The ZenFone 2 is ASUS’ star of the year, often hailed for its 4GB memory and camera capability. The ZenFone 2 is no doubt a great device but does it live up to the hype? What’s all this “See what others can’t see” thing all about? I’ll get into those details, let’s have a look at the device before heading there.
As you can see the phone is pretty much the soul successor of the earlier Zenfone line-up. I think at this point it’s good that I touch about the ZenFone 2 name – where does this product stand since there’s the ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 around?
Understanding The ZenFone
Put it simple – ASUS did a horrible job when it comes to naming the device. The ZenFone 4 is supposedly the lowest of the ZenFone range and it’s now replaced by the Zenfone C. ZenFone 5 and Zenfone 6 are still around but are they inferior to the Zenfone 2? Yes and No, you see the Zenfone 2 range comes with a variety of specs, ranging from the ZE500CL priced at RM599 (Intel Z2560 1.6GHz Dual Core â€“ 2GB RAM, 8GB Storage, 5-inch 720p, 8MP & 2MP Camera) up to the ZE551ML priced at RM1,299 (Intel Z3580 2.3GHz Quad Core â€“ 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage, 5.5-inch 1080p, 13MP & 5MP Camera).
The model in this review is the ZE551ML version with 32GB storage, priced at RM 1,099 which is a notch below the highest spec version with 64GB storage.
I hope you get a better picture of what the ZenFone models are like. Please refer to this article for the models and price. I’ll provide a round up of what YOU should buy at the end of this article.
The ZenFone 2
The ZenFone 2 comes in the standard ASUS smartphone package, below is the unit, unboxed with contents in tact. Basically the phone, the charger and an earphone.
The ZenFone 2 has an uncanny resemblance to the HTC One M8, probably due to the brushed metal finish and the curved nature of the back.
The difference is that while HTC One M8 is of a premium build, the ZenFone 2’s back bezel is a removable piece of plastic. I can’t say it’s a premium build but it certainly is of a pretty decent plastic.
The ZenFone 2’s camera comes with a duo-tone LED flash and under the camera is the volume button, albeit one that’s quite badly placed.
I have a rather small palm and even so, I find moving my index finger to the volume button requires quite some effort, it’s akin to having doing finger stretching and it’s not comfortable. I can’t imagine those with larger palm, how do you reach the volume button?
To make things worse, the LOCK / POWER button is right smack at the top. Finger stretching again for those with smaller palm like yours truly. And would you like to guess how difficult it is to press LOCK button and VOLUME down button for screen capture when playing a game?
Fortunately ASUS’ ZenUI allows one to configure the Recent Apps Key for screen capture purpose. Unfortunately you wouldn’t know about it unless you explored the settings and touch on the Recent Apps Key’s assignment.
The speaker opening looks great, it stretches from one end to the other BUT sad to say is that the opening is just for show. The speaker is still only at one corner of the phone and all you need to do is block about 20% of the holes on the left and that’s it, the speaker is blocked. The audio is loud and clear, it’s just disappointing that the speaking opening that looks so promising doesn’t deliver.
Lastly, a photo of the opened ZenFone 2.
Below are the specs as taken from the official product page.
In the following pages I’ll cover in more detail about user experience, the benchmarks and of course the much hailed photography features to see whether ASUS ZenFone 2’s camera actually lives up to the hype.