The ZenFone 2 Laser Is Here, And ASUS Has Its Sights Set On You!
Earlier this year I wrote an article about the launch of the ASUS ZenFone 2, and now ASUS has decided that the $199 version needed an upgrade! ASUS has now given the Smartphone Consumer the ZenFone 2 Laser.
If you are new to the ZenFone 2 lineup it is broken down into three price points:
- ZenFone 2E at $99*: 8 GB internal storage, 1 GB memory, and a Duel-Core Intel CPU
- ZenFone 2 at $199: 16 GB internal storage, 2 GB memory, and a Quad-Core Intel CPU
- ZenFone 2 at $299: 64 GB internal storage, 4 GB memory, and a Quad-Core Intel CPU
As stated before the ZenFone 2 Laser or Model ZE551KL is the replacement for the $199 price point as well as adding a new $249 price point to the mix. For the most part the ZenFone 2 Laser looks mostly unchanged externally except for the laser auto focus next to the rear camera. There are a decent amount of changes internally though, and the specifications of the ZenFone 2 Laser are as follows:
- Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop *Unchanged
- Case Color: Silver *Original Had More Color Options
- Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 3.9 mm (LxWxH) *Unchanged
- Weight: 170g *Unchanged
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939 *Goodbye Intel
- Memory: 3 GB LPDDR3 RAM *An Extra GB Of Memory Never Hurts!
- Internal Storage: 16 GB/32 GB eMMC Flash *US Model Lacked a 32 GB Version Prior To This!
- Expandable Storage: MicroSD Card (up to 128 GB) *Prior Models Only "Rated For" 64 GB!
- Connectivity: WLAN 803.11 b/g/n, USB, Bluetooth V4.0+EDR +A2DP, Dual Micro SIM Supporting 2G/3G/4G (US LTE Bands) * Prior Models Didn't Support 3G/4G On Second Micro SIM!
- Navigation: GPS, GLONASS, AGPS & BDS
- Display: 5.5 inch, Full HD 1920x1080, IPS *Unchanged
- Battery: 3000 mAH Li-Polymer *Now Removable, Thank You ASUS!
- Front Camera: 5 MP *Now With Auto Focus
- Rear Camera: 10 MP *Now With Laser Auto Focus
- Sensor: G-Sensor/E-Compass/Gyroscope/*Proximity Light/Proximity/Light Sensor/*Hall Sensor
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 while not clocked as high as the Intel Atom Quad-Core Z3560 is no slouch. The Snapdragon 615 is a Big/Little chip with two Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-bit CPUs with one clocked at up to 1.7 GHz, and the other clocked at up to 1.0 GHz. This setup is for better battery life as the lower clocked A53 chip will be doing most of the workload during average use. If you happen to be playing a demanding game the 1.7 Ghz A53 chip will kick in to keep your user experience smooth. The increase that was made from 2 GB of Memory to 3 GB is a welcome change as 3 GB is the new slandered for android devices. Having used ZenFone 2 Models of the 2 GB, and 4 GB verities I understand the reasoning behind ASUS upgrading the Memory for the ZenFone 2 Laser. For regular tasks and light gaming 2 GB of memory is more than enough, but once you start doing heavy multitasking its limitations are apparent. I use the ZenFone 2 with 4 GB of memory as my daily driver, and with heavy multitasking I can hit over 3 GB Memory Usage easily! Now going to the storage we see that ASUS has finally given its US custimers a 32GB version for $249. This is nice and all, but since the ZenFone 2 Laser supports up to a 128 GB MicorSD card it is not as big of a deal unless you will make full use of 160 GB of storage!
As you may have guessed the main focus of the new ZenFone 2 Laser is the Laser Auto Focus! Those who have used the camera on the Zenfone 2 before may have noticed that the auto focus was hit or miss in most cases. This was why a lot of people started playing with the manual mode on the camera app who would have otherwise used the auto setting. The Laser Auto Focus does gives better, and faster Auto Focus, and can lead to better pictures more often than not. The camera itself is unchanged from the last ZenFone 2 as it is still at 13 MP. This is not a bad thing as the Laser Auto Focus and Manual modes show that the sensor itself is of decent quality. This is not a complete fix as the camera software still needs some tweaking by ASUS before it is 100% on point. ASUS just needs to do a little more work to get it up to snuff as a point and shoot camera!
For those who already have a $199 ZenFone 2 the ZenFone 2 Laser will not be a huge upgrade for you, unless you are a stickler for better Auto Focus! The ZenFone 2 Laser is however a great addition to the ZenFone 2 family, as it brings the tweaks ASUS custumers have been asking for including a "Removable Battery"! About time ASUS!