Overview of Asus Zenfone 2 smartphone
Introduced in early 2014, the debut phone line ZenFone has brought Asus considerable success with 10 million units sold in the past year. Success of the first generation is also not a small challenge for the second ZenFone generation that has just been released.
Asus Zenfone 2 Review Buy
Formula for success of ZenFone is really not too special: low price and high profile, not to mention that Asus’s perennial brand somewhat helps its phones be more trusted than Chinese products.
After success with cheap phone, Asus has turning towards higher segments. The ZenFone second generation begins with mid-range phones, with prices set from $200 to $300 but still characterize success of the previous live: superior configuration and features compared with phones in the same price range.
Detail review of the Asus Zenfone 2
Camera is one of the most important points that need to consider much when buying a smartphone. That’s why phone manufacturers are racing to upgrade and make emphases on this feature, and Asus is not out of this battle.
Firstly, talking about the parameter, both front-facing and rear cameras are highly upgraded. Specifically, the former and the latter of ZenFone 2 are integrated with 13MP and 5MP resolution respectively (compared to the first ZenFone’s 8MP and 2MP in turn), but the maximum resolution for shooting films still remains at Full HD.
Camera interface of ZenFone 2 is slightly simpler than the first generation: recording/capturing button is clear and understandable, outmost interface is streamlined and not tangle. Shooting mode button is placed at the right corner while other deeper customs are in the settings.
The number of shooting modes on ZenFone 2 is pretty much that users may not catch up with. In difficult shooting conditions, the device itself offers suggestions on changing modes and users just simply tap the screen to switch to respective ones (HDR, light lacking condition, etc…). This is a pretty cool feature on ZenFone 2.
In ZenFone 2, Asus has added a number of capture modes, in which the most notable are Manual and Super Resolution. The Manual mode allows users to adjust multiple parameters such as white balance, exposure compensation, ISO, exposure time (maximum of 0.5 seconds), etc. Especially, this mode also displays a balance bar which is useful in case of shooting scene, and histogram for users to realize overexposed images.
Super Resolution mode uses multiple image capturing solution in succession then merges them to create a photo with maximum resolution of 52MP (8192 x 6144 pixels, including 4 13MP sub-images). Due to shooting and merging various photos, you need to keep your hand steady, and the device must also take a little time to handle and process for the last photograph. Therefore, this mode is only suitable to capturing a picture in great details.
Photograph installation in ZenFone 2 is quite detailed with options to adjust focus mode, white balance, anti-shake, beautification (increase level of contrast, sharpness, etc.), anti-blink (anti-flicker).
When shooting outdoors, focusing and capturing speed are pretty fast, but in dimly lit environments, the autofocus speed is significantly slower. Image-saving speed is quick at auto-capture mode and slower at HDR or Super Resolution modes.
With a resolution of 13 megapixels, photos taken from ZenFone 2 are fairly detailed, not too brilliant. Though the brightness is good even in backlight conditions, the color display is not stable, sometimes it is realistic, sometimes it is too brilliant than that of reality.
In the HDR mode, shooting and processing speed of ZenFone 2 is faster than its predecessor, though it is nothing compared to Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6. HDR image quality is also improved that is no longer “virtual” as of ZenFone 5, light is more balanced but still in brilliant direction.
The front camera is added an interesting mode similar on Samsung smartphones called wide angle selfie, which allows you to take selfie for a whole group without using selfie stick. This mode is quite convenient, but a wider angle (shooting a total of 7 photos) requires longer shooting time than that on Samsung phones.
In beautification mode, the manufacturer also integrates timer function on the shutter button: pressing one time for immediate capturing, pressing and hold and pulling up to the center of the screen for capturing after 5 minutes. Users are also provided 5 beauty customs for taking selfie. It is noteworthy that Asus includes both low-light and time-lapse features in the front camera, something rarely seen on other smartphones.
Users can use image editing features available on this device to have satisfactory photos. Such features allows to cut, rotate images, adjust the contrast, brightness, balance light and dark, graph color, etc. like a specialized image editing program.
Besides, for a short editing, users can quickly apply color effects to make the difference and provide eye-catching photos.
Asus also provides a mosaic software called PhotoCollage allowing to use photographs taken to put together in a grid, magazine or to apply effects. One of the most interesting effects of the PhotoCollage is Little planet, which creates images like asteroids.
Videos filmed from Zenfone 2 are at moderate quality with sharp images, fine details, bright colors and prime brightness. However, the range of brightness is not wide that some details are lost, especially for areas with light and dark of strong differences.
ZenFone 2’s quality of recording is also only average and not much outstanding, many noises are included.
ZenFone 2 does not have slow motion rather than fast motion recording mode (time-lapse). In time-lapse mode, you must choose speed before recording. After the record is done, nothing of the video can be changed.
Design of the ZenFone 2 has significant changes compared to its predecessor that you can even relate it to the LG G3 handset: with volume key phrases in the rear and fake metal scratched back cover. The transfer of volume button to the back is a perfect idea, as each edge is too thin to place hard buttons. However, the volume button is not concave like on the G3, which makes it uncomfortable to hold and press.
The design of the back tacking towards edges makes the phone seem to be slimmer and easier to hold than the first Zenfone, even though the second one is bigger. The contour is not too slim or uncomfortably bulging as on the S6 Edge. Fake scratching metal texture on the plastic back is beautiful and seems to create “superior feeling” than the plastic back cover of the first Zenfone’s generation.
