ASUS had a good year in 2014 with the help of the ZenFone series. They had announced that more than 400,000 units of ZenFones have been sold alone in Malaysia and the success is actually not a surprise at all. The Zenfones come with different sizes but all of them showing a promising level of performance. So what can you do with the sequel of the lineup so that it will be equally successful? ASUS’s answer is pretty simple: Improve the phone and keep the price low.
Unlike last year, this time ASUS has just announced one model for the family, the ASUS ZenFone 2. The phone has a few options which vary in chipset, RAM and storage. The phone will be powered by either Intel Atom Z3560 Soc (64-bit Quad Core 1.8GHz processor) or Intel Atom Z3580 SoC (64-bit Quad Core 2.3GHz processor). The amount of RAM is either 2GB or a whopping 4GB. This is the first phone with 4GB of RAM. For storage, there will be options for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. All models will have Micro SD card support up to 64GB. At this moment we are not sure of how the exact configuration will be. There are chances where the options will vary across different region so we might need to wait for the proper announcement when it starts selling.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 sports a 5.5″ 1080p IPS display, which is the highest display resolution for ZenFones yet, and the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Cat 4 LTE (up to 150Mbps) and dual SIM are both supported in this phone. The battery has a capacity of 3,000mAh and it supports fast-charging. You can get 60 percent of charge from zero in 39 minutes. The camera on the phone receive an upgrade too. The main shooter is a 13-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture and a dual-color Real Tone Flash. PixelMaster technology is employed for a better low-light mode. The front camera is a 5MP shooter and it should be sufficient for selfies.
The design has some changes over the ZenFone 2. The thick bezels found in previous ZenFones have been cut down, allowing the display to take up 72% of the front. The position of the buttons has been shifted too. The power button is on top and the volume rocker are moved to the back below the rear camera, much like the LG G3. The back of the phone has a metal-like hairline finish and it comes in grey, black, gold, red and white. The phone tapers from 10.9mm at the thickest point to just 3.9mm at the edge. The curve on the back is much welcomed as it helps us to have a better grip on the large chassis. At the bottom of the front still lays the metallic concentric circle finish. This is the iconic part of the ZenFone and pretty much the highlight of the whole industrial design.
The device is running ASUS ZenUI on top of the newest Android Lollipop. ZenUI is quite similar to the stock Android apart from a few additions. The notable new features added are ZenMotion which allows us to launch apps by drawing gestures and the Trend Micro Security integrated into the browser.
In 2014, the ZenFone line from ASUS has showed us budget-friendly phones that are capable enough for most people. The phones are not without flaws but it can be easily forgiven considering the price ASUS asked for. With the fierce competition in the low-end market thanks to the strong arrival of several Chinese brands, ASUS managed to hold its ground and it seems that the ASUS ZenFone 2 will be able to continue that legacy.
The price of the phone will start from $199 (around RM710) without any contract and in my opinion the price is quite fair. There is nothing ground breaking on this phone but you have pretty much anything you need. More importantly, it does not hurt your wallet that much. If you want something more bizarre , ASUS got you covered too. Make sure you check out the new ASUS ZenFone Zoom, the world’s thinnest phone with optical zoom.