Do we have a good one for you today – the new device we are featuring is the all-new Asus ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) sporting a 5.5-inch QHD display with 4GB of RAM and an Intel Z3580 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. Asus has always been known for their affordable pricing and the ZenFone 2 is no exception. The amount of specifications and features Asus crammed into a smartphone that costs only $299 is almost unbelievable and Asus is proudly pushing it as their new flagship smartphone.
Here, we are stacking it up against the Motorola Nexus 6, the new HTC One M9, the new LG G4 and the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The ZenFone 2 is going up against some heavy competition, the best of the best that these other manufacturers have produced so far this year, although the Nexus 6 was available in November 2014. Let us take a closer look at their specifications and see just where the Asus ZenFone 2 fits in this pecking order. The LG G4 and the Galaxy S6 Edge, are leaders of this pack, while the Nexus 6 and One M9 are great smartphones, each with their own deficiencies. The Nexus 6 has last year's processor and the One M9 is still using a FHD display technology.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these five devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at a few different areas of the devices in greater detail and point out some pros and cons. From all of this information we can draw some conclusions based on specs and execution of design and functions.
The new Asus ZenFone 2 features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 403 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and is not a bad IPS panel, although there are better ones out there…on a much more expensive device. The ZenFone 2 has a 72-percent screen-to-body ratio to give you a full 5.5-inch display in a reasonably sized device. The ZenFone measures in at 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm and weighs in at 170 grams and uses a metallic looking back that is actually plastic and curved nicely for a nice grip.
Motorola made Google Nexus 6 using an AMOLED 5.96-inch QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 493 PPI. The Nexus 6 is a large device, even with its small bezels and dual front-facing speakers, it measures in at 159.3 x 83 x 10.1mm and weighing a full 184 grams. It uses a metal frame and a curved leather backing for a comfortable fit in your hand.
The HTC One M9 also uses the Super LCD3 FHD technology in a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 441 PPI. The One M9 has as small bezels as you can expect given the room for its dual front-facing stereo speakers with BoomSound. It measures in at 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6mm weighing in at 157 grams. The HTC One series is a full metal body that also curves nicely and is comfortable to hold.
LG was the first company to mass-produce the QHD display and used it on their LG G3 in 2014. Now in 2015, their new LG G4 uses an improved version of their 5.5-inch QHD IPS LCD display with some of the smallest bezels on a smartphone with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 PPI. The device measures 148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3-9.8mm, because the device is curved that makes it more comfortable to hold and weighs in at 155 gram. The LG G4 is like the ZenFone 2 with a plastic body that has a metallic look to it.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 577 PPI. The Galaxy S6 Edge has both sides of its display curved down, giving it virtually no side bezels, and although the curved sides do offer a few functions and make it easy to swipe in from the left or right side, it is mostly cool looking. The device measures 142.1 x 70.1 x 7mm and weighs in at 132 grams and is made from a solid metal frame, softly rounded, with Gorilla Glass 4 on the back.
All of the new flagship model ZenFone 2 smartphones use the 64-bit Intel Atom processor – the U.S. flagship model uses the Z3580 ('Moorefield') processor, accompanied by Intel's LTE-Advanced XMM 7260 modem for ultra-fast and reliable 4G/LTE cellular speeds and connectivity. The processor is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage with room to expand another 64GB via a microSD card.
The Nexus 6 uses the old and reliable 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz. All models come with 3GB of RAM with either 32GB or 64GB of internal memory. There is no room for expansion of any sort in the Nexus 6.
The HTC One M9 packs the newest 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with four cores running at 1.5GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The One M9 comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot to add an additional 128GB of memory.
LG made a somewhat bold move and left out the more powerful Snapdragon 810 and instead decided to go with Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.44GHz and two cores clocked at 1.82GHz. All One M9s come with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, expandable by 128GB via a microSD card.
Samsung really took a bold move this year with their flagship Galaxy S6 series by bypassing the entire Snapdragon processor line and deciding to use their homegrown 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This is the first processor to use the 14nm technology – smaller, faster, less heat and less drain on the battery. This new processor is working with 3GB of new DDR4 RAM (faster) and a choice of Samsung's new, improved and faster UFS 2.0 Flash memory in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB configurations – there is no room for expansion.
For its main camera, the ZenFone 2 uses their 13MP PixelMaster camera with autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash, as well as a large f/2.0 wide-aperture lens with "zero shutter-lag." Other features, include a Low Light mode, a Backlight (Super HDR) mode, and Super Resolution mode, to ensure good photos even in dimly lit situations – something that our review confirms…it is an all-around good camera. The ZenFone 2 also packs a large 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for great social selfies and video chats.
Nexus devices were never known for their excellence in picture taking, however, the Nexus 6 actually has a decent main camera this time around with a 13MP sensor, autofocus, a dual-LED flash ring that literary circles around the lens. It is also packing OIS and you should get some great photos, although it uses a rather rudimentary 2MP FFC for selfies and video chatting.
The HTC One M9 totally revamped their camera area from the Duo camera era found on its predecessor, the One M8. HTC put in a large 20MP sensor, added autofocus and a dual-tone flash…still no OIS. They used some of their 4MP UltraPixel lenses for the FFC which should allow for very good social media selfies and video chatting.
