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Nexus Player coming to a store near you on January 25th

Posted by wicked January - 23 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Google_Nexus_Player_02

The Google hockey puck looks to be sliding into your local brick-and-mortar store soon!

In a recent article by Gigaom, the website discussed various locations where the writing appears to be on the wall that January 25th will be the release date for the Nexus Player. This device, showcased by Google last year in October, will be bringing you Android TV straight to your television screen.

The wildfire started when intrepid internet shoppers noticed that online computer/parts/gadgets retailer Newegg had a listing for the Nexus Player. Newegg will allow you to pre-order the device for $99.99 USD, the same price offered on Google’s Play Store, with a release date of January 25th.

nexus_player_retail_picture1

You can also pick up the Nexus Player gamepad from Newegg for the same price as Google’s Play Store listing ($39.99 USD). Both gadgets are manufactured by ASUS for Google.

Check the links below for the Newegg listings.

Newegg’s Nexus Player listing

Newegg’s Nexus Player Gamepad listing

Google Play Store > Nexus Player

Source: Gigaom

Come comment on this article: Nexus Player coming to a store near you on January 25th

Deal: Unlocked ASUS Padfone X With Tablet Dock for $199

Posted by Kellex January - 19 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

ASUS’ Padfone line is a concept that I wish saw more success or acceptance in the US. A high-end phone that docks into a tablet shell to make an on-demand tablet? What’s not to like? Unfortunately, late or non-arrivals of the Padfone line have left it all but a lost cause here in the States, even if it did have promise.

With that said, the Padfone X, which is the latest high-end version built specifically for AT&T, can be had today from eBay for $199, which includes the tablet dock. The original product retailed around $549, so calling this a steal is a bit of an understatement. 

Through this deal, you get a brand new Padfone X – a phone with a 5-inch FHD display, Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, 13MP rear camera – and its tablet dock. The phone ships as an unlocked AT&T unit, which means you should be able to take it to other GSM carriers, like T-Mobile. It also supports LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 17.

Here is the list of specs and network bands:

  • 2.3GHz quad core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800
  • Internal memory storage Up to 16GB
  • Expandable memory storage Up to 64GB
  • 2GB RAM
  • 4G-LTE: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 17
  • 4G:  HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul
  • 3G – UMTS850/900/1900/2100MHz
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • Wi-Fi® connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Come on, that’s a tempting deal, no?

eBay Link

Deal: Unlocked ASUS Padfone X With Tablet Dock for $199 is a post from: Droid Life

Looking back at CES: Brands to watch out for in 2015

Posted by wicked January - 19 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

The heavy hitters in the American and European Android smartphone market didn’t have a great deal to say at CES 2015. Only LG released a big smartphone in the shape of the G Flex 2. We’ll see many more new smartphones in and around MWC, but there were some interesting moves from some lesser known names at CES this year. Alcatel, Asus, Lenovo, BLU, ZTE, the list goes on.

Let’s take a look at the different strategies they’re employing to try and get noticed in an increasingly crowded Android market.

Alcatel sets sights on States

We’ve seen steady progress from TCL, the Chinese manufacturer behind the Alcatel brand, and it has been a whole year since we wrote about Alcatel’s assault on mobile. It has continued to build the Alcatel Onetouch brand since then with a string of affordable budget and mid-range Android devices. Just before CES it unveiled a new smartwatch and the Pixi 3 line of smartphones. There was also news of a new e-commerce website to sell direct to the US public.

alcatel-pixi3-press

But that’s the not the extent of TCL’s play to enter the market Stateside, because it also has plans to rebuild the Palm brand it acquired as some kind of crowdsourced project. It looks like TCL believes a two-pronged attack might be the way forward and the brands will stay separate.

The crowdsourced idea for the Palm brand sounds an awful lot like Xiaomi’s philosophy and it has the potential to be very successful. Can TCL combine its existing budget credentials with a recognized brand, in the shape of Palm, and persuade people to buy in to the idea of designing a new smartphone?

BLU is all about budget

This lesser known brand is headquartered in Miami. It only popped up in 2009, but it has been doing quite well selling budget, unlocked phones in the Americas. BLU unleashed seven handsets at CES, all under $300. The specs aren’t going to wow you, but the prices might. The standout is the Vivo Air, a premium-looking phone that’s impressively slim at 5.1mm.

one life BLU

The strategy here is to reduce overheads as far as possible and undercut the competition. Some of BLU’s phones are re-badged versions from other manufacturers like Gionee. All their smartphones are sold unlocked through Amazon. The question is whether BLU can keep up the momentum when more budget OEMs, especially from China, move in next door.

