Asus Zenfone 2 review

Android phone customizations on the very cheap

Asus Zenfone 2 review
Asus Zenfone 2 review

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The Asus Zenfone 2 is like that out-of-shape guy at the gym who pushes harder than anyone would have expected. It's more powerful than it looks.

But that unsightly build quality proves that, if it's trying to offer the flagship experience for less, it isn't quite there yet – and it's definitely not ready for selfies. *Wince*

We liked

Its best features are a large 5.5-inch display, a solid CPU provided by Intel and 4GB of RAM. The deep ZenUI customization that sits on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop will be a plus for users that want options but don't know what a ROM is.

We disliked

Zenfone 2 may have inner peace, but its cheap plastic shell doesn't add up to outer beauty. The display isn't bright enough for sunny outdoor conditions, which is ironic, because ample light is required to make its shoddy camera's photos look at least passable.

Final verdict

The Zenfone 2 is half of the price of a top-tier smartphone and offers, thankfully, far more than half the performance. Its power finishes just behind the current pack of best phones.

That said, the screen could be brighter and sharper, the construction could be more durable and less cheap-feeling, and the camera could use retooling.

If the top phones don't seem worth 600-plus bucks to you – and if you're better at holding onto a slippery 5.5-inch phone than I am – then parting with $300 (about £210, AU$408) puts this big Android Lollipop phone in your pocket and more money back into your (Google) wallet or purse. It's that simple – just level your expectations.

Matt Swider