One Week with the Asus Zenfone 2


asus zenfone 2

I’ve been using the Asus Zenfone 2 now for a week and already have the full review well underway, but to keep you going I thought to give you all my first week impressions of the phone.

The Asus Zenfone 2 is a lot of phone for very little money. My version of the handset boasts a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 4GB RAM, Intel processor, 32GB internal memory, dual SIM, SD card expansion, LTE, and Android 5.0. Resellers are selling the phone now, I got this one from Flosmall for $333.

Asus Zenfone 2: Impressions after one week

The Good

Now that I have been using the Zenfone 2 for (almost) a week I feel I can share some of my thoughts about the device with any of you interested in buying the phone. First of all I’m going to kick off with the good points.

Screen

asus zenfone 2

The screen on the Asus Zenfone 2 is a 5.5-inch 1080 panel, so nothing all that special, but what did surprise me is just how good viewing the screen is in super intense sunlight. Usually while out mountain biking on a sunny day I’ll struggle to see even the best of screens but the Zenfone 2 is easily visible.

Performance

It has a quad-core Intel processor and 4GB RAM. Performance is as good as those specs would have you believe. The only issue I have is that with so much RAM I have been leaving a lot of apps running in the background for no reason and eventually after a days worth of multitasking apps I didn’t really need to keep running the camera did slow down. So 4GB RAM has made me even more lazy with my task management.

OS

ZenUI might be pretty ugly but it has a lot of nice features I would like to see on other smartphones. The camera app is chockfull of features. I love the Lollipop notifications on the lock screen, and I really like the “What’s Next” application which gives a timeline of what is currently going on and what I can expect in the coming days (including weather).

Battery

asus zenfone 2 battery

I’ve been surprised by the battery. I read a few reviews with people saying the battery life wasn’t too good on the Zenfone 2, but for me it has been great. To give you an example, today I started the day on a full charge at around 7:50am. In that time LTE, WIFI and GPS have been on none stop, I’ve been in the park taking photos, my screen is on the brightest setting and I’ve got my LG G Watch connected over Bluetooth. It is now past 10:00pm and I have %50 battery left. Not bad at all.

Read Also:  Intel is retiring two of its famous brands: Pentium and Celeron

So that’s what I like about the phone so far, but what about the details I’m not so keen on?

The Bad

Camera

The camera is a huge let down, and the one feature that is going to prevent me from using the Zenfone 2 fulltime. For upclose stills the camera is captures really amazing photos, but for everything else it underperforms. It really is a huge let down, and one I hope that can be fixed with updates.

GPS

GPS has been a little odd for me. Although initial lock on and accuracy is good, I do find that GPS does cut out for no apparent reason at times. For example in the middle of a bike ride GPS just stopped working while using Strava.

The bezels

asus zenfone 2

I don’t have a fetish for thin bezels but the chunky bezels on the Zenfone 2 do make the phone a handful to use one-handed. Coming from a 5.7-inch Mi Note, I still find the Zenfone 2 more tricky to use even with a 5.5-inch display.

Thoughts so far

So far it is only the camera which has let the Zenfone 2 down for me. If Asus can manage to sort it out in an update then I would be on board with the flagship Asus and happily use it as my main device. GPS can be sorted I’m sure and the bezels I can live with, let’s get the camera sorted and a nicer design for the UI and the Asus Zenfone 2 will be a stunner.

I’ll be posting the full Asus Zenfone 2 review next week. Keep posted.

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72 Comments

  1. Atef Elkhesion
    May 1, 2015

    Thanks Andi ,very fair opinion and thoughts .

  2. MaxPower
    May 1, 2015

    Sad to hear that didn’t meet the expectations.
    How was the experience with the SoC?
    Do you think it can become mainstream?

