This is the ASUS ZenFone 2. We took a look at this earlier in the year at CES but we finally have our own unit courtesy of ASUS. This phone is pretty important because of two things—it’s an unbelievably affordable global smartphone and it’s powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor. Also, this one’s in red, which makes it awesome. So let’s dive into this unboxing and first impressions.
The box here is pretty normal and I actually found it fairly nice, overall a good presentation. But let’s go ahead and open up the sleeve. This reveals the ASUS ZenFone 2 sitting on top with a pull tab. Once we pull it up, we can take our first impressions of the retail version of the ZenFone 2. Overall, it feels pretty solid yet fairly lightweight for a large device. But let’s set this aside and take a look at what else comes inside the box.
Underneath this divider, we will find a booklet containing many of information and facts about the ZenFone 2 and underneath that, we will find the charger and USB to micro USB cable. Now that’s fairly simple stuff. Let’s go back to the ZenFone 2.
On the plastic that’s covering the ZenFone 2, we actually learned a few important things. Mainly, the biggest attraction is the inclusion of Intel’s 64-bit Atom processor and Android 5.0 Lollipop. The dimensions of this phone are fairly large. It actually measures in at 6 inches tall, 3.04 inches wide, and a fairly thick 10.9mm; that’s thicker than the HTC One M9. But it doesn’t sacrifice with its specs.
Beginning with the display, it’s a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD panel with a little over 400ppi. Inside, it packs a quad-core Intel Atom chip that’s clocked in at 2.3GHz and 4GB of RAM. Also, the internal storage can vary between 16, 32 and 64GB variants. On the rear, we will find a 13MP camera with an LED flash and your volume rockers. The power switch still lives on top dead center. The feel on the hand isn’t great but it’s fairly lightweight and very comfortable. And thanks to its flat sides, the phone actually does have a decent grip and doesn’t feel slippery at all. But the phone doesn’t feel that appealing, especially from its generic looking front. The back definitely feels much nicer and complete than the front of the device.
Now booting up for the first time, it’s actually very fast and setup was fairly easy. Mostly Google but there isn’t a bit of ASUS bloat. The software framework is Android 5.0 Lollipop but it does have a brand new version of Zen UI. And to be fair but slightly blunt here, the bloatware feature on this phone is impressive in a bad way. It’s filled to the brim and only half of these applications and services could be uninstalled or disabled. But from first impressions, it seems that the Atom chip is right at home running things very smoothly and with 4GB of RAM on that, things shouldn’t lag or bug down. It’s one seriously powerful device. And with this model retailing for $299, it’s a crazy good bang for your buck.
But I already found one problem—the ASUS ZenFone 2 appear to be a rare breed of smartphones, ones with removable backs. But when you pop this sucker off, you are struck with a lot of plastic and no removable battery, which makes me ask the question: “Why make a phone that’s thicker by adding a removable back cover but make the battery not user-removable?”
But to not end on a bad note, this phone does feature two great things—one of them is a dual SIM slot, which means you can keep two SIM cards in this phone and swap what service you run on. This may sound stupid to you, but it makes sense for people who travel to different locations several times a year. The second thing is that it does have a microSD card slot, which means you can buy this 16GB model and just pop in a microSD card for more storage.
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