Pros: Quad Core Baytrail Intel Processor is very snappy. Had no lagging at all.
4GB of DDR3 memory is more than most higher cost phones have
64GB of internal storage, plus ability for more with separate MicroSD card makes this a worthwhile purchase
Battery life once all the bloatware and necessary settings are done is comparable to other large "phablets"
Included extra capacity charger will bring phone back to 80% charge in under an hour
FM radio built into phone is operational and will work with headphones only
Once updates are applied, camera works very well and is worse than no other smart phone on the market
Phone is equipped and ready to run 802.11 AC, with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.
Asus is good about keeping the phone constantly updated with fixes.
Screen is a true 1080p. High def video definitely looks great.
Cons: Phone only has Gorilla Glass 3. I am sure they did this to cut cost, but for a few dollars more Gorilla Glass 4 would be better and worth it. I added one of the aftermarket .3mm solid glass screen protectors to help with this. They work well.
Phone is not very bright for use in daylight unless you go into settings and figure out some things that are not mentioned in any manual. Once you do that, it is as bright as any Samsung or Motorola, but battery life suffers when you do this.
To get good battery life, you really have to jump through hoops to eliminate bloatware and setup what programs you want to run in the background. With a little due diligence, you can add extra steps to your routine to get very decent battery life. I've used it for talk, text, and surfing (with no game playing) for over two and a half days without charging. I could never do that with my iPhone.
Battery is not replaceable by the consumer in this phone. Asus allowed user replaceable batteries in the Zenfone 2 Laser. Better to opt for one of those.
Some aluminum in the framework would be nice and wouldn't add that much bulk to the phone.
Volume button can be a real pain until you get used to it.
Bloatware is the most that I have seen on any Android phone, but this is typical even in the Asus tablets. You really have to work to disable all the bloatware, but it is worth it.
Asus keyboard when texting can be a little cramped. Very easy to hit the home button when trying to hit the spacebar. Takes some getting used to when coming from a Samsung or Motorola phone.
Has only one speaker and works through a speaker chamber in the bottom of the phone. The speaker chamber faces towards the back of the phone instead of the bottom and can make it hard to hear the phone ring sometimes. Volume could be a little better if Asus would work on it.
Lastly, Asus customer service is terrible. When I first received this phone from NewEgg for review, it would not turn on or charge, and exhibited no normal signs of life. I contacted the Asus rep who posts on here, and contacted NewEgg directly about getting some help so I could do a review of the phone. After a few days I got an "automated" email from the rep that publishes here, saying I could exhange the phone for $25 if I wanted to. Hey, wait a minute, I'm reviewing your phone.......That didn't set well with me. NewEgg responded almost immediately and said a separate Asus rep would be in contact with me. To this date, no one else has ever contacted me.
The issue I had with the phone I finally read and found out the issue myself. I left it hooked up to the charger for a full 72 hours, then the phone started acting like it wanted to work and took a charge. It seems Asus had quite a few various battery, internal connection, and other issues with some of these phones. Once I got the phone up and running after 4 days, I installed my SIM and began testing and it has been reliable and works great. Battery life has been good as well.
Overall Review: If it weren't for the fact that Asus support is terrible, I could almost give this phone four eggs. But for the plain and simple fact that even for a $300 phone all you get is a robo-letter or no contact at all, the most it will get from me is three eggs.
The phone itself is nice and functional, and very powerful for the money spent, but I find it better to recommend the less expensive Zenfone 2 Laser. Yes the Zenfone 2 Laser maxes out at 3GB of memory and has less storage (16GB or 32GB of internal storage), but you get a laser focus camera, a user replaceable battery, and an Octa-Core Qualcomm processor with a little more pleasing look and it comes with Gorilla Glass 4.
Rating: 3 Eggs
Disclaimer: I am neither paid by NewEgg nor the vendor to evaluate any item. I am simply supplied the item and put it into everyday use and give my personal evaluation of the product.
