We were in attendance when the ZenFone 2 was launched in Indonesia and here in the Philippines. It is without a doubt, one of the most highly anticipated smartphones of the year. And why wouldn’t it? It has a great camera, a fast processor and lots of RAM. But most importantly, it was reasonably priced.
Thanks to ASUS PH, we were lucky enough to get our hands on one. So without further ado, this is is our quick review of the ASUS ZenFone 2.
ASUS ZenFone 2 ZE551ML key specs:
- 5.5-inch super-bright IPS display (1920 x 1080; 403ppi)
- 2.3 GHz 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 Quad Core Processor
- PowerVR Series 6 – G6430 with OpenGL 3.2 support
- 4GB RAM 64-bit dual-channel LPDDR3
- 32GB, ASUS WebStorage 5GB (lifetime)
- 13MP main Auto-Focus PixelMaster Camera, large aperture f/2.0, 5-element lens
- 5MP front PixelMaster camera with 85 degree field of view, large aperture f/2.0, 5-element lens
- Dual Micro-SIM support with Dual SIM Dual Active
- 4G LTE Cat4, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC
- 3,000mAh lithium-polymer; ASUS BoostMaster fast-charging technology
- ASUS ZenUI 2.0 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop
- SRP: PHP 13,995
The ZenFone 2 is beautifully simple compared to the current crop of flagships. It pretty much closely followed the footsteps of its predecessors. Its zen approach to design gave it a more relaxed understated look.
On the hand, the smartphone feels solid. For a mostly plastic design, it does have some weight. It creaks and give in a tiny bit when pressed, but it doesn’t take anything away from the impressive build quality. What ASUS did here is impressive.
The 5.5 inch full HD display is nice and bright. It has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with a 403 ppi. Text and images appear crisp with impressive saturation.
The screen is surrounded by good sized bezels, with the capacitive keys and that familiar concentric patterned chin at the bottom. While it doesn’t look bad, I think ASUS could have made it smaller to reduce the overall size of the phone.
One thing I noticed is that the back, home and recent apps capacitive keys do not light up when touched (its colored silver and its reflective). Meaning you could fumble for it in the dark.
Our review unit had a “glacier gray” metallic plastic back. It was horizontally curved that tapers to the sides. The brushed metal design gives it a nice grip. The curved back was aesthetically pleasing, plus it made it easier to hold.
Taking a page from LG’s design book, the ZenFone 2 placed its volume buttons at the back, below the camera. It feels comfortable to press, but it does take some getting used to. The power button is at the top.
The ZenFone 2 is powered by a 64 bit 2.3 GHz quad core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, coupled with a PowerVR Series 6 G6430 GPU and 4GB of RAM. This, combined with Android Lollipop, ensured a butter smooth and highly responsive the UI. Scrolling through menus, homescreens and the Chrome browser is all smooth. I have not notice it lag or stutter so far.
The device runs on ZenUI 2.0 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. It uses nice bright hues for its default icons, and the color scheme closely matches Google’s material design. The overall result is an attractive mix of mature aesthetics.
Aside from changing the wallpaper, ZenUI 2.0 does allow for some customization, such as changing the themes and icons. You can also download and use third party icon packs from the Play Store as well.
The ZenFone 2 did quite well with the benchmark apps. It scored an impressive 47,523 points in AnTuTu, coming in at a close third behind the Meizu MX4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. On Geekbench, it scored 921 points in the singel core test, and 2,086 points on the multi-core one. Those are impressive scores for a smartphone priced below 14k.
A quick reminder for everyone regarding benchmark scores and performance. High scores sometimes doesn’t translate to good user experience.
The ZenFone 2 comes with a 13MP PixelMaster camera with a very large aperture of f/2.0. Test photos show good colors, with moderate to good sharpness. Here are some photos I resized with no post processing.
To give you a better feel for the size of the ZenFone 2, we put it side by side with the Galaxy Note 4. As you can see, the ZenFone 2 is roughly the same size as the Note 4. Keep in mind that the Note 4 has a 5.7 inch screen versus the ZenFone 2’s 5.5 inch. The latter is lighter though.
What’s surprising is that the ZenFone 2 easily held its own against Samsung’s phablet in terms of performance. And that’s at less than half the price. Smoothness of transitions and animations are on par with the Note 4.
Those in a budget looking for a new phone need not look further. The ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) is the one. The capable device offers a flagship experience for only PHP 13,995. For that price, you get a beautiful smartphone with a fast and responsive Intel processor, a crisp and well saturated full HD display, huge RAM, lots of storage and a good camera.