Asus and Android

The Taiwanese manufacturer Asus has been a major PC vendor for years now. It joined the Open Handset Alliance in 2008, but its biggest success on the Android platform so far has been the Nexus 7. Asus built both models for Google. It has dabbled with its own tablets and smartphones and it started to look serious with last year’s Zenfone.

asus zenfone 2 first look a (19 of 19)

This year’s CES saw Asus announce the Zenfone 2 which is an impressive-looking, Lollipop smartphone with a really solid set of specs for just $200. There was also the Zenfone Zoom for anyone hankering for 3X optical zoom on their smartphone camera. The Asus strategy for Android looks much the same as its PC strategy – offer a solid experience at a budget price.

Lenovo is third

Already a major player in the PC and tablet market, after acquiring Motorola, Lenovo claimed the third spot in smartphones behind Samsung and Apple. The company showed off a couple of sexy mid-rangers, the P90 and the Vibe X2 Pro, at CES, but neither are aimed at the States.

lenovo vibe x2 pro

A number of Chinese manufacturers have been climbing the charts on the back of sales in China and other emerging markets, where the growth rate is still high, but cracking the US and Europe is a whole different prospect. The difference with Lenovo is Motorola. Google seemed to be guiding the Motorola brand back to success with a budget approach that should suit Lenovo.

Motorola may offer a route to success that the Lenovo brand couldn’t manage, and the company has deep enough pockets to make things very difficult for everyone else. It will be interesting to see what develops.

ZTE is a player

The ZTE Nubia Z7 is the new top of ZTE’s range, but it doesn’t look likely to get a release outside Asia. However, ZTE has plenty of bargain wares available across the globe and it seems to have found a home on Cricket in the States. The latest $200 release there is the Grand X Max+ which looks like a solid mid-range phablet. ZTE also showed off the Star 2 at CES.

ZTE Nubia Z7-13

We also named the ZTE SPro 2, Android projector, in our best of CES 2015.

Saygus says hello

A fresh new start-up that caught the eye at CES this year, Saygus is an American smartphone maker that’s throwing everything, but the kitchen sink into its debut super smartphone, the Saygus V2. It starts out gently with a 5-inch 1080p display with tiny bezels, a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 GPU, and 3GB of RAM.

Saygus-v2-1-aa

Then there’s a 21MP main camera with a 13MP selfie cam. 64GB of storage which can be boosted up to 320GB with two 128GB microSD cards. The removable battery is rated at 3100mAh. It has front-facing Harmon Kardon speakers. It’s also waterproof and has a premium aluminum and Kevlar body. There’s even a fingerprint scanner. It has all the makings of a cult classic. The Saygus strategy seems to be to listen to what hardcore Android fans want, which could definitely carve it out a profitable niche.

And the rest

We can’t cover everyone, but it’s worth mentioning that Huawei is still huge. There were no major announcements, but Huawei had more than a hundred different products on show at CES. It’s done well with the Honor and Ascend Mate lines, dropping the Huawei brand in Europe, but it still hasn’t cracked the US.

The Android scene, especially at the budget end of the market, has never been more competitive than it is right now.

Archos and Acer continued their budget lines at CES too. Acer’s Liquid Jade S looks like a decent mid-ranger. Xiaomi waited until a few days after CES to launch the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, but they may never be released outside of China. There were also a number of hot players that didn’t really have an official presence at CES, such as OnePlus, which is expected to unveil two handsets sometime later this year.

The Android scene, especially at the budget end of the market, has never been more competitive than it is right now. It remains to be seen which strategy will reap the greatest rewards in 2015. Place your bets now.

CES takeaway: smartphones and tablets

Posted by wicked January - 10 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

asus zenfone 2 first look a (7 of 19)

If you missed our coverage of CES 2015, that’s okay! As the event is coming to a close, we thought we’d take this time to go through the week’s top stories and roundup the biggest smartphone and tablet announcements we saw at the trade show. There’s a lot to recap here, so let’s jump right in.

