After a surprise hit, Asus aims for the big time with Zenfone 2

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After scoring a massive hit with the original Zenfone smartphone, Taiwanese tech firm Asus is seeking to align itself with the world?s top smartphone maker with the recent introduction of the Zenfone 2 ? the latest iteration to the hugely successful Zenfone smartphone line.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen leads the launch of the Zenfone 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia
Asus CEO Jerry Shen leads the launch of the Zenfone 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia

At a grandiose launch held at the Pullman Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, Asus chief executive Jerry Shen led the unveiling of the Zenphone 2 units, whose price starts at about P9,000. The top-end variant, which is touted as the first in the world with a 4GB RAM, will cost just under P15,000.

Asus picked Indonesia, a sprawling country with more than 300 million inhabitants, as the launch venue because it wants to become the top smartphone brand in the archipelagic nation, company executives said.

Also in attendance at the event were the top regional bosses of the semiconductor firm Intel, whose chips were used in the Zenfone 2 smartphones. A 64-bit Intel Atom processor with Intel?s LTE-Advanced Intel XMM 7260 solution powers the smartphones.

According to Chen, Zenfone has propelled Asus as the third biggest vendor of smartphones in Southeast Asia, with strong showing in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Since its launch last year, the company also said ZenFone has won 238 awards worldwide.

Winner of a 2015 iF Design Award, the new ZenFone 2 models have a metallic hairline finish and is just 3.9mm at its thinnest edges.

With a 72-percent screen-to-body ratio, ZenFone 2 packs a 5.5-inch screen into a compact body similar in size to most 5-inch smartphones.

Designed for one-handed use, ZenFone 2 features an ergonomically curved rear cover with an intuitive button that functions as the volume control as well as the camera shutter button when snapping selfies.

Asus ZenFone 2 comes with the Android 5.0 Lollipop ? the latest 64-bit mobile operating system from Google ? and Asus ZenUI 2.0 for a smooth user experience.

Asus ZenFone is equipped with a 13MP rear-facing and 5MP front-facing PixelMaster cameras for capturing photos and videos in any situation.

The latest PixelMaster 2.0 technology features a wide range of enhancements, including Low Light mode on both the rear and front cameras, allowing users to capture up to 400-percent brighter photos and videos at night or in dimly lit scenes.

When a flash is preferred, ZenFone 2 uses a Real Tone Dual LED flash to ensure warm skin tones and natural colors.

The camera also features an HDR mode and a blue glass infrared filter, making ZenFone 2 an ideal tool for capturing challenging backlit scenes, such as sunset portraits.

The camera?s zero shutter lag lets users take photos instantly, helping capture precious moments that can pass in the blink of an eye.

ZenFone 2?s 5MP front-facing camera features a wide, 85-degree field of view perfectly engineered for taking selfies.

When taking a selfie with a group of friends, or including scenery in the shot, ZenUI Selfie Panorama mode lets users capture panoramic selfies with up to a 140-degree field of view.

For those seeking fine-grained control over camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and more, Manual mode offers users a DSLR-like experience right on their smartphone.

A 60ms touch response time ensures lag-free input, and OpenGL 3.0 provides a smooth gaming performance.

The ZenFone 2?s dual-SIM slot with Dual Sim Dual Active (DSDA) technology also ensures that users will never miss important calls.

While making or receiving a call on SIM 1, users can switch seamlessly without disconnecting SIM 1 if another caller tries to contact them on SIM 2.

ZenFone 2 has a high-capacity, 3000mAh battery that provides more than a full day of use on a single charge. BoostMaster technology enables 2X faster charging, letting users charge ZenFone 2 from from 0% to 60% in just 39 minutes.

When charging, ZenFone 2 displays the current battery state and remaining time needed before the battery is fully charged.

To ensure ZenUI is always up-to-date, Asus put more than 30 ZenUI apps in the Google Play, so each app can be updated separately without having to wait for a system update like on most other Android smartphones.

With ZenUI Instant Updates, Asus developers can make ZenUI updates available immediately, avoiding delays between app releases and ensuring the best experience for ZenFone 2 users.

Asus Launcher, also available in Google Play, features enhancements such as customization and ZenMotion, a collection of intuitive touch gestures, each providing a new way of interacting with ZenFone 2, such as double-tapping on the screen to wake the device.

Along with ZenMotion is a collection of touch gestures that can be enabled to instantly launch different apps even when the screen is off.

For example, when a user swipes the screen as if writing the letter C, the camera app will open. Swiping as if writing a lowercase letter E will open the email app.

zenfone 2

Other special motion gestures are available for different purposes. For example, by double-tapping on the home key, the user can switch to one-hand mode for single-handed operation. The user can also gently shake ZenFone 2 to have the information currently displayed on the screen added to Do It Later.

SnapView lets users secure their data in ZenFone 2 by providing different storage spaces to keep personal files separate from work files. SnapView ensures photos, documents, and other files remain unopened if a user logs in with different username.

Asus ZenFone 2 is packed as well with entertainment features. Its 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) IPS display with a wide 178-degree viewing angle and Asus-exclusive TruVivid technology delivers brightness and brilliant colors for gaming and video-watching experiences.

ZenFone 2 is equipped with SonicMaster technology for revolutionary smartphone sound quality. Compared to its predecessor, ZenFone 2 has 38-percent larger audio chambers and improved speakers with better diafragmas and stronger voice coils, resulting in 4X more powerful sound output, 4X deeper bass (increased by 14dB), and 2X higher pitch.

The included Audio Wizard application lets users customize ZenFone 2?s sound for a personal audio experience. When AudioWizard is turned on, users can choose from six different output modes to give them the type of sound they desire.

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