Introduction


Ever wonder why we’re seeing fewer high-end phones nowadays? Well, when there’s an abundance of high-performing entry-level smartphones permeating the space of late, like the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 for example, there’s no wonder why there’s been a shift in focus of late with manufacturers. One of them in particular, Asus, has tried repeatedly to secure itself in being an established name in the smartphone world, but even through all of it, they’ve yet to make any sort of headway – failing to generate any sort of meaningful interest from consumers. However, it seems as though things are changing with the arrival of the Asus Zenfone 2, a phablet-esque sized smartphone that’s priced aggressively at as low as $199 outright!

The package contains:

  • Asus Zenfone 2
  • microUSB wall charger
  • Users guide

Design

The brushed metallic finish looks sweet, but underneath it all, it’s still a conventional plastic phone.

By just looking at the Zenfone 2, one could presume it’s a premium thing because of the brushed metallic-like finish with its casing. Once it’s actually held in the hand, though, it becomes evidently clear that it’s nothing more than a plastic thing. Certainly, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering the Zenfone 2 is positioned to be an entry-level thing.

Aesthetically, the design reminds us of the style employed by LG’s flagship G line – where it bears a close similarity to the LG G2. While there are numerous rear covers to choose from, the personalization it offers still isn’t enough to move its design style out of conventionality. Needless to say, it’s a handful to use due to its size, but there’s a substantial feel to it due to the weightiness of the phone. At the end of the day, the Zenfone 2’s design is still typical of past Asus phones – so we don’t find it as enthralling as the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3.

Looking around the phone, it’s almost hard to not say that its design is influenced by LG’s style – mainly because of how the volume control is placed on the backside of the phone. Unlike LG’s smartphones, it’s a long and flush button, which makes it tough to differentiate the two by touch alone. At times, too, we find ourselves hitting the wrong button or smearing the camera lens with our finger. Also, we’re not fans of how the power button is placed squarely on the top edge because it requires some serious stretching from our index finger to access.

Despite that, folks will appreciate that the back cover can be removed to give us access to its dual SIM slots and microSD card slot – albeit, the battery is fixed and cannot be replaced.


Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.96 oz (141 g)

OPPO N3

OPPO N3

Dimensions

6.35 x 3.03 x 0.34 inches

161.2 x 77 x 8.7 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

HTC Desire 820

HTC Desire 820

Dimensions

6.21 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches

157.7 x 78.74 x 7.74 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.96 oz (141 g)

OPPO N3

OPPO N3

Dimensions

6.35 x 3.03 x 0.34 inches

161.2 x 77 x 8.7 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

HTC Desire 820

HTC Desire 820

Dimensions

6.21 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches

157.7 x 78.74 x 7.74 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Neither great nor abysmal, the display is your run-of-the-mill thing.

Who knows what the reasoning behind it is, but it looks as though many companies are liking the 5.5-inch screen size for their budget phones – and the Zenfone 2 follows suit. Specifically, it’s fashioned with a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS-LCD Display with Gorilla Glass 3 layered on top for protection. Much like the other 5.5-inchers with 1080p resolution, it’s more than sound with its detail and sharpness.

Diving deeper into the display’s other characteristics, like its 7622K color temperature and gamma value of 2.8, they indicate that it isn’t necessarily the most pristine screen around. Its color temperature, naturally, means that it exudes a colder tone, which casts a bluish hue on colors. In addition, its 2.8 gamma tells us Asus has gone for a contrasty look, but has ultimately achieved a rather inaccurate image representation.

Even though it doesn’t hit all of the target values in the sRGB color chart, it’s not as saturated as some other displays. And finally, its 442 nit luminance might not be as potent as we’d like, making it sometimes a chore to view under direct sunlight, but it’s not totally unviewable either. After our eyes feasted on the astonishing display of the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3, we find the one here in the Zenfone 2 to be bland.



FEATURED VIDEO

38 Comments

1. iphonexus

Posts: 130; Member since: Jan 04, 2015

are u joking .... u should re ran the benchmark intel atom 3580 multi core performane is far more than u have posted

3. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

They may use the 2gig version with have Intel atom 3560. And hey why Lumia 1520 isn't listed on battery life benchmark since it have one of the best battery lives the best according to the gsmarena.

11. waddup121 unregistered

OMG 2 REVIEWS IN ONE DAY!? This review actually shoulda been earlier but okay. But anyways, this device ain't that bad! Plus that charging time, godly as ever.

15. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Honestly PA, your benchmarks suck. What do you think why the games run so bad on this phone? Since roughly half of the apps don't support x86 native, the poor x86 is forced to run binary translation to from ARM on the fly that reduces the performance roughly by 70%. Had PA done compatibility tests and measured the power consumption while running ARM-only apps, it wouldn't even have scored 5.0 Really people, you should avoid x86 Android phones at all costs. They suck, and you will say "never again".

17. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Read below for a bitter reality check. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/02/arm_test_results_attack_intel/ Swallow it, and don't trust every BS Google spreads.

18. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Hey John, why don't you write an article about status quo of x86 Android, if you don't believe the report above performed by ARM? Convince yourself and believe me, you won't recommend x86 phones to anyone, and Intel will hate you. So much for Android's platform-agnostic crap, including Java and 64-bit.

