Zenfone 2 ZE551ML or Samsung A8 Duo (USD $138 price difference)

etm001

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tl;dr: for USD $138 more, would you buy a Samsung A8 Duo over a Zenfone 2 ZE551ML?

In my market the Samsung A8 Duo is available for USD $363, the Zenfone 2 ZE551ML for $225; a side-by-side spec comparison can be found using GSM Arena's comparison tool (this forum will not allow me to include links in this post). Some highlights:

  • SIM/Micro SD: both are dual SIM and support micro SD.
  • Battery: equivalently sized batteries in both, although the Zenfone 2 supports fast charging.
  • Size/Weight: the A8 is 12% lighter and 46% thinner than the Zenfone 2 at its thickest point.
  • Screen: almost identically sized screens; 5.7" Super AMOLED (A8) vs. 5.5" IPS (Zenfone2)
  • Camera: 13MP (Zenfone 2) vs. 16MP (A8), both have roughly similar functions
  • RAM/Storage: 4GB RAM/32GB (Zenfone 2) vs. 2GB RAM/32GB (A8)
  • CPU/GPU: Intel Atom Z3580 (Zenfone 2) vs. Exynos 5 Octa 5430; PowerVR G6430 (Zenfone 2) vs. Mali-T628 MP6 (A8)
  • WiFi/Bluetooth: identical WiFi and Bluetooth support (except the A8 supports Bluetooth LE)
  • 4G LTE: the Zenfone 2 supports more LTE bands (although not relevant for my market)

Specs alone can't tell you how a phone performs in real life. That said, the Zenfone 2 has twice the RAM of the A8; the A8 has faster RAM (LPDDR4 vs. LPDDR3). As for camera quality, I can't say because there are no direct comparisons between the two phones.

In regards to battery life, here's what GSM Arena reported for the two phones:

A8: 98h "endurance rating", 25:02h 3G talk time; 12:18h web browsing; 12:45h video playback
Z2 (single SIM): 62h "endurance rating", 15:47h 3G talk time; 7:52h web browsing; 8:43h video playback

The battery performance for the A8 was quite surprising, especially given the atrocious battery performance of other Samsung phones like the S6.

Finally, there's the question of Android version. The Zenfone 2 still ships with Lollipop 5.0, whereas the A8 ships with 5.1.1. I don't believe either company has official confirmed upgrades to Marshmallow, although based on what I've seen in this forums, the unofficial response from Asus is that the Zenfone 2 ZE551ML will skip Lollipop 5.1.1 and go directly to Marshmallow. As for the A8, it would be surprising if it didn't get upgraded, although who knows when this will happen.
 

B. Diddy

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I have a Zenfone 2 (the top of the line, with the fastest Atom processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage), and it's quite good. The main drawback I see is that the battery life isn't as good as it could be, which I think has to do with the processor. When I look at it with an app like CPU-Z, it seems that none of the 4 main cores ever becomes idle (as opposed to Snapdragon processors, and presumably Exynos), which might contribute to battery drain. I get decent screen-on time (maybe around 5 hrs), but where this impacts battery life is when it's idle. This issue is partially offset by the quick charging--it charges up very quickly.

ASUS is pretty diligent with updates, both for the system and for preinstalled apps (like Contacts, Calendar, Dialer). On the other hand, there's a lot of bloatware. Some of it is pretty useful, but much isn't. Of course, Samsung is no stranger to bloat either. I would hope that ASUS will update this phone to Marshmallow, but it's by no means guaranteed.

Camera is very good. Screen is nice, although not as bright as I'd like. One advantage of the IPS LCD vs the Samsung's AMOLED is that there's no risk for burn-in.

Hopefully someone else can chime in about the A8!
 

etm001

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Thanks for the great reply! The 4GBRAM/64GB model is $250 in my market, and the A8 Duo is $360 new, $290 used. I prefer the styling of the A8, and it has a fingerprint sensor, but the price of the Zenfone 2 is hard to ignore.

The only other thing I'm concerned about is audio quality via the headphones. What's your experience been like? There's a thread on XDA forums that has mixed opinions, you can find it by Googling "zenfone 2 audio quality" (this forum won't let me post links).
 

B. Diddy

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I'm not an ultra-audiophile, but I do like my music (EDM, guitar rock, and blues). I find music to play quite well over wired and Bluetooth headsets. There's an audio manager that allows you to tweak the sound, and Google Play Music is also capable of using the Equalizer setting.
 

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