This is the review of ASUS ZenFone 2 Deluxe. Don’t get confused, it’s just same as the ZenFone 2 but with more style and slightly different specs. Even the model number remains the same i.e. ZE551, which is the 4GB RAM variant of ZenFone 2.
Unlike ZenFone 2, ZenFone 2 Deluxe comes only in 64GB and 128GB memory variants. So here we have got the 64GB variant to review.
Design & Build
Let’s have a detailed look at the build and design of the phone, it looks identical to ZenFone 2 from the front, it’s also thick in the middle, starts becoming curvy and slimmer as you move towards the corners as you can see it here.
The Power key is placed on the top with 3.5mm audio jack and a secondary mic while micro-USB 2.0 port and the primary mic is located at the bottom.
Top bezel has 5MP secondary camera joined by earpiece and LED notification light whereas the capacitive touch buttons are located right below the display on the face of the phone.
Asus has kept the right and left side of the phone clean as the volume rockers have been shifted to the back, right below the dual LED flash and 13MP primary camera. Asus branding is at the middle and speaker grill is at the bottom of the back.
What makes it different from ZenFone 2 is the back panel that has diamond shaped texture. The chameleon-like coating makes it shine and sparkles when you see it from different perspectives.
The back panel is removable; though a bit tough to remove. I almost broke my already shortened nail. Well, underneath you’ll see the dual micro sim slots along with a microSD card slot.
Now if you look carefully, it is clearly mentioned SIM 1 supports 4G LTE while the second one remains limited to 2G. So, don’t forget to put your 4G Data SIM in Slot 1.
The phone is 170g heavy and 10.9mm thick. The body is plastic, but that looks different and classy. Also, the back is smudge free.
I wouldn’t say idol for one handed operation as it bit bulky and slippery at the back. And then the huge form factor also adds to the same.
Display: 5.5-inch 1080p IPS FHD
The phone has 5.5-inch 1080p FHD IPS display that is well protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with anti-finger coating and supports glove touch too.
Also, the color reproduction is up to the mark. It comes with different screen color mode so you can manage screen temperature, colors, and saturation levels.
The display is a bit reflective. To operate it under sunlight, you will have to maximize the brightness. Viewing angles are pretty good. You can clearly see the text and icons from all possible angles, well company claim up to 178 degrees.
Minimized bezel makes 72% screen to body ratio. Navigation buttons don’t light up so you might face a problem operating in the dark.
Performance: Intel Atom 64 bit 2.3GHz quad-core processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU, 4GB RAM
The powerhouse of Deluxe is an Intel Atom 64 bit 2.3GHz quad-core processor backed up by PowerVR G6430 GPU. The performance was smooth and lag free, be it multitasking, prolonged usage, watching movies or listening music. I experienced very smooth and lagged free gameplay.
It can play 4k videos without getting hot.
It can play 4k videos without getting hot. Frankly speaking, I didn’t observe any single moment when I felt to keep it aside to cool down. Overall hardware performance didn’t disappoint at all.
You get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage out of which around 2.4GB and 54GB is available to use on the first boot.
You get storage extension up to 64GB via microSD card. Apps will be installed on internal memory, but you can always move them to external storage.
You also get 5GB lifetime free ASUS Webstorage, just register yourself while setting up the device. And yes, OTG drives are supported as well.
Software: Android 5.0 with ZenUI 2.0
It runs on Android 5.0 with ZenUI 2.0 on top of it. The UI is very responsive and quite smooth. You can quickly access settings from the notification area.
You can also choose one-handed operation mode. Activation minimizes the screen, doesn’t matter whether you are lefty or using the right hand, you can always adjust screen according to the side of hands.
Bluelight Filter soothes the experience of low light/night browsing of the phone. It does support touch gestures, motion gestures, and glove mode like we have seen in other ZenFone series phones as well.
Double tap to wake up and suspend, draw “C” to open the camera, “V” for the flashlight, shake twice to capture a screenshot and many more.
Asus has also made lots of bloatware apps littered all over on the home screen. These apps come pre-installed on every ZenFone, but you never get to use most of those apps.
I could only use clean master and themes frequently, and rest of them were just useless bloatware for me. And it completely ruins the user experience.
A great phone let down by bloatware I would say!
Camera: 13MP Rear and 5MP Front
The phone’s 13MP PixelMaster camera comes with f/2.0-aperture lens and Dual LED flash, captures great pictures with an appropriate amount of colors, contrast and depth of field.
The camera has autofocus, touch focus, face detection, panorama, and HDR Mode. It can record 1080p videos at 30fps. Focusing is relatively slower. You can adjust shot’s brightness by pressing long on the screen.
The 5MP front shooter takes widescreen selfies being the 85-degree wide angle lens.
The camera managed to click few great capture during daylight and has good modes to play around.
Images have sufficient color reproduction and details, and certainly don’t lose details even after zooming out. With touch focus and depth of field option I was able to take out few good shots.
But pictures taken in low light/dark was quite noisy, LED couldn’t help much either.
The front shooter was able to produce good selfie through software support. You can customize you skin tone. Overall, the camera performance is above average and can be considered positively.
Speaker at the back doesn’t give great output as expected; positioning makes it even worse. However, you can change to different modes to achieve preferred sound effect through audiowizard from ASUS.
The smartphone has a 3000mAh battery with fast charge support. So I was able to charge up device 10% to 100% in less than 2 hours.
On heavy usage, it was well optimized, and I was able to get 10-11 hours’ juice easily which can go up to more than 14 hours on moderate usage. It also has few power saving modes such as power saving, super saving and customized.
You can also pre-set a cap whereby reaching to set battery % will activate power saving mode automatically.
Connectivity front features Standard Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi Hotspot and OTG support. It is a dual sim device that takes in micro SIM and supports 4G LTE connectivity to only SIM 1, while 2nd one remains limited to 2G only.
- Polygon white color ZenFone 2 Deluxe. (The phone also comes in three more color options, Blue, Purple and Red.)
- User Manuals and Warranty Guide
- MicroUSB Cable
- 2 Amp USB Power adapter
- Lag-free performance
- Good build quality
- Uncustomary great design of back panel
- Excellent battery life
- Futile bloatware
- Camera could have been better
Price & The Verdict
Overall I pretty much liked the device. It is premium handset from ASUS that comes with great specs such as 4gigs of RAM, 64gigs of internal storage, 3000mAh battery, above average camera and lag free performance.
It looks great and feels great too. So the ZenFone 2 Deluxe is majorly an update only in looks, the price hasn’t changed either.
The 64GB variant is available at 22,999 INR, a complete package that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Recommended from my end. Whereas, the 128GB variant is available at 29,999 INR.
Spending Rs. 7,000 more just for a storage expansion would be a hefty move in my understanding, but again, internal storage is always better than having expanded memory through a MicroSD card.