If the Galaxy S6 Edge's camera is arguably the best camera on a smartphone, the camera on the LG G4 is why some would argue with you. LG took last year's LG G3 camera and improved upon it once again. It comes with a new 16MP sensor, laser autofocus for quick and precise focuses, an LED flash, OIS+ and a wide f/1.8 aperture. To finish off the area, they included a huge 8MP FFC for some of the best selfies and video chats around. If that was not enough, LG has some great photo software bundled in the device with an exceptionally in-depth Professional Mode.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has arguably one of the best cameras on a smartphone – it is a 16MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash, Live HDR shots, a wide f/1.9 aperture, OIS and can be ready to snap a picture in less than one second. It has nicely redesigned UI and software options for quick shots as well as a Pro Mode for those that like to adjust their shots manually. The Galaxy S6 Edge also comes with a large 5MP, wide angle and wide f/1.9 aperture FFC for terrific group selfies or office video chats.
The new ZenFone 2 comes with a non-removable 3000mAh battery that provides more than enough power to get through the day – something our review verified. They also provided a system app that automatically detects when apps have gone rogue or are unnecessarily draining your battery. It also features 'BoostMaster' fast-charge technology that will give you a 60-percent charge in only 40 minutes.
The Nexus 6 comes with a large, non-removable 3220mAh battery that will certainly get you through the day. It comes with Motorola's Turbo Charger in the box that will allow you to get up to 6 hours of usage with only a 15-minute charge. The Nexus 6 also has Qi wireless charging built-in, allowing you lay it down on your charging pad in-between uses.
The HTC One M9 comes with a non-removable 2840mAh sized battery that takes advantage of Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 feature. This allows the user to charge their battery up to 60-percent in only 30 minutes.
The LG G4 is the only one of the group that comes with a removable battery – a 3000mAh, in this case. It too, can now take advantage of the Quick Charge 2.0 feature and the LG G4 also offers optional Qi-enabled wireless charging with the purchase of a special back.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge comes with a non-removable 2600mAh battery that is wireless charging ready for both PMA and Qi standards, so there is nothing additional to purchase. The Galaxy S6 Edge also comes with a special charger that uses Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging that allows you to fully charge a dead phone in under two hours.
The Asus ZenFone 2 has a great new design with a curved case that tapers to only 0.15 of an inch at the edges. The volume controls are conveniently on the back of the device (ala LG G4), although the power button is awkwardly placed on the top. The ZenFone 2 comes in four colors according to their release – Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray and Glamour Red. The ASUS ZenFone 2 will be available from May 19th, 2015, costing $199 for the 2GB RAM/1.8GHz version with 16GB storage and an Intel Atom Z3560 processor, or $299 for the 4GB RAM/2.3GHz version with 64GB storage, an Intel Atom Z3580 processor, a BoostMaster charger and running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It will be available to order from Amazon.com, B&H, Groupon.com and NewEgg.com in the US and NewEgg.ca, NCIX.com, Canada Computer and Memory Express in Canada.
The Nexus 6 offers a full metal frame, water resistant nano-coating and dual front-facing stereo speakers. It is running the only true vanilla version of Android Lollipop in this group and will receive software upgrades faster than any other device. It is available on all major US Carriers for $199 (down from $249) on a two-year contract or $649 off-contract in the Google Play Store, with your color choices of Midnight Blue or Cloud White.
The HTC One M9 comes with the best set of speakers on any smartphone – a front facing pair of stereo speakers that offer up HTC's incredible BoomSound. It is also the only one of this group offering a full-metal exterior that looks great, but has been practically the same the past three years, although HTC did restyle the edges with a slight lip all around for a better grip of the device. It too, has a built-in IR Blaster. The One M9 comes in Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold and Gold/Pink. It is running Android 5.0 Lollipop and pricing is $200 on a two-year contract and about $600 off contract.
The LG G4 does come with a built-in IR Blaster, with its on/off and volume controls placed on the back of the device. The LG G4 comes in a variety of colors, both in the metallic finished backs as well as a genuine leather back with stitching. It will cost you about $200 on contract and about $650 off-contract for the metallic look and $700 for the leather back.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is the only device here with a fingerprint sensor (PayPal) approved, and incorporates Samsung Pay. It also sports a heart rate sensor, Oxygen saturation sensor and a built-in IR Blaster. The S6 Edge comes in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and an exclusive Green Emerald (Blue Topaz is the exclusive Galaxy S6 color) and will cost you $300 on a two-year contract and about $750 off-contract.
So there you have the new Asus ZenFone 2 and its current competition. Everybody will have their own opinion about which is the best device…certainly the ZenFone does not have the specs of the LG G4 or Galaxy S6 Edge, but they also cost over twice as much. The ZenFone 2 is a device worthy of a serious look, especially with the specs it possesses at its price point. Where else will you find a 5.5-inch FHD display with a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with a microSD slot for expansion, a 13MP main camera and a 5MP FFC with an Intel LTE-Advanced modem that provides ultra-fast and reliable 4G/LTE connectivity and a 3000mAh battery for only $299! Read our full review HERE and see how it performs in the real world.
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