Every phone nowadays touts its camera, some saying it's the best in the industry while others just stick with a single metric to base their claims on. Asus has never been one to tout their cameras but that's all changed with the Zenfone 2. Back when Asus unveiled the phone at CES in January 2015 a significant portion of the unveiling was spent on talking about the new Asus PixelMaster camera software and the upgraded sensors Asus has packed into the Zenfone 2. We've seen in our review that it's definitely a significant step up from previous entries by Asus and that it stands toe to toe with the best at its price range, often exceeding that quality and putting it in the next bracket of smartphone cameras. Earlier today, ASUS launched the ZenFone 2 in the US, so what makes the camera so special?
Besides an upgraded sensor Asus seems to be primarily relying on their PixelMaster software, a new suite of tools designed to make the user experience easier all while providing more settings and tweaks for those who love photography. There are 17 modes in total to choose from including the default Auto mode that makes things simple. These modes range from necessities like Low Light, Night, HDR and Manual mode all the way to more gimmicky features like GIF animation, Miniature and more. You may have used many of these from other smartphones out there so let's focus on some of the more special ones. Manual Mode is a trend that's been developing significantly over the past year and is fully featured here. Everything from control over the ISO, white balance, exposure and even manually focusing are all here. They are all incredibly easy to use too, as all the settings are mapped out on screen in a visually appealing and easy to read format, are controlled via simple sliders and even include a real-time preview to help users choose the best settings.
Those looking for more specialized time functions can enjoy modes like Time Lapse, for great light trail shots in cities and in traffic, and Time Rewind to catch those moments that might have been missed before pressing the shutter button. There's also a Smart Remove mode to get rid of those pesky bystanders moving in and out of your shot. All the usual types of shots here including selfie mode, panorama or even a best smile mode to capture group shots when everyone's eyes are awake. Those looking to fine-tune the image quality will be pleased to note that there are sliders for things like contrast, saturation and even denoise, allowing the user to adjust these to meet their demanding tastes. Asus has done an exemplary job of not only designing a software that's full featured but also fast, taking shots instantly after pressing the shutter button and launching quickly after being called upon.