Zenfone 2 Review: A mid-range smartphone with Flagship features

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The ASUS ZenFone is a group of superior high-end Android smartphones designed, promoted and made by ASUS.The ZenFone 2 was announced at CES 2015. The flagship ZE551ML model launched with Android 5.0 Lollipop running Asus ‘s custom Zen UI.The 2GB version was priced at $199 at its CES unveiling. Also, Asus declared two other versions of the Zenfone 2. The ZE550ML comes with a 5.5″ HD (1280×720) IPS screen, but otherwise features identical specifications to the 2GB ZE551ML. The ZE500CL includes a 5″ High Definition screen, a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a single MicroSIM slot, 8 MP back and 2 MP front cameras, and a 2500 mAh battery.

 

Asus Zenfone  2 offering much more in terms of specifications, build quality, and outstanding software customization with Asus Zen UI, and much more at budget-friendly price point. Lets have a closer look at the Asus Zenfone 2.

 

Display

 The Display is one of the best thing about Zenfone 2. The Zenfone 2 features a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display of 1080p resolution which results in 403 ppi above what is considered a Retina-level 300ppi. Really, the screen is sharp enough to not allow you to recognize individual pixels and text is clear even at sizes that are quite miniature. The viewing angles are not bad, and despite the noticeable brightness and contrast fallout when seen sideways, the display stays legible.

 

The display also has a Gorilla Glass 3 Screen protection which protects it  from scratch and shatter. It is quite prone to smudges and caution should be taken to make sure it stays clean. There’s a committed glove mode for increased touch sensitivity in the expense of battery life that is somewhat shorter.

 

Zenfone 2 has a pre-installed app called Splendid, which allows you to fix your display colour profile. The default setting  is Vivid, which creates pleasant colours with a lot of punch. But in the event the Vivid setting is too much for the flavor, it is possible to choose an balance mode that is much more low-key and both possess a slider for color temperature alteration.

 

Reading mode supplies another slider, which gives an increasingly yellowish tint to whites, to allow it to be easier on your eyes in long research sessions and brings the saturation farther down. Ultimately, a Customized style allows you to fix both saturation and color individually.

 

Camera

 The Asus Zenfone 2 includes a 13 MP PixelMaster camera,  with a double tone LED flas, as well as a decent aperture of f/2.0. The camera app is pretty straightforward and user friendly, and contains all of the standard setting which you would anticipate, like exposure, white balance, ISO, and 1080p video capture, and a few typical shooting modes may also be available, including guide, HDR, and panorama.
zenfone 2 camera
 

The camera of Zenfone 2 shoots excellent pictures in proper lighting conditions with the help of PixelMaster technology and the f/2.0 aperture. Having said that, the greatest problem with this particular camera is not having  dynamic range. While it’s able shooting a picture that was decent, more frequently than not highlights were totally blown out as well as overexposed, or right in another end of the spectrum with pictures being overly dark and underexposed. HDR mode functions fairly good to even out the pictures, while adding more saturation at the same time, and proves to be the savior here. HDR image processing does take quite a while between pictures however, thus the subject is going, or in the event you do not have a stable hand, the picture will be not be especially sharp.

 

ISO is limited at 800, which restricts the total amount of noise which could possibly be introduced, but even then, the image processing of the camera does not handle the present noise all that nicely. The built in low lighting mode takes advantage of the Pixelmaster applications to allow for up to 400% brighter pictures, and the pictures are of a lesser resolution, as well as the upsurge in lighting really makes the electronic noise a lot more observable, while it does work.

 

In the event you like shooting selfies, the front-facing 5 MP camera using a wide angle lens will surely get the work done. The camera has a real-time beautification attribute, and there’s also a selfie panorama way which will help you readily fit family or your friends to the picture.

Design & Build quality

 The Asus Zenfone 2 is a midrange smartphone, but nonetheless, it surely does not behave or feel like one. Matters are not exceptional or especially distinct in terms of layout, and the inspiration from present devices  is clear, but that is not always a terrible thing, and the build quality is unquestionably solid. The phone does not feel cheap in the hand and is very well put together, although it is made from plastic like its forerunners.
zenfone 2 design
 

The smartphone has round corners, as well as the back features a significant curve to it that tapers down towards the borders, making for an extremely cozy feel in the hand. The plastic back comes with a faux metallic coating, which leads to not only an appearance that is great, but in addition allows for great grasp, while keeping the back from gathering fingerprints. The back cover is  removable, providing you with access to the microSD card slot as well as the two SIM slots. Having said that, the battery continues to be secured and non-removable.

