Asus is relative new to the smartphone market. They’re a brand really well known for their tablets and laptops. While their Zenfone 2 has been available in select countries for a couple months now, Asus took the stage in New York City to announce their plans to sell the phone here in the United States.
Zenfone 2 marks some interesting hardware choices. Instead of turnign to Qualcomm or Mediatek for the processor, Asus is using Intel’s Atom, a chipset more commonly found in Windows tablets. The higher end ZenFone will also be the first smartphone to sport 4GB of RAM.
The rest of the hardware is nipping at the heels of the flagship market, with a 5.5″ 1080p display, a 13MP camera utilizing pixel merging and software stabilization, a 3000mAh battery, and MicroSD card storage expansion. Fast charging will provide a 60% charge in up to 40 minutes.
In terms of design, ZenFone 2 looks like the love child of HTC’s rounded edges and LG’s backplate mounted volume controls.
Asus has already built up a small ecosystem of accessories inculding a flip case, an LED flash which plugs into the headset jack, a Xenon flash which approaches proper camera flashes, a 10,050mAh small form factor powerbank and a pair of high quality ear buds.
What’s most interesting about this offering however is the price.
Asus is looking to compete by busting up flagship pricing. The faster Intel Quad-core paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will sell for $299, while the slower Quad-core, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage will sell for $199. Really exciting price points to bring what looks like capable hardware to the North American market.
Lastly, also interesting, Asus looks to be side-stepping carrier partnerships. No word on if ZenFone will be sold in carrier stores, but starting tomorrow, the phone will be available directly to consumers via online retailers Amazon, NewEgg, and B&H.
Asus ZenFone 2 on Amazon.