ASUS is a company with a tradition of making tablets, smartphones are not mandatory. By Zenfone series last year, Taiwanese giant attempted to perform a hybrid between tablets and phones with Android from Padfone and Fonepad ranges, devices that have failed to find a concrete identity in the market. Zenfone 2 is the second generation of Android 100% from Asus, the company is trying to prove that cheap phones can be powerful and handsome, despite a competing offer.
Details, construction, design, ergonomics
The back of the device has a slightly rounded, not very different from what we find on competing HTC One and LG G3 devices. This means that Zenfone 2 is thicker in the middle than at the edges, providing an ergonomic shape, very pleasant to use. The phone adapts to the user's practical hand, offering a comfortable experience in most situations. The back is covered by a plastic cover which is painted entirely in brushed metal.
The top of the lid has some very important elements for a smartphone. At the highest place is the dual-tone LED flash, camera, centrally placed, and below it a button with two contacts used to up or down the volume of the sound. At the bottom is a grid intended for the main speaker. Although it covers almost the entire width of the phone, there is a single mono speaker on the left, the rest of the grid is covered with adhesive factory tape.
Zenfone 2 is built around an IPS 5.5" excellent display. It displays content in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels, 403 ppi) and is made using a high quality panel, providing natural colors and impressive viewing angles. ASUS has managed to achieve a very pleasant device used in almost any situation. One of the moments in which you receive a less enjoyable experience is the sunshine, on the light mode, when the content on the screen is not very easy to see. For decent results need to manually set the brightness to the maximum possible.
This smartphone hardware is probably the most interesting aspect. ASUS continues the Zenfone series on Intel platform, integrating the range of Zenfone 2, Atom Z3580 and Z3560 chipsets. The first is clocked at the frequency of 2.3 GHz, while the second is running at 1.8 GHz. Of course, the more powerful processor is equipped with 4GB of RAM, while the Z3560 is joined to a quantity of 2GB.
Screen: 5.5" IPS 1920 x 1080 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3
Operating System: Android 5.0
Chipset: Intel Atom Z3580
Processor: Quad-core 2.3GHz
Camera: 13 MP, dual-LED flash
Video shooting: Full HD (1920 x 1080/30 FPS)
Dimensions: 152.5x77.2x10.9 mm
Zenfone 2 manages to offer high performance in most situations. There are few scenarios in which this device could not withstand a full day of use after a single charge. Most users will probably succeed to perhaps reach two days of use with selective browsing the internet through LTE. ZeUI seems to manage very well WiFi connections when the phone is in standby, so keeping it active will not adversely affect its autonomy. Power Saving Features include two sections, Ultra-saving and Optimized but also the opportunity to achieve a proper profile. For testing, we preferred to use the optimized mode, which proved to be very capable.
The first Zenfone smartphones appear to have been a simple test. They helped make the Zenfone 2 devices series that are already mature. ZenUI is having a highly advanced interface, even if it is the first time we see it in this form. In the past, ASUS chose not to name the skins of Android, but with all modifications to the standard experience, the company thought it was time to give the software its own identity.
Now, ASUS seems to be one of the few companies that actually deliver when promised something. Zenfone 2 version with 4GB memory provide close performances of some flagship of the moment, half the price, even managing to outdo them in certain situations. Compared to the HTC One M9, for example, the performance differences are minor and the Zenfone 2 camera manages to produce better results in certain scenarios. Besides this, the autonomy of over 30 hours advises this device for those who doesn't like cables or plug adapters everywhere.