Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Asus Zenfone 2

There are phones and then there are beasts, and Asus just managed to unleash a monster with the Zenfone 2, as this is the most powerful phone to come out of the Asus yet.


Design , Display & Hardware: 

 

The phone feels great in your hands, albeit a little bigger as at 5.5" the screen to body ratio isn't great. With dimensions of 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm (thick and heavy at 170 gms) it looks inspired from the LG G series of phones. The phone comes in 5 colours; Red, Silver , Black , White and Gold.        

The volume rocker is at the rear just underneath the camera, while the power button is  right at the top edge in the centre, awkwardly placed alongside the 3.5mm jack. Thanks to  the double tap to lock/unlock, you won't really use the power button except to turn the device on/off.  The back cover is removable plastic but has that great brushed metal finish, so it thankfully doesn't attract any fingerprints. The Back, Home and Menu buttons are below the screen and not backlit.

It has a 5.5" screen that utilizes an IPS capacitive touch screen with 1080p resolution and 401ppi with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The innards host an Intel Atom Z3580 chipset with a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and PowerVR G6430 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 32GB (25GB approx available memory) of storage and a microSD slot for further expansion upto 64GB. It's a Dual-SIM (4G + 2G) device and has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0; GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS that is fuelled by a 3,000mAh sealed battery that can fast charge to 60% in 40 minutes! (only with the original ASUS charger).  Call quality is good and had crystal clear voice from the speaker, while the loudspeaker is decent as well.



Software :


It comes with Android 5.0 out of the box overlaid with the Asus Zen UI which is not very heavy but again, there's a lot of bloatware installed here, with most of them being non-removable. There are 3 customisable app shortcuts on the lock screen which are still lower than what many other UIs offer. ( 5 on the LG G2 for example). The phone also has a ZenLink package of 4 apps such as PC Link (to control the phone from your PC ), Remote Link ( turns your phone into a remote for the PC), Share Link & Party Link ( sharing files & images with other Aus devices).

Gestures for apps work while phone is in the sleep mode, so drawing a “C” on the screen can take you straight to the Camera app. You can customise up to 6 of these for any apps you want.

Camera :


The Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML is equipped with a 13MP rear camera with a f/2.0 lens and Asus' proprietary PixelMaster 2.0 technology, capable of producing shots up to 4,096 x 3,072 pixels. It is also aided by a dual-tone dual-LED flash for low-light shooting. The volume rocker can be used for either zoom control, or shutter release (much needed for those front cam photos). Photos are good in daylight but do get pixelated at the slightest use of the zoom function. There's also a Super Resolution model that merges 4 x 13MP pics into one image.

The front camera is a 5MP unit which outputs photos up to 2,560 x 1,920 pixels, satisfactory for your social media posts. Videos can be shot at 1080p at30fps only, again not the best use of the great H/W which is ideally capable of playing at least 60fps.

Gaming & Multimedia :


Usual high end games like FIFA 15, Asphalt 8 andModern Combat worked flawlessly even when switching between them randomly, and all 3 running in the background ready to continue from where they were paused. This clearly demonstrates the partnership of the Intel CPU working with the 4GB of ROM on board, which is as good as any Snapdragon processor could do.

There's a built in Aus Mini Movie app that lets you add your images and turn into a video with special effects, and Asus Music player with an Audio Wizard sound enhancement software takes care of all your music needs. A good pair of earphones should do the trick here.

AnTuTu test score of 48512 with this phone is higher than LG G3 and Samsung Note 3 but, they’re last year's flagships. Samsung S6 , HTC M9 and even Note 4 are higher than the Zenfone 2.  With the 3000 mAh battery I only got 8 hours of usage out of it, which did definitely disappoint me considering the fact that this is a flagship device. Even if this was all out usage, on any other day as well you'll definitely need to charge the phone at least once a day.

 

Conclusion :


Great H/W for those who want to have  a phone that is a top spec phone. It's definitely value for money if you chose to ignore the cons like average battery life, non removable battery and its rather ordinary camera. It could've been a flagship killer like the One Plus Two which has similar specs but is a much better phone for just a little higher price.

The Asus Zenfone 2 gets a 3/5.


Pritesh Khilnani


Asus Zenfone 2 at CeX


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