Asus Zenfone 2 – First Impressions

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The first iteration of Asus’ Zenfone smartphone got a pretty good response with consumers and experts hailing the devices as a perfect blend of good hardware, feature-rich software and attractive pricing.

The USP of the top-end variant of the phone is 4GB RAM, a first among the current crop of devices. The Zenfone 2 will be available in different variants and the company says it will try its best to make consumers aware of the difference between each model. We spent some time with the silver coloured variant of the Zenfone 5 which is powered by an Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor and 4GB RAM.

Asus has decided to embrace the 5.5-inch display size (diagonal) which somewhat falls in phablet territory but the company has made sure the overall dimensions are not very different compared to the 5-inch screen-equipped Zenfone 5 (which had wide bezels).

The front features the 5.5-inch full-HD (1920x1080p) IPS display which offers vibrant colours, good brightness levels and wide viewing angles. Touch response was also pretty good during our brief use. The phone is slightly large for one hand use especially if you have small hands but Asus has included a special mode for single handed use that can be invoked by double tapping on the Home button if enabled in the phone’s settings. Interestingly this mode also features on-screen navigation keys.

The back features some Asus and Intel branding and a speaker grill in addition to the camera lens and dual-LED flash.

Removing the back panel is easy and you’ll find a sealed battery and slots for two micro sim cards (one is 4G LTE capable while the other is 2G only) and a microSD card.

The phone has a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP wide-view front facing camera. In our brief use we were impressed with the Zenfone 2’s ability to click low light pictures. However, we’ll need to spend more time with the phone before giving a verdict on the camera.

The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with Asus’ new ZenUi skin that also supports themes. It comes with customised system apps, unlock gestures, double tap to wake-up and ZenLink apps to connect the phone to a PC.

The Zenfone 2’s top-end variant is powered by a 2.3GHz Intel Atom quad core Z3580 processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU and 4GB RAM. It will come in 16,32 and 64GB storage variants and has a 3,000Ah battery. All variants of the Zenfone 2 will support the two Indian 4G LTE network bands. We did not experience any lag or stutter during our brief hands-on session.

The phone supports fast charging and Asus claims that the bundled charger can give the battery a 60% charge in 40 minutes.

Asus has not revealed the pricing of the phone yet but the base variant starts at $200 ( Rs 12,500 approximately).

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