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ASUS launches ZenFone Zoom and ZenFone 2 smartphones

by Mark Tyson on 6 January 2015, 13:05

Tags: ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacnfb

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ASUS has announced a pair of new ZenFones at CES today, targeting the mid-to-higher end of the market with its ZenFone 2 and ZenFone Zoom smartphones. While the specs might seem rather impressive, ASUS has revealed very keen pricing, especially for the Zenfone 2. ASUS' growing partnership with Intel was highlighted during the press conference, and both of ASUS's new smartphones are powered by Intel's latest low-powered Atom chips.

ASUS ZenFone Zoom

Touted as the world's thinnest 3x optical zoom smartphone, the ASUS ZenFone Zoom is the more interesting handset out of the two new market entrants. Its main feature is the 13MP camera which is equipped with a 3x optical zoom lens, which boasts a variable aperture ranging from f/2.7 to f/4.8 and offers optical image stabilisation (OIS). It sports a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display. Measuring just 11.95mm in thickness, the handset drastically improves upon the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom's 16.6mm thick body. (However the Samsung has a longer 10x optical zoom capability.)

The ZenFone Zoom is equipped with a True Tone LED flash and laser focus, a similar focus system to that seen on the LG G3, and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with new ZenUI out of the box. For selfie duties you have a 5MP front-facing camera. The device is said to become available in Q2 2015 priced at $399 in Meteorite black and Glacier white colours, though its launch regions are currently unconfirmed.

ASUS ZenFone 2

The second smartphone unveiled by the Taiwanese company at the CES was the ZenFone 2, which is built around a similar 5.5-inch 1080p display as the Zenfone Zoom. Thanks to the thin bezels, the handset has a 72 per cent screen-to-body ratio, with the rear cover sporting with a brushed metal finish.

ASUS makes the ZenFone 2 stand out from today's Android smartphones by equipping it with a whopping 4GB of RAM to back up the 64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor inside. Chairman Jonney Shih was eager to flaunt the ZenFone 2 as the first smartphone to feature such capacious memory .

Besides its memory capacity, there's not really much else that is noteworthy in the specs of the ZenFone 2. Other features of the handset include a 13MP and a 5MP camera, both offering advanced HDR modes (which the company claims to be capable of increasing contrast by 400 per cent), a 3,000mAh battery, 4G/LTE connectivity and it runs Android 5.0 out of the box.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 will be available in five colours; Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red and Ceramic White. It will be sold in 16GB/ 32GB and 64GB variants with storage expandable via a microSD card slot. Pricing seems attractive for the spec with models available from $199. The ASUS ZenFone 2 smartphone is expected to become available in March.

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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Now if only they made the ZenPhone 2 into a 7" tablet… I'll be tempted to buy it as a one even at this size (though I'm worried it would be a tad too small).
These don't look too bad. Even if the ZenFone2 starts at £200, that's a good price…
I really do like the curved backs many manufacturers are choosing to go with. They just fit so much nicer in my hand an allow me to reach more of the screen with my thumbs.
These Asus phones are damn good and very underrated, better than the Motorola equivalent IMO…shame that they seem to be under most peoples radar when looking for a £150'ish phone.
I must admit that these are interesting me a lot, I wonder if the battery is replacable because it ticks all the other boxes where speed, memory and storage are concerned, my only bugbear is the Intel CPU as I would rather have an ARM but as ASUS seem to be in bed with Intel for mobile devices there's not much chance of that.

But…do I wait and see or do I go for a very good deal on a Sony Xperia Z2…decisions, decisions, decisions!