Asus Zenfone 2 Review

Interface and Functionality

Don’t be fooled, this latest ZenUI experience is rich with features and offerings to satisfy power users.

Impressively, for something regarded as an entry-level offering, the latest Asus ZenUI experience is rich with features, personalization, and security – it’s definitely a cut above other phones that are of similar caliber, but not to the level of the greats. In that regard, some people might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to get around, just because there’s so much to do and remember. From its rich personalization with downloadable themes, to the various ZenMotion functions, there might be simply too much for people to absorb.

On the opposite side of things, though, it shows that Asus has taken the time to deepen and enhance all aspects of its ZenUI experience. Still, it’s hard to not draw comparisons to what LG has done, seeing that we can turn on/off the screen by just performing a double tap at any time. Even with all the features running on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop, we’re pleasantly surprised to find that Asus has retained the multi-user feature, which many handset makers have omitted with their custom Android experiences.

Incredibly powerful and highly customizable, this latest ZenUI experience is no doubt accompanied with all the bells and whistles to satisfy power users. Although, it’s just lacking in one particular area – multi-tasking, which is handled solely by the usual Recent Apps menu.

Processor and Memory

The trivial stuff are handled well, but of course, it’s missing that high frame rate performance when it comes to gaming.

The Asus Zenfone 2 might be thought of as a small blip in the greater scheme of things, but it’s actually notable for the fact that it’s powered by 64-bit quad-core 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor coupled with the PowerVR 6430 GPU. And oh yeah, it’s the first smartphone to offer a whopping 4GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM!

In this day and age, it’s such a rare occasion to see any phone lag tremendously. Having this shiny new hardware combination, the Zenfone 2 falls into the same category as everything else – where it’s more than capable to handle the simple stuff with ease, but for the more processor intensive operations, such as gaming, it doesn’t have the fluid high frame rates we see in high-end phones. While the benchmark scores put it above the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3, HTC Desire 820, and many other things, there’s no arguing that it can’t match the high-end champions in the space.

The Zenfone 2 is available in two variants: the $199 outright priced one with the less impressive chipset, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage, and the more ‘premium’ $299 model that’s stuffed with a pleasant 64GB of internal storage. Best of all, they both can be supplemented thanks to their available microSD card slots.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 41442
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 32175
OPPO N3 40165
HTC Desire 820 31749
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 1368
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 933
OPPO N3 1620
HTC Desire 820 2048
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 3407
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2254
OPPO N3 3504.3
HTC Desire 820 925
Sunspider Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 789.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 1306.7
OPPO N3 903.3
HTC Desire 820 1123.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 27.6
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 15
OPPO N3 23.5
HTC Desire 820 25.2
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 12.7
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 6
OPPO N3 9.9
HTC Desire 820 11.7
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 1243
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 495
OPPO N3 1282.5
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 908
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 664
OPPO N3 948
HTC Desire 820 697
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 1938
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2402
OPPO N3 2811.6
HTC Desire 820 2563

Internet and Connectivity

Blessed with a generous amount of real estate, along with LTE support on 9 bands and its smooth performance, it delivers that tasteful experience we all know and love by now. Even complex pages load quickly and properly, while navigational controls such as pinch zooming and kinetic scrolling are handled effortlessly.

A world phone that’s compatible with the myriad of GSM-based networks sprinkled around the world, the Zenfone 2 features LTE Category 4+ that allows for download speeds up to 250 Mbit/s. Adding to that, it’s armed with a 5 satellite system GPS for better location precision, 802.11 ac Super Fast Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC. Did we mention it’s a dual-SIM phone too?



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. 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: 372; 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: 462; 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: 2978; 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: 462; Member since: May 12, 2014

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

31. buccob

Posts: 2978; 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: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012 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: 3723; 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: 2978; 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: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

The Real antutu score 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: 372; 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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