Review ASUS ZenFone 2 smartphone and branded accessories

Published on May 21, 2015

Review ASUS ZenFone 2 smartphone and branded accessories



    Today, less than a year after the release of the ASUS ZenFone line , the official presentation of two new models of ZenFone 2 smartphones will take place. In order not to delay, we offer you to immediately familiarize yourself with the overview of these gadgets and related accessories - covers and pocket batteries for charging.

    Specifications


    As you remember, the ZenFone line was presented by three models of smartphones, which differed in both the size of the diagonal and the filling. In the ZenFone 2 line, there are only two smartphone models, both with a diagonal of 5.5 inches. They differ from each other by display resolution, processors, memory size and a number of other parameters. Below is a comparative table of their characteristics:
    ZenFone 2 ZE551ML ZenFone 2 ZE550ML
    CPU Intel® Atom Z3560 / Z3580 64-Bit Quad-Core (1.8 / 2.3 GHz) Intel® Atom Z3560 64-bit Quad-Core (1.8 GHz)
    operating system Android 5.0 Lollipop with ASUS ZenUI UI
    Display 5.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) and a pixel density of 403 pixels per inch, maximum brightness - 400 cd / m2, OGS (full lamination) technology. 5.5-inch IPS-display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 and a pixel density of 267 pixels per inch, OGS (full lamination) technology.
    Cameras Primary: 13-megapixel camera, 5-element lens with a maximum aperture of F / 2.0 and an autofocus system, two-tone Real Tone flash.
    Front: a 5-megapixel camera, a lens with a maximum aperture of F / 2.0 and a viewing angle of 85 degrees, the function of panoramic self-portrait shooting (selfie).
    PixelMaster technology includes enhanced low-light mode, Super HDR for backlight shooting, portrait enhancement mode, fully manual mode, and an instant shutter function.
    Video Recording HD video with a resolution of 1080 pixels with the function of stabilization and photography during video recording with one touch
    Supported Standards UMTS speed:
    HSPA + Receive: 5.76 Mb / s / Return: 42 Mb / s
    DC-HSPA + Receive: 5.76 Mb / s / Return: 42 Mb / s
    LTE speed:
    Category 4, Receive: 150 Mb / s / upload: 50 Mb / s
    4G band:
    FDD LTE: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/9/17/18/19/20/28/29
    TDD LTE: 38/39/40/41
    3G:
    WCDMA:
    850 / 900/1900/2100
    TD-SCDMA:
    1900/2100
    2G:
    EDGE / GPRS / GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    (Network support varies by region)
    Memory 16/32 GB ROM
    2 GB / 4 GB RAM
    Support Micro SD memory card up to 64 GB
    ROM 16 GB
    RAM 2 GB
    Support Micro SD memory card up to 64 GB
    Wireless interfaces Wi-Fi 802.11ac
    Wi-Fi Direct
    Bluetooth 4.0
    NFC standard
    Wi-Fi 802.11ac
    Wi-Fi Direct
    Bluetooth 4.0 standard
    Connectors and Ports 3.5 mm audio jack, two SIM card slots with the ability to work in active mode (Dual Active)
    Navigation GPS / GLONASS / QZSS / SBAS / BDS
    Other sensors Accelerometer, presence sensor, light sensor, gyroscope, electronic compass, Hall sensor Accelerometer, occupancy sensor, light sensor, electronic compass, Hall sensor
    Battery 3000 mAh Li-Polymer with Boost Master fast charging technology (fast charging adapter can be supplied separately) 3000 mAh Lithium-Polymer with Boost Master fast charge technology (fast charge adapter sold separately)
    Colour Black, Gold, Gray (Silver), Red Black, red, white
    Size (H x W x D) 152.5 x 77.2 x 3.9-10.9 mm 152.5 x 77.2 x 3.9-10.9 mm
    Weight 170 g 170 g


    Specifications ZE551ML according to the benchmark version AnTuTu










    Specifications ZE551ML CPU-Z







    Specifications ZE550ML according to the benchmark version AnTuTu










    Specifications ZE550ML CPU-Z






    Appearance and equipment


    Smartphones come in traditional compact boxes that open like a matchbox. In the box are a smartphone, charging, a USB-microUSB cable and a headset with a flat cable and three pairs of ear pads of different sizes.





    The charger that comes with the ZE551ML is slightly larger and supports Boost Master's fast charging mode. When using it, the smartphone is charged at 60% for 40 minutes. For the younger model, you will have to buy the same separately.





    We pass to the heroes of the day. The front side of ZenFone 2 is not much different from other devices. The only exception is the decorative strip at the bottom of the device, with a “proprietary” concentric texture applied. The width of the framing of the display on the sides is 3 mm, however, another 1 mm of plastic edging around the perimeter is added.





