Monday, July 20, 2015

The Asus Zenfone 2 - Moving with the times!

I just got my hands on the Asus Zenfone 2! :) While there is still a lot to be explored after my post regarding the features that I had liked about it before I tried it out, this is what my verdict is of what I've discovered in the last 3 days with the phone in my hand. Asus has introduced the 1st phone in the world with a 4 GB RAM. Is this a phone with raw specifications or does it live up to the hype it has created is what this post is going to tell you :)

The Asus Zenfone 2 technically is a budget phone but by the looks of it, it doesn't behave, look or act like one. With the phone in my hand I noticed that it has a very common design that you will see in other android phones. The back of the phone is made of a special material giving me a good grip on the phone and finger print impressions don't stay. The corners are very well rounded off and the back tapers very nicely giving a very comfortable feeling in the hand. The back cover is removable giving you access to two sim card slots and a memory card slot, however the battery is not removable. The 1st thing that you'll notice when you start using the phone is that its sides are clean without any buttons. The power button is at the top of the phone which makes it difficult to reach sometimes but luckily Asus has introduced the double screen tap feature for the Zenfone 2 for it to be locked or unlocked so you don't have to reach for the power button every time. The volume button has been shifted to the back of the phone making it very easy to press and the texture of the button helps you find it easily. The same button can also be used to click selfies thus making it very convenient. The micro USB is located at its usual place at the bottom of the phone.

The phone has a 5.5 inch screen but the overall size of the phone is much bigger because of its thick lower and side bezels, even then I think this is a good looking smartphone. The IPS LCD screen does justice with 1920x1080 resolution and respectable PPI of 403, giving you everything that would be expected from a high end phone. The screen is sharp, vivid, bright, easy to see in broad day light from all viewing angles. The screen size is perfect for all your entertainment such as gaming, You Tubing, web surfing and the occasional movie watching. The good part is that you can change the color mode of the phone depending on your liking. Apart from the default setting you have the reading mode (easier on the eyes), Vivid mode (increases the saturation), and a custom mode depending on how you want your screen to look. 

The phone comes with a Intel 64 bit new generation atom processor but it depends on the version you get. The 2 GB version comes with a Intel 3560 1.8GHz processor and the whooping 4 GB RAM version comes with an Intel 3580 2.3 GHz processor, this has got a lot of attention I must say. Well what I've tried is the 4 GB version, and man this phone is fast. Its snappier than a lot of other high end phones, animations are smooth, app switching is swift and handles all high end games and apps pretty well. Just to test the phone I loaded a couple of big games and apps and switched back and forth between the apps and to my delight the phone still didn't show any lag or stutter or signs of slowing down. So if you're a user that needs to multi-task with big applications then this phone should live up to your expectations.

The camera at the back is a 13 MP with a dual tone LED flash and an aperture of 2.0. Also like the other zenfones the Zenfone 2 features Asus's pixel master technology, for better pictures in low light conditions. The camera software is fairly straight forward and easy to use with all the usual setting you would expect. The camera packs a long list of shooting modes giving you a variety of ways to take photos. What I really liked on this phone is the HDR mode as it added some extra saturation and I really don't mind that. At low lights the performance of the camera starts to detoriate but when you put on the night mode the phone's pixel master comes into play giving you some nice pictures. If you are into selfies then the front camera is a 5 MP camera with a wide angle lens and it does a pretty good job. There is also a selfie panaroma mode to fit everyone into the frame.

With the help of the phone's Zen motion software you can lock unlock the phone with a double tap on the screen and draw characters on the screen to open an application of your choice. There is also a mode called Snapview with the help of which you can switch between the work mode or personal mode and the good part is that both these modes are password protected so only you can view all your data in each mode.  

What I loved was the kids mode which will be really useful for me when Aryaa will be playing with the phone. With that you can manage apps and content which you feel is fine for your kids to see and eliminating worry about them having complete access to your phone. You can have the applications set only for them in this mode.

The phone comes with all usual features such as WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, etc. It has storage options of 16/32/64 GB and get be extended to another 64 GB by using the MICRO SD slot. On the back of the phone you can see that it has a big speaker but it's not as loud as expected. To power the Zenfone 2, Asus has used a whooping 3000 mAH battery but I could still only make it through a day with 4 hrs of screen on time. I'm sure Asus will address this and will come out with a software update. However, the good part is that the phone supports faster charging technology which means that you charge upto 60% in just 40 minutes! If the battery life issue is solved then this phone will be a beast of a smart phone to contend with. 

The phone ships with Lollipop 5.0 on top of which you have Asus's Zen UI which has taken the material design aspects of Lollipop. The phone has a host of features such as a single hand mode which reduces your screen size so that the phone can be handled with one hand and an easy mode with which the phone changes to a simple interface. There are lot of customization options that the Zenfone 2 offers in which you can really make your phone look good. There is a something called a beam engine with the help of which you can change the look and feel of the entire phone with different fonts, icons and changes in the lock screen and notification tab. You have a lot of options to modify your stock launcher, by changing the complete home screen experience by downloading Icon packs for your phone and installing it directly on to your phone which can be done on other handsets only if you have a 3rd party launcher. It's available with a number of different back panels shades that also come in different textures.

So with a friendly design, powerful specs and a overall solid user experience, the Asus Zenfone 2 is definitely a steal at the price its being offered which is INR 14,999 (Z3560 1.8GHz/16GB/2GB), INR 18,999 (Z3560 1.8GHz/32GB/4GB), INR 19,999 (Z3580 2.3GHz/32GB/4GB) and INR 22,999 (Z3580 2.3GHz/64GB/4GB). This is definitely going to set new standard for the smartphone market and here's what the current infographics by Asus says.

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