Asus launched four variants under its Zenfone 2 tag ranging from Rs.12,999 to Rs.22,999 which are being viewed by many as the major contender for the Xiaomi Mi 4i in India. We hope the following review of the top-end model, Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML), will be helpful in shedding light on whether the new smartphone is worth your money.
First Impression and Design
At the first glance, the external features of the Asus Zenfone 2 appears similar to the Zenfone 4,5 and 6 series. But, a closer look will reveal the incredibly thin edges that measure an amazing 3.9 mm thickness only. The iconic concentric-circles design adorns both the front and rear key giving the device a beautiful and tactile effect. The rear panel displays perfect harmony of simplicity and sophistication with effortless elegance and detailed craftsmanship. Diamond-cutting technology with a varying spin pitch of 0.13mm to between each brush stroke is applied to achieve the best visual effect for the iconic spin-cut concentric circles.
ZenFone 2 has a highly-intuitive control layout, incorporating a physical rear key as part of the new Ergonomic Arc design. so now, snapping selfies, adjusting the volume and retracing your steps now feels completely natural, regardless of whether you are right-handed or left-handed. The elegant new shape feels secure and extremely comfortable to hold.
The ZenFone 2 is available in five strikingly premium colors to reflect your personality and mood. Choose from Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamour Red and Ceramic White — and delight in choosing an ASUS ZenUI theme to match. And for those who prefer going against the stream are offered the Transfusion and Illusion series with its radical shades to opt from.
The display of the new Zenfone 2 comes with a 5.5-inch screen but with a body that is as small as that of a traditional 5-inch device. The manufacturers have succeeded in reducing the bezel width to a bare minimum, giving ZenFone 2 a remarkable 72% screen-to-body ratio. The display features a 1080p full HD screen protected with Corning 3 Gorilla Glass for maximum clarity and sharpness.
All the four variants of the Zenfone 2 employ the new ZenUI which provides a simpler, smarter, more personalized ZenUI experience.The brand-new ZenUI has received a new and refreshing visual design with an added a variety of new features, including ZenMotion, SnapView, Trend Micro, Security and ZenUI Instant Updates, that enhance usability, ensure security and privacy, and deliver a seamless user experience.
ZenUI gives you complete freedom to customize your device with a wide variety of options from icon packs and fonts to live wallpapers and complete theme overhauls, so your ZenFone 2 always matches your mood. The ZenUI comes in a stylish new layout that expands white space for a cleaner design, placing the information you need front and center. It’s brighter, smarter, simpler and even more beautiful.
The Zenfone 2 also deploys motion sensors that make your smartphone truly smart and high on tech-specs with the Zen Motion feature. It’s multiple sensors provide clever interactivity that feels natural to do. Just Tap Tap, or Swipe to get things done quickly and easily. You can also write C on screen to launch Camera, W for Browser, S for Messaging, e for Email, Z for ASUS Boost, and V for Dialer.
ZenMotion's Tap Tap gesture for One Hand mode shrinks ZenUI for easy one-handed operation by putting every part of ZenFone 2’s brilliant display within easy reach. You can also use the double-tap on the screen to wake it up, and it is ready for service!
The ZenUI also packs the device with some top class apps that can help you manage everyday tasks on your phone simple and fun. For example, the What’s Next App helps you to keep track and intelligently manage your schedule. The app immediately remind you about the next important task or event, identify items that need a special reminder, and reduces the number of distractions so you can focus on what matters. Another useful app is the Do It Later helps you manage your social networks, important daily news, emails, text messages etc. and adds these tasks into Do It Later, where all of your tasks will be clearly listed so you can quickly see what's on your to do list.
The Trend Micro Security App is an industry-leading security app in-built for the Zenfone 2 Zen Browser that protects you against malicious websites and other online threats.
SnapView is a privacy app that helps you organise your space by keeping your social and business circles separate. This way you can shield your personal apps, photos and files for your eyes only. ZenUI Kids Mode is the quick-and-easy way to protect children when they’re using your ZenFone 2. Thus you can control what your children can see and do.
ZenUI provides instant updates via Google Play Store and keeps your favourite apps revised to date. ZenLink feature brings together all your devices, data, friends and colleagues, with easy-to-use PC Link, Share Link, Remote Link and Party Link apps.
Chipset and Performance
The Zenfone 2 gives power to all your smartphone experience through its powerful 64-bit 2.3GHz Super Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3580 processor. It is the world’s first smartphone with 4GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM. The device features LTE Category 4+ for download speeds up to 250Mbit/s, and a 60ms touch response time. The processor carefully balances brilliant performance and superb power efficiency, empowered by the sophisticated Silvermont architecture. The processor has an enhanced performance of 37% and is capable of saving power up to 50% as compared to other processors. With the 4GB RAM you needn't worry about closing down apps and minimising system usage. Multi-tasking and that too at super high speeds is a well realised in the Zenfone 2.
ZenFone 2 PowerVR 6430 graphics-processing unit (GPU) packs a serious punch, for computing experiences that feel like using your desktop computer. Demanding, graphics-intensive games and videos run buttery smooth and look splendid on ZenFone 2’s Full HD display.