    The review got gray metallic (ZE551ML) and white (ZE550ML). Plastic enclosures, the reverse side is a highly convex bath. The older model has a brushed aluminum texture; the younger model has a smooth body. Below is a mesh that covers the speaker.





    The camera lens protrudes slightly above the surface of the case, a tiny rush is made around the circumference.



    There is a dual flash above the lens. One LED is white, normal, the second has a yellowish spectrum. It is intended for shooting portraits, so that the skin tone in the pictures is more natural. Under the lens there is a large rocking button for volume control, it is flush with the body.

    The width of the side faces is slightly less than 4 mm.



    The upper and lower ends have a maximum width of about 7.5 mm. At the top is a narrow power button, a headphone jack and a microphone hole. Bottom - microUSB connector and the hole of another microphone. The abundance of microphones is designed to improve your audibility for interlocutors, say, in difficult weather conditions.







    Despite a fair thickness of 11 mm, the smartphone in the hand feels much thinner thanks to the narrow edges. And visually it looks "slimmer". But because of the convex body in the hand lies comfortably. The ZE551ML has a rougher texture and is therefore slightly easier to hold than the smoother ZE550ML. In general, these smartphones can not be called particularly light, but their specific gravity is quite low. From such a sufficiently large device, you unconsciously expect more impressive weight.

    The housing cover is easily removed, it is enough to pry a barely visible recess with a fingernail at the bottom on the right end.

    ZE551ML:



    Under the volume control is a slot for a microSD memory card, even lower - slots for two microSIM. Although the battery is visible, it cannot be removed on its own.



    ZE550ML:





    Display


    Both smartphones are equipped with very high-quality displays on IPS-matrices. Color reproduction at a height, balanced, not oversaturated, viewing angles are large. The stock of brightness is good; Of course, in the bright sun there will be some discomfort, but bearable.



    Despite the significant difference in resolution, the image of the younger model does not look worse at all. You need to look deeply at the screen to see the pixel gradation of the curved lines. And the case with the older model for this will have, without exaggeration, to use a magnifying glass.

    Gorilla Glass 3 is used as a protective glass here. The oleophobic coating significantly reduces friction, fingers slide easily on the glass. In addition, both displays allow you to work with them with gloves without any problems. Great property for our climate.

    Software


    Smartphones are running Android 5.0 Lollipop. Custom shell, proprietary ASUS ZenUI. Moreover, it was specially slightly redesigned for ZenFone 2. If you wish, you can install one of the attached graphic themes.

    On smartphones, several traditional ASUS branded applications are preinstalled: SuperNote, PC LInk, Party Link, Share Link, Remote Link and Splendid.

    Of the innovations, the so-called “child mode” can be noted, in which you can set password protection and limit the list of available applications and functions:







    The ZenMotion section appeared in the settings, in which you can set wake up by double-tapping the display and shaking the smartphone. You can also schedule the launch of different applications, depending on which letter of the Latin alphabet to display with your finger on the display:



    Another interesting new feature is the SnapView function. In fact, this is a system of software profiles, by analogy with the "large" operating systems. Profiles are independent, for each of them creates its own isolated environment, without the ability to read correspondence, run programs and other “intersection” with other profiles. Now several people can use one smartphone without fear of intrusion into their personal lives. Or you can create a separate work profile, with the appropriate set of software and correspondence.





    Shooting


    The cameras in both models are the same. The front is equipped with a 5 megapixel sensor, the front camera boasts already 12.6 megapixels. Above, I drew your attention to the presence of a warm LED for shooting portraits. It really allows you to get a more natural color in low light. You can also apply 17 different effects:





    More on photography, with numerous examples
    Отдельно обращу ваше внимание на режим «Слабое освещение». При его активизации (нужно нажать на пиктограмму совы) результирующее разрешение снимков снижается до 3 Мп, а светочувствительность возрастает почти в 4 раза. Достигается это программной обработкой и суммированием сигнала с логических кластеров по 4 пикселя. Вот пример снимков в обычном режиме и с включённым «слабым освещением»:







    К сожалению, уровень шумов всё-таки высок. Однако на экране смартфона это мало заметно. При увеличении освещения (например, с использованием вспышки) качество существенно улучшается:



    Обычный режим со вспышкой:



    Без вспышки:



    «Слабое освещение» без вспышки:



    «Слабое освещение» со вспышкой:



    Качество съёмки фронтальной камеры:



    Качество съёмки при нормальном освещении в немного пасмурную погоду:




    Фокусировка и экспозиция по радиовышке:

    habrastorage.org/files/ae9/71e/968/ae971e96883b44688d8b5e44f5806283.jpg

    Тот же кадр с включённым режимом HDR (High Dynamic Range):





    Фокусировка и экспозиция по тени под деревьями:



    Фокусировка и экспозиция по дереву в правой части кадра:



    Смартфон старается сам определить, какой режим съёмки может быть уместен в данный момент, отображает иконку его активации и подсказку.




    cellular


    Nothing new here, except for LTE support. Unfortunately, the cell module in the smartphone is one. Therefore, despite the possibility of installing two SIM-cards, only one of them can be active. The second is in standby mode.

