ASUS launched an updated version of the ZenFone 2 this week, its bid at delivering a flagship-quality smartphone below the standard flagship price. The ZenFone 2 comes in four variants, a 16GB of storage model with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, a more robust 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM model, and the ultra-powerful, newly released 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM unit. All models feature a 64-bit Intel® Atom™ quad-core processor and 6430 PowerVR GPU, though the more enhanced versions run at 2.3 GHz (compared to the lesser 1.8 GHz). As of this writing, the ZenFone 2 is one of the only phones on the market to offer 4GB of RAM.
In building the ZenFone 2, ASUS used what it calls an “Ergonomic Arc Design”—meaning the back of the phone is curved to fit more naturally in the palm of your hand. The body features ASUS’s trademark concentric-circle design, giving it a nice tactile feel and metallic-looking finish. The profile of the phone is quite slim, measuring 3.9mm at its thinnest edge. In an effort to make the controls more intuitive and user-friendly, ASUS installed a rear key on the back of the device that allows you to adjust the volume, snap selfies, and more—a feature that should appeal to left- and right-handed users alike.
Regarding screen size, the ZenFone 2 houses a 5.5" IPS capacitive display with a 72% screen-to-body ratio, an achievement made possible by ASUS shaving the surrounding screen bezel width down to its bare minimum. The 1920 x 1080 screen resolution delivers vibrant imagery and color depth and enables you to watch Full HD content without pixel loss.
Because it’s a flagship smartphone, the ZenFone 2 comes equipped with dual flagship cameras: a 13MP f/2.0 five-piece Lagan rear camera and 5MP front camera. Both lenses feature image-enhancing PixelMaster technology. Autofocus is built in for the rear lens, and a dual-tone LED flash helps when taking photos in low-light situations. Additionally, ASUS equipped the ZenFone 2 with a number of photo-friendly features to help you get the shot you want. Super HDR Mode, for example, expands the dynamic range by four times to give the final picture up to 400% more brightness. Super Resolution Mode combines four 13MP photos to create a single image with four times the clarity—up to 52MP.
ASUS offers several accessories to further enhance the ZenFone 2’s camera. The ZenFlash is a professional xenon flashlight designed to transform the ZenFone 2 into a DSLR-style professional-grade camera. It’s 100x brighter than LED flashlights and can be controlled through a simple interface. Another camera accessory, the Lolliflash, uses dual-LED light to deliver true-to-life colors and natural skin-tone enhancement. Both are separately available.
Building upon the Android Lollipop operating system, ASUS equipped the ZenFone 2 with an upgraded user interface, ZenUI. ZenUI delivers more than 1,000 additions to the standard Android interface, including ZenMotion, SnapView, Trend Micro Security, and ZenUI Instant Updates.
The ZenFone’s non-replaceable 3000mAh battery is backed by ASUS’s BoostMaster Technology, which is designed to charge the ZenFone 2 at faster than normal speeds—up to 60% in 39 minutes. The 18W adapter required to achieve this charge rate is included with 64GB and 128GB versions (not the 16GB). For additional power options, the ZenFone 2 is compatible with the ZenPower, a small but power-packed 10050mAh battery that can quickly recharge your device.
Protective accessories for the ZenFone 2 are also available, including screen-guards, bumper cases, and the intuitive View Flip Cover Deluxe, which guards the ZenFone’s display from scratches while making important information available through an interactive window.
Additional features of the ZenFone 2 include dual SIM card slots, a microSDXC slot for up to 64GB of additional storage, GSM 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth- and NFC-compatibility, and much more. The ZenFone 2 is available in a variety of colors, some specific to their model version.