Smartphones

LG’s G Flex 2

LG’s early announcement of the  G Flex 2 was arguably the biggest announcement of CES 2015. LG’s first G Flex brought a ton of new features to the smartphone world, but it fell short in many critical areas. With the G Flex 2, it seems as though LG stepped up and really made this a device worth buying. It’s 5.5-inch 1080p curved screen, rear-facing 13MP camera and even the super attractive Flamenco Red color make it an overall killer device. What’s more, the G Flex 2 is the first smartphone on the market to tote the Snapdragon 810 processor.

Last year’s G Flex was really difficult to recommend to almost anyone, but this year’s iteration will definitely be one of the most interesting phones of the year, especially for those looking for something a bit more unique when it comes to form factor.

Read more:

The superphone/supercamera hybrid: Panasonic’s Lumix CM1

Panasonic was showing off their Lumix DMC-CM1 smartphone at CES, but it was announced at the tail end of last year. That didn’t seem to bother anyone though, because this camera smartphone can really pull its own weight. The phone itself has a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 800 processor backed by 2GB of RAM, and it’s running Android 4.4 KitKat. But the phone isn’t the star of the show here, it’s the camera. Panasonic managed to throw on a huge 1-inch sensor, an f2.8 Leica lens and a 20MP sensor that truly makes for an amazing camera experience. To top it all off, there’s a smartphone attached to it? Sign us up.

When the device was originally announced, Panasonic made it very clear that this device was meant solely for the European market. Turns out it’s coming to the US on AT&T and T-Mobile to the tune of roughly $1,000 unlocked. It’s expensive, but we think it’ll be worth it for any photography lovers out there.

Read more:

The multimedia powerhouse: Saygus V2

The Saygus V2 (V squared) is probably one of the most talked about handsets to hit CES this year. It’s marketed as a true multimedia powerhouse that is perfect for anyone who values tons of storage and great speaker quality. The most notable feature of the phone is definitely that it can house up to 320GB of storage. No, the phone doesn’t have a massive hard drive. There’s 64GB of on-board storage, and two microSD card slots (maximum of 128GB each), equalling 320GB of storage. What’s more, the device features a removable 3100mAh battery, front-facing Harman Kardon speakers, a 5-inch 1080p screen and a Snapdragon 801 processor backed by 3GB of RAM.

This really is the phone for you if you’re into one of the best multimedia experiences you can get on a smartphone. We’ll have more to say about this device in our full review, but for now, we’re really excited about this device. Of course the fact that it is from an unknown handset maker might be a turn off for many folks, and it’s worth mentioning that no exact pricing has been announced just yet, though supposedly it will hit the hands of consumers in the next few months.

Read more:

Asus Zenfone 2: The first smartphone with 4GB of RAM

Moving along, Asus also had a pretty big keynote at CES with their announcement of two high-end devices, one of which being the Zenfone 2. This device is such a hit thanks to its premium build quality, customizable software and unbeatable price point. There are three different variations of the Zenfone 2, all of which are at different price points. The “middle” device (the one featured in the above video) features a 5.5-inch 1080p screen and 2GB of RAM. The lesser of the three versions has the same screen size, but with a resolution of 720p and with 2GB of RAM. This device will cost less than the other two. The most powerful of the bunch, while no pricing information is announced yet, features a 1080p display and a whopping 4GB of RAM.

The three devices will be available beginning in March starting at $199 unlocked. There are a lot more specifications to cover with these three iterations, so follow the links below for more information.

Read more:

Asus Zenfone Zoom

Asus also unveiled the Zenfone Zoom alongside the Zenfone 2. As the name suggests, the Zoom is a camera-centric smartphone with a 13MP camera and 3X optical zoom, optical image stabilization and a laser auto focus system. While the device is quite bulky, it’s not as bad as other camera-focused smartphones out there. Overall, the 5.5-inch 1080p display and the sturdy build quality should suffice for anyone looking for a great camera experience on their mobile phone.

The Zenfone Zoom will be available in Q2 of this year starting at $399.

Read more:

HTC’s budget-friendly Desire 826

The Desire 826 is HTC’s next iteration in the Desire 820 line. Sure, the HTC One M8 and M7 were terrific smartphones, but HTC has really put a ton of effort into their mid-rangers lately. Many Desire phones are even considered to be towards the high end of the mid-tier, and the 826 is no exception. Much like the rest of the Desire series, the 826 is either glossy or matte plastic (depending on the color combination), and two SIM slots, a vibrant 5.5-inch 1080p display, and a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor. The big story here is HTC’s decision to move the cameras around a bit. On the 826, there’s a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 4MP UltraPixel shooter, instead of the other way around like we see on a few other Desire devices. This seems to be a really nice phone so far, and we’re looking forward to putting it through its paces in our full review.

