Do we have a good one for you today – the hot new ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) goes up against the new LG G4. The ZenFone 2 has great specs for a price that is one-half of its competition, but does it have the quality and performance that we have come to expect from today's top flagships. How does the display, Intel processor, 4GB of RAM, camera and software fare against the newest LG G4? Does the new kid from China have anything in common with its South Korean counterpart or are these two devices so different from one another, picking a winning will be easy…fat chance.
While it will be no easy decision to pick a winner in this comparison – remember that conclusions are based on specifications, although value and availability do have their place in the process. It must be pointed out that these two devices do have many similarities between them. The ZenFone 2 and the LG G4 both have a 5.5-inch display with IPS LCD technology and are very similar in physical dimensions. Both devices offer a 32GB internal storage option and both offer expansion via a microSD card. The camera areas are similar with both offering a professional mode in the main camera and both offer a rather large front-facing camera (FFC). The usual suspects are all there – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 in ZenFone and 4.1 in G4), GPS, NFC capable, FM radio, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer and they both sport a 3000mAh battery (non-removable in the ZenFone).
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great 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 each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Asus ZenFone 2
The ASUS ZenFone 2 looks deceptively high-end with its apparent brushed metal look, but once you pick up the device, its plastic build is immediately front and center…we are not saying it feels cheap – it does not – but we are saying it is not in the premium league that the Galaxy S6 or HTC One would reside. Like the LG G4, the rocker switch for the volume is on the back of the device, but the on/off button is awkwardly on the top – it is just not quite as refined as the LG G4. The curved back of the ZenFone makes it easy to hold and also explains its 10.9mm thickness.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD Full HD (FHD) display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 403 pixels-per-inch (PPI). It is a good display, but cannot hold a candle to the Quad HD (QHD) display and the 538 PPI on the LG G4. The top-of-the-line model we are looking at uses a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor coupled to 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal memory, although, like the LG G4, it does offer expansion by way of a microSD card. This compares to the LG G4's 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.
The main camera is packing a 13MP sensor, autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash…but no OIS. This will certainly supply some decent photo shots, but is just not up to par with the LG G4's 16MP sensor with laser autofocus, a wide f/1.8 aperture, LED flash, OIS and the ability to shoot in raw and its excellent Pro Mode. The ZenFone 2 comes with a large 5MP FFC for social selfies and video chatting…this is in comparison to the LG G4's new 8MP FFC. Power for both devices is in the form of a 3000mAh battery, although the ZenFone's is non-removable (even though the back easily comes off) while the LG G4 has a removable battery.
This Dual-SIM device will arrive running Android 5.0 Lollipop along with its ZenUI Skin overlay that has followed the Google Material Design look. It will eventually be available in Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red, Ceramic White. Pricing on GearBest for either the Gray or the Red model with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage will cost you $398.42, although specials are running all of the time. For instance, it is now being offered at $319.90 (Gray) and $322.99 (Red). If you use the "AndroidHeadlinesZ2DEAL" coupon code, it should knock the price down to only $274.99 for the Gray/Chinese version.
Last year's popular LG G3 already had a QHD display, so a new processor, upgraded camera and a few tweaks were in order for the new LG G4. Fortunately, LG did not sit on their laurels but improved the display greatly by switching to a new IPS Quantum display technology. LG claims this allows for a 25-percent brighter display with a 50-percent increase in the contrast and 56-percent improvement to the color accuracy…and you can really tell the difference over what most thought was the LG G3's rather dull looking display. LG added a slight curve to the device for a more comfortable fit in your hand…but not near the curve of the LG G Flex 2. Along with the improved metallic plastic backing, you can special order a real leather one with stitching in several colors. The new LG G4 physically looks much the same as last year's model, but at the same time, it looks even more premium.
The LG G4 sports a 5.5-inch QHD LCD Quantum display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 PPI…a vast improvement over the ZenFone's 5.5-inch FHD and 403 PPI. The G4's display is much brighter than last year's and the colors really pop out – it is covered by Gorilla Glass 4, whereas the ZenFone is still using Gorilla Glass 3. LG opted to use the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor, optimized for the LG G4 and it should be kinder to its battery than the 810 model in the LG G Flex 2. The ZenFone is packing a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor, as Intel starts to maneuver its way from the laptop into smartphones. The G4 is packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage as well as having room for expansion via a microUSB card – the ZenFone model we are comparing packs 4GB of RAM with 32GB (or 64GB) of memory with room for expansion.
The LG G4 continues LG's fine tradition with an improved camera area. It sports a first rate 16MP sensor, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED Flash, a wide f/1.8 aperture and OIS+ along with a huge 8MP FFC that should take excellent selfies and provide great video chatting. The ZenFone uses a slightly smaller sensor for the main camera – 13MP – and a smaller FFC – 5MP, but offers no OIS on its main shooter. Both devices use a 3000mAh battery – the LG G4's is removable and the ZenFone's is non-removable.
The LG G4 offers up optional wireless charging, an IR Blaster and even though both devices have their volume switch on the back, LG includes its on/off button there as well. It also incorporates some great software features in the camera app, shots raw files and uses knock-knock and split screen multitasking. The LG G4 comes in a variety of colors, both plastic and leather, is running the latest Lollipop and will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract and about $649 off-contract.
…And The Winner Is…
This was really a tough decision, and I can hear the LG G4 lovers saying, "You've got to be kidding me!" I agree that the LG G4 has the better specs overall, which is why I picked the LG G4 as the winner of this comparison. If you recall though, price and availability to use the 4G LTE network in the US do play a factor in the decision. In the case of price or value, the ZenFone 2 wins easily. In the case of availability, you still are dealing with a third party vendor and the ZenFone will only work on T-Mobile or AT&T and not on all bands, and this weighed heavily in my decision.
The LG G4 has a much better display, smaller bezels, a better processor, a better camera area – main, FFC and software, a removable battery, a built-in IR Blaster, optional wireless charging and is available to use on all networks. More expensive, most definitely…almost double the outright price, but if you sign-up on a two-year contract, it will cost you less money.
Like I said at the beginning of this summary, this was a tough decision – if you want the device with the best overall specs and you take a lot of photos and you want the freedom to be on any US network, then the LG G4 is the device for you. If you don't mind being tied to AT&T or T-Mobile and you are willing to settle for very good specs and price is important to you, then the ZenFone 2 will not disappoint.
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