Note: This review is based on the 16GB/2GB RAM Dual SIM version of the Asus Zenfone 2.
The Asus Zenfone 2 is a good looking device. It comes in different variants though they all look alike with just a few hardware changes. Most importantly its a (relatively cheap) mid range phone that tries to replicate exactly what you get from a flagship device. Why should you buy an Asus Zenfone 2 device? Is this phone worthy of your cash?
Looking at its key features:
- 5.5 – inch IPS display, 1080 x 1920 pixels,(403 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3
- Android Lollipop 5.0 skinned with Asus ZenUI.
- Intel Atom Z3560 chipset with Quad-core 1.8 GHz processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU and 2 GB of RAM.
- 13 MP Autofocus camera with dual-LED flash, pixel count 4128 x 3096 pixels and Video recording of 1080p.
- 5 MP front-facing camera, with pixel count 2560 x 1920 pixels.
- 16 GB internal storage (11 GB usable) with miscroSD card slot.
- Dual SIM support, Both Micro-SIM, dual standby.
- Non-removable 3000mAh battery, fast charging to 60% in 40 minutes.
- Too much bloatware.
- No data access to SIM 2.
- Non-removable battery despite removable back cover.
Hardware and Design
The Asus Zenfone 2 is sleek 5.5 inch device with great build quality and curved edges. The front side has a slightly big bezel which is bigger in the lower end due to the presence of navigation buttons – which sadly doesn’t have any back light.
Some design elements were stolen from HTC and LG. For the former we have a curved back (that feels comfortable to hold) and from the later we have volume buttons at the back. The power button is placed awkwardly at the very top of this phone. You may feel lazy to reach out and press it, lucky enough the phone has Double Tap to Wake/Sleep function.
The back side bears the Dual-LED flash, camera, volume buttons and speakers at the bottom. The speaker grill at the back appears very big, like it’s stereo speakers, but on opening the back cover, you see the speaker is actually small. Well played by ASUS.
Software and Display UI
The Asus Zenfone 2 ships with Lollipop 5.0 OS skinned with Asus UI. The customized skin comes with loads and loads of bloatware. You can imagine Google Play Store notified us with 56 app updates!! All of which can be deleted and the phone will still remain functional.
On the flip side, this phone comes with lots of baked in features that are very useful, intuitive and very essential. There’s a feature that notifies you when any app is draining you battery on the background. There’s one handed mode, allows you use the phone with just one hand in a very flexible and adjustable manner. There’s Easy Mode that simplifies the home screen and launcher. Other notable mentions are Do not Disturb mode and other loads of themes and custom options through it’s default launcher.
The 5.5 inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and 403 PPI is rich and full of colors. Viewing angles is superb, and we were particularly amazed at the sunlight legibility- even at the lowest brightness under hot sun every bit of text appears crystal clear.
Here we have a very superb 13 MP camera that produces excellently sharp images in good lighting conditions though images in dark and low light situations are a bit blurred. There are also various modes you can use to fine tune your images.
The 5 MP front camera of the Asus Zenfone 2 also measures up with clean selfies and a wide angle. Selfies taken with this device come out very clean.
Video playback on this device is fantastic, owing to the very sharp display. The default video player handled everything we threw at it. Music playback is okay. Nothing spectacular, though it’s slightly better with earphones on.
The Asus Zenfone 2 is a boss in terms of multitasking and performance. This phone never lagged for once throughout the period of this review. All the apps and games we tried ran smoothly. The results were surprising considering the fact that this phone carries relatively untested Intel processors. See screen shots of its Antuntu Benchmark and Quadrant tests.
The 3000 mAh battery of this device serves well. It can take you through a day or more of average use. With 3G on, 2 SIM cards installed, 5 hours movie playback and 5 hours of hotspot, we were able to churn out approximately 12 hours of heavy usage before this phone went off.
Did we also mention there are power saving features which notifies you of battery draining apps ?
There’s one thing that made us sad with this phone. you cannot access data services on the second SIM. This means you can’t browse through SIM 2 only calls and sending texts. Call clarity here is sharp and audible. USB OTG works. We have a notification light that changes color depending on the notification received.
Out of the 16 GB on paper, only 11 GB is usable. You can change fonts without having to root. There’s also touch and motion gesture controls.
The Asus Zenfone 2 is a beautiful device that let’s you sample high end features at a relatively low price. With this phone you can literally have a taste of greatness without digging deep holes in your pocket. The plenty bloatware and the No data SIM 2 are niggling issues, but hey no phone has it all.
Above all, I have learnt that experience differ across price ranges, there are ‘androids’ and there are ‘Androids’. Considering all the features the Asus Zenfone 2 comes with, this device is correct bang for your buck.