The Desire 826 will be available later this year for China and other Asian markets, with the potential to roll out to other markets.

Read more:

ZTE Nubia Z7

Last but not least, we have the ZTE Nubia Z7. Shown off alongside the Grand X Max+ and the Star 2 at CES, this is the most high-end device out of the three. It has a 5.5-inch QHD screen, a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3000mAh battery and 32GB of on-board storage. To be honest, there are very few compromises when it comes to this device. Unfortunately, it’s set right now as a China-only release, and there’s no word yet of the Z7 making its way out of Asia.

Read more:

The devices listed above aren’t the only smartphones unveiled at CES this year. If you’d like our full coverage on other recently-announced phones, check out the list below.

Tablets

Fuhu’s television-sized kids “tablets”

MOD-299519_BigTab_65_Game1

Fuhu has released big tablets in the past, but none even close to this size. But at CES 2015, Fuhu announced some products to really expand their tablet lineup – 32, 43, 55 and 65-inch variants of their Big Tabs.

Fuhu is really pushing the “Internet of Things” movement, and would like their new Big Tab XL models to be the centerpiece of your home entertainment. There’s no mention of which version of Android these tablets are running, but the press release does say that they run “the latest Android software” and Fuhu’s groundbreaking Blue Morpho OS. All four of the new “tablets” will also double as televisions, which justifies the purchase a bit more. The two smallest models sport 1080p screens, 2GB of RAM and run on a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor. The two biggest models both have 4K resolutions, 4GB of RAM and use NVIDIA’s new Tegra X1 chip. The tablets will go on sale sometime this year and will range in price from $699.99-$3,999.99.

Read more:

Arbor’s rugged Gladius 10 tablet

gladius-10-640x0

Arbor isn’t usually the name we think of when talking about Android devices, but the company has just announced the Gladius 10 rugged tablet. It’s meant specifically for warehousing, transportation, medical, and mobile point of sale applications.

The Gladius 10 features a 10.1-inch TFT LCD display with 1280×800 resolution with a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating. It also brings a MediaTek MTK8392 Octa-core Cortex A7 CPU, a Quad-core ARM Mali 3D GPU, 2GB of RAM, optional barcode scanner, a 13MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera and a dual-SIM card slot. On top of these already decent specifications, the tablet is also rated with IP65 protection, and meets the U.S. Military’s 810G standard for drops and other hazards. There’s no mention of the battery capacity in the release, but Arbor is quoting the tablet to have up to 10 hours of battery life.

The Gladius 10 seems like a decent tablet so far, until we get to the price. The tablet will go on sale in May of 2015 for $1,030, and can be customized to the user’s preferences.

Read more:

Archos 80b Helium tablet

archos-helium-80b-landscape-left

Archos recently announced their new 80b Helium tablet, a 4G LTE-capable budget tablet for less than $150. Details are pretty scarce when it comes to this one, but we’ll definitely keep an eye out for more details. So far, though, a 4G-capable tablet for under $150 is bound to be a big seller.

Read more:


As much as people might want to disagree, I thought this year’s CES offered up a decent amount when it came to smartphones. We haven’t seen anything truly groundbreaking with smartphones in the past few days, but that surely doesn’t mean it was a bad CES. There are a few devices that are getting me excited, though.

First of all, I really like what LG is doing with the G Flex 2. It’s smaller, prettier and has specs that might give some other flagships a run for its money. LG hasn’t really had the reputation to skimp on their devices’ internals, and this year is no exception. It’s great to see them focusing hard on a smartphone that isn’t their “flagship,” and I really think more companies need to adopt that trend.

lg g flex first look aa (3 of 49)

Other than the G Flex 2, of course I’m going to love the Lumix CM1… and I think you’d be crazy not to. It’s a relatively high-end device on it’s own, only with a super powerful camera on its back. Speaking of devices with cameras strapped to the back, the Zenfone Zoom isn’t half bad either. Remember when the Galaxy S4 Zoom launched? It seems like Samsung didn’t even try to make the phone compact in the slightest. We’ve absolutely come a long way since then… the Lumix CM1 and Zenfone Zoom are actually viable options for folks who want to take photography a little bit more seriously.

