- Suffers from bloatware
- Slow shutter speed
- Not bright enough for sunlight legibility and too bright for night-time use
Asus hopes to make its mark in the smartphone market with the ZenFone 2 – a good unlocked phone offered at a relatively low price. It doesn't feature any premium materials, instead flaunting an all plastic build with a brushed aluminum finish. The finish combined with the curved back made it very comfortable for reviewers to hold while also providing a good grip. With that said, at 6 inches tall and 170 grams, many did find it to be a bit unwieldy and bulky.
The 5.5 inch IPS LCD display offers a full-HD resolution of 1,920 x1,080 pixels. While not as sharp as QHD screens, critics describe the screen as crisp with barely any discernible pixels. They add it offers excellent viewing angles and bright and vibrant colors though blacks tended to be a bit lighter than they expected. The only downside was in the screen's brightness. Many found it didn't get bright enough for good sunlight legibility or dark enough to comfortably view in the dark.
The ZenFone 2 offers two configurations: a 1.8GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and a quad-core 2.3GHz processor with 4GB or RAM. Experts all received the 2.3GHz quad-core version. When put to the test, it performed admirably during everyday use without a hitch and even when they started to put more pressure on the CPU with multitasking they didn't notice any problems. With that said, they add it does take a bit longer for apps to load and there were occasions where it got uncomfortably warm.
The biggest issue with the ZenFone 2 is the amount of bloatware preloaded on the phone. In total, experts counted 67 installed apps, many of which they immediately uninstalled to open up space. Battery life is decent though not great providing them with around a full day of juice with moderate usage.
At such a low price point, reviewers were expecting a more mediocre camera experience. For the most part they were proven wrong. Their pictures were generally detailed and accurate though it lacked the contrast of higher-end phones. The camera app provides 17 different modes to choose from though most either stuck with Auto or HDR. Surprisingly, low light pictures turned out fairly well thanks to the low-light mode PixelMaster, though critics point out that without optical image stabilization getting good low-light shots required a very steady hand. The biggest complaints were with its overall speed and poor focusing abilities. Still, consider it perfectly passable for posting photos on social media sites.
At the end of the day, most reviewers recommend the ZenFone 2. Android Central states, "If you're looking for a larger phone and don't need to have the absolute bleeding edge in every single aspect…the ZenFone 2 is here for your consideration." The Verge adds, "The ZenFone 2 still makes a fantastic package considering what you're paying." On the other hand Gizmodo says, "The ZenFone 2 is a fantastic phone for the money, but OnePlus redefined how much phone you could expect…"