Pros: Like to first state that I got this model as a product review/test and loved it so much I bought my gf this model in red, and my mom the cheaper version in black. needless to say for the price ur getting a bargain with these phones. phones are pretty good on T-Mobiles service.
Cons: bloatware, and battery life. my 2 main complaints. you seriously need a battery back up on standby
Pros: Unbeatable price for everything it has to offer. Very reliable and stable running Android 5.0 Lollipop with 4GBs of RAM. Dual SIM 4G LTE capable with great signal strength and call quality on ATT's network. 64 GB's of expandable storage. 5.5" beautiful 1080p HD display. 2.3 GHz quad core processor. 13 MP camera that takes excellent pictures. Easy to hold and use. Charges very quickly in about an hour from dead. Great build quality and it looks like a higher priced phone.
Cons: Battery is not removable. The placement of the volume buttons on the back take some getting use to. Some setup is required for optimal usage depending on your cellular network.
Overall Review: I'm very impressed with this phone. ASUS has set a new standard for affordable phones with it. I really like the feel of it in my hand with the curved back and it has a perfect weight to it. Sure the camera could be a little bit higher end but at this price there's no complaints from me. Pictures are very natural looking and easy to capture without blurring. I love having 64GB of storage and still having a removable option with an micro sd card slot. The phone is very responsive without needing to reboot it everyday and runs everything I've thrown at it with the massive 4GB's of ram and the 2.3 GHz processor. The phone charges very fast and although the battery life isn't amazing it does well enough to get me through most days. I do wish it was a removable battery. I noticed that some apps are buggy and it's most likely due to the fact that this phone just came out and they just need to be optimized for it. The volume rocker being located on the back of the phone is a bit strange but I like it. It sets it apart from most of the other phones and you don't accidentally change the volume while holding the phone or passing it around although it did take a little getting used to.
Excellent cameras (see "Other Thoughts")
No lag or stutter (even while attacking dense farms in Ingress)
Smooth interface (no comparison with TouchWiz, LG, and Motorola's UI)
Screenshots with Motion (see "Other Thoughts") or mapped to a key
Capacitive keys (only thing I was missing from my Galaxy S2 Skyrocket)
Universal System Software
Cons: Sunlight visibility - on par with a Galaxy S2
Gets warm easily
So far unable to map gesture controls
Motion Gesture can't be triggered intentionally (see "Other Thoughts")
Touch Gesture won't allow mapping at ALL
Unable to get PC Link software to work - and it's needed to copy over camera pictures/videos (but I'm trying on a Windows 10 Pro Preview machine)
Only a 2A charger will charge it (See "Other Thoughts")
Camera (see "Other Thoughts")
Capacitive buttons not backlit (you get used to them however)
Overall Review: Please note that even though SIM2 says "2G" you are limited to voice and text on it. You will not be able to send MMS or use data on SIM2. It's an annoying limitation but that's how the technology works.
The images and video, from what I can tell, are amazing, clear even beyond the focus point, and true renders of color. BUT, it takes a couple of seconds to process what the camera's captured. It's faster for internal storage, but you still can't rapid-take photos.
The primary Motion Gesture is "ShakeShake" for screenshots (which would be MUCH easier than mapping to the capacitive keys or Power+VolDwn). I got it to trigger three times in almost nine days. It triggered just fine in my pocket or while walking between portals with Ingress open.
The battery is VERY interesting. It works like normal, but the charging speed can vary WILDLY. 5v @ 2A works fine, but the included charger can go to 9v @ 2A. THAT'S how you get 60% in 40mins or 75% in an hour. The one external battery pack I have isn't enough to CHARGE this phablet, but it slows the drain by about 60%. Otherwise the ZenFone 2 will last you about five hours streaming radio over 4G while using a Bluetooth headset and playing Ingress 3.5/4 of those five hours.
