Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML Hands-on, Initial Impressions
If we talk of upgrades to any current flagship device, Asus might be one of the top companies to come up with a perfect successor in the ZenFone 2. The naming from Asus has almost always been confusing, as the lineup in 2014 was named with reference to the screen size. Now, the successor ZenFone 2 comes in an even better price for what is being offered in the device, with two models, one with 2GB of RAM and one with a whooping 4GB RAM. Not that you might want so much of RAM for the regular usage, but at times, it might come handy for heavy multitasking. There’s again a little difference in the processor as well in both the units.
The design of ZenFone 5 looked perfect from the front, due to that metallic rim below the display, and on the back, it was a standard polycarbonate cover and nothing extra-ordinary. Asus just made it better with the looks, because although it isn’t a real metallic body like the one on HTC One series, we are seeing at something similar at looks, and the ZenFone 2 seems to have inspired from even the LG G3, with the brushed metallic finish as well as with the button placed on the back. The white one still is similar to the white back ZenFone 5, with a non-glossy back.
Just below the rear camera, the volume rocker button is placed, something new for Asus but LG users might feel adjusted to this even more quickly, though the power button is on the top, not on the back area. The Dual LED flash on the ZenFone 2 is kept above the camera, and the speaker grill is seen towards the bottom. The arc design makes it comfortable to hold the ZenFone 2, and as this has a bigger screen than the predecessor ZenFone 5, it seems oddly large and wide. The arc makes the phone quite thin at both the edges, and that’s one of the reasons why we see the volume buttons on the back. It is not really easy to reach the power button, though too early to take a call.
As far as the upgrades are concerned, almost every spec has changed, and thus, we are looking at a 5.5-inch Full HD resolution display, Intel Atom Z3580 processor (quad-core, 64-bit, 2.3 GHz) along with 4GB of RAM. The device also features a 13-megapixel camera with Dual LED flash, a 5-megapixel selfie camera and a 3000 mAh battery (a huge bump, from the 2000 mAh one in ZenFone 5). There’s another version as well, with the 2GB version being powered by Intel Atom Z3560 (quad-core, 1.8 GHz) processor, though both of them have the same PowerVR G6430 GPU.
The ZenFone 2 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the ZenUI layered over it. There are improvements, but by design, the interface didn’t look bad earlier as well. The quick settings section, home screens and the app drawer look almost the same, but the fluidic animations and toggles are a mixture of ZenUI as well as the material design of Android Lollipop. There are options for one-handed operation, for those who don’t feel it easy to reach out to the corners of the large screen.
The 13MP camera on the back of the phone has a F/2.0 aperture, and the PixelMaster technology adds up for the brightened low-light captures. On our early check, we indeed felt that the ZenFone 2’s camera does a brilliant job for a 13-megapixel sensor. Even the 5MP front-facing camera has a F/2.0 aperture and was decent enough for selfies. We didn’t expect the primary camera to take 4K videos, and unsurprisingly, there is nothing new and the app is the same with no new video recording dimensions.
Early views: The ZenFone 2 is easily worth the price, and we will be running you through most of what’s good, in the review that’ll come up in a couple weeks from now. The one we played around with, for around a day, is the one with 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. So good with the multitasking and performance so far, and not bad with the camera at all. Low light was as expected, very good and we’ll be doing a camera review in the coming days to show why!