Will the Zenfone 2 live up to hype?
When a smartphone, from a company that’s not even among the world’s top smartphone brands, suddenly becomes the year’s most anticipated release, you need to pay attention.
Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last January, the Zenfone 2 from Asus is enjoying an unprecedented amount of hype as the world’s first smartphone to come with 4GB of RAM.
But power isn’t the only other major draw, in fact, probably even more buzz-worthy is the phone’s price tag. At CES, Asus said the base model will sell for $199 – that’s a third of what you’d pay for this year’s crop of high-end phones like Apple’s iPhone 6 or the Galaxy S6 from Samsung.
Vis-á-vis its impressive technical resume, it’s a good deal no matter which way you look at it.
Apart from its headline-inducing RAM spec, the Zenfone 2 also comes with a host of other high end specifications including a 64-bit Intel Atom processor (usually found on tablets more than smartphones), rapid charging, and a camera that Asus says can “see what other’s can’t.”
It’s also not bad to look at – plastic with a brushed metal finish that gives it an artificial sheen and some grip-ability. That said, its hard to overlook similarities to last year’s front runner the LG G3 which also had brushed metal finished plastic, a knock to unlock feature, cases with circle cutouts, and back-facing volume buttons.
Undeniable however, is the potential for disruption a budget smartphone with high end specs brings. Asus isn’t the only company with this kind of strategy, but it is one of the first to offer this kind of phone globally.
The follow-up to Asus’ original ZenFone is already available in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and France with roll-outs in the United States, Italy and Southeast Asia expected in the next few weeks.
In the Philippines the phone is scheduled to go on sale in mid-May 2015.
At this week’s regional launch event in Jakarta, pricing for Indonesia was announced – Rp 2,699,000 (about Php 9,227) for the entry-level 2GB model and Rp 4,499,000 (Php 15,381) for the high-end 4GB model. Sources say Philippine pricing will be, “slightly lower.”
Asus is calling this phone the “performance monster,” whether or not it lives up to the hype remains to be seen, but let’s put it this way, it’s definitely a phone that deserves a closer look.