Capturing Memories with Zenfone 2 Deluxe

Hands-on with the latest from the Zenfone family

Meghalaya, a tiny state in the north eastern part of India, is the abode of clouds. The area which reminded of Scotland to the British, it was my destination for a weeklong expedition early this year.

When you visit a state that creates memories at every step, you should be equipped with good cameras to capture those. I thought relying on one camera (my dad’s Nikon P610) wouldn’t be too brilliant an idea, so wanted to take another camera along with me. I thought it would be good if the device, in addition to taking awesome pics, could also be my backup communication device.

And the device which performed very well, satisfying both requirements, was Asus’ Zenfone 2 Deluxe. Here are some notes from my experience of using this device.

First of all, Asus did a good job by giving the new models their own names (Deluxe, Selfie and Laser). Even though each of them continue to have multiple versions, it is much better than the time when Zenfone 2 was launched with too many confusing variants.

When you are traveling, one thing you need is a reliable phone. The Zenfone Deluxe plays this part nicely. The phone has a great display (5.5in FHD, protected by Gorilla Glass 3), has reasonable battery backup (3000mAh) and good amount of processing power (64-bit Intel Atom 2.3GHz processor). A part of the quite successful Zenfone 2 family, the Deluxe also sports a 4 GB RAM. 64GB and 128GB are the two secondary storage options available.

In addition to two SIMs (4G support only in primary), you can also use a micro SD card and enhance the storage by up to 128 GB. At 170 grams, I should say the phone is a bit heavy – but that is not necessarily a complaint always!

Thanks to the BoostMaster Technology, the phone can be charged reasonably quickly (up to 60% in no more than 39 minutes, as claimed by Asus) and I found that it was really a nice feature while traveling. Thanks to Asus ‘Zen Power’ power bank, a nice companion for the Zenfone, I could quickly charge the phone on the move – sometimes literally between two photo stops (Charging ZenPower, too, wasn’t much of a hassle – more on that later, maybe in a separate post!).

Unlike the metallic-looking plastic back of Zenfone 2, the Deluxe’s back cover has the crystal design (what Asus calls as the ‘Crystal Miracle’). This gives the phone a unique look. Does it also ease the handling part? Depends on you: for me, the in-hand feel was somewhat unusual.

I found that the gesture control feature, at least for waking up the phone (two taps on the screen) and to activate camera (writing ‘C’ on the screen), was pretty useful. Talking about the camera, the Zenfone 2 Deluxe comes equipped with a 13 MP primary camera and a 5 MP selfie shooter. Compared to my earlier experience with the Zenfone 2, it does appear that the cameras and the software (PixelMaster) have improved, thus making clicking with the Deluxe an enjoyable experience.

The camera app, especially, is loaded with features and using it, too, is very easy. While some of the features (miniature etc.) did not impress me, some others (like time lapse, depth of field) were really useful. Not just landscapes, macros come out really well too. I found low-light mode good, but it is still not perfect and the fact that image size reduces to 3 MP is also a concern. Time rewind is also a good feature, if you are trying to shoot an action. The camera also captures nice videos and selfies.

During the trip, as I tried to click pictures from a moving vehicle, the performance was not too bad. However, experience with HDR images was not good as clicking those was quite slow and as a result, most of my HDR photos were messed up (as the vehicle would have moved while the phone took time to prepare the image).

Even after clicking, Zenfone 2 Deluxe had some cool apps that I could use for neatly presenting what I shot. ‘Photo Collage’ is one such where I could generate attractive collages with just a few taps on the screen. ‘Mini Movie’ is another such app using which you can create some nice videos. Apps in some other categories, too, are nice. Asus PC Link, using which I could share my mobile screen on a PC, impressed me a lot.

Having said that, it is somewhat disappointing that Asus has put in too much of bloatware into this otherwise very good phone. I felt that there are too many Asus apps, and they keep updating very often.

Overall, if you are looking for great specs and phone that looks special, you can surely go for the Zenfone 2 Deluxe. Click on the link below to buy it on Flipkart.

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