Pixel Master 2.0
The Pixel Master 2.0 on the Zenfone 2 supports a 13 MP camera with a f/2.0 aperture lens that can capture some stunning pictures. The 5P Lagan lens enables users to shoot high-resolution photos with zero shutter lag. The industry-leading Low Light mode employs pixel-merging technology to capture up to 400%-brighter photos at night or in low-light scenes, without the need for a flash.
Backlight (Super HDR) mode lets you see clearly through daytime shadow and Super Resolution mode helps you to capture detailed images at resolutions of up to 52MP. Thats definitely an all time high level of smartphone photography!
PixelMaster’s Backlight (Super HDR) mode automatically captures multiple shots of the scene in the viewfinder, and processes these using ASUS Pixel Enhancing technology. This expands the dynamic range by four times (4X) to give the final picture up to 400% more brightness, along with improved color contrast and detail to ensure the photos you capture in any scene with strong backlighting look totally natural.
PixelMaster’s Low Light technology automatically adjusts the ratio of maximum contrast (the brightest point to the darkest point of the image) to enhance the ability of framing features and shapes of the subject, improving the detail of darker areas. It also enhances noise reduction and boosts color contrast by up to 400%, for clear and bright low-light shots with no need for flash. With Wide Dynamic Range feature(WDR), you can capture clear photos even under the most challenging lighting conditions. It enhances clarity and richness, for flawless photographs every time.
The ZenFone 2 packs a high-capacity 3000mAh battery that delivers the long lasting power required for a non-stop premium smartphone experience. Its power’s up your entertainment and makes life easy by sustaining all your favourite games and apps. Not only does it have a big capacity, ZenFone 2 also comes with the exclusive ASUS BoostMaster Technology that can charge your ZenFone 2 at double the speed. With BoostMaster, your battery is juiced up to 60% in no more than 39 minutes. The BoostMaster Technology uses an 18W adapter that comes in-the-box for the Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 64 GB and 32 GB variants. The other variants howvever, receive only a 7W adapter.
Connectivity and Storage
The Zenfone 2 is a Dual SIM, Dual Active (Micro-SIMs) device which supports and feature 4G connectivity support for Indian LTE bands (Band 3 and Band 40) on only one SIM. The Zenfone 2 supports Wi-Fi connectivity through WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth V4.0 facilitates local file sharing. It also comes with USB and NFC connectivity options.
ZenFone 2 supports five global satellite-navigation systems, including GPS, GLONASS, BDS, QZSS, and SBAS. With the ability to track up to 60 satellites, ZenFone 2 provides you with the most precise and accurate position wherever you are.
The four variants of the Zenfone 2 differ in price based on their storage options. The top-end variant Asus ZenFone 2 ZE551ML comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB inbuilt storage and is available at Rs. 22,999. The ZenFone 2 ZE551ML which comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage is identical to the top-end variant but with half the inbuilt storage and costs Rs. 19,999. Another variant, the ZenFone 2 ZE551ML with 2GB of RAM and 16GB ROM is priced at Rs. 14,999. And finally, the basic model of the series is the Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML with 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM and is priced at Rs. 12,999.
Zenfone 2 Accessories
Asus has lined up a special set of accessories for its Zenfone 2 which not only pumps up the style quotient of the device but also succeeds in making the customers feel a notch higher by providing them with special add-ons.
ZenFlash is a professional xenon flashlight similar to those found in high-end DSLR cameras. It’s 100X brighter than LED flashlights and allows users to capture true-to-life photos with low distortion and extreme details. The LolliFlash is another Dual-LED light for natural skin-tone enhancement.
ZenEars are a pair of customised earphones with a patented damping system, and both front and rear sound chambers with an unobstructed acoustic path that achieves wonderfully balanced sound and delivers it with fine detail.
ASUS ZenPower's power-packed 10,050mAh battery is perfect for fully charging any smart device. It weights just 215g and is no bigger than a credit card. ASUS ZenPower offers high-speed, high-efficiency charging with up to 2.4A output. It comes in attractive Gold, White, Blue, Pink and Black colours.
The View Flip Cover Deluxe protects ZenFone 2’s beautiful display from scrapes and scratches, and makes important information available at a glance. It comes with a window to view incoming calls, new messages and the time without even opening the case.
The secondary SIM supports only 2G bands according to the official website. While this aspect definitely dimmers the style and tech quotient of the Zenfone 2, we do not have much to complain considering the camera, chipset and performance of the ZenUI.
The extra accessories being provided by the manufacturer is a good way of making the customer feel privileged but not receiving a pair of earphones is a definite letdown. And be sure that these accessories don’t come cheap.
When it comes to the home-developed ZenUI, we all have high expectations and it delivers well on that front. The complementary 64-bit 2.3GHz Super Quad-Core Intel Atom processor and the 4GB RAM is sure to knock you off balance. All in all, the Zenfone 2 makes for a good buy.
Asus released four variants of it's Zenfone 2 series in a flash sale model on Flipkart. Check out this review, full with pictures and detailed description of what you can expect from the new smartphone in town.
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