Do we have a good one for you today – the powerful ASUS ZenFone 2 takes on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Active…a terrific all around smartphone versus the heavy duty take everywhere smartphone. Most of the Galaxy S6 features were carried over to the new S6 Active, so it is certainly cramped with flagship specifications. The ZenFone 2 model we are comparing is spec'd out quite a bit itself, and at a terrific price. In many of these comparisons, people will say that the two devices are not in the same league or that we are comparing a Corvette to a Ford Focus. However, these comparisons will give you an idea of just how that $13,000 Focus stacks up to the $60,000 Corvette…is the Corvette practical, is it worth $47,000 more if all you want is to get from point A to point B?
Honestly, there are not many features these two devices have in common. The display size is close – 5.1-inches on the S6 Active and 5.5-inch on the ZenFone 2, although they have very different technologies and resolutions. They do share a few usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 on ZenFone 2 and 4.1 on the S6 Active), GPS, NFC capabilities, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer and the also share a fast charge battery option.
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.
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ASUS Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML)
The ASUS ZenFone 2 looks deceptively high-end with its brushed metal look. However, ASUS has pulled an LG on us and used a plastic body with a brushed metallic-like finish. We are not saying that it feels cheap – it does not. Also stolen from LG is the placement of rocker switch for the volume on the back of the device, but the on/off button is on the top of the device. The nicely rounded sides make the ZenFone 2 easy to hold and helps explain its 10.9mm thickness. The Galaxy S6 Active's body does not show the all-metal frame or the beautiful Gorilla Glass on the back – it is an 'acquired' look of camouflage in a hard-shelled plastic and what it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up in durability.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 403 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) This just cannot touch the 576 PPI on the QHD display of the Galaxy S6 Active. The ZenFone 2 model we are looking at uses a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz and is coupled to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory, although it does offer another 64GB of expansion by way of a microSD card. This compares to the Galaxy S6 Active's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage…but there is no way for expansion.
The main camera on the ZenFone 2 is packing a 13MP sensor, autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash, but no OIS. This will certainly supply some decent photos, however it is no match for the 16MP camera and many features found on the Galaxy S6 Active. The ZenFone 2 comes with a large 5MP FFC, as does the Galaxy S6 Active, for social selfies and video chatting. Even though the back easily comes off the ZenFone 2, both devices use a non-removable battery. The ZenFone 2 has a smaller 3000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S6 Active uses a larger 3500mAh battery.
This Dual-SIM device is running Android 5.0 Lollipop along with its ZenUI Skin overlay and sports a FM radio and Fast Charging – 60-percentage in 40 minutes. It should eventually be available in Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red and Ceramic White. You can also find the ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory on Amazon for only $299.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
AT&T is once again the exclusive carrier for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, as they have been for the past couple of models. The Galaxy S6 Active is designed for those with an active lifestyle and comes in three variations – gray, white camo and blue camo – although I prefer the plain gray. It is rugged, yet still a nice looking device that you could take anywhere. Pulling out a high-end device at a fancy party draped in green or blue camo might not be the classiest move. Gone is the glass on the back, but in the trade-off, the battery jumps from 2550mAh to 3500mAh and two days of service…not a bad deal. The two capacitive buttons for the recent and the back keys have been removed, and in their place are three physical buttons that give a nice click for feedback.
The Galaxy S6 Active has most of the same components as the normally aspirated Galaxy S6. It sports the same 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and about 576 PPI – this compares to the 5.5-inch FHD display with 1080p and only 403 PPI on the ZenFone 2. The S6 Active uses the same 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor and is the first one to use 14nm technology. It has four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This is more advanced technology than is found in the ZenFone 2's Intel Atom quad-core processor. The S6 Active has 3GB of RAM and is the faster DDR4 RAM and packs 32GB of internal memory with no way to expand. The ZenFone 2 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory that is expandable by 64GB via a microSD card. In this area, the S6 Active uses a new and faster UFS 2.0 flash memory.
The S6 Active comes with the same great camera in the Galaxy S6 – a 16MP, OIS, Æ'/1.9, auto real-time HDR, low-light video, high clear zoom, IR detect white balance, virtual shot, slow motion, fast motion, pro mode, selective focus. It also has a 5MP, Æ'/1.9, auto real-time HDR, low-light video FFC for great group selfies and video chats. This compares to a 13MP main camera and a 5MP FFC on the ZenFone 2. The S6 Active also packs a larger non-removable 3500mAh battery versus 3000mAh battery and you should easily get two days of service.
The Galaxy S6 Active has many features that the ZenFone 2 does not have, such as dust proofing, shock and water resistant and is engineered to withstand drops on the stones or in the water. It is IP68 rated and certified to meet a series of military specifications. It also come with a button to push that will bring up the Activity Zone – instant weather information, a barometer, compass, flashlight, stopwatch and S Health info. The S6 Active allows you to use the Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM), use fast charge or wireless charging mode to save your battery or keep it charged. It also includes a heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation sensor and a built-in IR Blaster.
The S6 Activity colors are Gray, Blue Camo or White Camo. The device is an AT&T exclusive and it will cost you $200 on a two-year contract or $695 off-contract – the same price as the normal Galaxy S6.
…And The Winner Is…
This was an easy decision and it depends what you do with your smartphone – if you want an everyday smartphone to text, check your emails, take some occasional pictures, make a few phone calls and play a few games, then the ASUS ZenFone 2 at only $299 could be the device for you. It has a decent display, a great Intel processor, more RAM and more internal base storage along with expansion capabilities – a lot of smartphone for the money.
If you are an active outdoors person that loves to hike, camp, swim in the rivers, rock climb, hunt, take beautiful pictures while you are outside and you have some money in the bank, then you would definitely do yourself a favor getting the new Galaxy S6 Active. It is certainly the higher quality device, but unless you are going to go "active," then I would get the normal Galaxy S6.
I am picking the ZenFone 2 as the winner of this comparison, ONLY because it is the more practical everyday phone – but like I said, if you do need the capabilities of the Galaxy S6 Active, then it would be the better device for you – but it will cost you over double the amount. The decision is yours, but rest assured that the ASUS ZenFone 2 is a great device for $299.
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