Earlier this week, the resident geeks here at FHM HQ went to Jakarta, Indonesia to attend something big time: the Southeast Asia launch of the highly-anticipated ASUS Zenfone 2 smartphone!
Held inside the Pullman Hotel at Jakarta's posh business district from April 20 to 22, the event gave both local and foreign media (our bros from Malaysia and Thailand were present, too) memorable sights and sounds such as:
Traditional Indonesian performances
Modern dance numbers:
And a mini orchestra!
And let's not forget the pretty Indonesian promo girls (you know we just had to):
But the real highlight of the festivities is certainly the unveiling of the ZenFone 2. For those asking why the heck a single handset deserves such a hebigat event, the ZenFone 2 is the follow-up to the hugely popular first-gen ZenFone—the handset that firmly secured ASUS' spot on the smartphone map. Expectations are high and ASUS really wanted to let the whole world know that their newest handset flagship has arrived and is ready for a piece of your wallet competition.
As such, we made it a mission to not just see the freshly-unveiled device in the flesh but also play with it to see what the hype is all about. Check out below, our initial impressions and hands-on photos of the ZenFone 2!
There's the real thing folks, the ZenFone 2 in all its glossy glory!
The device's back side is inspired by ASUS' "Zen style" design approach which makes use of gently-sloping lines for an elegant and simple look. To add more oomph to its appearance, ASUS added a brushed metal finish to the ZenFone 2. Phil Jackson will be proud.
If you look closer you'll see that the phone has a curved back side which is pretty uncommon. ASUS explains this feature as a way of "humanizing" the device. You see, the curved shape conforms to your palm's contours, resulting to a more natural grip. We held it (and almost didn't want to let go), and we agree!
Three navigation buttons (Back, Home, and Multitask) are found just below the touchscreen. Their placement outside the screen (some phones include these buttons within the display itself) means more space for stuff like apps, videos, and that selfie you took while you're at Starbucks.
Speaking of the display, you can customize how it looks—from scroll effects to the overall theme—thanks to the ZenFone 2's Zen UI customization options.
Up front is a 5-megapixel camera with HD video recording. We tested it and while the images are decent (we won't post the selfies we took because we're not sure if we were #SelfieReady), what really impressed us is the quick response of the shooter. There was only a split-second waiting time when switching between camera mode and gallery mode.
Measuring 10.9mm thick, the ZenFone 2 is not the slimmest of phones. We're not complaining though; the added size gives it that reassuring heft that tells us we're not holding a plastic device that breaks into a million pieces when dropped.
The ZenFone 2 allows you to use customized gestures for insta-access to a number of apps and options. For example, while the phone is on standby mode, you can draw the letter "P" on the screen to access porn the Phone app in a jiffy. Nifty!
The ZenFone 2 is also packin' in terms of hardware. It comes with a quad-core Intel Atom processor which ASUS claims is faster than most mobile phone processors out there; 2GB or 4GB of RAM according to the model; and storage options of 32 or 64GB. Yowzah!
The impressive specs results in what we really look for in a phone: speedy, lag-less operation. However, keep in mind that we played with a bare-bones unit and having more apps will slow down any phone. We'll reserve judgement for its performance until we get an official review unit (calling on ASUS Philippines!)
Special mention goes to the 5.5-inch display which boasts a resolution of up to 1080p HD.
Finally, we had a go with the 13-megapixel main camera at the back. Sure, the images are impressive for a camphone, but what makes it special is the bevy of features that cater to different shooting situations (e.g. action shots, beauty scenes, close-up imaging). You can also tinker with specific camera options (e.g. ISO, exposure) to further customize the camera's abilities according to your needs.
Now a bit of bad news: While the phone has been unveiled, deets on exact Philippine pricing and availability are still under wraps. However, ASUS revealed that the ZenFone 2 starts at 2.7 million Indonesian Rupiahs or around P9,600. The company also said that the device should finally land on local store shelves sometime next month. Konting tiis na lang!