Back in early January, during our coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show, we gave you all afirst glimpse of the Asus ZenFone 2. For those unfamiliar with the ZenFone 2, it is an Intel-powered smartphone, rocking Android Lollipop, that’s compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, and other cellular networks that utilize GSM technology, like Straight Talk, MetroPCS, and Cricket Wireless among others.
Asus Offers The ZenFone 2 In A Handful Of Different Colors
A couple of days ago, Asus held an event to officially launch the ZenFone 2 and announce availability in the U.S., and we left with one of the flagship versions of the phone in-hand. The ZenFone 2 pictured here is packing a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 (2.3GHz) with PowerVR G6430 graphics and 4GB of RAM, along with Intel 7262 and Intel 2230 modem tech, a 5.5” FullHD screen, a 13MP rear camera, dual-SIM support and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
We are still working on our full review, but we thought you all would like a sneak peek at what the ZenFone 2 could do, considering it just went on sale, at very affordable price points. The high-end model you see here can be had for only $299, unlocked. A $199 version with 2GB of RAM and a slightly slower Intel Atom Z3560 is also available.
Geekbench doesn’t paint the prettiest picture, with the ZenFone 2 coming in dead last in the single-threaded benchmark and just ahead of the iPhone 6 in the multi-threaded test, but we have to say that in general use the phone feels plenty snappy. The 4GB of RAM most certainly helps, because the phone is basically never starved for memory, even with multiple apps running.
GPU testing puts the ZenFone 2 about in the middle of the pack, though it’s really only the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810-based HTC One M9 with a sizable lead—The ZenFone 2 is within striking distance of high-end devices like the Galaxy S 6 in the 3DMark Ice Storm test in terms of graphics performance, but physics performance is second from the top thanks to the Intel SoC.
A Flip Cover With Front Window Is Available For The ZenFone 2
We’ve still got lots of testing to do, but initial impressions of the Asus ZenFone 2 are quite good. It remains to be seen how well the camera holds up in various lighting conditions and how long the ZenFone 2’s battery will last, but we should have all of that data shortly. We can say the screen, while not terribly bright, is crisp and offers very good viewing angles. The phone is responsive to touch and hasn’t misbehaved at all in the few days we’ve been playing with it. And Asus’ tweaks to Android aren’t terribly intrusive, though it’s clearly not a “pure” Android experience.
Still, considering how much money can be saved by buying an unlocked phone and not getting stuck with a new contract, and that Asus has priced the ZenFone 2 so aggressively, we think it’s going to be compelling to lots of users.