Something to know if you're not already running Android 5.0 "Lollipop:"
Heads Up Notifications. They're a PITA! And I understand that it's Google's Lollipop, not Asus. But a ZenUI option to turn them off would be awesome. It's hard to maintain Zen when your game, video, or even GoToMeeting is disrupted with "Kimberly shared CatsAreFreakingAwesome!'s Picture."
So there are a few interesting things that this phablet have which are shoulder-shrugging, but may be serious. I'm not used to a laggy camera, so I'll switch back to Internal Storage and tweak a few settings. I'm not surprised with the battery, and it's not a deal-breaker. It's just a limitation of Lithium Ion technology. There's times when my LG tablet only slightly charges while I'm using it (30mins for 1%).
Would I go back to any of my other (4G) devices? Absolutely not!
Are any of the nags enough to upgrade when the next 'Big Thing' comes along? No.
Would I recommend this phablet to my friends, family, and coworkers? Hell yeah I would! I already am.
Pros: Flagship specs: 2.3Ghz quadcore Atom CPU, 4GB of RAM & 64GB of storage PLUS SD cardslot!
Only $299! seriously... Only $299?
Fast & smooth, well thought out UI
Good battery life
Useful ASUS apps Included
Rapid charging is no joke. (the phone charges to 100% in like an hour)
Did I mention the UI is amazing?
Cons: Power button.... Why is it on top of a 5.5" phone?
thats all I got.
Overall Review: Just to get this out of the way, At $299 off contract this is a total game changer in the US. most flagship phones cost this much with a 2yr agreement! And with the direction the Nexus line is taking, this is the only saving grace to make smartphones affordable. Basically what we are seeing here is ASUS is doing with the Smartphone market with what they have been doing with the PC market for some time. Making a cutting edge computers at bare minimum profit margins. The PC space has been so competitive in the last 10 yrs that Manufactures make sometimes next to nothing on a product just so that their competitor moves less units. So this is why I say "Game changer" if this phone becomes successful, you will see other manufacturers follow suit and lower profit margins to stay competitive. which is awesome for the consumer!
OK so now for the Phone its self!
Obviously at this price point this phone is a crazy Value and with reviews I always like to take price point & value into context of how I rate a product.... but to be completely honest. The "value" aspect does not affect any other part of owning this phone! Well other than making your wallet happy. So even though this is technically a budget phone, you still get a top tier flagship phone. You're getting one of the fastest SOC on the market right now, combined with 4GB of RAM. which is the highest amount of ANY phone out right now, 64GB of storage with SD card expansion (some phones still don't even have a 64GB option!).
The screen really nice quality (no odd ghosting or under saturation, etc) and a sweet spot of 1080P resolution for 5.5". It has good enough brightness to be easily seen outside on a sunny day and goes dim enough to not blow your eyes out of their sockets while reading in bed at night.
The camera is about on par with anything out now. not mindblowingly awesome but above average for sure. taking pictures outside on a sunny day, shots are nicely saturated, clear and sharp. even when uploading them to a PC and viewing them on a bigger monitor the images remain clear and crisp. The camera settings allow you to use several helpful pre-defined presets and also a pretty useful "manual mode" for people with a little more know how in the camera dept. I wasnt impressed with the low light performance however, but the Dual LED flash makes up for most of it.
Battery life was really good. I got just over 5 hours of onscreen time over the 1st two days with the phone (42 hrs up time). This was with all the updates, benchmarks, etc. I hit the phone pretty hard when I was actually using it.
The UI is Simply amazing. Fast & Smooth! I MEAN SMOOTH! there is ZERO lag. ever! startup manager, Custom home screen transition and window animation settings. Fonts, themes, icons... yes you can customize EVERYTHING. Even the grid in the app drawer can be "pinched" to set the amount of icons you want shown on each page. the UI and Launcher are simply the best i've ever used, period.