One device that stuck out in particular was the 65-inch Fuhu Big Tab. It’s an interesting concept, and makes me feel a little bit more like I’m living in the future.

CES 2015 wasn’t a year that pushed any boundaries with smartphones or tablets, but it was a trade show that needed to happen.

A tablet that doubles as a television… with a 4K display… and NVIDIA’s new Tegra X1 processor? Awesome. What’s not as awesome is the price, though. When the devices launch, prices will likely hover around the $700-$4,000 range. Prices aside though, while there likely isn’t a huge market for devices like this, the concept is still very intriguing.

CES 2015 wasn’t a year that pushed any boundaries with smartphones or tablets, but it was a trade show that needed to happen. A few companies bumped up the specs of their devices, sure, but we all knew these progressions would come in time. While 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage, or even QHD displays on more affordable handsets are great, we all knew these were going to happen eventually. So, I’m not too upset or excited about this year’s CES, it has just made me more excited for what’s to come in 2015.

What were your most favorite/least favorite smartphones and tablets from the trade show this year? Did you think this was a particularly good or bad year for mobile devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

ASUS announces the ZenFone 2 flagship at CES 2015

Posted by wicked January - 6 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Finally, we get to see the much hyped new flagship phone from ASUS – and no, it doesn’t have dual rear cameras, if that’s what you immediately wanted to know. But the rest of what was unveiled at CES 2015 in Las Vegas as the ASUS ZenFone 2 makes for a pretty strong argument at the mid-range price point.

First up, the ZenFone 2 carries an Intel Atom Z3580 2.3Ghz quad-core processor, which ASUS claims is faster than some quad-core processors out there. They were hesitant to name competitors in this statement, but are they referring to MediaTek or Rockchip cores? They also claim that the embedded GPU on the Intel chip can perform 8 times better than other GPUs. Well and good, but these claims need some solid benchmarking numbers behind them. After that, there’s the large(ish) 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) display, running Android 5.0 Lollipop.

ASUS_zenfone2_1

The ZenFone 2 is packing 4GB of RAM, which means more fuel for that Intel Atom proc. ASUS says that the new smartphone should exhibit zero lag time on touch inputs. Pretty hefty claim. The smartphone is also LTE-capable, a relatively new thing for Intel SoC’s. Finally, all of these elements will draw power from a generous 3,000mAh battery.

ASUS_zenfone2_2

Then we get to the much hyped camera technology. It isn’t the dual rear cameras that we were expecting, but the 13MP camera has what ASUS calls PixelMaster technology, which is a proprietary method of backlighting your images. ASUS claims that this camera will be able to light up your night pictures by as much as 400% – again we need some real world numbers to back that up, but the tech shouldn’t be too complicated to execute.

ASUS_zenfone2_3

The release date of the new ASUS ZenFone 2 is slated for March, and ASUS is targeting a price point at around USD$200. Of course, carriers and telcos will have their say on that number, so expect that to change a little bit.

ASUS_zenfone2_4

SOURCE: ASUS

ASUS rolls out ZenFone Zoom smartphone with 3x optical zoom

Posted by wicked January - 6 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

When ASUS was teasing a smartphone with big badaboom camera technology for CES 2015, they must have been referring to the ASUS ZenFone Zoom, a smartphone that carries 3x optical zoom for its main camera. Let’s see what this new shooter-with-a-phone has to offer.

First up, the ASUS ZenFone Zoom has a phablet-like 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) display running Android 5.0 out of the box. It packs the same dual-core Intel Atom Z3580 SoC as the newly launched ZenFone 2, backed by a PowerVR G6430 GPU chip. The internal storage is set to go as high as 128GB, with a generous 4GB RAM allocation.

zenfone_zoom

But we’re of course interested in the monster camera at the back. ASUS says this is the world’s thinnest smartphone to carry such a powerful camera unit. At the center of it is a 10-element lens, attached to the back of the phone in a fairly sleek design – reminds you of Nokia’s PureView lenses on smartphones as well, but without the flamboyant colors.

zenfone_zoom_1

The ZenFone Zoom includes optical image stabilization for less accidental blur on pictures. There’s a macro mode that allows users to take super close-up images from small distances such as 5cm. For more serious cellphone photography, users can switch into a manual mode that allows control over settings like white balance, shutter speed, ISO and exposure.

ASUS is tipping the smartphone to sell at USD$399, and is set to be released to the market in the second quarter of 2015.

