ASUS ZenFone 2 – A Powerful and Affordable Phablet

Smartphones are incredible things, and they are only getting better as the years go by. We are now entering a time when even budget phones have solid performance, and the latest Asus ZenFone 2 is no exception. Though it is a bit lacking in its aesthetic design, the ZenFone 2 is a strong phone that is as innovative as it is budget-friendly.

ASUS ZenFone 2 – Design and Features

The physical design of the ZenFone 2 is without a doubt its weakest component, but it still has some interesting features. The phone has a massive display of 5.5″, so this is one you’ll want to compare to the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4. The display is full-HD, the colors are bright, and the screen has a wide viewing angle so you can enjoy it in any kind of light. The back is made of plastic with a brushed metallic look. It looks nice certainly, but it suffers from a cheap feel. That’s not a huge complaint though given the phone’s price point. Asus is also releasing several colorful backs that can replace the original. The volume rocker is on the back of the phone beneath the camera, much like the LG G3 and G4.  The power button, though, is placed at the center top of the device, which is a confusing choice. It is both difficult to reach and awkward to press.

ZenFone 2 launches with Android 5, and it has the signature Zen UI. The UI overall isn’t that different from other interfaces you have seen, and it unfortunately comes with the same bloatware you would expect. What is cool about Zen UI though is the ability to change and customize the theme, allowing you to give your phone a unique look and feel.

Specs, Camera, and Battery

Unlike other smartphones, the Asus ZenFone 2 comes equipped with an Intel processor that competes with the midrange of Qualcomm processors. This means the phone can load web pages quickly and play graphics heavy games smoothly. Don’t expect it to compete with top tier phones, though. The ZenFone 2 is also the first smartphone to launch with 4 GB of RAM. That means multi-tasking will be easier and keeping more apps running in the background will not be an issue either. The ZenFone 2 also comes with a dual SIM slot, though only one is compatible with 4G; the other only runs 2G.

The ZenFone 2 comes with a 5 MP front facing camera (which is pretty standard) and a 13 MP rear facing camera. The front facing camera also has a beautification mode, which helps remove blemishes and  improve quality. It’s by no means a new feature, but it’s still pretty cool. The 13 MP shooter is decent, though it is noticeably fuzzy compared to photos from the S6 and G4. The camera stands out with its low-light mode though, which far exceeds the competition.

The battery life sits around 9 1/2 to 10 hours. That’s not terribly great for a phone, but more than enough for a budget one such as this.

The Verdict

The ZenFone 2 is an impressive smartphone, to say the least. It has a decent enough camera and processor, and the big and bright display will attract many phablet fans. Combine that with the customizable interface and 4 GB of RAM, and you have a strong budget phone that could easily steal some sales from the high rollers. You can get the highest end version of the phone, complete with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory, for a low $299 here.

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