Zenfone 5 worked great for Asus in India and was followed by several other “Value for Money” variants. Naturally, very high expectations are riding on the back of Zenfone 2 which boasts of top notch specifications and a seductive price.
Asus has today launched 4 new Zenfone variants in India and reportedly, the top end model has been priced at 19,999 INR. We have had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the much hyped 4 GB RAM variant of Zenfone 2 and here is what you should know.
Asus Zenfone 2 Quick Specs
- Display Size: 5.5 Inch with, 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, Gorilla Glass 3 protection
- Processor: 64 bit Quad Core Intel Atom Z3580 processor running at 2.3GHz with PowerVR G6430 GPU
- RAM: 4GB
- Software Version: Android 5.0 Lollipop based ZenUI
- Primary Camera: 13 MP AF camera with Dual Tone LED flash, F 2.0 Wide angle lens
- Secondary Camera: 5 MP, With f2.0 Lens
- Internal Storage: 32 GB
- External Storage: MicroSD support upto 64 GB
- Battery: 3000 mAh battery Lithium Ion
- Connectivity: 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, aGPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
- Others: OTG Support – Yes, Dual SIM – Yes
Asus Zenfone 2 Full Review, Gaming, Comparison, Features, Benchmarks and Overview [Video]
Design and Build
Asus Zenfone 2 sports a brushed metallic finish, but it is actually made from good quality plastic. Design is very sleek and doesn’t feel cheap at all. The rear surface has LG inspired rear key and curves towards the edges. Since there are no hardware buttons on the edges, the side edges are very narrow, which lends a nice grip to what would otherwise be a slippery smartphone.
In spite of the 5.5 Inch display, the device is well balanced and easily manageable. The off power button layout on the top edge deserves a mention, but since double tap to wake and sleep is enabled by default, this isn’t a major problem in day to day usage. In my personal experience, i still think a power key works better and more importantly, cent percent of times.
The volume rocker takes some getting used to and is still slightly irritating to reach out for when you are watching YouTube Videos in landscape mode.
The front side is dominated by the gorgeous full HD display, lined by three capacitive keys (which are not backlit) and a metal trim which we have come to love in Asus smartphones. Asus Zenfone 2 looks more premium than last generation models.
The 5.5 Inch Full HD display is extremely sharp, vivid and has wide viewing angles. It is at par with high end IPS LCD display panels that will cost you twice as much. Zen UI is also rich in colors and compliment this vivid display.
Default settings work best for us (a bit oversaturated colors), but you can still tweak color temperature, saturation and hue based on your individual taste. There are Balance, Reading, Vivid and Custom modes to choose from. Reading mode is lighter on eyes, Vivid mode further increases color saturation and custom mode allows you to choose your own settings.
Performance and Heating
Performance is smooth even at heavy loads. Since we are using the top end model for our review, we have 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor, clocked at 2.3 GHz, assisted by the PowerVR G6430 GPU. Performance is butter smooth even at heavy loads and with more than 2 GB Free RAM, multitasking is no issue at all.
The handset doesn’t strike as an exceptionally fast device, but we are yet to face any lag or stuttering even after fairly heavy usage. The GPU is also powerful enough to buffer all graphic intensive games without any trouble. For lower end model, performance and RAM capacity will differ.
The additional 4 GB RAM means your smartphones can keep more in this fast memory and you will find apps right where you left them most of the time. Most users won’t need 4 GB RAM, but the ability it imparts is still impressive.
After 20 minutes of heavy gaming, we felt Asus Zenfone phone to be abnormally hot, but the temperature was just 34 degrees. Most heating is confined to region around rear camera lens, and that is not where your hand naturally rests. In day to day tasks, there is no abnormal heating that you should be wary of.
Camera and Internal Storage
The rear 13 MP camera is among the best shooters you could get for under 20k. Day light shots show right exposure and fairly accurate colors. As the lighting reduces – enters more noise and exposure imbalance, but still, Pixelmaster tech and HDR keeps the low light performance comfortably above average.
The front 5 MP selfie camera is again very apt at taking good quality selfies and the Panorama selfie mode lets you fit more in your selfie frame. Asus default Camera app offers several shooting modes and filters to keep you busy.
Internal Storage is 32 GB and out of this about 25GB is available at user end. You can move Apps to SD card too. USB OTG is also supported. This should be good enough for most users and for others, Asus has also launched 64 GB Model for 22,999 INR.
Asus Zenfone 2 HD Camera Review, Low Light, Photo Samples, Selfie Overview
Zen UI in Zenfone 2 integrates parts of Android Lollipop material design and features and blends really well with it, though still retaining familiarity with what we saw on last generation Zenfone models. The bad part is that too much preloaded software makes the new Zen UI cluttered with stuff you will probably never use.
Lock-screen and home-screen gestures (ZenMotion) are supported, There are several quick toggles, several ways to organize App drawer, customizable quick setting toggles, Kids mode via separate app, basic mode, Power saver mode and ability to pin any app to screen to name a few.
The default App launcher too offers several features and also supports third party icon packs, if you are not happy with the default ones. This is rare feature for OEM launchers.
By default, double pressing the home key takes you to one handed mode, but luckily you can change that from settings menu. Zen UI is vibrant and we like all its cosmetic appeal and feature set.
Battery and Other Features
The battery life of our review unit seemed decent in initial testing, however with continued usage and more apps on the device, we are getting around one day or lesser battery backup. Considering there is a 3000 mAh battery inside, the battery backup is good but not great.
This could be because Zen UI is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop and not on version 5.0.2 or 5.1 and might be fixed via next OTA update. Battery consumption has significantly improved over previous generation Zenfone devices. A battery saver mode is present, which you can use to extend battery backup but that won’t work very well for power users.
What helps is the rapid charging technology, which can charge your phone by around 50 percent in just 30 minutes. So if you get to charge your phone through your day, you won’t have to fear running out of charge.
There is one mono driver present below the wide speaker grill which is substantially loud, though not the loudest. A secondary Mic for noise cancelation is also present and there are no issues with call quality in our area.
Asus Zenfone 2 Photo Gallery
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML is a great smartphone for a 19,999 INR price. It is packed with powerful hardware, efficient software and looks stunning. The battery backup isn’t stellar but it isn’t terrible either. Asus is reportedly working on the fix too. The overall experience we had with Zenfone 2 was pretty good, though we are not yet sure if the same will be transferred to the low end models too.