SOURCE: ASUS

ASUS Reveals New ZenFone 2, ZenFone Zoom At CES 2015; Forums Added

Posted by wicked January - 5 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

asus zenphone

ASUS chairman Jonney Shih took the stage at CES 2015 today to talk about ASUS’ upcoming line-up of devices. “The year 2014 has been incredible for ASUS”, he said. ASUS released the ZenFone last year which was met with very good customer and critical reception, and Shih has been inspired by his company’s success to improve on their franchises’ formula: “our goal is to create the ultimate dream machine to fulfil all of your desires”, he excitedly commented.

The first item presented at the conference was the new Asus Transformer-book “Chi” line-up, a powerful and sleek set of computers that provide what ASUS says is an unparalleled experience over the competition. When commenting about how he was inspired by Chi and the elements when designing the new electronic, he remarked “[it is] more sophisticated than the Air!”.

But this comment was evidently not unfounded, despite its smugness, as ASUS revealed that the new Chi’s best exponents not only rival the best of the competition, but the new Intel Core M featured in the new computers inspired by life force itself proves to pack a real performance capability. It “performs twice as fast as the Air [and other notebooks]”, Shih claimed, as the graphs displayed on the screen backed his information. Other notable features include up to 8 hours of battery life, blazing fast SSD performance, a full size keyboard, 128gb of storage with up to 8gb of ram, and FHD displays. The prices range from $799 for the most expensive T300 model to $299 for the T90 Chi.

The real star of the presentation, however, was the new ZenFone 2, successor to the acclaimed franchise of last year. Shih began by advertising how the phone “allows you to see where others can’t”, and then he went on to show us what he meant by this – the ZenFone 2 features a 13mp rear camera with t/f 2.0 aperture that has immensely powerful low-light capabilities. It features pixel-merging technology for up to 400% better light sensitivity and coupled with bleeding edge HDR technology for balanced exposure. ASUS also addressed the “selfie revolution” by telling us about the ZenFone 2’s “beautification mode” for its front and rear end shooters, which include software features to tweak faces by balancing exposure and color and smoothing any imperfections.

20150105201034332Performance was also claimed to not be compromised, as the device features a bleeding edge Intel Atom Z3580, a 64-bit quad-core processor clocked at 2.33ghz and built on 22nm processes that reportedly outperforms octa-core processors found today. The device will support the latest OpenGL as well.

ASUS put a bit of emphasis on its new interface, the ZEN UI, now based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s keywords are “freedom, connection, and expression”, and Shih said the team’s goal was to give you “what you want, when you want it”. Zen UI has powered 16 million devices since it was conceived, and will now offer more personalization and security. It brings forth a new customizable launcher with motion gestures to access any app instantaneously, and the option to tap and switch to one handed mode. Snap view mode will improve business security by keeping your entertainment, work accounts and applications separate, ensuring no compromises to your job’s details or documents. There’s also a Kid Mode so that your children do not mess with your important files, and the new Zen UI Browser that has industry leading Trend Micro protection against web threats, one of the “best parts about Zen UI”.

As for the rest of the specifications, the device will feature small bezels surrounding a 5.5 inch FHD IPS display with 2gb or 4gb of RAM (different variants like the G3), 4G LTE, and ultra-fast charging technology. The front facing camera is a respectable 5MP. As previously stated, Android 5.0 will power the software allowing for 64-bit compatibility in the processor, supposedly achieving top-of-the-line performance.

20150105201045385There was another variant of the ZenFone announced that focuses on optics, the ASUS ZenFone Zoom. The device is the world’s thinnest 3x optical zoom smartphone, and contains additional sensors that detect the target quickly and precisely, also including laser auto-focus as seen with the LG G3. It allegedly captures intricate details for excellent macro photography, and comes with a professional manual mode to adjust white balance, exposure, and control ISO, shutter speed, and focal point. It’ll sport the same 5.5 FHD IPS display, with the 13mp rear camera and 5mp front camera combination, Optical Image Stabilization and the previously explained Zen UI.

The original ZenFone 2 will be priced start at $199 (most likely for the lower memory version) while the ZenFone Zoom will be priced at $399. The ZenFone 2 is set to release in March while the ZenFone Zoom is scheduled for Q2 2015.

Let us know your thoughts on the new ASUS offerings in the comments below, or check out our shiny new forums for the ZenFone 2 and ZenFone Zoom.

