A little later than expected but Asus’s 4.5-inch Zenfone 4 variant A450CG reached the Indian shores recently. The smartphone joins the Taiwanese manufacturer’s quite successful Zenfone line-up in the country, which is close to selling 200,000 units.
I have been using the Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG for more than a week to find out whether the phone is capable of standing its ground in the very competitive sub-INR 7,000 price-segment in India. Read on for the full review.
Asus has kept the same elegant design in all of its Zenfone-series smartphones, thus Zenfone 4 A450CG looks same as its siblings. Thanks to this design, this affordably-priced smartphone bears a premium look and feels better than most phones in this smartphone-segment.
The build quality of A450CG is solid and the phone fits nicely in hand. The 4.5-inch display makes sure that the overall size of the device is just perfect. Unlike the bigger phones, it is easier to use Zenfone 4 A450CG with one hand, although reaching the top edges can be difficult sometimes.
In terms of the specifics, the front of the phone is largely taken by the display, below which the capacitive touch-buttons and Asus’ trademark concentric circle pattern is present. The back is made of plastic with matte finish. It houses the rear-camera, LED flash, speaker as well as the Asus, Zenfone and Intel logos. The back cover is removable and gives access to the dual-SIM card slots as well as space for microSD card. The volume rocker and power button are present on the right side of the phone and are made of metal.
The FWVGA (854x480p) IPS display present on the smartphone is decent and offers nice viewing angles. Colour reproduction as well as the under-sun visibility are also good and so is the touchscreen response.
Coming to the performance of the smartphone, which is driven by the 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor and 1GB of RAM present in the A450CG. I found the overall performance of the smartphone to be good but I did experience lags and jitters at few occasions but given the price-tag that is to be expected.
The Intel Atom processor is capable and can handle almost everything that you throw at it, whether it is games like Riptide GP/ Temple Run/ Spider Man Unlimited or full HD videos or image-heavy webpages. The phone works great in the basic operations as well, like calling, 3G/ Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth connectivity or GPS performance.
Unlike other Zenfone-series smartphones, the Zenfone 4 A450CG comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4, which certainly helps in the performance of the phone. Asus has also included the Zen UI on the smartphone, which adds a number of software enhancements on the smartphone and most of them are useful, however given the 8GB on-board storage, we think the company could have cut down on a few to give more available storage to the consumers. If you are like me, who installs a lot of applications and given the lack of the support to put apps on SD card, you will soon start getting low-memory warning but average user don’t have to worry.
The Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG includes an 8MP rear camera sensor and 0.3MP front shooter. While the front camera is below-average and not really for selfie-loving consumers, the rear camera is quite decent for the price-tag. The imaging experience is nice and the camera takes good, sharp photos, however I found the camera’s exposure metering to be crappy, which sometimes results in over-exposed or under-exposed bits in the outdoor images.
The rear camera sensor also includes support for auto as well as touch-focus, so you don’t have to worry about getting the subject out of focus but it can be a little wonky with non-stationary subjects.
The camera app is same as other Zenfone-series smartphones and comes with host of settings as well as tweaking options. There is support for the company’s low-light PixelMaster technology as well, which the company claims helps in getting better low-light images. I tried it a couple of times in the low-light conditions and results are far better than one would normally get with an entry-level or even mid-range smartphone camera.
Despite the rapid pace of innovation in every other aspect of the smartphones, the battery tech remains stagnant and still a big pain for every smartphone user. Asus has integrated a non-removable 1750 mAh battery in the Zenfone 4 A450CG, which is an average performer. During my usage, the phone lasted around 18 hours with light to moderate usage (30-40 minutes of video playback, 30-45 minutes of music playback, one hour of casual gaming, less than one hour of voice-calls and around one hour of browsing, social media & email usage). The heavy users should get around 10-12 hours. Bottom line, you will have to charge it every night, same as every other phone in this budget.
There is a lot of competition in the sub-INR 7,000 smartphone segment right now and the entry of Android One smartphones recently has made the segment even more interesting. However, apart from the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, which is an outlier, given the really-aggressive pricing, better specifications and limited availability, other decent smartphones in this segment are pretty much at the same level and that is where the Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG shines. It might not have the pixel density of Moto E or stock Android like Android One phones but it offers a decent IPS display and Android 4.4 KitKat with one of the best manufacturer customisations. The rear camera of A450CG is a clear winner among the Android One as well as Moto E smartphones, however it lags behind the Redmi 1S camera. The extra internal storage (compared to Moto E & Android One phones) is another positive for Zenfone 4. The only aspect, where it slightly falters is the battery life but that is the story of almost every other budget smartphone.
Despite its share of issues, Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG is overall a great package. The phone must be on your list for the next budget smartphone purchase.
Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG specifications:
Display: 4.5-inch IPS FWVGA (854x480p)
Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520
Memory: 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot
Connectivity: USB-OTG, 3G, Dual-SIM (3G + 2G), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Glonass, microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
OS: Android 4.4.2 with Zen UI
Cameras: 8MP rear camera with LED flash, auto-focus & full HD video recording support, 0.3
Battery: 1750 mAh
Pricing and availability: Zenfone 4 A450CG is sold at INR 6,999 in the Indian market and is exclusively available at Flipkart.com in a number of colour options like Solar Yellow, Blue, White, Red and Black.
Box Contents: Phone, Wall Charger, USB cable, User Guide