Soon after the launch of the Zenfone 2 earlier this year, Taiwanese smartphone maker Asus launched its yet another player in the Indian market - the Zenfone 2 Deluxe at the price of Rs. 22,999. The device is a mesmerizer in a lot of ways. Perhaps, the looks of the Zenfone 2 Deluxe, I should say is one of a kind, at least in the Indian smartphone market.
But it's not just the appearance of the new Zenfone 2 Deluxe that makes it likable. There are much more things that can be admired in this phone. For example, the massive 64GB built-in storage is something that most would be fascinated to see in this device.
And, since we have used the device for quite sometime now, we have realized certain good and bad qualities of the phone. It did impress us but why judge it already when we have a tale to tell. So let's go ahead with the review, spec-by-spec.
The design of the Zenfone 2 Deluxe is something that is very alluring and conspicuous. Despite the plastic build, the somewhat diamond shaped patterns on the back panel of the Deluxe makes the smartphone look gorgeous to a massive extent.
Anyway, the front face of the device is as normal as any other phones that you see in the market. On seeing the sides of the display, you will also notice the thick bezel and right below the display you will see the three soft touch buttons which are deprived of backlit technology. Above the display, there is the company's brand logo and just above that you will see a speaker grill, beside which there is a 5MP selfie camera. Besides it there is an LED indicator, which is beneficial when the phone starts charging. So when the phone is connected for charging you can see the Orange color LED light ON. When the phone gets full charged you can see a Yellow light.
Talking about the back of the device, as said earlier, it comes with a great pattern and again at the center you will see the Asus logo, move upwards a bit and you will see a vertically elongated volume rocker. Move further upwards, you will see a 13MP rear camera which is accompanied with a Dual-Tone LED flash just above it. You will also see a speaker grille at the lower part of the back panel.
The top edge of the phone is disappointing, because it hosts the power button right at the center, which is a very awkward place to reach. ON either side of the button, you will see a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone. The bottom edge of the phone leaves room for MicroUSB port and primary microphone.
Taking a bit more about the back panel of the phone, since it comes with a polygon design it offer a generous grip to the hands. The device is actually purple in color but from other angles, it shows some taint of red and blue as well. Overall, design-wise, the Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe is killer.
The Zenfone 2 Deluxe can be handful for many. The massive 5.5-inch display which offers a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels translating to 400.53 ppi pixel density is obviously very impressive. The display of the device is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology, which makes it pretty sturdy. The viewing angles are also decent due to the use of the IPS technology.
As we used the device, the display pleased us eloquently. The brightness is perfect for even an extreme daylight condition. It is also very responsive as well. The color reproduction is fair and the contrast projected on the display is quite visible. Over-all the display of the device is good enough for the price. However, it's not the best that we have seen so far.
Power and Performance
There are several smartphone makers who are already using the premium chipset from Qualcomm. Moreover, if you notice, almost all the flagship devices launched off late come with the same company's CPU. Asus is not one of them. The company is still in collaboration with Intel (yet another competitor to Qualcomm) for the chipsets. Anyway, the Intel Atom Z3580 chipset that powers the Zenfone 2 Deluxe is clocked at 2.3 GHz, which is pretty intense. If in case you are wondering, you are looking at a 64 bit Quad core processor here, which means 4G support and power are lavish.
Add to that a massive (only seen in a few number of devices so far) 4 GB RAM. This makes the device a perfect hardware for Multi-tasking and even gaming.
As we used it thoroughly, the smartphone didn't fail to impress us, in term of performance. The device didn't lag or blip when we played graphic intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2. This is also due to the presence of the PowerVR G6430 GPU. Moreover, while I multi-tasked opening a lot of apps, even then the device ran with ease. The 4GB RAM really does a great job in this phone. The device scores a decent 43016 points at AnTuTu Benchmark tool. Not the one in the highest lot but it sure beats a quite a lot of Chinese devices like the Xiaomi Mi3, Mi4 and even Huawei Mate 7.
