I thought it would be important to give potential buyers some idea of how good the display is on the ZenFone 2. On paper it looks very good, as it's a 5.5" 1920x1080 IPS display. The pixel density isn't as high as the latest generation of 2560x1440 panels, but I find that with an RGB stripe panel the difference between 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 is minimal even at 5.5".

Display - Max Brightness

Display - Black Levels

The ZenFone 2 appears to be off to a good start. Black levels are very low among our LCDs, and the max brightness is somewhat low but not terrible by any means. I never had any issues when using the ZenFone 2 outside, although it was definitely not as comfortable as the Galaxy S6.

Display - Contrast Ratio

The slightly low max brightness and above average black level results put the ZenFone 2 right in the middle of our LCD devices when it comes to contrast ratio.

Unfortunately, these numbers are somewhat misleading. This is because the ZenFone 2 makes extremely heavy use of dynamic contrast and contect adaptive backlighting. I have never used another device with such dramatic shifts in backlight power. The best example I've found is when switching from an all black to all white screen at max brightness. While this is obviously an extreme case, it illustrates the behavior that is occuring very well. At the moment you switch to white, the brightness of the display is around 170 nits. Over the next few seconds, that brightness rapidly increases to the 390 nits you see in the results above. This is an enormous jump in brightness, and it's very easy to see with your own eyes.

One last thing I'd like to note about the brightness is that the 100% setting on the built in brightness slider is not actually the max brightness that the display is capable of. The max you can achieve using the slider in the Settings app is 319 nits, which is around 82% of the 390 nit result you can get using applications like Brightness Adjuster from Google Play.

Display - Gamut Accuracy

The gamut results are unfortunately not as good as what we've seen from the latest generation of smartphones. The DeltaE for red, blue, and magenta are all just over three, while the remaining three colors are around five. The high error in white also contributes to the higher than optimal overall error.

The complete review of the ZenFone 2 should be posted in the near future, and it will include the remainder of our display workflow. The heavy use of CABC and dynamic contrast has a large impact on the display's performance in some of our tests, and so I'll also be elaborating on where and why that occurs, and what it means for the user. For anyone who really wants to order the ZenFone 2 now, I'll conclude by saying that it's definitely not perfect, but it's still a good display. I think it's by far the nicest one you'll find on a phone that starts at $199 purely because of its resolution.

Introduction Performance and Initial Thoughts
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  • Peroxyde - Thursday, May 21, 2015 - link

    I hope that the Zenfone2 will be easy to root. BTW, would that be hard to root because of Intel CPU?
  • MarkDMadman - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    Am I the only one that noticed that the 2nd SIM slot is 2G only?? And that 2G will be out of service by the end of next year? This makes the 2nd SIM slot useless.
  • meacupla - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    If you travel a lot, it's a handy way to store your international SIM card.
  • sicyo - Sunday, May 24, 2015 - link

    I was really excited to see this from Asus, but the battery is too small, display is too big. That and stock android out of the box is a big selling point for me.
  • re2onance - Sunday, May 24, 2015 - link

    I can't wait for the full review to be posted. The battery is the most inconsistent thing I've seen in almost all the reviews I have looked at, and that may have something to do with the times these reviews were made, the updates they were on, apps that were runnings, and the hardware version of the Asus Zenfone 2. There are a lot of versions branded under the name "Zenfone 2".

    I hope Anandtech gives a detailed review of how well the battery performs so I can decide whether to get this phone or not.
  • speconomist - Monday, May 25, 2015 - link

    I'm waiting to pull the trigger as well. When it comes to data, AT's is the one I trust the most.

    I can live with a weak single speaker on the back and a mediocre camera, but not with poor battery life.
  • Mrs. Peacock - Sunday, May 31, 2015 - link

    One can always tell when a man wrote a review, even though these newfangled "modern men" are meant to be both men and telepaths. Of course, my dear Brandon, your understanding of all things smartphones was never meant to include the importance of an app like Mirror, or such factors as case color, what the phone is like to lose at the bottom of one's handbag, and other aspects that should not matter to you.

    I can see from your review that you have never left your home for an evening of bingo among one's friends, only to realise half-way through the journey, when one's driver is stuck in traffic, that one cannot remember when one last went to the powder room and applied one's lipstick. Modern cars, like modern men, are not what they once were, and much can be said about the lack of amenities, rear-seat mirrors being a casualty of the financiers meddling with things they shouldn't.

    For a lady in such a predicament, the first question will invariably be whether she should at all present herself in this state, to which the only possible reply would be: "the horror, the horror!". Enter the Mirror app: this will save our heroin from disgrace and opprobrium by letting her apply the appropriate amount of cosmetic, without the ghastly left-right inversion of a less thoughtful video app would present, thus causing confusion and possibly more damage than was there in the first place.

    Hence we would easily be drawn to consider the Mirror app as possibly the most appealing aspect of this telephone, wouldn't we?
  • icwhatudidthere - Monday, June 1, 2015 - link

    I'm sorry, but bingo? Surely said lady would be on her way to play a hand of bridge, no? Also, having a driver, one would assume said lady would have a Vertu concierge at hand who would send an appropriate stylist to her location.

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