The smart phone wars seem to have no end in sight. The battle is intensifying by the day and one of the latest entrants to this battle is the Zenfone 2 by ASUS. The Taiwanese manufacturer which was nowhere in the smart phone market till last year is making waves for it’s recent smart phone i.e. the Zenfone 2. The Zenfone 2 is currently one of the highest performing devices in the market as it packs one of the most highest performing processors in it’s range and it also comes with 4 GB of RAM in the top model. Some of the notable enhancements include the Super resolution picture taken by the camera, the ability to change themes and layout options in the ZenUI and the overall build of the phone. We will talk in detail about this phone as we continue our ASUS Zenfone 2 review and do a detailed breakdown for you so that you can find out whether it’s the right device for you or not.
Table of Contents
ASUS Zenfone 2 specifications:
The specifications that we have given over here are for the top end model i.e. ZE551-ML, we will also discuss about the cheaper models in subsequent paragraphs.
|Display||1920×1080 pixels, 5.5 inch IPS display, 403 ppi (70.1% body to screen ratio) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection|
|Software||Android 5.0 Lollipop with ASUS ZenUI on top|
|Chipset||Intel Atom Z3580|
|CPU||2.3 GHz Quad core processor|
|Storage||16/32/64/128 GB internal and expandable upto 64 GB with microSD|
|Camera||13 MP primary and 5 MP secondary with Pixel Master Camera enhancements, dual tone, dual LED flash with support upto 1080p video at 30fps|
|Battery||3000 mAh (Li-Po non removable battery), fast charging (up to 60% in 40 mins)|
|Cellular connectivity||Dual Sim with dual stand by and dual call support (micro SIM supported), 4g LTE supported|
|Other Connectivity options||Bluetooth v4.0, Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac , NFC enabled, FM radio as well as GPS. micro USB connectivity|
|Sensors||Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass|
|Colours||Ceramic White, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Osmium Black, Glamour Red|
Now let us just head into a detailed overview of every feature and specification in order to know more about the phone.
Build and design of the ASUS Zenfone 2:
The build of the Zenfone feels premium though the back is actually plastic with a faux metallic finish to give it a more premium feel. The front of the phone is good enough, but the 5.5 inch form factor is not handy enough for one hand use as the phone feels a bit large in the hand. The phone has 3.9 mm edges and is pretty slim. It has concentric circle designs on both the front soft keys section and on the rear volume rocker. A 72% screen to body ratio means that on paper this phone has a really great design and less bezel but in practical real world usage we found that the phone was somewhat big.
The overall build is pretty solid and the battery is a non removable one, with slots for sim cards as well as MicroSD card visible as soon as you open up the back cover. The body has undergone a minor change as the volume buttons are now beneath the camera and not on the sides of the body. There are no buttons on the sides and that might be a welcome change for few users and be despised by some. As you can see in the above image the speaker grill is on the lower side of the back and the sound gets muffled when you place the phone by it’s back or when you have the phone in the hand, so that’s one con for the phone.
Display of the ASUS Zenfone 2:
The phone has a 5.5 inch display keeping in line with the current trend of large screen flagship phones. The 4 GB RAM variant has a full HD display while the 2 GB RAM variant has a 720p HD display. The colours are vivid and saturation is good on the phone. While one of the issues was that even the maximum brightness of the display didn’t feel much bright in the sunlight. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection is present for the phone and the display is impressive though not as good as the Xiaomi Mi 4i. The touch has a really good response time of 60 ms and every touch is registered really quickly. The double tap to wake up and other gesture controls too perform really good on the device.
Performance of the phone and real world usage:
The phone packs a really powerful hardware combination and is among the first smart phones to have a 4 GB RAM onboard. The 2.3 GHz quad core processor is able to handle a lot of tasks with ease. The phone was able to play a heavy 4k HD video without any lag or any frame drops, this is something which even high performance phones fail to do without frame rate drops in our tests. You can see this for yourself in our review video which is present at the end of this review. Apart from that the phone scored around 42,208 on the Antutu Benchmark in our test. 21,850 on the Quadrant Standard and 59.7 fps on Nenamark. In terms of practical usage almost all of your apps would run smoothly and multi tasking is a breeze on this device. But everything is not all glitters. Many applications haven’t been coded well to run on Intel’s chipset and even some popular applications like Instagram etc. have problems and minor glitches. So these are some issues that ASUS needs to sort out by working in conjunction with the app developers or by pushing out software updates for the same. Apart from these the phone makes a really good impression on the performance front.
