Zenfone 2 Delta review - A new owners thoughts relative to the many other internet reviewers.

Andruri

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This is not meant to be a comprehensive review, just providing my opinions after using the device for a couple of weeks. My focus is to comment relative to some of the biggest concerns and criticisms that I read about before purchasing my Zenphone 2. I spent more than 9 hours reading and watching videos about the zenphone and similar devices before making a decision to buy. Thank you internet & commerical community for these reviews!, as they helped me sort through the pros/cons of this specific device and apply my own set of filters to your opinions. Of course I wanted to like the phone by the time it arrived in my hands, so these views may be slanted in that respect, but I am trying to be objective here. (For some background, my current phone is a Nexus 4 running 4.4 kitkat, and I have previously used iOS and Palm devices).

1) Physical Button location - I do not mind that the power button is located on top. In fact I prefer it there after using the phone, partly because of the double tap wake/sleep feature and partly due to the physical size of the phone. I can palm a basketball, but I still find the phone a handful to hold. The Nexus 4 was the ideal size in comparison, never feeling too large in the hand. But my eyes wanted the larger screen of the Zenphone 2, so I was willing to make that tradeoff. The phone gets switched on/off as it is being picked up/placed down, so using the off hand to press the power button is not a big deal for me and does not interfer with one handed operation. I also like that the volume button is on the back, to eliminate all side buttons which would make the phone harder to use one handed.

2) Volume - Max speaker volume is a louder and richer than the Nexus 4, but it is still not great and radiates away out the back. Extra loud volume is desired when watching videos or listening to podcasts that were recorded too low, or if I want to step into the next room and still hear it playing. The volume goes loud enough for the most situations and should not be a deal breaker for someone considering this phone. Still I would like for it to be able to get extra loud and blast my ears.

3) Display - a) Some say the phone does not go dim enough, which I would agree. It is hard to use the phone in the dark without overpowering your eyes. b) Others say that the display cannot get bright enough, I have not experienced this issue though I generally try to avoid direct sunlight. Except for in-the-dark viewing, I have liked the automatic brightness settings. c) Still other people want a QHD or higher resolution display, but I think that would be a mistake and increase device cost and everyday performance cost with almost no benefit since the PPI is already 403.

4) Case Material - I read many almost apologetic reviews about "build quality" with I interpret as a euphemism for whether the case is made of plastic or not. I prefer plastic because it is cheap, light weight, antenna friendly, comes in multiple colors, provides durability when dropped, allows easier access to the internal slots, etc. I suspect if plastic was expensive and added $50 to the cost, many of the negative reviewers would turn positive and sing about its praises. My glass backed Nexus 4 may feel nice in the hand, but it adds weight and the device must be kept in a case to protect against breaking from accidental drops, making its superior build quality a mute point. I like the etched plastic (metallic looking) case of the Zenphone 2. Its plastic caseback and easy access to the internal SIM/SDXC slots was a very positive selling point for me, and I was not disappointed upon receiving the phone.

5) Asus software bloat - Almost every reviewer who has used a lot of different Android devices gave big negative comments about the pre-installed Asus software, a few even seemed to give this enough weight to recommend an alternate phone. I don't agree with their thinking, especially since these same experts are the very people who are knowledgeable enough to quickly stop, uninstall or ignore applications that they do not like. I do not dismiss their criticisms entirely, but I believe the intention of the pre-installed software is to help those who have less experience with a smartphone; for some people this will be their first Android phone and they may have limited data connection or experience in downloading and choosing Apps. I do prefer a stock Android experience, but I have not found the Asus experience to be a negative. For now, I have moved all the Asus apps to a different window pane, so I came keep them organized as compared to what I have installed. A few of them have came in handy, even though a few of the "helpful" ones like Boost are a little annoying.

6) Intel processor - Before purchasing I was skeptical of the Intel processor, even though no reviewer had posted a negative comment about its software compatibility. Years ago I had a bad experience using a first generation Intel chipset running an older version Android. There were lot of software bugs, most were in Android and some were in the underlying firmware. Thus far I have been pleasantly surprised about how everything just works as expected. No hint that there is an Intel instead of a Qualcomm chipset inside the phone.

7) Camera - This got mixed reviews from others. I have not used it enough to form any real opinion. The few photos I have taken using the automatic settings looked better than my Nexus 4. I expect it to work well enough for travel and everyday activities. I have a digicam for more serious photo taking, but I hope this will replace it for some shots.

8) non-Backlit Capacitive buttons - On screen buttons would be preferable, but I am okay with the capacitive buttons. When I used Android for the first time after iOS one of the things I really liked was the "back" button in addition to the singular home button. Back-lighting would be nice for very low light conditions, but since I know where the buttons are, it is not a significant issue for me. That said, I do think this could be an issue for a new smartphone user and it does detract from the overall polish of the phone.

9) Price - Almost every reviewer gives positive comments about the price relative to its specs. I wavered on whether to buy the 64GB or 16 GB model. I believe the 16 GB model would meet my needs and was offered at a good price, but I also thought Asus was offering some real value with the 64 GB model (not just charging consumers a premium for more Flash) so that is the model I chose. I hope Asus made a little better margin on the 64GB phone as well as providing me more value.