    • Sarthak Panda
      June 12, 2015

      Its definitely awesome. Intel could make it big in the smartphone world but sadly consumers are already convinced before buying smartphone->arm

  3. TheOracle
    May 1, 2015

    Fair assessment and pretty much in line with my experience so far. The two updates in the last week have improved the battery tremendously. That’s probably why you have no issues. The memory leak issue in 5.0 steadily eats up ram and I use the ram boost function every time before it sleeps. Looking forward to the full review.

    • P3V4X
      May 3, 2015

      sir can you try play a video with h.265 codec using the default video player?

      • TheOracle
        May 5, 2015

        It plays h.265

  4. Janusz Sowa
    May 1, 2015

    It’s a pity that camera is pretty bad. It is a huge let down :/ Battery life is quite impressive though.

    • anthony nicholson
      May 2, 2015

      Camera has much improved since last update.

      • Babidi
        May 2, 2015

        Was this video made after or before the last update, because in low light the camera quality looks horrible. At the end of the video the eyes of the swan can’t be seen on Zenfone 2, but it can be seen on the S6 camera.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWJL3uQF79c

        • eddioe
          May 3, 2015

          That’s video quality not the camera and it’s not by any means horrible. It’s literally less than half the price of the S6 Edge, and you complain about that quality? The quailty of the Zenfone 2 in above video is good, not great, not bad and certainly not horrible, it’s good.

          • Babidi
            May 3, 2015

            Sorry for not clarifying what I was trying to say. On January I saw this Zenfone 2 low light camera demo(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSzOfD4UMEE) and thought it had a better camera than Iphone 6 plus and Galaxy Note 4 because of what I saw on the video.

            But in the video I posted above I noticed that Zenfone 2 failed to pickup the details of the ducks/swans face when there was shadow in the face whereas S6 Edge was clearly able to capture it.

            Asus marketed in such a way which exaggerated the camera quality where in real life it is really bad. Just zoom in on the photos Andi provided and you will get my point.

            • Tinker
              May 4, 2015

              The low light modes on a phone camera rely on the scene and phone being still for a while. They emphasized the quality of the photos a lot during their promotion events, but no mentions/samples of the video quality, which gave me a reason for worry.

            • C4
              May 5, 2015

              The light adjustment itself does look fine to me. The sensor maybe isn’t high end. I dunno if you can find cheaper (and otherwise not worse) phones with good Sony sensors though.

    • Joe mont
      May 3, 2015

      The guy didnt use his screen at all given screen on times position in the list, its very non-indicative of general use. I’d actually say it looks pretty poor if it went down 50% with barely any screen on time.

  5. Futra Hurairah Salleh
    May 1, 2015

    One of the gps apps that doesn’t work with Intel SoC is Here apps. They clearly stated in their website that their app will never work with Intel and there’s no mention on whether they do intend to fix the app or just ignore.

    • May 1, 2015

      Good to know as I do use Here alot on my other devices but not got around to installing it on the Zenfone. I wonder if Strava is having similar issues as Google Maps has been amazing today!

      • Rik
        May 1, 2015

        HERE map does not work on android 5. I have zenfone5(1st gen) with android 4.4 and HERE maps works fine on my device.
        on the other hand I also have google nexus 7 with android 5 but in nexus HERE crashed.

        • TheOracle
          May 2, 2015

          Once again, Here maps is working on my 4gb 32gb with the Intel Z3580 and Lollipop 5.0.

    • TheOracle
      May 1, 2015

      That is complete and utter garbage. Here Maps works perfectly on my phone.

  6. Visakh
    May 1, 2015

    Did you get the camera update?I heard the camera improved after the update.Plz reply.

    • May 1, 2015

      I think I am up to date, but will double check

      • Ramandeep Singh
        May 2, 2015

        Were you able to check the camera update? This is one thing that is pending my decision to go with Zenfone 2! Otherwise, I might go with mi 4i or wait for K80.

        • Fabricio Gouvea
          May 4, 2015

          How does the camera compares to JiaYu S3? I value camera, GPS and battery life on a phone (and the custom ROMS 🙂 )

      • elias kazas
        May 9, 2015

        Hi Andi! Which do you prefer asus zenfone 2(do you have the 1.8ghz version?) vs jiayu s3 vs meizu m1 note vs Huawei honor 6.. Please help me choose.. Your opinion matters to me..

