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Asus Zenfone 2 and Zoom – 64-bit Intel superphones from $199

Asus looks to have smashed flagship phone prices with the Zenfone 2

The Zenfone 2 and Zenfone Zoom have just been announced at CES 2015. The new handsets look impressive, but it’s the price that really wowed us. The Zenfone 2 will cost just $199, which is incredibly low for the specifications on offer. The Zenfone Zoom is a very similar device but adds a useful 3x optical zoom to the design, though that bumps the price up to $399.

The new Zenfone 2’s stand out feature has to be its Intel Z3580 processor, a 64-bit quad-core chip running at up to 2.3GHz. It’s the same chip that’s to be used in the upcoming Nokia N1 Android tablet, but this is the first phone to use the chip as far as we know. This then looks to be among the first phones to make use of the new 64-bit support in Android 5.0. The benchmark results look impressive, though we’ll want to see real-world use before making any call. The phone is also the first to come with 4GB of memory. Although a 2GB version will also be available, which is bound to be the $199 model.

That’s all presuming that Asus can actually get the Zenfone 2 on sale in the UK in a timely manner – something that it has struggles with before. The US release date is set for March, though at that price supply could be an issue as they should fly off shelves. The Zenfone Zoom will come a little later in the year.

Other specifications are also impressive given the price with no corners obviously cut. There’s a 5.5in Full HD screen with super-slim bezels on either side. It supports all the expected 4G/LTE bands. Plus it will be available in five colours plus numerous wacky material finishes.

The Asus Zenfone 2 has a 13- and 5-megapixel, back and front cameras respectively. Asus is promising the ‘world’s best HDR technology’ for better low light images, but we’ll have to wait to see on that one. Though the company did show some impressive comparison shots of backlit scenes from major phones. It also includes a dual-tone flash, as on the iphone 6, to get better colours in flash photography.

The Zenfone Zoom then adds a 3x optical zoom to the mix, along with optical image stabilisation and a laser for autofocus. It has a 50mm Macro Mode and full manual controls for setting White Balance, Exposure compensation and ISO among others.

We’re yet to get confirmation on the dimensions of either phone, but both look very slim. Both handsets look exciting and the cheaper Zenfone 2 could easily be a contender for phone of the year. We’ll bring you more details and a hands on as we get them.

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