The post ASUS Reveals New ZenFone 2, ZenFone Zoom At CES 2015; Forums Added appeared first on xda-developers.

ASUS Announce the Zenfone 2 and Zenfone Zoom at CES

Posted by Tim-o-tato January - 5 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

ASUS just wrapped up its press conference at CES, with two new phones for us to talk about. To kick it off, the company announced the followup to last year’s Zenfone, appropriately named, the Zenfone 2. The device, in terms of specs, is better in almost every way than what we saw last year, featuring a 5.5″ Full HD IPS display, 13MP rear-facing camera, and a 2.3GHz 64-bit Intel Atom processor with 4GB of RAM. 

As announced during its livestream, the Zenfone 2 is now the world’s first smartphone with 4GB of RAM. ASUS also introduced a new UI for the device, which users are able to customize with different colors and icons.

The Zenfone 2 will be available in February for $199 in an assortment of different colors.

On top of the Zenfone 2, ASUS also introduced the Zenfone Zoom. Much like the Zenfone 2, the Zoom features a 5.5″ display, but the main difference is the massive camera along the backside of the device. The Zoom has a 13MP rear-facing camera with 3X optical zoom. The device’s rear camera features a 10-element lens design with up to 12X digital zoom for even finer close-up detail. The Zoom also features OIS for shake-free photos, coupled with laser auto-focus for sharp images.

The Zenfone Zoom is priced at $499, with launch scheduled for sometime in Q2.

What do you think?

ASUS ZenFone Zoom_front and back

ASUS Announce the Zenfone 2 and Zenfone Zoom at CES is a post from: Droid Life

Asus launches 5.5-in ZenFone 2 and ZenFone Zoom, featuring 3X optical zoom

Posted by wicked January - 5 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off
ASUS ZenFone 2 zenfone zoom

So CES is underway and the announcements are coming thick and fast. If you remember back to just before the holidays, Asus released some teaser videos about its new flagship device. It teased us with pictures of a phone with some special optics and tagged the videos with the slogan, “See what others can’t see.” Now Asus has officially released the ZenFone 2, and the surprise ZenFone Zoom, a camera-centric device featuring optical zoom!

Before we look at the ZenFone 2, let’s deal with the whole “see what others can’t see” thing. Actually it is nothing more than the “see what others can’t see” thing from last year’s ZenFone 5, in other words a PixelMaster camera with a Low Light mode.

However, the rest of the phone certainly does seem to live up to the hype.

This mode, which “gives your phone a nightlife,” uses “pixel-merging technology” to capture photos at night or in low light, and are up to 400-percent brighter, without the need for a flash. Probably Asus has improved the tech since the ZenFone 5, but personally I was expecting more.

ASUS ZenFone 2 Exquisite ZenUI design

However, the rest of the phone certainly does seem to live up to the hype. There are several key features to this phone that make it quite interesting. The first is its ergonomically-curved design with ultra-slim edges, which taper down to just 3.9mm. Related to this are the ultra-narrow 3.3mm bezels, which give the ZenFone 2 a 72% screen-to-body ratio. Third is the price. The version with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage costs just $199. That is a great price for a 4G LTE, 64-bit device with a 5.5 inch Full HD display that runs Android 5.0 Lollipop.

There is also a model with 4GB of RAM.

The reason I mentioned the 2GB/16GB model is because there is also a model with 4GB of RAM and a choice of either 32 or 64GB of internal storage. And if 64GB isn’t enough, all the models support micro SD cards.

So here are the full specs:

Display 5.5-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution. Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3.
Processor 64-bit Quad Core Intel® Atom™ Z3560/Z3580 processor (running at 1.8 or 2.3GHz).
RAM 2GB or 4GB.
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB, microSD card slot, up to 64GB.
Camera Rear: 13MP, f/2.0-aperture, 5-element, auto-focus lens with dual-color Real Tone flash. Front: 5MP, f/2.0-aperture, wide-angle 85-degree lens with Selfie Panorama.
Battery 3000mAh lithium-polymer with fast-charge technology.
Connectivity 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS
Networks GSM, 3G, 4G LTE
Software Android 5.0 Lollipop
Dimensions 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9-3.9mm, 170g

To date the ZenFone range has proven to be a success for Asus. The company sold 1,500,000 units per month during the fourth quarter of 2014. That is 4.5 million units for the quarter or 18 million units per year. Asus wants to build on the success of the other handsets in the ZenFone range with the ZenFone 2, the first ZenFone with a new version of ASUS ZenUI for Android 5.0 Lollipop. The phone also includes Trend Micro security software for safe web browsing.