  7. Matthew_pl
    May 1, 2015

    Hi Andi. Please check does the sim2 have data transmision?

    • TheOracle
      May 1, 2015

      Sim 2 is only 2g

      • Matthew_pl
        May 2, 2015

        Ok but does it have data transmision: GPRS and EDGE

        • TheOracle
          May 2, 2015

          I don’t know since that sim in my phone is roaming. But I get a message once in a while that “sim 2 data is off”, therefore I believe it supports gprs/edge.

      • G'n'T
        May 4, 2015

        Pretty disappointing and a waste of a SIM slot. You would think it would at least be 3G at this price.

        • TheOracle
          May 4, 2015

          Why is it a waste of a sim slot? My Nubia Z7 Max had 4g on both slots but you could only use data on one. My K910 was the same. That’s the way most dual-sim phones work. I don’t know of any phones that give you data simultaneously.

          • G'n'T
            May 5, 2015

            It’s a waste because as I travel frequently and have my overseas SIM in the phone, I will have to swap it around each time to access data when I am not home. Hence my point of it being at least 3G. At least I could leave it in the second slot but this way I have to open the phone each time to swap SIMs around. A real PITA.

            • TheOracle
              May 5, 2015

              That doesn’t qualify as a waste to me. In fact it seems that the restriction is from Lollipop and not the manufacturer.

    • Tinker
      May 5, 2015

      The phone says data connection is only available through SIM1

  8. avinnash korde
    May 1, 2015

    Is it worth to buy Asus Zenfone 2 or should go for One Plus One ?

    • May 1, 2015

      I think you should go for the Zenfone 2. Better performance (64-bit vs 32-bit), heavier multitasking too. Maybe the OPO might be better in the looks dept but still I would go for the ZF2 any day, any time.

      • TheOracle
        May 2, 2015

        Bros. As Nepa dey show us wahala u know say na battery I dey find too?

        • May 2, 2015

          Me too dey also find a phone with good battery too. E be like say this Zenfone 2 battery dey strong. I go order for one soon.

          • chris
            May 4, 2015

            support zenfone 2 !i own both of them ,now i use zenfone 2 while my relative use the old OPO,if you want to order ,i recommend Flosmall,
            all of my phone and accessories are order there ,seems not bad.

    • balcobomber25
      May 2, 2015

      It depends what you value most in a phone. Both are very good phones.

    • Joe mont
      May 4, 2015

      A xiaomi mi4i.

    • trapchan
      May 4, 2015

      Compared to the reviews, I can guarantee OPO’s camera is much better. Pretty much satisfied with it.

  9. May 1, 2015

    Very good thought Andi. I am still seriously considering to purchase this phone soonest.

  10. John Smith
    May 1, 2015

    If only the Android OS did memory management so you didn’t have to…lol.

  11. Manos
    May 1, 2015

    Watch out Andi Asus is coming with a lot updates to fix their New flagship model they will not let this die like this!

  12. Vash
    May 1, 2015

    You didn’t cover the heat issue.
    Was there any?

    • TheOracle
      May 2, 2015

      None

  13. anthony nicholson
    May 2, 2015

    Those photos aren’t bad shots..

  14. blackmondy
    May 2, 2015

    Seems like the GPS issue has not improved at all.

  15. Name
    May 2, 2015

    Hi Andy …has the camera quality improved after the update? This is the only thing that’s stopping me from buying the phone

  16. Joeffrey Sylvester
    May 2, 2015

    Are you serious dude? My Asus (same model as you) left 50 percent only after use it from 8am till 3pm.. Weird…

    • eddioe
      May 3, 2015

      You have a rouge app or some other problem. Or you;re on your phone literally hours and hours straight.

