In the days of £1,000 smartphones, it is refreshing to know you can still get something great for less than £500.
On Saturday (16 December), we decided to put the ASUS Zenfone 4 and OnePlus 5T through some tests. But instead of going the standard phone review, we took both phones to the football to decide which one was best for a Saturday out in London.
In the left pocket, the ASUS Zenfone 4 and in the right pocket, the OnePlus 5T. Arsenal vs Newcastle at the Emirates, here we go.
Right off the bat, the OnePlus 5T took an early lead, slotting home a neat finish with that beautiful 6-inch screen. And boy was it bright. Even compared to expensive flagships such as the Google Pixel 2 XL, the 5T was better.
The Zenfone 4 had some nice build-up play, but couldn't quite find the back of the net with the screen. 5.5-inches is good, but big bezels are not. Best way to put it, the Zenfone 4 screen is a good substitute, but not a starter.
In the stands, we never had an issue of seeing either screen (London is pretty gloomy after all). But since we had the choice, the OnePlus usually got the nod.
OnePlus 5T 1 - 0 ASUS Zenfone 4
An incredible breakaway from OnePlus gifts them another goal on the design front. Simply put, it's gorgeous. All metal back, minimum bezels on the front, headphone jack included, high-build quality. The design of the 5T is one of the most under-appreciated on the transfer market.
As for the Zenfone 4, it desperately needs to switch its formation. The layout with a physical home button, much like the iPhone 7 and 8, means huge bezels at the top and bottom of the screen. Rewind a year or two and ASUS would have struck gold here. We love the glass back and how it feels heavy, sort of premium in the hand. And yes, it looks very similar to an iPhone. But again, this isn't 2016.
OnePlus' design manages to dribble around the Zenfone 4 like training cones.
OnePlus 5T 2 - 0 ASUS Zenfone 4
Here is where we start to get a battle in the midfield. Surrounded by passionate Arsenal fans, there was not exactly a chance to shoot or film very much. Luckily, halftime was pretty calm. And to be honest, this one is tough to call.
Let's talk about the Zenfone 4 lineup first. The second camera is a wide-angle lens, which means you can shoot photos without having huge black boxes on either side. It's a great feature, almost like having a super-sub on the bench.
As for the OnePlus 5T, it's a strong showing as well. And it was fast. At one point, Alex Sanchez was running down the wing right in front of my seat. It was effortless to pull out the camera and snap a photo before he'd gotten too far away (and Sanchez is quick).
Here are a few comparisons of the pictures:
This is a tough one... In the office, our tech writers preferred the colours in the Zenfone 4 pictures but also liked the brightness of the OnePlus 5T snaps. In the end, we're awarding a goal to ASUS, simply because the shots of the stadium looked better. You can still easily argue that OnePlus 5T has the superior overall camera, but this review is all about a day at the football.
OnePlus 5T 2 - 1 ASUS Zenfone 4
Yes, it's a made-up word that sounds like a knock-off of Apple's Reachability. What we're referring to with "grabability" is our desire to pull out each phone and use it. Which one did we reach for when we wanted to check the scores of other games, scroll Facebook or reply to some texts?
The answer was emphatically the OnePlus 5T. It's superior design had us keen to just hold it in the hand and admire it, almost like a new mega-money signing in August. One thing that wore thin quick with the Zenfone 4 was the awful fingerprint scanner. Nothing puts you off a device faster than a slow fingerprint scanner (irony). It felt like a starting striker that hadn't scored in eight weeks.
The facial recognition software on the OnePlus 5T was so fast the phone was open before we could even think about it. It's not nearly as secure as the iPhone X's Face ID, but it's a hell of a lot faster.
So when you're crowded in by football fans and just want to get your phone out and unlocked seamlessly, the OnePlus takes all three points.
OnePlus 5T 3 - 1 ASUS Zenfone 4
Yellow cards and red cards
For some reason, and this is still a mystery, the Zenfone 4 had a stronger internet connection than the OnePlus 5T. Both had pay-as-you-go EE sim cards, both were running the same version of Android. Regardless, OnePlus 5T is getting a yellow card for a very odd shortcoming when compared with the ASUS. Everyone knows that it's hard to get a 4G connection in stadiums, so how did ASUS manage? Strange...
Unused substitutes (review topics)
Battery - It seemed unfair to compare the battery life. If grabability was a real thing, then it wouldn't be fair to compare the OnePlus 5T (which we reached for more often) with the Zenfone 4.
Apps - Both are running off the Google Play store, but there was no point comparing how the apps run on each phone. You don't shell out hard-earned money just so you can play Angry Birds in a cold and wet Emirates stadium.
Final Score and Verdict:
OnePlus 5T 3 - 1 ASUS Zenfone 4
Both are fantastic budget phones, the Zenfone 4 is just unlucky to be competing in a market with the far superior OnePlus 5T. If you're a regular at the football and don't want to spend a fortune on a phone, the OnePlus 5T could be the phone for you.