Do we have a good one for you today – the popular Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe goes up against the new and improved Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe. Did Asus do enough of an upgrade to make jumping from the ZenFone 2 to the ZenFone 3 a worthwhile move? Is the ZenFone 3 Deluxe worth the extra money now that the ZenFone 2 Deluxe is heavily discounted? While the ZenFone 2 Deluxe was made of plastic to look like metal, the new ZenFone 3 Deluxe is actually an all-metal device. These two devices do have a few things in common that we will take a look at now and then later we will look at each individual device to try to determine a winner of this specification comparison.
To start this discussion, let's make it clear that we are talking about the Deluxe models of both devices – it will save a lot of typing and reading. As far as similarities between the ZenFone 2 and ZenFone 3 – for starters, they are very similar in physical size and both weigh in at 170 grams. The displays, while close in size, do use the same Full HD (FHD) resolution, but they use different technologies. Both devices offer 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory, although you can get up to 6GB of RAM in the ZenFone 3 with up to 256GB of internal storage. Both devices offer memory expansion up to 128GB via a microSD card. Both devices offer the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.0 in the ZenFone 2 and v4.2 in the ZenFone 3), GPS, microUSB port (v2.0 on the ZenFone 2 and Type-C in the ZenFone 3), and they both are powered by a 3000mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0.
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 Deluxe
The Asus ZenFone 2 is an all-plastic device that looks deceptively high-end – as if it is brushed metal. That is not to say that it looks or feels cheap – it does not – but it is certainly not in the same league as the new all-metal ZenFone 3. Besides the fake metal look, Asus stole another LG G4 trait – the rocker switch for the volume is on the back of the device. The on/off button is uncomfortably located on the top of the phone, and while it looks nice, it is not quite as refined as the LG G4 setup. The back of the ZenFone 2 is curved, making it easy to hold and would also explain some of its 10.9mm thickness.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The top-of-the-line ZenFone 2 model we are looking at uses a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz and is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory that offers 128GB of expansion via a microSD card.
The primary camera on the ZenFone 2 is packing a 13MP sensor, autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash…but no OIS. This does provide some decent photo shots, but nothing compared to the new ZenFone 3. The ZenFone 2 comes with a 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for social selfies and video chatting. Powering the ZenFone is a non-removable 3000mAh battery that offers Quick Charge 3.0.
This Dual-SIM device is still running Android 5.1 Lollipop but is scheduled for a Marshmallow update within the next month. ZenFone devices use their ZenUI Skin overlay with Google Material Design tendencies. It also sports an FM radio, but no NFC. It is available in Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red and Ceramic White. Pricing on Gear Best for either the Gray or the Red model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will cost you about $220 – $240, at a discounted price.
ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe
The new line of Asus ZenFone 3 devices is very impressive. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe with either 4GB/64GB or 6GB/256GB which is the model we will be looking at today and comparing it with the ZenFone 2 to see just how far it has come. From the looks of things, it has come a long way and would be worth the upgrade. The new ZenFone 3 is made entirely from metal – with none of those antenna lines on the back – and looks beautiful from every angle. Asus changed just about everything with the new model – different outside material, the brand of processor, more RAM, new and faster UFS 2.0 memory, better camera – the only thing I can fault them with is sticking with the Full HD (FHD) display.
The ZenFone 3 Deluxe sports a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED FHD always on display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 386 PPI – this is less than the ZenFone 2 because of the larger display with the same resolution. The brain of the ZenFone 3 is the new Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. This is coupled with an Adreno 530 GPU that will handle the toughest graphics thrown at it. There are two versions – a 4GB DDR4 RAM and 64GB of memory or a 6GB DDR4 model with 256GB of memory. Both versions have room to expand 128GB via a microSD card, and both models are using the new UFS 2.0 memory like the Galaxy S7 series – it is much faster than the older eMMC memory.
The primary camera is a Sony sensor, 23MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 camera, with a sapphire crystal lens cover, an aperture of f/2.0, dual LED flash, and OIS (4-axis) and 4K video capability. The FFC is an impressive 8MP snapper with an 85-degree wide-angle lens for selfies or video chatting. A 3000mAh non-removable battery powers the ZenFone 3 and it utilizes Quick Charge 3.0 technology. It has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as authorizing mobile payments.
The ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe will come with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 running over the top. It measures in at 156.4 x 77.4 x 7.5mm and weighs in at 170 grams. The colors available are Titanium Gray, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold, and it will cost about $500 for the 4GB/64GB model – no pricing yet on the 6GB/256GB variant, but expect it to be pricey.
…And The Winner Is…
Thes ZenFone 3 Deluxe is without a doubt the winner of this specification comparison – the only place it comes even close to the ZenFone 2 is in the FHD display with less PPI. However, the Super AMOLED always on display make up for the fact that this type of smartphone with these types of specifications deserves a QHD display. It makes no sense to me that you would put in 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB to 256GB of internal memory, along with the Snapdragon 820 and a 3000mAh battery and not include the QHD display as part of the package – especially when the display is 5.7-inches.
From the metal outside, to the items mentioned above, to the camera area, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe seems to be a winner. It is certainly more competent than its predessor, but it will cost you twice the price for the 64GB model. However, a $500 price tag is a reasonable amount for the technology you are getting. If money is extremely tight, the ZenFone 2 should do just fine for you as long as there are no mobile payments in your future.