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Shootouts

Shootout: ASUS ZenFone 5 vs. HTC Desire 616 vs. Xiaomi Redmi 1S

By Sidney Wong - 11 Aug 2014

Performance Benchmarks & Imaging

Benchmarks Performance

In this section, we will use the three standard benchmarks - Quadrant, 3DMark 2013, and SunSpider - to compare the performance of the phones. Following that, we proceeded with our usual battery life testing. For ease of reference, we've repeated the specs comparison table once more, but this time we've included versions of the devices that were tested previously:-

ASUS ZenFone 5 vs HTC Desire 616 vs Xiaomi Redmi 1S
  ASUS ZenFone 5 (2GB RAM) ASUS ZenFone 5 HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM (4GB) Xiaomi Redmi 1S Xiaomi Redmi
  ASUS ZenFone 5 (2GB RAM) ASUS ZenFone 5 HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM (4GB) Xiaomi Redmi 1S Xiaomi Redmi
Launch SRP
  • From S$249
  • From S$249
  • From S$298
  • From S$169
  • From S$169
Operating system
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with ASUS ZenUI (Upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat)
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with ASUS ZenUI (Upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat)
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense
  • MIUI V5 (based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean)
  • MIUI V5 (based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean)
Processor
  • Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core 1.6GHz
  • Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core 1.6GHz
  • MediaTek MT6592 octa-core 1.4GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.6GHz
  • MediaTek MT6589T quad-core 1.5GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
Display
  • 5-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels / IPS+
  • 5-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels / IPS+
  • 5-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 4.7-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels / IPS
  • 4.7-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels / IPS
Camera
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture and PixelMaster technology
  • Front: 2-megapixel
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture and PixelMaster technology
  • Front: 2-megapixel
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with LED flash
  • Front: 2-megapixel
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with dual-LED flash, aperture of f/2.2 and 28mm wide angle lens
  • Front: Front: 1.3-megapixel
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with dual-LED flash, aperture of f/2.2 and 28mm wide angle lens
  • Front: 1.3-megapixel
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (EDR + A2DP)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (EDR + A2DP)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS + AGPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 HS, GPS + AGPS
Storage Type
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD card support up to 64GB
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD card support up to 64GB
  • 4GB internal storage
  • microSD expansion up to 32GB
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 4GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 32GB
Battery
  • 2,110mAh
  • 2,110mAh
  • 2,000mAh
  • 2,000mAh
  • 2,000mAh
Dimensions
  • 148.2 x 72.8 x 5.5-10.34mm
  • 148.2 x 72.8 x 5.5-10.34mm
  • 142 x 71.9 x 9.15mm
  • 137 x 69 x 9.9mm
  • 137 x 69 x 9.9mm
Weight
  • 145g
  • 145g
  • 150g
  • 158g
  • 158g

 

Quadrant Results

Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performances.

 

Due to its 8-core processor, the Desire 616 was able to maintain a healthy lead over the other two phones. It performed 56% and 35% better than the ZenFone 5 and Redmi 1S respectively. As a side note, the Desire 616 is on a par with the Huawei Honor 3X (with a score of 14,165), but just falls behind the Redmi Note (17,541).

Three things to note here: Firstly, it is interesting to see the disparity in benchmark performance between the Redmi 1S and Redmi; the Snapdragon 400 processor's performance in the Quadrant benchmark is almost double that of its MediaTek counterpart. This probably explains the better general user experience over its predecessor. Also, while the Desire 616 outperformed the Redmi 1S in this test, during actual use, you'd have thought that the Redmi 1S is the faster device because you don't encounter as much micro-lags. Lastly, the retail ZenFone with 2GB RAM manages to inch past its 1GB self that was originally reviewed and this holds true in most of the tests.

  

3DMark (2013)

Originally developed as a PC benchmarking tool, 3DMark is now expanded to support multiple platforms including Android OS. The Ice Storm benchmark is designed for smartphones, mobile devices and ARM architecture computers.

For an in-depth understanding of 3DMark for Android, do head over to our article, "3DMark - Android Device GPU Performance Review." In a nutshell, 3DMark consists of three test sections:

3DMark Ice Storm is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark test that uses fixed off-screen rendering at 720p then scales the output to fit the native display resolution of your device. Ice Storm includes two graphics tests designed to stress the GPU performance of your device and a physics test to stress its CPU performance.

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme raises the off-screen rendering resolution to 1080p and uses higher quality textures and post-processing effects to create a more demanding load for the latest smartphones and tablets.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited is used to make chip-to-chip comparisons of different chipsets, CPUs and GPUs, without vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result.

Overall, ASUS and HTC had more consistent performance across the three 3DMark test sections. The ZenFone 5 scored wins in the Ice Storm and Ice Storm Unlimited, while the Desire 616 clinched the top position for Ice Storm Extreme and fared pretty close to the ZenFone 5 in the two other test sections. Given the dual-core processor driven by Intel, the performance on 3DMark is considerable and it shows Intel's capability to compete in smartphone arena.