Pros: This phone has the power to topple samsung and apple. The price is great for an unlocked phone that has this much computing power, and storage space. ASUS products have always been stable and a cut above the rest with computer components, and now proving it with there phone. This phone is a powerhouse when it comes to gaming and surfing the net. The 64gb of space is enough to store whatever you want. The screen size is definitely what I needed to see everything. My S5 screen compared to this screen is a vast improvement. Picture quality to me is great. Wifi and cell single is also up there. I myself have struggled to get great reception, and this phone might be the one you've been looking for as well for this same issue. 4 and 5 bars constantly.
Cons: The bloatware that automatically starts dowonloading as soon as your hooked up to the internet. One of those free aps I used and it wiped out the phone had to factory reset it. Battery life isn't as good as my S5. The battery just seemed to drain fast. Need to carry a charge station with you. The heat that this phone produces is a little bit insane.
Pros: Slick design, return, & home buttons on the case below screen, 4GB of system memory, 64 GB storage, expandable via micro SD card to another 64 GB. 5.5” IPS HD screen, 13 megapixel camera takes beautiful pictures, 5 megapixel front facing camera takes clear video and pictures unlike many smart phones I have used. Solid battery lasts me through an entire day of heavy use. Very smooth lag free operation, Intel atom CPU works flawlessly, slick UI, very intuitive and easy to use. Fantastic gaming performance and standard micro USB cable for charging (which beats Asus’s proprietary USB cable) Dual SIM cards. PRICE!! At $299 this is a ton of bang for the buck!<br>I didn’t know what to expect from this phone. I do own an Asus transformer tablet and like it but I have not used any of their phones. My current phone is a LG G3 and it has been a wonderful phone to use. It does mostly everything well with some minor issues. That said let’s get into the Zenfone 2. As soon as I took it out of the box I was pleased with the weight. It feels like a solid phone. The next thing that stood out to me was the home and return buttons; well not so much buttons as touch keys but that they are placed off the main viewing screen is a HUGE plus in my book. I know, I know many of you like the buttons on the screen which allows for a slimmer device but I have always hated how phone companies have been placing the button on the viewing screen taking away from the viewable real state. So yes I love this feature and I’m pleased that Asus did this. It makes for a slightly longer phone but in today’s market with 6”+ phone screens this feels just right. Powering up the phone was quick and the OS feels very snappy. I was welcomed by several Asus updates which downloaded quickly and installed painlessly. I then followed that up with installing all of my favorite aps, music, games a couple of movies finishing it up by getting the home screen looking the way I like it. Next I ran AnTuTu bench v.5.7 and immediately was pleased with the score. With all of my aps installed services running the total score hit 48243! Not bad considering I’m running this phone un-tweaked and in it’s every day usage form. By comparison my LG G3 gets a total score of 41116. The HTML 5 bench gave a score of 20803 compared to my G3’s 16804 score. Booting both phones up at the same time showed the Zenfone 2 to be the faster unit as well as loading webpages. There is literally zero lag issues with the Asus unit compared to the slight lag I experience with the G3 daily. I found that applications install very fast on this phone, faster than my LG G3 for sure. <br>Battery charge time is very fast and I’m pleased to say that the Zenfone 2 lasts well over a day under heavy use on a single charge. I’ve actually found myself charging this phone every other day. The screen is beautiful, sharp and a joy to view. Colors aren’t over saturated and it looks to me to be very balanced....(cont. in other thoughts)....
Cons: All plastic case in an otherwise high end phone is a little disappointing. I would have liked to see a metal rear or at least trim around the outside edge but that aside the phone feels good in the hand, has enough weight that I think ‘quality’ and is just small enough that I can use it one handed.
