a lot between the two. For example, just accessing the app drawer is a world away. I might be exaggerating, but it feels like ASUS has taken a step back with ZenUI 4.0.

Still, ASUS’s reduction of bloatware has proved to be better but still isn’t enough to tower over other more developed ROMs. Intuitiveness and minimalist elements are all over OxygenOS. The final nail in the coffin is the near-stock experience that OxygenOS provides while also being faster overall.

What I do find appealing with the ZenUI 4.0 is the Camera UI. Virtually everything that users may need can be quickly accessed with one to two taps.

Winner: OnePlus 5

 

Camera

Before we get to actual results, here is a quick rundown of each phone’s cameras.

Phone Rear Camera Front Camera
ASUS Zenfone 4 Dual 12 MP (Sony IMX362), f/1.8 + 8 MP (OmniVision 8856), f/2.2, 25mm, 120-degree VA, Dual Pixel autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash

Video recording: 2160p@30fps, 720p@120fps

8 MP (OmniVision 8856), f/2.0, 84-degree VA

Video recording: up to 1080p@30fps

OnePlus 5 Dual 16 MP (Sony IMX 398), f/1.7, 24mm, EIS (gyro) + 20 MP (Sony IMX 350), f/2.6, 36mm, Fast AF, 1.6x optical zoom, dual-LED flash

Video recording: 2160p@30fps, 720p@120fps

16 MP, f/2.0, 20mm, EIS (gyro), 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p, Auto HDR

Video recording: up to 1080p@30fps

Putting specs aside, let’s move to actual results.

Rear Camera

Under daylight, both may seem on par with each other with their default, non-zoom or non-wide lenses. The Zenfone 4’s coverage is wider to a certain extent despite having a millimeter longer focal length, which is then made even more obvious when switched to the wide-angle lens.

Case-to-case as it may be, but the details on the OnePlus’s IMX398 is definitely superior. On the 2x tele-module IMX350, details are made more impressive.

What the Zenfone 4 has going for itself is its wide-angle lens. The 120-degree viewing angle is definitely spectacular when used properly. Details are decent, to say the least, but I wish ASUS went for an Exmor sensor too of the same caliber for their wide-angle lens.

Portrait mode tends to work better on the OnePlus 5 because of its zoom lens being able to work together with the stock lens. At darker areas with similar colors though, the OnePlus 5 falls quite a bit short.

It’s only been over a month since OnePlus provided a major update for the 4K video recording capabilities of the OnePlus 5. They’ve added image stabilization which improves the overall picture quality whilst introducing noticeable blur.

The Zenfone 4’s video recording is OIS-assisted, so users wouldn’t have to worry about shakiness. What concerns me is its low-light performance since it adds a lot of noise.

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Front Camera

As for the front cameras, OnePlus 5’s is superior in every way except for the stability. Details are top-notch and color vibrancy follows  through without being overbearing.

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Winner: OnePlus 5

 

Performance

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECS ASUS Zenfone 4 OnePlus 5
Display 5.5″ 1920×1080 AMOLED (~401 ppi)
Corning Gorilla Glass 4 front & back
5.5″ 1920×1080 Optic AMOLED (~401 ppi)
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Dimensions & Features 155.4 x 75.2 x 7.7 mm, 165g, Hybrid Dual SIM 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm, 153g, Dual SIM, Dirac HD sound
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835
CPU Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex A53) Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
GPU Adreno 508 Adreno 540
Memory 64 GB, 4 GB RAM,
microSD <256GB
128GB, 8GB RAM, non-expandable memory
Connectivity Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, BT 4.2, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, A-GPS NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C 1.0, 3.5mm audio jack Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, BT 5.0, A-GPS, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C 1.0, FM Radio 3.5mm audio jack
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3300mAh battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3300mAh battery
Price PhP 27,500/$550 PhP 24,990/$500

At around $50 more expensive, just the specs sheet will make any consumer be tempted into buying the OnePlus 5 more, which then translates into the benchmarks.

BENCHMARKS

Benchmark ASUS Zenfone 4 OnePlus 5
AnTuTu 112406
(~4.09pts/PhP)
180306
(~7.215pts/PhP)
Geekbench
(Single Core)
1611 1963
Geekbench
(Multicore)
5815 6529
PCMark Work 2.0 6277 6749
Androbench RR: 55.2MB/s
RW: 15.63MB/s
RR: 144.34MB/s
RW: 25.41MB/s
ManilaShaker Battery Rating 44h 48m 34h 48m
Charging Time (0-100%) 2h 54m 1h 29m

Both in games and synthetic test runs, the OnePlus 5 came out on top with its flagship specs.

Winner: OnePlus 5

 

Audio

Here are the songs that I’ve listened to on both IEM’s and speakers:
– ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk
– ‘Tukso’ by Eva Eugenio
– ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid’ by UNVRS
– ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic! at the Disco
– ‘Knuckles’ by Moose Blood

Leaving the EQ at flat, quality and room volume belong to OnePlus 5’s speakers. Bass response is the most prominent difference between the two especially when Outdoor Mode is turned on on the Zenfone 4.

With neither having a built-in DAC, both have sound-correction software. Dirac HD for the OnePlus 5 and DTS Headphone X. They balance soundstage and frequencies according to the headphone or in-ears you are using. It does enhance the overall listening experience to some extent, but enthusiasts will still find an external DAC a necessity for hi-res audio.

OnePlus 5’s audio tuner

ASUS remade AudioWizard in a very intuitive but lacking way, wherein you could do the same fine-tuning in most music player apps, like Poweramp.

Winner: OnePlus 5

 

Results

ASUS Zenfone 4‘s Pros:

  • Included Accessories
  • Design

OnePlus 5‘s Pros:

  • Display
  • ROM/UX
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Audio

ASUS’s absurdly-priced mid-ranger didn’t stand taller than OnePlus’s 2017 flagship. I’d be hard-pressed to recommend the Zenfone 4 to anyone with just its design. How about you? Are you for the most cost-efficient smartphone of 2017, the OnePlus 5 or ASUS’s new face, the Zenfone 4? Let us know in the comments below!