Phones like the ASUS ZenFone 2 mean that you don't have to visit your carrier to find a great Android phone. 2015 is the year of unlocked phones that won't break the bank, but perform like they should. And we love it.
Having more than one choice when buying a new phone is great for us. It's especially great when many of the choices deliver when it comes to performance while staying friendly to your wallet. The ZenFone 2 is one of those gems that does both.
The internal hardware
For starters, we really have to recommend anyone shopping for a new ZenFone 2 look at the "premium" model with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. We're not knocking the other model, but the higher-end version is a much better bargain.
The Intel ATOM CPU paired with the 4GB of RAM means that most everything you want to do on the ZenFone 2 is going to be fast. Forget benchmarks, we mean actually doing things like playing games or rendering video or even browsing the web. Apps open fast and are responsive — easily as fast and responsive as any 2015 Android phone. The ZenFone outperforms its bargain price point.
Solid wireless connections
Be it Bluetooth, Wifi or a cellular connection, the ZenFone 2 wireless radios are some of the best we've ever seen. You'll stay connected to your carrier longer, have a better range, and have higher data transfer rates with the ZenFone 2 than you will with most other Android phones out there. We don't know what kind of magic dust Intel sprinkled into the hardware, but we're glad they did it.
Add in the fact that the ZenFone 2 is unlocked and works on every North American GSM carrier, and you have a great phone that does the "phone" things well.
The curved back
ASUS might have put the power button in an awkward place, but they did a solid when it comes to making the phone comfortable to hold. The rear of the ZenFone 2 has a curve where the center is thicker than the edges, and it makes holding the phone in your hand comfortable — even during long calls. You'll also be able to easily adjust the volume by feel because of the back-mounted volume rocker.
You'll not have the feeling that you're going to drop it because you're only holding the edges. For folks who talk on the phone a good bit, little things like this can mean a lot.
The Flip case
Love them or hate them, the "smart" Flip case for the ZenFone 2 works very well.
The circular window and settings make for a quick way to get information about calls and messages you have missed, or get a detailed weather forecast, and even a quick way to fire off the LED flashlight.
We've see interactive folio covers from all the "big" names in Android, and it's nice seeing the same level of detail (and functionality) in a phone that doesn't crush your wallet.
It won't break the bank
If you want high-end performance and great quality and durability in your next phone, but would rather not part with $500 or more, the ZenFone 2 is a phone you need to look at.
You won't be able to find another phone with a 64-bit quad-core CPU, 4 GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (plus an SD card slot) for under $300. That's not even mentioning that the ZenFone 2 works on most carriers around the globe, or has a dual-SIM configuration, or it's own feature-packed user interface.
Whether you want to play games, or be able to stay in touch with friends and family, or just surf the web on your downtime, the ZenFone 2 will serve you well.
It's definitely a phone you need to consider if you're looking for something new.
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