Asus has unveiled the ZenFone 2, a brushed-metal successor to the first ZenFone that debuted at last year's CES. We've spent a few minutes with the 5.5-inch device and can confirm it looks and feels great.
The ZenFone 2 features a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 403ppi, meaning it's a brilliant alternative to the iPhone 6 Plus for those of you who want some Android 5.0 Lollipop rather than iOS 8. And the aluminium finish, which is available in a variety of colours, makes it feel just as fancy Apple's latest smartphone. We played with the red and white versions and walked away wishing we had one in our pocket to take home.
We didn't have a lot of time to play, so we can't comment on Asus' new Zen UI skin that is overlaid on top of Lollipop, but we did check out a few things including the 13-megapixel camera. It has optical image stabilisation, and from what we could tell at first blush, it's perfectly capable of snapping gorgeous pictures. The demo area was dimly lit, for instance, but the phone's camera still performed well, with Asus claiming the PixelMaster camera will boost contrast by 400 per cent.
Other things we noticed include the phone's thin edges and rather thick middle. Asus said it went for a ergonomic shape, which basically means it tried to copy the Moto X's shape. It succeeded too, because the phone certainly feels nice to hold and wield around. That said, we had trouble finding the power button and eventually located at the top of the phone. It's an awkward place and seems hard to reach at times, given the phone's size.
The ZenFone 2 is a powerful device. It has the latest generation Intel Atom Z3580 paired with 4GB RAM, which makes it feel super fast, and that metal finish and crisp display puts the phone into the premium Android smartphone category.
But at $199, it (thankfully) doesn't have a premium price tag.