Asus states that the Zenfone 2 is a 5.5-inch smartphone in the body of 5-inch smartphone, but while the apparatus is pretty manageable when it comes to one-handed use, it is definitely nowhere close to what Asus promises, and in fact is not even the lowest in this size class either. Lots of the girth must do with the relatively thick bezels over the chin below it, as well as the sides of the screen that houses the keys that are capacitive. Having said that, the Zenfone 2 is an extremely slick looking device general, even if I do wish it was somewhat smaller for a simpler managing expertise.
zenfone 2 design 2
 

A design element that is noticeable is the naked right and left sides, with the Zenfone 2 coming having an alternative take on the typical button layout. The power button is not the simplest to press, and can also be incredibly flush with all the surface. A double tap to sleep and awaken gesture can be obtained though, which fortunately ensures that you just will not find yourself reaching for the power button all that frequently. Like the majority of of LG’s present smartphone lineup, the volume rock also have a somewhat ridged texture, which makes it super easy to reach and locate by feel and of the Zenfone 2 has been transferred to the rear. The interface that is MicroUSB is using the loudspeaker located in the rear, on the underside. Overall, great design with a premium look and feel.

 

Hardware & Performance

 The Zenfone 2  runs on a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 which houses  a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz and PowerVR G6430 GPU. There is also 4 GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB of internal memory which can be further expandable up to 64 GB via MicroSD card.Take into account though that the other variants of these devices that come with 2 GB of RAM and feature the 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z3560 central processing unit, so the performance may change depending on which version you select. In regards to the performance of the 4 GB version, the device feels every bit snappy and responsive as a high-end device. Animations are smooth, apps open fast, gaming is handled by it exceptionally nicely, and with this much RAM on board, multi-tasking is  great.Overall the device performance is great and perform the all tasks very smoothly.

Video quality was adequate and the speakers were loud enough to see the videos without earphones. Despite the speaker being on one side, the phone is loud enough. There was not any distortion of volume at maximum amounts either

 

Battery

 The Zenfone 2 equipped with  a 3,000 mAh (non-removable) battery and a power efficient Intel Atom chipset, should allow for some excellent battery life, but that sadly hasn’t been the situation. However it is  possible to get a full day of good use out from the smartphone on time – with around 4 hours of display, you will find major battery drain problems in the Android OS that’s dramatically shortening the battery life. It is hard to pinpoint if the cause is in the first model of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which has been understood to be buggy, with lots of problems being concluded with the leap to Android 5.0.2 and now Android 5.1, or whether the issue is with the Zen UI itself.

 

Happily, Asus is working difficult to repair the trouble and knows of the dilemma. That means the battery woes should be finally solved by a future upgrade, and we’ll make sure you report with this just as it reaches. On the bright side, the Zenfone 2 does come with quick-charging technology, which Asus claims will restore 60% of battery life in a bit more than 30 minutes. Overall the battery backup is good and it will be great when Asus fixes the  battery draining issue.

 

Software

 The Asus Zenfone 2  running on Android 5.0 Lollipop  with Asus’s Zen UI on top.But it will keep a few of the stuff layout aspects of Lollipop, noticeable in the Recent Apps screen as well as in the notifications  shadiness. Nevertheless, those comfortable together with the Zen UI will feel at home here.
Zenfone 2 zen ui
 

Among the primary attractions of the Zen UI is the capability to customize the interface using the built in theme engine, which can be utilized to change the feel and look of the whole encounter with different fonts and icons, along with changes to notification Shade and the lock display. The launcher settings also can be customized by simply swiping upward at the bottom, or by an extended press on your home display. While conventional settings like backgrounds, widgets, and different house display scroll effects can be found, the most effective part relating to this launcher is the capacity to work with third party icon packs in the Google Play Shop, something which is otherwise just possible using a third party launcher.
Zenfone 2 UI
 

There really are lots of unnecessary apps on board, however a number of characteristics do add to the total experience, such as an Easy Mode that creates a simplified interface,and there is also a  One-handed Mode , which, as the name suggests, allows for comfortable one-handed use, and may be activated with a double tap of the home button. In addition, there are several gestures which can be utilized while the display is off, that Asus calls ZenMotion, which lets you draw distinct characters to start special programs as well as includes the double tap to awaken attribute. The Zenfone 2 additionally gets rid of the requirement for taking private devices and two different work, using the build-in Snapview attribute enabling users to make profiles that are entirely independent and protected to save private or company information that only it is possible to get.Overall the software customization with Zen UI is great and this is one of the best feature of Zenfone 2.

 

Bottom line

 Asus Zenfone 2 is quite a brilliant smartphone to possess, despite the fact that the battery life is a day at maximum. If priced around Rs 25,000 ($395), it’d readily be among the top picks for any buyer, right up there with Huawei Honor 6 Plus. This is a midrange smartphone, but offers features and performance nearly the equivalent to high-end flagship device. So the Performance is great, the camera shoots excellent pictures, Design & Build quality is great, software customizations with Zen UI is excellent the only thing which is a bit problematic is the battery but it lasts for a whole day with heavy use. At this Price point the Asus Zenfone 2 is a great choice.