Following the highly successful ZenFone family of affordable but feature-packed smartphones, ASUS today launched the ZenFone 2 in Southeast Asia. The highly-anticipated device was unveiled at the Experience 2Morrow regional press event in Jakarta.
The first-generation ZenFone was a runaway success thanks to its outstanding features, Intel-powered performance, stunning design and affordable pricing. It sold more than 10 million units worldwide since its launch last year. It has also won a remarkable 238 awards worldwide!
Following the footsteps of the popular ZenFone family, ZenFone 2 pushes the ‘affordable luxury’ proposition even further. Its premium design and outstanding build quality has quickly won the hearts of design judges, picking up the 2015 iF Design Award recently.
The luxurious finish with trademark concentric circles on its ergonomic curved body tapers down to an amazing 3.9mm at its thinnest point. It doesn’t just look great but feels uber comfortable in the hands. At 170g it isn’t the lightest phone out there, but it does give you that solid, assuring feel in your palm.
It packs a 5.5-inch display that squeezes into a compact body equivalent to a 5-inch smartphone. That’s 72% screen-to-body ration for those curious with numbers.
On the curved back is an intuitive button that functions as volume control as well as a camera shutter. Convenient indeed.
ASUS focused on the camera prowess of the previous gen ZenFone, and the new ZenFone 2 is no different. In comes a 13MP f/2.0 snapper with Real Tone Dual LED flash, backed by the famed PixelMaster 2.0 technology. The Low Light mode on both rear and front (5MP) is outstanding — capturing up to 400% more light and giving you better, brighter photos in low light.
In the camera software department, the HDR, Super HDR and Low Light mode will impress, literally letting you “see what others can’t see.”
If you need finer controls, Manual mode gives you DSLR-like control over ISO, shutter speed and more.
Under the hood, ASUS again seeked the services of the Intel Atom, this time the latest 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 (2.3GHz) and Z3560 (1.8GHz) mated to a PowerVR Series 6 – G6430 GPU.
The new ZenFone 2 has the distinction of being the world’s first smartphone packed with 4GB of RAM. Expect silky smooth multi-tasking and blazing performance in both 2D and 3D tasks.
The device has a dual-SIM slot with Dual SIM Dual Active (DSDA) technology with SIM 1 supporting 4G LTE data, while the second SIM – GSM.
With all the power-packed internals, ASUS made sure to include a big battery —- 3,000mAh with ASUS BoostMaster fast-charging technology. Get charged up to 60% capacity in just 39 minutes (BoostMaster Charger only included with 4GB model).
The ZenFone 2 gets a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920x1080p) IP display or a 5.5-inch HD IPS display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has a 60ms Touch Screen Respnse Time and if you’re planning to use the phones with gloves (not in Southeast Asia please), don’t fret because there’s GloveTouch support (some ultra sensitive touch panel).
ASUS didn’t forget about audio — the ZenFone 2 comes with Sonic Master technology working together with 38% larger audio chambers and improved speakers. This results in 4X more powerful sound output, 4X deeper bass and 2X higher pitch.
ZenUI is ASUS’ minimalistic, intuitive and fluid user interface on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. There are more than 30 ZenUI apps that you can install from Google Play (so don’t accuse ASUS of bloatware, tsk tsk).
ASUS launcher gives you easy customisation and personalisation and also the nifty ZenMotion — a collection of touch gestures for your ZenFone 2. Double-tap the display to wake the device, swipe different letters to launch different apps, or gently shake the phone to ‘Do It Later.’
With the ZenFone 2, ASUS also brings the View Flip Cover Deluxe, Transition and Illusion personalised back covers, ZenFlash, Lolliflash, ZenEar and ZenEar S headphones and ZenPower powerbanks.
There’s absolutely plenty to like about the ZenFone 2, and I think ASUS has outdone itself this time. It’s still the affordable ZenFone we’ve come to love, but further refined and enhanced to be the best ZenFone to date.
Pricing and availability
Pricing for the Indonesian market is as follows:
- ZenFone 2 (ZE550ML) – 5.5″ HD, 1.8GHz Z3560 / 2GB RAM / 16GB storage – IDR2,699,000 (RM759)
- ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) – 5.5″ FHD, 1.8GHz Z3560 / 2GB RAM / 16GB storage – RM2,999,000 (RM843)
- ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) – 5.5″ FHD, 2.3GHz Z3580 / 4GB RAM / 32GB storage – RM3,999,000 (RM1,125)
- ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) – 5.5″ FHD, 2.3GHz Z3580 / 4GB RAM / 64GB storage – RM4,499,000 (RM1,265)
- View Flip Cover Deluxe – IDR159,000 (RM45)
- ZenEar S – IDR699,000 (RM197)
- ZenEar – IDR79,000 (RM22)
- ZenPower – IDR269,000 (RM76)
- Lolliflash – IDR119,000 (RM33)
- ZenFlash – IDR239,000 (RM67)
Available colours include Glacier Gray / Osmium Black / Glamour Red / Ceramic White / Sheer Gold (ZE551ML); and Osmium Black, Glamour Red, Ceramic White (ZE550ML).
Malaysia will get the ZenFone 2 on 9 May 2015, at the “Incredible ZenDay” user/fan party at KL Live, Kuala Lumpur. Accessories will be available in selected markets only.
Stay tuned for updates and hands-on reviews!