I mentioned previously that the ZenFlash and LolliFlash looked like cool little accessories to play around with. This was at the Zenfone 2 launch a few months ago when the accessories were first announced. They are now available in Singapore. Asus kindly sent me review units of the accessories and they turned out great.
The ZenFlash is a “Xenon flash dongle” that can be connected to the Zenfone 2 via USB. It’s only compatible with the Asus Zenfone 2 at the moment. In addition, there’s a specific spot on the back of the phone that the ZenFlash 2 needs to be attached. around 4 cm from the top of the flash. Refer to the manual for the details. I think the specific location is for it to be near enough to trigger the onboard light sensor. As out of this sweet spot, the Zenflash won’t fire and I spent a few days trying to figure out why. It’s my fault as it is clearly stated in the manual.
In terms of installation, you first apply a layer of hard plastic sheet to the back of the phone. The adhesive side is reusable. Once that is done, the rear of the ZenFlash has suction cups for you to mount to the plastic sheet.
The design is compact, but the way the cable is stored makes me fear that I will break it. A little more slack to the cable would be better or to use an eject mechanism to hold the cable in place. Also, the suction caps weren’t that strong, and as I moved the phone about, the ZenFlash may precariously swing apart from the phone.
There are two sensors on the ZenFlash, one for catching the light from the LEDs to determine when the light hit. The second is to measure ambient light to adjust the required lamp power.
Performance wise, I am quite impressed by the intensity and quality of the flash. Asus claims it offers up to 400x brighter flash than the conventional LED flash and it does seem to be quite capable. In a dark room test, I shot the two photos below (cropped), and the throw distance and coverage of the ZenFlash was excellent. In the second picture, the fan was approximately 5m away from me when I took the photo.
At S$24.90, the ZenFlash is an inexpensive accessory, and is useful if you use the camera frequently on the Zenfone 2. The design and mount mechanism of the ZenFlash can be improved, but it serves its purpose well with the xenon flash.
ASUS LolliFlash is a self powered dual-LED light with 3 brightness levels, that is cutely portable. Designed in a shape of a lollipop, you can store it on your phone 3.5 mm jack. While Asus calls it a LolliFlash, it is really more of a torch / light.
You can replicate the functionality with a cheap USB LED light and a separate battery pack these days. But this is a combined accessory, that’s conveniently portable and self-contained. It’s only 8g. The original design is meant for the LolliFlash to augment your front facing camera, where most phones do not have a forward facing flash. The internal battery is 65mAH, and is rated to last 20 minutes. Didn’t test the limits though.
However, there’s no need to limit the Lolliflash to be kept on the 3.5mm jack. Having an additional small portable light source can be useful, it helps to supplement additional lighting when composing indoor shots, perhaps to remove product shadows or even to throw a creative tinge with Asus provided lens covers. Friendly tip, a little blue tack can be handy to have alongside the LolliFlash so you can stick it to any surface.
There are two coloured lens included in the package for you to play with. The light offers 3 different brightness levels (Operation Mode: High 150mA, Medium 60mA, Low 20mA). The highest level is really quite bright and it’s too glaring to use as a front facing light.
At S$17.90, I wouldn’t consider it cheap. There are alternative lighting solutions around, but the ASUS LolliFlash is a fun little accessory to have. The fact that it is self contained, super light, offers 3 levels of brightness, makes it a useful gadget to have on hand.