Every year it happens: Apple introduces a new phone and throngs of faithful fans start forming lines outside Apple stores. While this crowd phenomenon definitely creates a certain amount of buzz around new Apple offerings—we witnessed this with the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus too, which are still going strong in the marketplace —of late, this anxious wait and excitement seems to surround the launch of flagship devices from other handset makers as well. New product launches, such as those from Samsung, Gionee,
Xiaomi, Motorola have all witnessed this crowd frenzy, both in the online as well as offline world.
The launch of ZenFone 2, later on Thursday, by the Taiwanese device maker Asus, has generated a similar amount of excitement among gadget lovers. What is its price, specs and new features? My guess is that it will be priced around Rs 20,000 and given its impressive mix of hardware and software, it will be a compelling choice for consumers looking for something new and fresh in the market. Asus was considerate enough to send us the ZenFone 2 for a few days.
— Debashis Sarkar (@Debashis_sark) April 23, 2015
My first impressions: it is definitely bigger and a powerful smartphone. Read on to find out its inner details. ZenFone 2 is available in five striking colours—Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamour Red and Ceramic White. Out of the box, the device has an incredibly slim profile, it is just 3.9 mm at the thinnest edge. This is more than an impressive engineering feat that Asus designers have compressed the powerful Intel processor, the dual SIM card, the thin design is so comfortable to hold, and makes using ZenFone 2 easier. The concentric-circle design adorns both the front and rear key, giving a beautiful, tactile effect. This effect, claim company officials, is achieved through precision machining that produces circles with a mere 0.13 mm pitch, giving ZenFone 2 a premium look and feel. ZenFone 2 is equipped with a high-resolution 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display that offers wide 178-degree viewing angles. The staggering 403ppi pixel density renders every image in eye-delighting detail. The new Asus phone has a highly-intuitive control layout, incorporating a physical rear key as part of the new ergonomic Arc design.
Probing the innards, ZenFone 2 is powered by a 64-bit 2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3580 processor. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with the Zen user interface. There’s high and an increasing demand to run powerful apps and multitasking on smartphones, yet many models are equipped with just 2 GB or 3 GB of memory. ZenFone 2 has 4 GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM capability. It also features LTE Category 4+ for download speeds up to 250 Mbit/s, and a 60 milliseconds touch response time.
The 64-bit Intel Atom Quad-Core 22nm processor inside ZenFone 2 carefully balances nifty performance and good power efficiency, empowered by the sophisticated Silvermont architecture.
First introduced by Intel in its desktop-class Ivy Bridge processors, ZenFone 2 employs the very same 22nm technology in its 64-bit processor. The Tri-Gate transistors have almost three times (3X) more surface area as compared to planar transistors, enabling more electrons to flow when it is in the ‘on’ state. It also improves the transistor switching performance which increases the computing performance and decrease the power leakage.
ZenFone 2 PowerVR 6430 graphics-processing unit (GPU) packs a serious punch, for computing experiences that feel like using your desktop computer. Demanding, graphics-intensive games and videos run buttery smooth and look splendid on ZenFone 2’s Full HD display. Not only that, ZenFone 2 is equipped with 802.11ac super fast Wi-Fi, which is a supercharged version of 802.11n. It offers speed from 433 Mbit/s and operates in up to eight spatial streams (MIMO), employing an advanced technology called ‘beamforming’ to increase throughput and reduce power consumption.
In actual use, I was amazed at the stunning touch experience of ZenFone 2; company officials claim their new device has a record-breaking response time of just 60ms—way ahead of competitor devices that typically take 80-100ms to respond. Anyways, scrolling is smooth and free from lag so the screen feels alive to your touch, and switching between apps is a breeze too.
ZenFone 2 has a dual SIM, Dual Active technology, so you can fit two SIMs and have both active at all time. So, while talking to your friend from one SIM, you’ll still receive messages and calls from the other. If you need to switch focus, just put the first call on hold to deal with the second! There’s a front 5 megapixel snapper with 85 degree Field of View, large aperture f/2.0, 5-element lens PixelMaster Camera with 140 degree. On the rear front, there’s a 13 megapixel Auto-Focus camera for brighter photo and video. I snapped a few photos with ZenFone 2 and predictably, camera performance is top-notch. It captures very good image and video quality all around.
The final word: ZenFone 2 is by and large, the largest phone ever made by Asus, with top-notch design and materials, sharp display and it is a solid performer to the hilt. Highly recommended.
Display: 5.5-inches, Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS display
Processor: 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580/Z3560 Quad Core processor
Operating system: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
Memory: 2 GB/4 GB LPDDR3 RAM
Storage: 16 GB/ 32 GB/64 GB eMMC Flash
Camera: 5 MP (front); 13 MP rear camera
Estimated street price: Rs 22,999 for top end model