27. thunderc8

Posts: 98; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

Dude either you are full of s**t and dont know it or the intel CPU is so good that it looses so much perfomance in traslation and still be that fast. I have the zenfone 2 64gb/4gb/z3580 and this thing is fast as hell, alot faster than my galaxy s5 and my friends z3 those are the only phones i can compare it. And when you are multitasking this phone puts down galaxy s6 and iphone 6 just for fun, 4gb rulles, dont believe it? check youtube. Or you are just trolling... Edit:its super fast but the battery is only for one day with heavy usage alot worse than my s5.

28. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Thanks for quoting a 1 year article that was written by ARM, pretty sure they are unbiased, prior to the release of 5.0. Anrdoid 5.0 with the new runtime is processor agnostic since the apps are installed the old fashion way. Your ignorance is blinding stop spreading the FUD.

25. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

If Intel chipsets was that bad wouldn't you think some one would notice it so why don't you throw a real proof in front of us even proofs are becoming Chinese. Go for a trusted site first these sites are just full of rubbish reviews and stories.

2. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Whoah! That charging time. Nice camera.

14. TheStanleyFTW

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

That charging time blew my mind! Good job ASUS :D

4. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

The f**k is wrong with your benchmark results you listed Zenfone 2 On gfxbench trex on screen 1235 and Manhattan one 638.95 are you ok no really WHAT THE f**k. Microsoft Lumia 640 on t rex is listed 420.

24. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Ok i just guess no one knows what that means "THAT MEANS 1235 AND 638.95 FRAME PER SEC" how can anyone made such a mistake???

5. middlehead

Posts: 449; Member since: May 12, 2014

Does anyone know if this has MHL? I'm seeing conflicting reports on different spec sites. If it does I might have to get it, flaws and oversized screen be damned.

7. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I think Asus has been using SlimPort instead, for a while... please reply when you know for sure.

23. middlehead

Posts: 449; Member since: May 12, 2014

I asked on another site, somebody tried their slimport adapter and said it didn't work.

31. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

That sucks, maybe Asus didn't implemented a wired TV out option... Even I was against the use of adapter when I had to switch from the Xperia Acro S, I loved the microHDMI option, but now that I have a Z3C with MHL 3.0 and the adapter sent by the Consortium itself, I've come to appreciate the tech behind it and the practicality... but whatever it is, I love having a wired TV out connection. I use it daily for Movies and Games Too bad that Asus is not taking advantage of neither... it is a major con for me.

32. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

http://www.mhlconsortium.org/devices.aspx Asus has only listed the PadFone 2 for Mobile MHL compatible device, however this page might not be up to date cause I read somewhere that the Zenfone 5 did in fact use MHL

6. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Are we really seeing fewer high-end phones nowadays? To me it feels like we're seeing way more than a few years ago, what with LG transitioning to a premium manufacturer, Sony releasing a new flagship every few months, and new companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus joining the ring (or arena, if you will), not to mention Samsung introducing the Note and Edge lines. Even Apple doubled its flagship output last year.

8. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

John V. you should have stated exactly which model you are reviewing, for the looks Price and Benchmark it seems as if it was the lower version.

9. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Hey PA ... I wanna know if the camera on RAM 2GB model and the camera on RAM 4GB model are the same or not?? Can you confirm it?

10. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

If yes, I'm going to buy a cheaper one just for the camera. Those HDR shots are the best I've ever seen from a smartphone. I love highly saturated pics!! ;)

12. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

If they were different should be mentioned in sites but normally the expensive version have the better specs.

21. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

I'm afraid Asus would do stupid things like HTC did on M8 and E8. HTC claimed both phone had the same 5mp front camera, but the E8's camera is noticeably much worse than M8's camera as the put a cheaper one on E8.

13. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

The Real antutu score http://www.gsmarena.com/asus_zenfone_2_aces_antutu_scores_above_the_50k_mark-news-11349.php Zenfone 2 scores 50k+ on antutu this is the lower end model. I can't believe you guys couldn't spend the extra $100 to give a real review. Brother and sister in law just picked one up and it is rock solid for $300. Super smooth and all the apps work!

16. dubbsix

Posts: 13; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

Without bashing the reviewer, I will say that i own the 4GB variant and its buttery smooth. ASUS has some work to do with bugs and kinks in the ZenUI but this phone makes me stuff my Note 3 in the sock drawer. i have played asphalt 8 and moder combat 5 at the same time and I didnt notice a single skip. To me this phone is a no brainer. The Intel chips may be slower in benchmark tests, but I think anyone thats picked one up and used it will notice that benchmarks arent everything as thing phone is quick.

20. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

The Intel chip is WAAAAAY slower running apps that are built exclusively for ARM. Over 50% of top apps aren't built for x86. Some of them even refuse to launch. Get real and forget Intel.

26. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

I really don't care if Intel is slower than arm cause Intel possessor > arm one.

29. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Google the Antutu benchmarks and then go buy one from amazon play with it then talk. I have used it already and it blows the Nexus 5 out of the water and really is just as fast as the other current flagships I have played with.

19. Zenzui

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

LOL to this author using lower version 2GB with lower CPU spec to benchmark.
ZenFone 2
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Intel Atom, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh

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