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Asus ZenFone 2 With 4 GB Of RAM Launches In The U.S. For $300

Asus introduced its premium ZenFone 2 smartphone for the U.S. market at a New York press event. The ZenFone 2's most intriguing feature that has captured the imagination of many users in other countries so far is the support for 4 GB of RAM.

Although 4 GB of RAM is technically only 33 percent more RAM than we've seen in flagship smartphones since last year, it is a "limit" that seems to have been broken in smartphones thanks to the arrival of 64-bit processors. It also enforces the idea that smartphones truly are becoming as powerful now as PCs were only a few years ago when we first started seeing 4 GB of RAM in PCs and notebooks, too.

Other devices could have supported 4 GB of RAM this year but didn't. The Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and LG Flex 2 could have all arrived with more than 3 GB of RAM. However, their makers decided that it's better to push for the same amount of more expensive and faster/more efficient LPDDR4 RAM instead of 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

As Asus has shown with the ZenFone 2, from a marketing point of view that may have been a mistake, as "4 GB of RAM" on a smartphone seems to send a stronger message than faster or more energy efficient LPDDR4 RAM does.

"ZenFone 2 has been incredibly popular with consumers in Asia and Europe, and we are very excited to bring this empowering luxury to North America," said Asus' chairman, Mr. Shih. "Striking the perfect balance of beauty, functionality, and performance, ZenFone 2 embodies every aspect of the ASUS In Search of Incredible brand spirit to provide an unparalleled experience to users."

Alongside this "unique" feature (at least until other smartphones catch up), the ZenFone 2 also comes with a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor that enables the support for 4 GB of RAM and an integrated  LTE-Advanced XMM 7260 modem. The GPU is the same one we've seen in the Apple iPhone 5S (PowerVR G6430) and is roughly about as powerful as Qualcomm's Adreno 330.

The device also has a 5.5" IPS+ screen with 1080p resolution; a 13MP camera with an f/2.0 lens; a dual-LED and dual-tone flash; a 5MP front-facing camera; 802.11ac Wi-Fi; options of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage; and a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery.

The ZenFone 2 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and will be available to order from Amazon.com, Groupon.com and Newegg.com in the U.S. and NCIX.com, Canada Computer, and Memory Express in Canada starting May 19.

The device will cost $300 for the 4 GB RAM variant with an Atom 3580 and 64 GB of storage. There will also be a cheaper version that will cost $200 but will have only 2 GB of RAM and a slower Atom Z3560 processor.

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  • dstarr3
    Sounds tempting, but it's so hard not to go with mainstream brands when my carrier keeps giving them away for free.
    Reply
  • razor512
    Is there a micro SD card slot, and is the battery user replaceable? If yes to both then that will probably be my next phone.
    Reply
  • HideOut
    does it have a micro SD? Thats whats important here.
    Reply
  • markusmcnugen
    Is there a micro SD card slot, and is the battery user replaceable? If yes to both then that will probably be my next phone.

    does it have a micro SD? Thats whats important here.

    "despite having a removable back panel, the battery is non-removable."

    "You get 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB versions in terms of on-board storage depending on which version you get, further expandable via microSD card up to 64 GB."
    Reply
  • razor512
    Well that sucks. Non removable battery is a deal breaker for me. I like having multiple batteries and external chargers that way if I forget to charge the battery, or need to head out, and need a full charge on a very short notice. I can just swap the batteries out in a few seconds with one that was on the charger.

    easy to replace batteries also have many cheap but good replacements, and best of all, since batteries are a consumable that has a limited number of charge cycles before they fail, as well as lose capacity with each charge cycle you put on the battery, a, easy to replace battery, makes it simple to replace batteries that no longer hold much of a charge.

    This is especially useful if you are the type of user that does not upgrade to a new smartphone every year.
    Reply
  • Mike Coberly
    Is there a micro SD card slot, and is the battery user replaceable? If yes to both then that will probably be my next phone.

    It does have a micro-SD slot (up to 64GB, no support for 128GB) but does not have a removable battery.
    No sale for me, these are basic features they are removing for the sake of forcing us to pay more later; if we could upgrade our phones, we'd be less likely to buy new ones.
    Reply
  • 4745454b
    Batteries are tied to phones. I've moved onto external packs. Clunkier yes, but at least as I change phones I'm not stuck with old batteries that won't work on my new phone. SD card support isn't an issue either if the phone supports USB OTG. Just pop your cable in and attach your thumb drive and you had more space?

    This has nearly identical specs to my Oneplus One. I'm not sure about the CPU as I don't know how the Atom stacks up against the ARM ones. For a savings of $50, I'd probably try it if I was looking for a phone.

    when my carrier keeps giving them away for free.

    If only they would. Instead they force you to use their service at an extra $50+ a month and over your 2yr contract you'll pay an extra $1,200. Even buying an off contract GS6 or One M9 would only cost you $600-800. To me it's like they just over charge you.
    Reply
  • ohenry
    Is there a micro SD card slot, and is the battery user replaceable? If yes to both then that will probably be my next phone.
    yes microsd up to 64gb but no, battery is not replaceable/
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    Is there a micro SD card slot, and is the battery user replaceable? If yes to both then that will probably be my next phone.

    It does have a micro-SD slot (up to 64GB, no support for 128GB) but does not have a removable battery.
    No sale for me, these are basic features they are removing for the sake of forcing us to pay more later; if we could upgrade our phones, we'd be less likely to buy new ones.

    are you seriously complaining about a $200 smartphone with these benchmark speeds? its easy to overlook "removable battery" when it's only $200 OFF CONTRACT. and it has the same GPU as a iphone 6, and it's CPU is no slouch.. The cpu is amazing in this thing. Look at the battery life on that 14nm process.
    Reply
  • Arbie
    Hurrah for the micro-SD card! I have lately switched to Windows Phone 8 since it is easier to find them with mSD, but the overall package here could bring me back. This is very attractive.

    The non-removable battery is less of an issue. I'd hope that I can eventually replace it but I don't need to be swapping battery packs.
    Reply