Camera quality of the ASUS Zenfone 2:
ASUS has hyped the camera quality of the Zenfone 2 a lot and even compared it with DSLR like clarity. Though there’s not much truth in it but still the camera on the Zenfone 2 is capable of some pretty decent shots. Low light photography, Super resolution mode ( 51 Mega pixel photos) and HDR alongwith dual tone flash make for a pretty interesting package. Even the front 5 MP camera doles out some pretty decent pictures and is good for clicking selifes as it has beautification feature turned on by default. Here are some of the pictures we took with the Zenfone 2 camera, none of them has been modified/edited or even compressed.
Now here are few Super resolution 51 MP images taken from the Zenfone 2 under varying lighting conditions.
Here’s another super resolution image taken by us, this time it’s of a Moto X 2014 edition kept on top of a pile of wheat.
The number of settings available on the default camera app of the Zenfone 2 is really great and camera aficionados would really find it good as they can tweak every fine setting. For those who just prefer to take pictures in the “Auto” mode, that will also work sufficiently good.
Storage, battery life and Calling on the ASUS Zenfone 2:
The phone comes with various internal storage options ranging from 16 GB all the way upto 128 GB for the top end model. Apart from that you can always expand the storage via microSD card upto an additional 64 GB more.
The battery life of the phone is between excellent and mediocre. You can’t call the battery backup as excellent as the device tends to eat up battery by 1-2% every hour even when doing nothing. The phone lasts up to 7-8 pm at night if you start the day at 6 AM with 100% battery. The 3000 mAh battery is good but for a phone with a high res display it barely manages to last you through the day. But for low to medium usage users it should be fine as the phone lasts upto 1 day plus on mild to low usage patterns.
Call quality was good but the earpiece was not sufficiently loud enough and it can be a problem when you are in extremely noisy environments or at a discotheque/bar at night. But I guess our average reader doesn’t often spend times in bars! 😛
Software experience on the ASUS Zenfone 2:
The Zenfone 2 comes with Android Lollipop out of the box which is a 64 bit OS and utilizes the 64 bit hardware fully. ASUS has their own custom ZenUI on top of Lollipop which feels an OK launcher but not something really refined like the MIUI V6 or some other launchers out there. But the ZenUI offers a lot of features like customizable fonts, different icon packs and ability to change animations as well as full layout style. All in all the ZenUI packs enough bang for the buck to keep your design desires satiated.
There was almost no lag while multi tasking as well as a large number of apps when open didn’t cause the phone to stutter. Although the only time the phone showed signs of lag was when we clicked Super resolution pictures, as they require lot of processing and a lot of data is written to the storage at once.
The phone did heat up couple of times. When we played Modern Combat 5 blackout for more than 20 minutes as well as when we ran a 4k HD video in loop. So you have to make sure that you don’t always keep pushing the device to its limits as that’s the only way to heat it up.
The ZE551 ML variant of the Zenfone 2 is a sweet value for money phone which does a lot and justifies its price tag of 19,999. The 2GB variant of the same phone priced at 14,999 is equally good though less powerful. The ZE550 ML priced at 12,999 is a slightly weaker proposition and the Xiaomi MI 4i might feel better at that price point but if expandable storage and a good camera is what you need then Zenfone 2 ftw.
This phone is currently the best you can get under 20K INR and ASUS has managed to give the competition a run for their money, atleast on paper. We will see as to how long this reign lasts. Till then stay tuned to Inspire2rise for more gadget reviews, blogging tips, inspirational posts and a lot, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter because we spam a lot, but not your inbox! 😉
Here’s the review video for those who wish to know everything about the device in detail.