Welcome the Asus Zenfone 2, a flagship phone with a 64-bit Intel Atom processor and up to 4GB of RAM


Earlier today, Asus took to the stage at CES 2015 to unveil a number of new gadgets, among which was one of the successors to the surprisingly popular Zenfones. Instead of releasing three differently priced models of varying sizes, however, Asus is focusing on a single Zenfone 2 that will come in two versions, the most notable difference between the two being that one of them will offer the whopping 4GB of RAM, while the other will stick with "just" 2 gigs.

But let's dial back. The Zenfone 2 is a Gorilla Glass 3-protected, 5.5-inch device with a flagship-standard resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, good for 403 pixels per inch and 400 nits of brightness. We are told by Asus that the phablet has a screen-to-body ratio of 72%, which falls in the middle as far as 2014 devices are concerned, and offers the passable dimensions of 6 x 3.03 x 0.43 in (152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm). The dual SIM (dual active) Zenfone 2 has a rear-placed volume rocker and a shell with a brushed metal texture, so it could be said that Asus borrowed a few ideas from LG. Asus isn't being unoriginal, though, and promises a number of special "Transfusion" and "Illusion" models with rather unique shells – the former line combines two colors, while the latter offers some funky-looking patterns.

Moving on, the company is sticking with Intel once again, and has opted for an LTE-enabled, 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor with four cores that can reach frequencies of up to 2.33GHz, and a PowerVR G6430 GPU with OpenGL 3.0 support. The camera at the back is a 13-megapixel unit with 5 element, f/2.0 aperture lens, complemented by a dual-color "Real Tone" LED flash. At the front, we're looking at a respectable, 5-megapixel selfie snapper with wide-angled (85-degree) lens and an option to shoot panoramas. Asus also made it clear over and over again that its PixelMaster software is available with both cams and offers goodies such as a low light shooting mode that can supposedly snap photos that are up to 400% brighter. As for the battery, you've got a 3,000 mAh Li-Po unit with support for fast charging tech that will allow you to recuperate as much as 60% of the total capacity in as little as 39 minutes.

On the software side, the Zenfone 2 is making use of Asus' proprietary ZenUI, slapped on top of the latest update to Android – 5.0 Lollipop. The company has worked a few new tricks into the OS, including actions and app shortcuts tied to gestures, special one-handed and "Kids" modes, and even support for custom themes and icon packs. 

So when can you grab one and how much is Asus asking for all of that? What we know for sure is that the Zenfone 2 will become available as soon as March, though it's unclear which of the two model (or if both) the company is referring to. Also mystifying is the pricing – we were told $199, but we suspect that's how much the model with 2GB of RAM will cost, not the 4GB one, which we imagine will cost around $249.

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43 Comments

1. zhiae unregistered

price point 199.99$ OMG i just watched the live show.

8. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I think that´s too good to be true... That must be with a contract in the US or something. Such specs at $200 is stealing to ASUS even if it´s for the 2GB ram model. I can´t wait for confirmation.

20. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

the 199 $ zenfone has Atom Z3560 with 2gb ram and not Atom 3580.. 3560 is equal to SD 800/801 3580 is equal to SD 805 ... Atom 3580 with 4gb ram will cost more still a great bargain..

24. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

It really depends on the benchmark, for the ones I checked it is more like: 3560 equals SD 800 3580 equals SD 801 both short of the SD 805, in particular in GPU:http://gfxbench.com/compare.jsp?benchmark=gfx30&D1=Dell+Venue+8+7840&os1=Android&api1=gl&D2=Samsung+Galaxy+S5+%28Adreno+420%2C+SM-G901%29&cols=2 In any case: there are no $200 phones with SD800/801, so still a really good deal.

25. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

yeah in gfxbench it scores less than sd 805 .. but in 3d mark it scores more than Sd 805 http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/06/05/how-does-intels-atom-z3580-hold-up-against-qualcom.aspx it is ahead in CPU in both cases .. SD 805 ahead in gpu 3580 ahead in cpu

32. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

The problem I have with that page is the conclusion: "we don't know is how the Snapdragon 805 will perform in a 4.5-5.0-inch handset or how well Z3580 will perform in a real-world implementation" All that data comes from Intel, not any real implementation, so you never know how accurate really is. I´ll wait for independent reviewers before making my mind, but in any case is a "good enough" case for me.

36. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

this one is much better http://www.mobiledroid.co.uk/blog/soc-royal-rumble-ipad-air-2-vs-nexus-9-vs-china-tablet-socs/ but there is no Snapdragon in it.. so cross check how those other chips stack against Snapdragon .. and you will get an accurate estimate about performance , until independent reviews show up let me know about it as well .. it's pretty late here so i'll check it later .. see ya

43. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

That one shows what I said, similar performance in GPU-CPU to the S801, but lower GPU performance than the S805 (29.7 vs 40, 11.3 vs 18) But it shows only geekbench and GFXbench, and both benchmarks are known to favour Snapdragons in some ways. It would be nice to get and independent comparison of 3dmark and Basemark X to get a better idea as GFXbench puts too much stress on ALUs but leaves many other parts of the GPU at low load.

21. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Why bother stealing copying design from LG? Plus half of regular consumers don't know who is ASUS

23. nh1402

Posts: 137; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

just the design?, how about the laser autofocus, the button placement and the battery size, They also copied the two tone flash from Apple.

28. 777light777

Posts: 63; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

And they combined it all into a phone that is better, INNOVATION! :)

30. Adrian38

Posts: 142; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

Did you really just said they "copied" the battery size? That's freaking ridiculous... Hahahaha Get out of here with that.

27. 777light777

Posts: 63; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

Unless someone is completely ignorant to tech, they will know who ASUS is. :D

33. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

The PC component maker that made Mini Notebooks a trend... (Eee PC) Their Transformer tablets were popular enough to see them quite often in my 3rd world south american country... (And ASUS is Taiwanese) They were one of the first to implement Slow Motion in their video recording (PadFone 2)... Innovative Low Light flashless photography using pixel biding (PixelMaster) The first one to make hybrid phone/tablets, while not as popular, they are arguably more versatile than phablets... And this is only their mobile segment.

34. faizan-sharif

Posts: 98; Member since: Jun 26, 2013

or may be some one just came to this world, welcome newly born :D

2. Phonedingo

Posts: 399; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

Dayuum

16. Rorschach

Posts: 83; Member since: Apr 26, 2013

intel is the way to go instead of that qualcomm garbage

3. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

2015 is year of Chinese......companies like asus,xiaomi, lenovo,huawei will rise on expense of samsung,htc,lg by offering such superb phones at dirt cheap prices.....2015 is year of change ....( though Samsung will remain near top but will face huge competition from chinese)

40. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

ASUS is Taiwanese.

4. sram145

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

$199 just makes me wonder how Z3580 will perform against the competition!! Having 2GB/4GB memroy is not at all useful when the processor is under performing. Waiting for the review. Please be good asus and make my never ending mobile search an end please!!

9. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Z3580 has more or less the same performance that Snapdragon 801, depends on the task one is a bit better than the other. GPU is a bit on the Z3580 side and in CPU they trade blows depending on the task.

13. sram145

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

If this processor is in par with snap 801, then i guess it works flawlessly for the price. Fingers crossed!!!

17. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Found this http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/06/05/how-does-intels-atom-z3580-hold-up-against-qualcom.aspx here's some benchmarks. It bests the 801 but trades blows with the 805. Pretty solid for $249 with 4 gbs of ram!

18. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

the 199 $ has Atom Z3560 not 3580.. with 2gb ram 3560 is equal to SD 800/801

42. sram145

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

wow. nice. thanks for sharing

19. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

In geekbench they trade blows, normally Z3580 has better multithreaded performance while S801 has similar single threadedhttp://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/876316?baseline=1512191 In GPU is even slightly better than the S801 (GFBench gives it 31 FPS while S801 has around 27) But in both cases very similar performance. Or similar performance than the iphone 5S (A7 SoC) if you prefer. In any case a treat if the $200 price is true.

10. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Compute power wise last year's Intel chips were equivalent to A7 so that won't be the problem. The same line of chips power Windows tablets which is a lot heavier than android. They slapped a Power Vr GPU so I expect this to be no slouch. Just wished it came in a 4.7" variant. Had a note 2 and the size was bulky after a while.

14. jove39

Posts: 2143; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Don't worry...utilization of ram is largely dependent on OS (Android in this case) than cpu core!

5. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Asus is a very good brand. All their computers are solid and perfect deal. I will check this phone out, in waiting for Nokia come back.

11. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Same here.

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