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.