2014 has been the year of the budget phone with specs that feel less that don’t quite feel that way, and Asus was one of the first manufacturers to release a phone like this back in the beginning of the year with the Zenfone 5. The phone, however, was limited to China and featured an Intel processor with 3G connectivity. Now Asus is taking the Zenfone 5 out of China and it plans to sell the budget-minded device in Europe complete with a spec update to fit with the rest of the cheaper phones in the later half of 2014. Right now there is no specific release date for the Zenfone 5 LTE, which is the new model, and Asus didn’t announce a price either, but given that the original was $149 outright for the phone we don’t expect the price to jump much, if at all even.
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The specs on the Zenfone 5 fit right in with many other devices in this price range, and will likely offer a competitive price and experience versus those as well. On the front of the phone we’re looking at the same 5-inch 720p display, which is a great resolution at that size as it’s a good balance between performance and eye candy. The front-facing camera is 2 megapixels, which is standard fare on even high-end phones up until very recently anyway. On the back we’ve got an 8 megapixel shooter with optical image stabilization, which means you’re pretty much guaranteed to get some good shots out of this phone. Inside Asus has upgraded the Intel chipset for a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with an Adreno 305 GPU, which should be just about the right amount of power for that screen resolution. 2GB of RAM will keep your apps from refreshing all the time and is double the amount in the orignal Zenfone 5. Asus has also microSD card support up to 64GB on the phone for expandable storage.
Android 4.4 KitKat is required at this point to receive Google certification and use Google Apps pre-packaged with the device, so even though Asus doesn’t specify which version of Android the phone is running, given that it’s a new release we’re pretty sure it’s going to be KitKat.