January’s Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas brought the unveiling of Asus’ latest flagship devices, the Zenfone 2 and Zenfone Zoom. Asus announced a new partnership with Intel, a long-held partner of theirs, for the pair of new smartphones, showcasing the power and efficiency of Intel’s latest Atom platform chipsets. In a stark contrast from their desktop PC components Intel’s mobile chipsets are significantly cheaper, resulting in smartphones that are both affordable and powerful. We got our hands on the Zenfone 2 at CES and it was one heck of a phone that felt like a premium device but sells for considerably lower than anyone else with the same performance or built quality.
Asus has stepped their game up considerably from the cheap-feeling devices of yesteryear that the company used to produce and is now offering the Zenfone 2 in a few varieties in its home country of Taiwan. Asus lives up to their affordability tagline by providing a few models that fit everyone’s budget while providing specs that work better than others in the same price range as well as packing the latest version of Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop. First up is the 5-inch 720p ZE550CL, which comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage for 4990NT ($158). The ZE550ML is another 720p phone but features a physically larger 5.5-inch display with the same 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage for 5990NT ($190).
Jumping up to 1080p displays the ZE551ML features a 5.5-inch 1080p display with 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage for 6990NT ($221). For 8990NT ($285) you can upgrade the overall RAM to 4GB, making this one of the first phones on the market with 4GB of RAM included. All this for well under $300 and expected to be made available later this month in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and France. Region-specific models for India, Italy and the rest of Southeast Asia should be available in April, while Brazillians will have to wait until June for a compatible device. There’s no word about a US model or one for any of the rest of Europe outside of the aforementioned Italy and France, but that doesn’t mean it’s off the table. Asus is looking to make a profit this year on their smartphone division and with products like these they have only to release it and wait for people to line up.