While the scores suggest that none of the phones are high-end smartphone gaming devices, we found actual gaming performance for all three phones to be smooth, and they all offered very decent frame rates as noticed during the test.

 

SunSpider JavaScript

SunSpider JavaScript helps measure the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience.


The Intel Atom processor showed its strength in the SunSpider Javascript benchmark when the ZenFone 5 scored an overwhelming victory over the competition. In a twist of events, the original Redmi fared much better than the Redmi 1S. To give you a better idea where these three phones stand, the high-end phone like the LG G3, HTC One (M8) and Sone Xperia Z2 came in at under 1000ms.

  

Imaging Performance

One of the key selling features of the ZenFone series (including the ZenFone 5) is ASUS' PixelMaster camera technology. We've done a dedicated article on the PixelMaster camera technology, so remember to check that out. The ZenFone 5 comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and a five-element lens.

Image quality is above average; while there is a good amount of details captured, we noticed some image artifacts in the darker areas.

The Desire 616 is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with an aperture of f/2.4.

The image quality is not on-par with the competition; the sides of the photo seem soft and noise levels are significant.

The Redmi 1S sports an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and 28mm wide angle lens. 

The image quality is the best we've seen from the three phones. Colors are punchy  with low levels of noise.

Photos taken in Auto mode. <br> Left to right: ASUS ZenFone 5, HTC Desire 616 and Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

In terms of overall image quality, the Redmi 1S seems to edge out the ZenFone 5 by an inch. The Redmi 1S has slightly more saturated and true-to-life colors that would appeal to most users. However, when pixel peeping to check on the details, the Redmi 1S has a slightly more aggressive noise reduction algorithm as it doesn't capture as much detail as the ZenFone 5. Generally, both managed capture photos with good amount of details, but the ZenFone 5 managed to retain slightly more detail, but more color noise as well. If you're looking to resize these photos for use and sharing, the Redmi 1S might have slight edge overall.

The Desire 616 lost out in sharpness (as evident in the readability of the Chinese words at the top) and the high level of image artifacts. Overall, image captured looked grainy, soft at the sides and had a cooler tone than expected.

 

Low Light Performance

As broad daylight photography improves with better camera modules, low-light imaging performance is the next important measure of camera phone photography performance these days. Of the three brands, ASUS specifically developed an imaging technology for the ZenFone 5 and 6 to stand out from the competition in this aspect. A unique shooting mode, the Low Light mode, is included in its suite of PixelMaster camera technology. For more information on the Low Light mode, do check out our article here and for a detailed dissection of its performance, you can check here.

Low-light mode. <br> ASUS ZenFone 5, f/2.0 at 2.69mm, 1/24 sec, ISO 340.

Night mode. <br> HTC Desire 616, f/2.4 at 3.5mm, 1/5 sec, ISO 467.

Night mode. <br> Xiaomi Redmi 1S, f/2.2 at 3.85mm, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600.

Close-up of the photos taken in their respective Low Light or Night modes. <br> Left to right: ASUS ZenFone 5, HTC Desire 616 and Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

Given our previous experience of the ASUS ZenFone 5, it's not a surprise that it triumphs the competition in low light photography. In fact, in our previous comparison, the outcome was no different as it went against industry heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2. However, one thing to bear in mind is how the ZenFone 5's low light mode works, which is by combining  four adjacent pixels into one, thereby boosting light sensitivity and contrast to ensure photos produced are usable. Because it uses adjacent pixels to its advantage, the photo's image resolution is reduced to just 2 megapixels, but the important point is that you get a usable photo for immediate sharing and enjoyment which would otherwise have been deleted because it was too dark for any use. Advanced users might dabble in suitable post processing techniques to perhaps rival the same outcome from a standard resolution photo, but let's face it, the target market for these phones either don't have the time or the skill to do that.

 

Battery Performance

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

• Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on

• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

 

The ZenFone 5 and Redmi 1S are comparable in terms of battery mileage; the difference is merely 8 minutes. It's odd that the Desire 616 fell behind the pack by a significant margin; it lasted nearly an hour less than the ZenFone 5 even though both phones have 5-inch 720p displays, and that's despite it having a slightly higher battery capacity.

Looking at the Power Consumption chart, the Desire 616 has the highest power consumption among the three. It is even more puzzling considering that we stumbled upon a software bug on the Desire 616, which automatically enabled the CPU power saving mode whenever we disabled it to play the video file. We've checked with HTC Singapore on this issue and the company has acknowledged it as a software bug. It is currently working on a software patch.

 

Portability

We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. As the ZenFone 5 is the lightest and boasts the longest battery mileage of the lot, the ASUS phone easily claimed the top spot in our Portability Index.

This distinction however clearly remains in the ultra budget category of non-4G, dual-SIM devices. Most, if not all the sub S$400 4G phones either have longer battery life and better physical traits that give them a far higher portability index, but this is just for your information that the ultra budget phones compared in this article aren't spectacular but sufficient for their class. So if you need a phone with strong battery life and doesn't cost a whole lot more, you know you've several other options.

 

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