Just yesterday, April 22, 2015, we witnessed the official South East Asian launch of the wildly anticipated, Zenfone 2. The official announcement of the said phone was made by Asus CEO, Jerry Shen at the Experience 2Morrow press event at Pullman Center, Jakarta
During the event, Shen thanked the dealers, media and consumers for helping their company and their brand to sell over 10,000,000 Zenfones last year and for helping them achieve their company goals. Shen also highlighted, “ASUS believes that the best technology should be used by a mass audience, and we have drawn on our considerable engineering expertise to create this empowering luxury for everyone to enjoy. Since its launch last year, ZenFone has been beloved by consumers and has won 238 awards worldwide.” You will probably remember that the Zenfone 5 received several awards in the local consumer electronics scene including BEST SMARTPHONE on our list last 2014.
Shen continued on with his deck with the presentation of the many new features of Asus’ latest wonder, the Zenfone 2. Various officers of their partners and ambassadors also took the stage to generously discuss the new phone’s unique selling propositions and values. Intel President and General Manager in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region, Robby Swinnen, also joined Shen on stage to thank ASUS for helping them show the velocity across the full spectrum of mobility.
The Zenfone 2 is packed with an Intel XMM 7260 solution armed with a 64-bit Intel Atom quad-core processor and a 4GB of 64-bit dual-channel RAM. This, in effect, makes ASUS’ new phone the fastest Intel powered device to date. The phone is so fast, Shen stressed, it has a touch input rate of 60ms. We managed to try the above specs and see how everything fared in reality. At boot, all the system applications took only 30% of the total RAM, which effectively left us an approximate RAM of 2.8GB.
Zenfone 2, however, isn’t just about raw processing power. The phone also features the 2nd iteration of PixelMaster 2.0. which includes the greatly improved low-light sensitivity mode innate to the Zenfone line. The latter can take photos of subjects in low light up to 4x brighter than competition. Zenfone 2’s camera features also come with slew of enhanced features, which will effeminately delight mobile photographers like Super HDR Mode, which enhances the colors of photos; and other creative modes, which are normally available in third-party applications.
Camera specs-wise, Zenfone 2’s Rear facing camera is powered by a 13-megapixel Toshiba CCD sensor. It has 5P transparency lens, which pre-filters the image prior to reaching the sensor. While the camera can take bright photos even in low light, it is supported by a dual-color LED flash which ensures the natural color of subjects despite the use of artificial light. The rear facing camera can also take photos up to 52-megapixel via its Super Resolution mode. Meanwhile, the phone’s front-facing camera can take photos up to 5-megapixels; and has f/2.0 wide aperture lens similar to its rear-facing counterpart.
During the event, ASUS also announced the availability of camera accessories for the Zenfone 2. The crowd-favorite, Lolliflash, is a phantom-powered LED flash, which may be attached to the phones 3.5mm headphone jack. For professional photographers, ASUS also launched a lighting accessory 100x brighter than LED flash – the ZenFlash Xenon Flash.
Apart from its processing power and camera prowess, the Zenfone 3 has two more great features up its sleeves – the enhanced ZenUI, BoostMaster and SonicMaster. We’ve seen how great the ZenUI was on our Zenfone 5. The new ZenUI, sitting on top of Android Lollipop, has been an improved version of the one installed on the previous Zenfone line. One of its craziest yet practical features is ZenMotion, which can basically make the screen a complete replacement of hardware keys. For instance, double tapping the screen turns it on and drawing a ‘C’ while the screen is off powers up the camera. There are more gesture presets available via the ZenMotion menu that can easily be activated
Prices and Availability
Shen also announced the prices of the Zenfone 2 variants and its accessories. The prices he announced, however, are in Indonesian Rupiah, but it should be enough to give everyone an idea how much the devices would be locally. Prices below in Indonesian Rupiah are official. We have also included the unofficial PhP price with the following formula: Price in RP / PhP280 [up to] Price in RP / PhP280 x 20% (for customs tax)
Note: We received a word from ASUS that the Zenfone 2 will be launched in May. There is no exact date yet, but we’ll surely keep you all updated. ASUS also highly recommends that you purchase your Zenfone 2 starting this May from authorized distributors. While ASUS Rregional is flattered by the overwhelming response and demand of the Zenfone 2 in the Philippines, they recommended that it’s best to purchase from authorized dealers and distributors to assure the validity of warranty.
Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.