The passion behind the design of ZenFone 2 is our never-ending desire to empower luxury for everyone. We have drawn on our considerable engineering expertise and experience with our popular ZenFone to create a smartphone that embodies this ambition. That device is the incredible new ZenFone 2 — luxury that everyone can enjoy.
Jonney Shih – ASUS Chairman.

The 5.5 inch Full HD IPS display, which has a pixel density of 403-ppi and a viewing angle of 178 degrees, is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 along with an anti-fingerprint coating that Asus says reduces friction by 30-percent. Also, Asus has followed LG’s lead and placed the volume control key on the rear of the phone, “within reach of the user’s index finger.”

ASUS ZenFone 2 color line up

As for the battery, the ZenFone 2 has a 3000mAh unit that Asus says is enough to provide “more than a full day of use on a single charge.” Since it is a 3000mAh unit, that sounds highly probable. However what is more interesting is the bundled fast-charge technology which can quickly recharge the ZenFone 2 to 60% battery capacity in only 39 minutes!

See what others can’t see

Although I feel that Asus has over-hyped the PixelMaster camera on the ZenFone 2, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile addition to the device. The ZenFone 2 comes with a 13MP sensor and a wide F/2.0 aperture lens. It is also equipped with a Real Tone flash which is designed “to ensure warm skin tones and accurate color when a flash is needed.”

For those into selfies, the ZenFone 2 comes with a 5MP front-facing camera with a wide, 85-degree field of view.

The included dynamic Backlight (HDR) mode allows the device to capture photos where the foreground subjects stand out clearly and free of shadows. It seems that Asus’ HDR solution is more than just your run-of-the-mill software HDR as the company says that the HDR shots use the same “pixel-enhancing technology,” with the corresponding increase in contrast, as the Low Light mode. For camera buffs, Asus has also included a fully manual mode which allows you to fully control the camera settings, including ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

For those into selfies, the ZenFone 2 comes with a 5MP front-facing camera with a wide, 85-degree field of view. There is also the ZenUI Selfie Panorama mode, which captures panoramic selfies with up to a 140-degree field of view. This can be used when taking group selfies or when you want to include lots of scenic background in the shot.

ZenUI

The ZenFone 2 will come with Android 5.0 Lollipop and a new version of ASUS ZenUI. According to Asus, the new version “offers a simpler and smarter user experience with a stylish new layout that utilizes white space for a cleaner design and places information front and center for a simpler and smarter user experience.”

Brand New ZenUI

Included in ZenUI are a number of new features including ZenMotion and SnapView. The former is a set of touch gestures that provide easy access to frequently-used features such as One Hand mode or Do It Later.  While the latter is a security feature that ensures privacy for apps, photos and files.

ZenFone Zoom and wrap up

The ZenFone 2 isn’t the only ZenFone that ASUS is launching. There is another – the ZenFone Zoom. Details about the actual phone specifications are scarce at the moment, except for details of its optics. The ZenFone Zoom has a 3X optical zoom camera, along with optical image stabilization and laser auto-focus. The 10-element lens design also allows for 12X digital zoom. There is also a full manual mode which allows “professional-grade manual control of ISO settings, shutter speed and more.” I guess the ZenFone Zoom matches better the “see what others can’t see” slogan!

ASUS ZenFone Zoom

To wrap up, personally I would prefer a device with an ARM based processor rather than an Intel one, but there is no denying that the ZenFone 2 offers a lot of features, processing power, and a good camera package, for very little money. If the actual device holds true to what Asus has written in the release information then the ZenFone 2 looks like a guaranteed winner.

Live: ASUS’ CES 2015 Press Event!

Posted by Kellex January - 5 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

ASUS is up next at the official press day of the 2015 CES. Well, they host their own satellite event, so it may not be an official event, yet it’s somehow included. Anyways, we will be there on hand, but it looks like they are planning to live stream the happenings, just like they did last year.

Will we get new Zenfones? What kind of camera tricks does ASUS have up their sleeves? Will any of it arrive in the US? I guess we will find out soon enough.

The event kicks off at 11AM Pacific (2PM Eastern). Once they post a live stream, we will add it below.

Via:  ASUS

Live: ASUS’ CES 2015 Press Event! is a post from: Droid Life