Hands-on with Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe
Asus announced the ZenFone 2 at CES back in January, with its headline-grabbing feature the fact that it was the first smartphone to pack an impressive but seemingly unnecessary 4GB of RAM. Nine months on, the ZenFone 2 Deluxe takes the very same feature set and packs it into a body that should catch the eye of a few more folk.
From the front, not much has changed. The ZenFone 2 Deluxe continues to feature gently curved corners and a generous screen bezel, to accommodate the physical navigation buttons, below the 5.5-inch Full HD screen. The dimensions and the weight, too, are identical to the ZenFone 2. It’s around the rear of the phone where things are different.
Watch our Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe hands-on video
Now there’s a bumpy, angular plastic back with a matte finish that certainly gives the Deluxe a unique look. Although initial impressions are that it won’t be particularly comfortable to hold, it’s surprisingly easy to grip. The LG-inspired back buttons remain, although they don’t have the same satisfying feel beneath the fingers as the ones on the G3 or G4.
Elsewhere, there’s nothing new to report here. The ZenFone 2 Deluxe still runs on an Intel Atom Z3580 processor with 4GB of RAM. The jury is still out on how much RAM a phone needs, but this phone is certainly zippy in operation. In addition, you have the option of a special edition with a whopping 256GB of internal storage.
The ZenFone 2 Deluxe runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with the Zen UI on top. It’s a little more overbearing than most Android approaches, with plenty of bloatware littered on the homescreens. Crucially, it doesn’t appear to have had an impact on the slickness of navigating homescreens or launching apps, however.
When it comes to taking pictures, there’s a 13-megapixel main sensor with a dual-tone flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing unit. I managed to take a few snaps and it delivers pleasant – but far from groundbreaking – image quality.
The ZenFone 2 Deluxe appears to be an update of Asus’ flagship phone only in the looks department – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It successfully manages to make a plastic design feel a little more desirable, without coming across as cheap and tacky. Along with an impressive specs list and pricing that starts from around £230, this is an Android phone that’s set up to punch well above its weight.