Talking about the software, Asus has slapped its proprietary ZenUI atop Android Lollipop v5.0. Therefore, with all the richness from Android lollipop just there, you wouldn't be missing out on any of the Android's features. Perhaps, you will like the taste of the UI though. There are several tweaks, like in the notification panel, which can be edited according to the need and you can also get the "Manage Home" option from where you can customize the device's themes and settings.
Storage and Connectivity
The memory of the device is something that makes the device special. The phone has a massive 64 GB in built memory. And you can also get another variant with 128 GB of internal memory. Anyway, out of 64GB you will get a user accessible memory of 53 to 54GB. Additionally, the smartphone also comes with a microSD card support which can anchor upto 128GB or external microSD card. This literally solves the problem for many movie downloaders and app lovers. No complaint against the storage in this device in any way.
There are quite a lot of connectivity options in the Zenfone 2 Deluxe. You will get to use 4G LTE, 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi supporting 433 Mbps, GPS, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 in the device. Additionally, the phone can also take in 2 SIM cards.
Almost all the devices that are being launched off late come with a high-end camera in terms of specs. However, not all are capable of taking phenomenal pictures. Asus has managed to offer a great camera module this time. There is a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, 5-element lens, Real Tone flash at the rear side of the phone. The camera is accompanied with PixelMaster technology, which was seen in the company's Zenfone 2 Selfie. Also the camera uses a 5 elements lens which is manufactured by Largan precision.
At the front, for taking selfies, Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe employs a 5MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. This module is not as good as the 13MP module used in the Zenfone 2 Selfie. However, it has a wide angle of 85 degree lens that can manage to click a group selfie as well.
The Camera app offers pretty much similar features that are available in other devices in the same series. You will get to use modes like Auto, Manual, HDR, Beautification, Super Resolution, Low Light, Night, Depth of Field, Effect, Selfie, GIF Animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time Rewind, PanoSphere, Smart Remove, All Smiles and Time Lapse.
The rear camera is very effective in taking both outdoor and indoor pictures. Provided there is a right amount of light condition, the rear camera has a potential to compete with the cameras of the best flagship devices. The night mode helps a lot while taking the pictures at night but sometimes it gets a bit grainy. Also using the flash is not suitable because it often overexposes the subject. But the rear camera does an excellent job in taking regular pictures in the day time. The manual mode is something that professional photographers will definitely like.
Talking about the font camera, the 5MP snapper gets the work done. With quite a lot of features you can manipulate the camera to your needs. You can also make GIFs with the frontal camera. It's the best that we have seen so far, but neither is it bad.
The 3000mAh battery is somewhat not quite enough for the massive 5.5-inch power horse. With a high-end hardware configuration in terms of processor and large display, the company could have given a larger cell to the device. Not that the battery performance is bad, it could have been far better. However, the feature that enables the battery to be charged upto 60% in just 39 minutes is what Asus has to offer for power users.
The phone will easily last for two days and one night if one uses it just for taking and making calls. However, if you are an avid smartphone user who likes spending time surfing internet and watching videos it might last for a day or 15 hours max. But extreme usage including playing games, watching videos, surfing internet and all other things, the phone manages to stay awake up to 8 to 9 hours.
One of the greatest strength of the Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe is the 64GB internal storage. Making it much better by offering a microSD card support was another intelligent move by Asus. This enables the device to be very suitable for those massive group of people who are always looking for more storage and more number of apps. Another great thing about the Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe is the design, which is very unique. Despite the plastic build, the smartphone looks mesmerizingly beautiful. The power and processor, battery, display are pretty decent.
However, some of the things that Asus could have done better are the button placements. The power key placed at the center of the top edge is very uncomfortable to handle. The soft-touch keys just below the display could use a backlit feature. In the software front, the company shouldn't have preloaded those unnecessary apps, which can't even be uninstalled.
Overall, the Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe is a very intense device. It's got the balance of hardware and software for a heavy user (kicking out the gaming aspect) in a trending size.