    Performance


    The older model is equipped with a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor, presented at the end of 2014 and working with a clock frequency of up to 2.3 GHz and 4 GB of RAM (a version with 2 GB will also be on sale). The younger one works on the Z3560 with a frequency of up to 1.8 GHz, the amount of RAM is 2 GB. The GPUs on smartphones are the same, PowerVR Rogue G6430. The storage capacity of the younger model is 16 GB, the older one can have 16 and 32 GB.

    Benchmark results
    Vellamo (551 — 550)



    AnTuTu (551 — 550)



    Quadrant (551 — 550)




    GFXBench 3.1 (551)



    GFXBench 3.1 (550)



    Geekbench 3 (551)







    Geekbench 3 (550)







    3D Mark (Ice Storm Unlimited) (551 — 550)



    Обратите внимание, что в этом графическом бенчмарке старшая модель показала худший результат. Вероятно, это связано с тем, что тест проводится в разрешении 1280х720, и смартфон тратил ресурсы на интерполяцию.

    During testing, both models showed high speed in conventional applications. Games, watching movies, surfing with watching "heavy" videos - all these tasks were carried out without any brakes and roughnesses. Also, I have no complaints about working in the graphical shell of the OS, the devices are sensitive to my actions.

    Accessories


    That rare case when it is possible to review not only the device itself, but also related accessories. ASUS is concerned about the release of interchangeable multi-colored “smart” cases, and for each smartphone its own line of covers is produced. True, they are still interchangeable, so which one to use is entirely a matter of taste.

    In fact, each case is a removable back cover with a hinged cover made of polyurethane. The covers are made of large round windows. Three covers for the EZ550ML and one for the EZ551ML went to the review.



    I'll start with those intended for the younger model.





    The black version is completely black, both inside and out. The white cover has a cheerful orange inside lid, while the red one has a discreet gray-beige.













    Installation of the cover is very simple: remove the cover "native", install the cover with the cover and snap. The smartphone recognizes when the cover is closed, and the first time you turn on the display in a round window, this picture appears:



    After clicking Never show again, this prompt will no longer appear. In this mode, five horizontal screens are available, and some of them may have “branches” up and down.

    Photo











    If on any of the screens you drag your finger around the circle, then a ring divided into sectors will appear, from which you can quickly go to any of these screens without flipping.

    When you open the cover, the smartphone itself turns on the display in the normal mode, regardless of whether it was turned on before that.

    Covers for ZE551ML have not a smooth cover surface and not a brushed metal texture, but embossing.





    Around the window there is a ring painted in polished metal, and the window itself is covered with transparent plastic. Curious, but it allows you to use the touch screen. It happens that it does not recognize the touch so clearly, but in general it arises no problems. In addition to black, covers of other colors for the EZ551ML will be available on sale.



    And the last type of accessories announced with the new smartphones are pocket batteries for charging ZenPower gadgets.



    Their dimensions are 90.5 x 59 x 22 mm, weight 215 g. The kit comes with a short USB-microUSB cord, which serves both to charge the batteries themselves and to transfer energy from them.



    Their capacity is 9600 mAh, with a charging current of 2 A and a voltage of 5 V, the time for a full charge of the batteries is about 5.5 hours. Discharge current 2.4 A, voltage 5.1 V.



    Between the connectors and the power button are four small white LEDs. At the same time, they play the role of an indicator of charging, discharging, and current battery fullness.



    Duration of work


    With active surfing with periodic viewing of videos, the older model lasted about 9 hours, the youngest about 10. The smartphones planted heavy games for 4 and 5.5 hours, respectively.

    Conclusion


    Smartphones turned out balanced, with powerful stuffing, a large amount of RAM and a capacious battery. Their performance will be enough for almost any task. If you have tasks or content for which high resolution is critical - for example, games, high-resolution video, spreadsheets, applications with complex interfaces, then the EZ551ML with a Full HD display will be a good choice. If you do not use the above things on your smartphone, you can choose the simpler EZ550ML. Plastic easily removable housing covers and Gorilla Glass 3 allow you not to worry too much about the appearance and safety of devices, giving them to the younger generation. At the same time, it will not be very convenient for people with small brush sizes to use these smartphones.

    Recommended retail prices:

    ZE550ML - 14,990 rubles;
    ZE551ML in configuration with Intel Atom Z3560, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage - 17,990 rubles;
    ZE551ML in configuration with Intel Atom Z3580, 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage - 19990 rubles.

    Intelligent case for ZE550ML - 1490 rubles, for ZE551ML - 1990 rubles.

    External battery ASUS ZenPower - 1190 rubles.