The ZenFone 2 is deferent from LG phones in the feature that the power button is located on top rather than on the back. With its big size, the act of pressing power button while holding the device with one hand will be quite difficult. Asus has equipped a feature of turning on/off screen by touching twice, but many users must get used of this.
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Two side edges of the screen are equivalent to its predecessor, which is not slim but the upper edge is reduced a bit so the device looks not too long. Three touch-sensitive buttons are located outside the screen, but there is no backlight so it is fairly difficult to use at night. Below the touch buttons is another edge with concentric pattern which is familiar on Asus devices.
It can be easily seen that the design of ZenFone 2 has many changes towards positive direction compared to its first generation: slim and easy-to-hold body, better materials and little thinner edges. The move of the volume button to the back and of the power button onto the top makes users to take time to become familiar.
Design is also the factor showing obvious differences between ZenFone 2 and high-end smartphones. The details such as cover material, position of power button, volume button layout or the display contour is not polished and symmetrical as expensive items.
All four versions of ZenFone 2 use IPS LCD screen, three of them have a considerable resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. With a pixel density of 403ppi, these full HD-screen ZenFones are able to elegantly display sharp images. This screen feature is really an advantage of ZenFone 2 over rivals in the same price range.
The screen of ZenFone 2 is slightly yellowish with wide viewing angle so the image displayed remains unchanged at a diagonal look. Colors are displayed honestly at this handset. Like other products from Asus, ZenFone 2 allows users to adjust display modes and colors across the Splendid app.
One feature that is not professional in this ZenFone 2 is its fairly inferior brightness, which is still okay to use indoors but difficultly seen outdoors, especially under the sunshine.
Loudspeaker is located at the bottom of the ZenFone 2’s back cover. Volume of the speaker is just moderate, which is enough to listen to music but hard to hear film’s dialog clearly in noisy places. Adjusting volume to the maximum level does not make the sound cracked or broken.
ZenFone 2 has as many as 4 different versions of processor, RAM, screen resolution and memory capacity. Among those, the version with processor configuration of 1.83GHz and 2GB RAM actually is very good at meeting normal demands. Speed between switching apps, websites or opening keyboard, touch responding, etc. are fast, lags does not appear during task performance. The Intel processors are well compatible with Android applications, especially for games, no game exit phenomenon due to incompatibility. Some high configurable games such as Modern Combat 5, NOVA 3 or Godfire, etc. can also be played on this device.
ZenFone 2 uses Android version 5.0 and the 2nd generation of ZenUI developed by Asus. ZenUI 2 has been equipped with many customizable interface changes, such as changing topics (themes), icons or rolling effects, etc. Though the current number of topics is not much, the basic choices of ZenUI 2 are quite diverse, which seems like using external launcher.
Besides the interface, Asus also presets many applications on the ZenFone 2, including MiniMovie (editing and creating videos), MyAsus (supporting information), PhotoCollage (providing image compositing effects), etc. An advantage is that users have a variety of tools to use immediately without having to download. However, not everyone uses these apps, therefore it is better if Asus provides an option of app removing or after-installing to avoid wasting storage capacity.
Due to the fact that the power button is moved to the top of the phone that is quite difficult to press, Asus has added the feature of tapping twice on the screen to open and turn off the monitor. This is a very handy feature, which has appeared on smartphones from LG or Sony, but users also have to spend time getting used to.
A feature called ZenMotion is also outfitted on this device. This allows you to write text on the screen to quickly open applications when the screen is off. Currently ZenMotion has just identified 6 letters, but users can assign these 6 letters for any application on their ZenFone 2.
On the ZenFone 2, Asus has used a 3000 mAh battery, which higher than the battery of ZenFone 5 (2110 mAh), but along with this is the larger screen and higher resolution. In reality, the battery life of the device is sufficient to meet daily use, but not too impressive compared to its capacity.
Specifically, for implementing the following tasks simultaneously: playing games, watching movies and surfing the web for 30 minutes repeatedly, screen brightness is set at 70% with the WiFi connection turned on, the using duration of the device is 4 hours and 45 minutes. This is fairly good and sufficient to use the phone for a whole day.
ZenFone 2 is integrated with the fast charging feature, which often appears on high-end devices. When the battery is fully utilized till the phone becomes power off, the whole charge takes only 1 hour and 40 minutes and it isn’t hot much during charging. ZenFone 2 charging speed is equivalent to that of the Galaxy S6, as for actual time of use, only a 30-minute charge can maintain the device by about half a day.
Following the success of 1st ZenFone, ZenFone 2 is still considered to be a product with superior configuration compared to phones in the same price range or holding same convenient features developed by Asus. In addition, the weaknesses in previous generation – camera and battery – are all improved in the latter. It is unjustly to say that Asus understands fully its strengths of hardware and product research capabilities, and always tries the best to take advantage of these assets.
Not only the ZenFone, now other mid-range or cheap phones can also be admitted to meet the needs of mainstream users. Mid-range phones’ configuration is very respectable that runs common applications smoothly, some products are even suitable for highly configurable games. Camera quality or battery usage duration has been greatly improved by manufacturers.
Of course, in addition to the configuration, high-end phones still have outstanding features over Asus’s or Lenovo’s products, such as more elaborate design, more efficient cameras, various features or software with exclusive service packs, or just simply a more valuable brand. Accompanying with these superiorities is much higher sale price, which can double or triple the mid-range.
Are you willing to spend a large sum to own such superior characteristics? If you don’t have problems with your budget or you are familiar with advanced products, such phones like iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 will meet your needs, but in remaining cases, a handset like the Asus ZenFone 2 is enough.