Overall Review: UPDATE 4/10/2016 This phone is junk. I have been using this phone since I received it. Since my review the camera stopped working, the phone resets on it's own forcing me to drag all of my apps and widgets back to the phone desktops, and when I unplug the charging cable the phone cannot be used for about a minute or so as it becomes locked up. After waiting a minute or so it then is usable again. I have kept the phone updated, uninstalled apps, done everything I could to get the camera working but no go. Searched online and it seems to be a fairly common issue as I found many people online complaining bout this. This phone is completely unreliable. This is not acceptable for a phone these days. I left my review intact for the most part, so I hope this edit helps those that might be considering this phone. I cannot in good conscience recommend this phone any longer.
.....There are features to change the way the colors pop such as vivid mode. You will also find a reading mode and of course you may use the custom mode to adjust the screen hue, saturation & color temperature yourself. I would also like to point out how user friendly this phone is. Right away it was more intuitive than my past android phones. Not filled with bloat from the cell phone company, tons of cool features and just super easy to navigate. Going back to the LG G3 I get a bit worked up as their system just doesn’t seem as fluid; As Zen like. Playing Hi-Res movies look awesome and totally make me want to watch a movie on the phone, though I normally don’t do this. I didn’t experience any issues at all.Music sounds great with some good IEM’s and I’m pleased to say that this could easily handle my portable audio duties nicely. It helps having 64GB of on board storage (though near 10GB of that is set aside for the OS). The speaker is decent. Sounds fine, gets loud enough but doesn’t sound any better or worse than most cell phones I have used. I played a number of games on this phone and never once has the phone chugged, sputtered, or choked. Every game I have tried on it has played flawlessly. I’m not a big mobile gamer but I do enjoy the occasional game when out and about. Bards Tale, Limbo, Order & Chaos Online, GTA: SA & Battleheart legacy all ran fantastic. For my limited needs the Zenfone 2 performed better than I expected and actually made me want to download some new games. Throughout my time with this phone I have to say the single biggest thing that stands out is how snappy and powerful the phone feels and how fluid the OS responds. The Intel Atom CPU and 4GB of memory really make this phone perform. I came into this experience with an open mind but never thought I’d prefer this phone over my current LG G3 but by the half way point I had already packed the G3 up and placed it on a shelf. The Asus Zenfone 2 is the real deal and at a cost that is one easy pill to swallow. I find it funny that at any other time I would most likely skip over the Asus phone for a brand that I am more used to seeing such as Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Sony etc. I am so glad I had the chance to review this phone by Asus as I have been nothing but impressed with it. I do not often give any product a perfect score but this is one case where it is well deserved in my world for my needs. Admittedly this phone won’t hit a solid 5 stars for everyone out there. I think though that many will be pleased and some like me will be totally satisfied. I will say Asus made a very solid well performing phone and did so at a price that is easy on the wallet compared to the other phones it will compete against. Bravo Asus!
Pros: Overall, I find the Zenfone 2 to be a solid phone with excellent hardware. The OS is quite responsive and the hardware proves to make a point with high benchmark scores and smooth animations even when under stress. Compared to the Nexus 6, the Zenfone 2 scored more than double in the Quadrant benchmark coming in with a score of 23,000 vs the Nexus 6's 10,000. The increased performance of Android 5 absolutely helps here, and Asus did a great job trying to showcase features of Lollipop while making their own customization twists within the OS. Out of the box custom Icon packs are compatible with the launcher and even details like the fonts, colors, and sizes of icon text can be easily changed by swiping up from the bottom of the home screen and entering the settings menu for the interface you want to change. I haven't seen a level of customization on a stock phone before and it was quite refreshing being able to change so many parts of the interface to my liking. Apps always quickly loaded and even when running multiple memory intensive applications had no trouble switching back and forth.
Hardware wise, this phone is impressive for the price. It has fast internals and a decent sized battery and screen, but still sits somewhere in the middle of being a budget and mid range phone. Some features are missing from this device, like Wireless charging, but the inclusion of a better screen and bigger battery are well worth the price. That being said, even compared to flagship phones, the Zenfone went head to head and matched or exceeded performance in benchmarks. At first glance the device looks high end, especially with the faux metal back plate, but as soon as you pick it up you'll know it's plastic. It is certainly a joy to hold and doesn't feel like it will slip from your hands, and the back is curved just enough to give you a firm grip on the phone at all times. Moving the volume rocker to the back was surprisingly a nice change from having it on the side of the phone. It was never accidentally pressed, but the location and sensitivity of the buttons made it easy to use when deliberately changing volume.
