|ASUS ZenFone 2 ZE551ML Quick Review, The Affordable Flagship|
Last month we were honored to attend our very first international tech event in Jakarta, Indonesia courtesy of ASUS' ZenFone 2 regional launch. During that time we were lucky to get experience the most and highly anticipated smartphones from the Taiwanese giant.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 has several variants, the one that we got our hands-on to was the ZE551ML, which sports a 5.5-inch IPS Full HD display powered by 2.33GHz quad core Intel Atom Z3580 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.
The large screen takes up most of the space in the front, the left and right bezels are just about the right size, not too thick and not too thin, but still, we love to see it thinner. Above the display you will find the earpiece grill, the hidden sensor, ASUS logo, secondary camera and the notification light. Meanwhile, the capacitive keys are located directly below the screen. We do not know the reason why ASUS opted to use the old type of buttons, instead of the newer on-screen implementation of most Android Lollipop devices.
The back has a smooth finished with very fine-line texture, similar to most, if not all kinds of ZenFone. The most noticeable difference though, is the placement of the volume keys at the back positioned between the ASUS logo and the 13MP main camera. Meanwhile, the Intel and ZenFone logos are located directly above the loudspeaker grill.
|Back without cover|
The back cover is removable, once you take it out, the two micro SIM slots and micro SD slot are readily accessible, however, the 3000mAh battery is not. If you flip the cover, you will find the NFC chip embedded on it.
The top holds the power button, the 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone while the bottom has the micro USB port and the primary microphone.
The left and right side has nothing on them, which makes you think at first glance that it has a unibody design.
Design wise, the ZenFone 2 is pretty similar to all of its ZenFone siblings and as mentioned earlier, the main difference is the placement of the volume keys at the back. In terms of build quality, it looks pretty solid and feels sturdy, something that we could expect from a flagship device. Meanwhile, handling it is still quite comfortable, even though it is slightly bigger than competitors with similar display size.
To accessorize, there is also an official smart case named as View Flip Cover Deluxe, aside from the usual protection that it gives, it also offers added functionality through its circle window.
It has a 5.5-inch IPS screen with full HD resolution, which translates to about 401 pixels per inch. This gives the ZenFone 2 a clear and crisp display at almost any given angle, even at the lowest brightness (indoor). Moreover, it supports up to 10-point touch, giving all your fingers a place to touch. In addition, it has 72% screen-to-body ratio, which is bigger than iPhone 6 Plus' 68.3%.
Aside from the usual proximity, accelerometer and light sensors, it also got plenty of other sensing stuff.
|Antutu - 45,555|
|Quadrant - 16,131|
|NenaMark2 - 59.6fps|
We run our usual benchmark apps and it scored pretty quite high, in Antutu it scored more than 45K, which is similar to a MediaTek MT6595 device like Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus and Starmobile Knight X, take note that the ZenFone 2 ZE551ML is only a quad core device. By the way, I mentioned those two locally branded smartphones because they have similar price point with the ASUS' flagship.
It runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Zen UI on top, to learn more about this intuitive ASUS interface, you can read our ZenFone 4 review.
CAMERA and VIDEO:
|Camera and video|
The interface has a nice and neat layout, the on-screen shutters for video and camera are placed side by side at the lower part of the UI. On the lower right, you will find the thumbnail of the last item while at the upper part has the settings button, front/back camera toggle and the on/off/auto key for the flash. The camera offers lots of effects and tweak options, such as Manual Mode (similar to that of Nokia Lumia 1020), Super Resolution, GIF Animation, Beautification and more.
|Against the light|
The main camera sports a 13MP sensor with PixelMaster technology and accompanied by a Real Tone Flash while the front one feature a 5MP module. When there is a good lighting, both cameras are able to deliver good images with ample amount of resolve details and accurate colors. Close-up photography is also possible as the camera able to focus at a minimum distance of about 10cm.
Sample Video - 1080p
It is also able to shoot good quality videos up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. A 45-second clip used up around 82MB of storage space.
During our short hands-on with the ZenFone 2 ZE551ML, we can safely say that it can live up the hype and expectations of many consumers. A very solid flagship with a very reasonable and affordable price tag. To be particular, the variant with 4GB RAM and 32GB ROM is expected to retail for less than 14K pesos, a price tag that is even cheaper than some of the flagship devices from local the brands.
- Dual micro SIM, dual standby, supports LTE
- 5.5-inch IPS capacitive Full HD (1920x1080) touchscreen display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
- Dimensions: 152.5mm x 77.2mm x 10.9mm
- Weight: 170 grams
- Android 5.0 Lollipop with ASUS ZenUI
- 2.3GHz 64-bit quad core CPU, PowerVR Series 6 - G6430 GPU, Intel Atom Z3580 chipset
- 4GB of RAM
- 32GB internal storage, expandable up to 64GB via micro SD card
- 13MP auto focus main camera with dual-color Real Tone flash, PixelMaster technology
- 5MP secondary camera
- Multimedia player
- FM Radio
- 3.5mm audio jack
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
- Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
- Bluetooth v4.0
- Sensors: accelerometer, light, proximity, gyroscope, magnetic
- 3000mAh Li-Po non-removable battery
- Price: TBA