The mobile market is a battle ground for giants such as Apple and Samsung, which are selling some of the most expensive smartphones. Unfortunately the quality has a high price tag, but not all the time. You can get similar performance at a lower price and the Zenfone 2 is the best alternative to any well known flagship brand.
The Zenfone 2 was created by Asus and it’s available in two variants of RAM capacities: 2GB and 4GB, being sold in the US by Amazon, Newegg and Groupon carriers. The device isn’t as powerful as an iPhone 6 or a Galaxy S6 but it has some nice features that may win you over when it comes to spending your money on a smartphone. While the Galaxy S6, without a contract costs around $700 dollars, the price of the Zenfone 2 starts from $249. If you want to be tied up with a contract in the next two years, then you will pay half the price.
Asus released three variants for the Zenfone 2, a high-end model with model number ZE551ML, which costs $499. It includes : 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and the processor is a Intel Atom Z3580 clocked at 2.3GHz. There is also a model with the same specs but only 32GB of storage that costs $429. The third model also falls into the 32GB of storage category with 2GB of RAM and a Intel Atom Z3560 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, it costs $349. The mid-range Zenfone 2 ZE550ML is powered by an Intel Atom Z3560 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, it has an internal memory of 16GB and 2GB of RAM, and is priced at $299, while the “lower-end” ZE500CL variant has an Intel Atom Z2560 processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage costing $249.
Design and Displays
Both the high-end and mid-end models have the same dimensions, which are 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm and they even share the same weight of 170 grams. The low-end model is much smaller but still big enough. It measures 148.1 x 71.5 x 10.9 mm, having a weight of 155 grams. They may not be the thinnest smartphones, as you will definitely feel their presence in your pockets, but you can’t expect to much from a 5.5 inch phablet when it comes to the pocket department. However the low-end device is fitted with a 5 inch IPS screen that provides a resolution of 720×1280 pixels at 294 ppi, much lower than 1080x 1920 pixels at 403 ppi, provided by the other two superior models. You will notice that the viewing angles and colors are vibrant and you will decipher content even under direct sunlight.
Regarding the aspect of the Zenfone 2 we believe that Asus is to close to LG’s LG 3, by giving the plastic casing a brushed metallic look, the device even has the physical buttons in the same place as the LG flagship model. Because the Zenfone 2 is thicker than its rival, it’s harder to reach the power and volume buttons from below the rear camera. But the metallic design looks premium and in addition to the white and black color options, the device comes in variants of grey, gold and red.
The Zenfone 2 has a removable back cover which can be replaced if it becomes too scratched. The battery is non-removable and its capacity is 3,000mAh, with a pretty decent lifespan: 9 hours 33 minutes of video playback. The phone supports dual-SIM, and one of the cards has dual 4G capabilities, while the other supports only 2G speeds.
The high-end and mid-end models have a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and video capture at 1,080p HD, while the secondary shooter is 5MP. The device has a low-light mode called PixelMaster which helps to capture the best images possible in low light conditions. When taking photos with this mode the image will have only 3 megapixels in size because of the combination of four pixels into one which can read more light data and obtains brighter pictures. As for the 5MP front camera it has a beautification mode for smoothing out wrinkles and making faces appear much younger. The low-end Zenefone 2 has an 8MP rear camera with the front being 2MP.
On top of Android 5.0 Lollipop, Asus uses its own Zen UI which has a simple look and some cool features such as Do It Later, that keeps tracks of SMSes to reply to, missed calls that you will need to return etc. The Zenfone 2’s UI allows you to change the theme, the color of the fonts and it allows you to draw on the lock screen. To activate another feature called ZenMotion double tap the home button, you will turn on one-handed mode this allows you to set up applications to auto run when the phone boots. You will get used to Asus’ UI immediately, but with an array of features it may take some getting used to.