The screen on this device is very nice with great viewing angles with minimal distortion to darker colors at extreme angles. Being a back-lit IPS panel, the readability of the screen in direct sunlight was phenomenal. The response rate on the screen is one of the best I've seen with very little noticeable ghosting and pixels that are near impossible to spot with the naked eye.
Cons: The hardware on this device is solid internally, and incredibly fast, but it does not feel like a premium device. It has a noticable heft, and the shape is somewhat bulky compared to other phones, but it maintains a plastic feel with hard lines along the face. The bezel around the face of the device has a slight lip where it meets the screen and the bottom "chin", but only enough just to feel when dragging your finger along it. This rough edge combined with the plastic back made to look like brushed metal makes it feel cheap, especially when it shows scratches extremely easily. Even when carefully handling the device, scratches immediately became apparent on the back plate of the phone and light marks were visible on the screen.
The screen on the Zenfone 2 is difficult to judge. It's very easy to read fine text and images are crisp and clear, and there's very low persistence with video and animations, however the color and brightness leave a lot to be desired. When compared to other phones running IPS displays and OLED screens, the colors on the Zenfone 2 appear muted and whites come off as more of a light gray.
Double-tap to wake the screen is a nice feature to have, but moving the power button to the top of the device makes double-tap the only reliable way to wake and sleep the device, even if it doesn't always work as expected. I've had icons and widgets moved on my phone because double-tap will activate in my pocket.
By far, the greatest letdowns are in the UI and skin overlays that Asus has added to Android 5.0. For the most part, Asus has done what they can to allow you to fully customize the interface, which is executed quite well, however many changes simply don't make sense or only work with the Asus provided applications, but can't be removed even when the associated apps are disabled. Even little details like showing that folders can scroll seem like little oversights that ZenUI is riddled with. The lock screen icons for accessing the camera, dialer, and SMS applications will only work with the native apps, even if you use alternatives like Hangouts or the Google Camera as your phone's defaults. The quick-access tool bar in the notification pane is also riddled with bloated features that sometimes don't make sense, such as including the calculator and certain settings sub-menus.
Many of the included apps are also simply bloatware. Out of the box, the app Clean Master immediately notified the user that the phone was running slow and needed to be cleaned up, recommending clearing memory and cache information the user should really never have to worry about, and continued to notify on an hourly basis that the phone was running "slow". There's also ZenCircle, which is Asus' planned social network for Zenfones, something that hasn't launched yet but also cannot be removed from your device. Having the option to remove these applications would be much nicer than having to live with them on the device.
Overall Review: There are many features that I had tested, such as camera, battery life, network performance and audio quality. There simply wasn't enough room here to outline the specifics of how they reviewed, but it was worth noting that all of these categories were comparable to other phones with similar specifications with no notable favorable/unfavorable viewpoints, they worked as expected without fuss.
To sum up, this is a great phone, but I feel like some of the software inclusions that Asus tacked onto this phone simply didn't make sense. The majority of the problems, bloatware, and unnecessary applications can easily fixed in future updates, but at the time of this review they were still prevalent. The hardware is quite solid and functions fantastically for the price, and is very worthy of a high review, especially because the software can easily change with future updates but is quite usable and intuitive now. If the interface and launcher do not make sense later, there are always options on the Android Market, such as the Google Now Launcher, which will allow you to use the hardware with a different interface.
For everyone's information, these are the networks that this phone will work with:
T-mobile/AT&T: full support
Verizon: 4G only, no 2G/3G
Sprint: Does not work at all