In summary, I am a price sensitive consumer who is looking for performance and value. No doubt that other phones could have meet this criteria with other trade offs, but I am happy with my purchase of a 64GB Asus Zenphone 2 (ZE551ML-23-4G64GN). Application performance and basic phone calls have met my expectations.
 

gtt1

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Found your review interesting as I am a new user of the Zenfone and also came from a nexus 4 my first smartphone. Loved my Nexus 4 and only made the move do to my stupidity in taking the N4 with me in my pocket for a swim. I had to buy in a hurry and went with the Zenfone after reading lots of reviews. I wanted a screen at least as big as the Nexus and would have preferred the same size but felt the physical dimensions were only slightly larger. Price was a major consideration and went with the $199.99 16gb as my N4 was only 8gb and I really had no problems. With the micro sd card slot the Zenfone has lots of capacity for me.

I find the Z2 to be as fast as my N4. The screen seems not as sharp in resolution as I recall the N4 but it is larger 5.5 vs 4.7

Buttons to me are superior by far to my N4. Was always hitting the volume by accident as I held it or turned it on. Much prefer the top button and back volumes. Sound to me is about the same.
I purchased a Ringke FUSION case for the phone. Had the same one on my N4. I like the additional protection it provides against edge drops and it is very thin and being clear does not alter the phones look.
Camera is okay for regular photos which I find sharper than the N4 but videos are not nearly as good which is to bad but I don't use that much.
The Capacitive buttons are not that bad even though not lit you know where they are. Not sure why as my N4 is toast and cannot compare but I find when typing I seem to hit the home key in error when going for the space key. Never happened with my N4 so assume it is much closer to the keyboard.

I am not a fan at all of the bloatware which cannot be removed really unless you root the device and few can be disabled properly. Sure if you don't use it you can ignore it but it is taking up Ram and pops up from time to time and you get the constant updates. I guess you just have to live with it.

I wish the google screen page which opened with a swipe up from the bottom would work as easy as it did on the N4 but it is slow as I need to press and hold the home button and then swipe up on the Zenfone. My samsung tablet is even better as just a press and hold of the home button activates it
Having dual sim slots and an sd card slot are major improvements to me over the N4

Battery life seems better also to me but I have seen others say it is worse. Doesn't charge as fast but I do an overnight anyway so not a problem
The negatives to this phone to me are few especially considering the price.
 

Andruri

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ggt1 - Sorry to hear about your wet Nexus 4. Some follow up to your comments:

* "when typing I seem to hit the home key in error when going for the space key" - I had same thing happen a few times when I first used the phone. The default keyboards of each device have a slightly different layout. Nexus 4 space key is a little wider but also a little shorter in height (keyboard on the N4 is compressed overall in comparison), so in practice the Z2 home key should be easier to avoid. I think the error is caused by a combination of the home key is not being backlit, and the individual letters being taller. So as you try to adjust from your Nexus keyboard muscle memory you may occasionally overshoot, but soon you will adjust.

* I have not sorted through the Asus background apps yet. I believe they can be marked so that they do not to start. Even though their notifications can be annoying at times, I did get a useful message from one telling me that facebook was using a lot of CPU. I only installed fb, I have never logged into it, so was surprised it was exhibiting performance problems.

* I also miss launching google Now from a simple home button up-swipe. Holding the button for a moment before swiping is not a big deal, but sometimes these small things matter. Especially when the Zenfones "Manage Home" screen is easily accessed by pressing on any empty screen space.

* Later on you may want to consider a rapid charger upgrade. I was surprised how quickly it charged and how useful it is.
 

Andruri

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ggt1 - I noticed your comment in the thread about alternate keyboards, but posting a follow up here to continue the discussion about stock Nexus 4 (kitkat) vs Zenfone 2 (lollipop) keyboards. Below is a side-by-side photo where I was trying to align the top of the qwerty line to highlight the different spacing. Showing how the Zenfone letters are taller and there is an extra numeric row. Since the letters are larger, I find the Zenfone easier to use and the extra row of numbers is a big plus, but others may certainly feel differently. The "letter" on space bar is not centered on the key, so if one aims for the "_" instead of the key I could see that leading to some accidental home key presses.
Nexus-4 vs Zenfone-2 stock-keyboard-comparison.jpg
 

gtt1

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I have tried multiple keyboards and have found I prefer the Asus keyboard to the others. I am very accustomed to having the numbers available and most alternatives don't have this feature. The Asus is the closest to my Samsung tablet which has large buttons and the numbers above. I am getting less mi****s on the home key now, none in last few days so this is becoming less of a problem. I am hoping the predictive words will improve. Still don't get my complete email addresses.

Many may not be aware that if you go into the keyboard settings much can be changed. The letter height by default is normal but you can choose tall or short as well

I notice also the keyboard is different depending on the program and I wish we could determine that ourselves. I like having the keyboard below as the space key is offset to the left and it has the .com key

keyboard.jpg
 

Sergiusz Jasper

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b953d6c1170bd462fa104575145439f9.jpg


SwiftKey keyboard I find works awesome plus u can add numbers on top like u want I don't as u can see in pic plus in dark mode it looks cool and can change almost anything on it.

Sent from my ASUS_Z00AD using Tapatalk
 

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