Asus Zenfone 2 review: The best mid range multitasking smartphone

  • Overall Rating

  • Performance

  • Features

  • Price

Price: ₹ Rs. 19,999

Key Specs

    • 5.5” IPS LCD capacitive Full HD display (403 ppi)
    • 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 CPU, 4 GB RAM
    • Android 5.0 Lollipop
    • 13 MP rear with LED Flash & 5 MP front camera
    • 32 GB in-built storage, expandable up-to 64 GB
    • 3000 mAh battery

Pros: Crisp 5.5 full HD display serves well for multimedia tasks, 4 GB RAM makes multitasking a breeze, good gaming performance, value for money

Cons: design is a bit bulky, power button is not ergonomically placed, inconsistent camera performance, display is a bit dim

Bottomline: Asus Zenfone 2 is the best overall mid range smartphone we have tested in our labs. The mammoth 4 GB RAM makes the smartphone a blazing fast performer and the perfect smartphone in this price bracket for pure multitasking. You can use it simultaneously for multimedia tasks, social networking and productivity and the smartphone will not disappoint you with its raw performance. It's not the best camera smartphone around but at a price of 20,000, Zenfone 2 is definitely a value for money product.

In an attempt to win the specification war and deliver a lag free computing experience, Smartphones manufacturers keep upgrading the chipsets and keep adding gigabytes of RAM. Having said that, smartphones these days have evolved and now integrates the same amount of armoury as your desktop or laptop does.

Taking this one step further, Asus has introduced the big boss of multitasking- Zenfone 2 by integrating 4 GB of RAM. However, what makes this even more interesting is the pricing at which the company is offering it. The Zenfone 2 ZE551ML, which we are reviewing today, is available at half the price of the flagship of biggies and they still don’t have this much of RAM. However, RAM is not the only factor that makes a smartphone a great product. The computing speed, camera, display, etc. are equally important.

So keeping all these things in mind, let’s find out how Zenfone 2 performs and can it bag the title of a true mid-range flagship smartphone.

Performance: The 4 GB RAM effect

First thing first, let’s talk about the factor which makes this smartphone stand tall among the crowd. Zenfone 2 is backed by a whopping 4 GB RAM, which makes it blazing fast in terms of running multiple applications simultaneously. We just did not care how many applications are active in the background and the smartphone did not disappoint us for even once. If Moto Turbo is the Dark Knight of the smartphone industry, then Zenfone 2 is certainly the Flash.

Playing heavy 3D games such as Asphalt 8, Batman- Arkham origins, Real Racing 3, etc. was completely fluidic as Zenfone 2 delivered a lag free performance. However, it heats up quickly during graphical intensive tasks and the battery level also drops significantly which cannot be ignored. We noticed a drop of 17% after an hour long gaming session on the smartphone and in regular day-to-day usage, the smartphone survived for 14 hours. So, make sure you carry the charger with you if you do gaming a lot or watch movies on your phone.

The Benchmark scores of the Asus Zenfone 2

  • Asus Zenfone 2
    Antutu score: 47151

In terms of processing speed, the 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 CPU makes sure that you will not face any glitches during application loading or other regular tasks such as calling, texting, browsing, photo editing, full HD video streaming, etc. The smartphone is just perfect for multitasking and can give any flagship a run for its money.

Design:

Asus Zenfone 2 looks like a hybrid of one of the best looking smartphones; LG G3 and HTC One M8. It features a curved brushed aluminium plastic rear panel, which with its textured surface adds a grip to the design. The rear panel has the volume rockers at the centre (just like the LG G3) which seems quite logical because of the large size.

zenfone 2 battery

The removable rear panel houses the dual SIM card slots and the MicroSD card slot

The camera sensor and the dual-LED flash sit above the volume rockers and a speaker grill is located at the bottom. And Just like Zenfone 5, the rear panel is removable however battery can’t be replaced as it is fixed under a plastic layer. It also houses the Dual micro SIM card and microSD card slot.

 

zenfone 2 power button

Despite of the large size, the phone sits nicely in one hand because of the curved rear panel. However, the power button is located at the centre of top edge which is quite difficult to reach. For this, the double tap gesture command to wake up the smartphone comes quite handy.

The front has the large 5.5 inch screen, the three touch capacitive buttons, a 5 MP camera, ambient light sensor and an ear piece. Overall, the design and build quality of the Zenfone 2 is good.

Camera: Feature packed but with some flaws

Asus Zenfone 2 packs a 13 MP rear camera which integrates the Asus’ signature Pixelmaster technology. The camera is packed with a number of modes such as Manual, HDR, Beauty, Low light, Night, Depth of field, etc. You can check all the modes in the below picture. This makes it one of the most tweakable camera modules on a smartphone.

Zenfone 2's camera is equipped with a number of modes to give a professional touch to your pictures

Zenfone 2’s camera is equipped with a number of modes to give a professional touch to your pictures

Now talking about the camera performance, it is able to deliver good shots in ample light conditions and due to the pixelmaster technology; shots taken in low-light conditions have less noise but colors are not very accurate, they have an overall warmer tone. And in daylight, camera overexposes certain areas of the picture and colours looks washed out.

I would also like to mention about the inconsistency of the camera application. The first review unit was unable to shoot in Super Resolution mode and after some continues efforts, the smartphone switched off abruptly and simply stopped working.

You can check the pictures in the slideshow below:

  • Asus Zenfone 2
    Daylight

The second unit was stable but again the camera stopped responding few times and I had to force close it to use it again, especially while using the Super Resolution mode which is also not very effective.  Besides this, the HDR, Miniature, Manual and other modes works quite well.

 

Display:

zenfone

the 5.5 inch display has 403ppi which makes icons, images, videos look crisp

The Zenfone 2 features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD resolution that delivers a pixel density of 403ppi per inch. And it also comes equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass protection.  By default the display looks quite vibrant and delivers punchy colors. And you can also balance the saturation levels according to your liking in the display setting through Custom, Reading and Vivid mode.

Watching movies and playing 3D games on the 5.5 inch full HD display is amazing and the viewing angles are also good. However we found out that the display is not very bright which makes it a bit difficult to use in direct sunlight.

Software:

The ZenUI has got some upgrades. The notification center now follows the floating style of Android 5.0 Lollipop

The ZenUI has got some upgrades. The notification center now follows the floating style of Android 5.0 Lollipop

On the software front, Asus Zenfone 2 comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and the ZenUI is also modified according to the material design. You can now open any application by drawing a letter on the lock screen. And likewise HTC and LG flagship smartphones, a double tap on the lock screen sleep or wake up the smartphone, which is quite handy to check the notifications or time.

Asus has also added the theme engine to change the overall look and feel of the smartphone. Besides this, the smartphone comes with the host of usual ZenUI tweaks such as Do It Later for reminders, Kids Mode, Zen Link, Asus Webstorage, Weather app, Audio mode, etc. Overall with the Android 5.0 Lollipop, ZenUI feels quite smooth.

 

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