  17. iChebbi
    May 2, 2015

    Does having a different processor architecture from other phone have an impact on app app compatibility ? What about root and modding I can’t find anything related to this about the Intel processors…

    • eddioe
      May 3, 2015

      No impact on apps. Google zenfoen 2 modding, you’ll find links.

    • Joe mont
      May 3, 2015

      It does have an impact on apps, I’ve owned an Android tablet with an x86 and found many apps dont work properly.

    • Tinker
      May 5, 2015

      It will have an impact for some apps which have native components in addition to Java, and if the developer did not take into account x86 architecture. xda-developers forum has a Zenfone 2 section, they have uploaded a ROM which will have your phone rooted. Modding on the lower/deeper level such as hardware drivers will not be possible until ASUS releases bootloader unlock tool for Zenfone 2.

  18. Pete
    May 3, 2015

    I’m curious to know what the speaker is like. Does it put out a lot of volume, or is it weak?

    • eddioe
      May 3, 2015

      Most reviews say it acceptable, but not real loud, not real low and decent but not great sounding.

  19. eddioe
    May 3, 2015

    Camera seems above average for the price range in most of the reviews I’ve read. This is the first time I read anyone having an issues with the GPS, I don’t think it’s the phone. It’s a very good phone for the money, If you want an even better deal, you can now pick up an LG G2 for under $200 bucks (sometimes way under) new. Yes, an older phone, but still with very respectable specs and performance.

  20. P3V4X
    May 3, 2015

    andi does the default video player support h.265 codec?

    • Rafqi Chairael Nandi
      May 4, 2015

      got a youtube link? let me test

      • P3V4X
        May 4, 2015

        http://www.h265files.com/
        you need to download it to try and test. pls use default video player.. if didnt work try mx player in sw mode. thanks in advance!

        • Manos
          May 6, 2015

          It’s playing without problems but only with mx player sw mode…default video player playing only the sound

  21. Rafqi Chairael Nandi
    May 4, 2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlfkgIPQ-8U
    Test compass and gps asus zenfone 2 Z3580 4gb ram

  22. Rafqi Chairael Nandi
    May 4, 2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzFIo-xYxsI
    stylus on asus zenfone 2 4gb ram Z3580

  23. owodiran
    May 4, 2015

    What’s app and other contacts that read apps does not work. It keeps displaying reading contacts on my asus zenfone 2.what do i do

  24. levin
    May 4, 2015

    One thing I don’t like about Asus phones in general is that the battery life diminishes fast over time.

  25. Tinker
    May 5, 2015

    One thing to keep in mind when purchasing this phone is the version. It seems most (if not all) of them on Aliexpress are Chinese version (CN), which according to http://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1011352/ support only 2 different FDD-LTE frequencies. On eBay there are also Taiwanese ones which support more bands, but still less than WW and US versions. If you buy one which does not support all the frequency bands your mobile ISP uses, then your 4G connection will probably be more unstable or non-existent. The version is only visible at the end of the serial number of the phone. CN version can have WW ROM installed on it (so apps like antutu can show WW), but it will not unlock the LTE bands. If it is 4GB RAM but z3560 CPU instead of z3580 then you can also tell it is CN.

  26. haris182
    May 7, 2015

    what’s your screen on-time?

  27. Kuroneko
    June 30, 2015

    I don’t agree to this review because based on experience the battery is a letdown. It drains so fast it can’t run the whole day and it gets super hot too that you can hear a noise inside the phone.

    You should add to the cons the physical buttons. They don’t lit up and you will have a hard time using the phone in dark environments and not to mention the power button positioning which should have sandwitched between the volume buttons.

  28. Joanna
    August 11, 2015

    how can i show the what’s next timeline in my homescreen?

    • coolmark1995
      September 2, 2015

      Hello and glad I can help have you tried the whats next widget or? it should do the trick 🙂

  29. JJJ
    July 3, 2016

    Hello Andi, today I used Strava with this phone for the first time, and I got the same problem than you. Is it possible that you had this problem because of the freaking power saver app?