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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  • Gunbuster - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Unless the phone is approved and white-listed by Verizon it will not function. The phone ROM must include the Verizon CDMA radio key as well. Basically only phones sold by Verizon work on Verizon (Except for the iphone 5s and above)
  • Morawka - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - link

    and thats why verizon sucks compared to GSM carriers.. They've been stuck on crappy CDMA for decades. CDMA sucks because you cant talk and lookup stuff on the internet at the same time.
  • Einy0 - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Most likely not based on the specs I see. I don't see support for Verizon 2G(CDMA) or Verizon 3G(WCDMA). It may support Verizon on 4G(LTE) but then you have no fallback if there isn't LTE coverage.
  • SarahKerrigan - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Faulty assumptions. Something can be true x86 (ie, compatible with the x86 ISA) without having a firmware and drivers capable of running NT. This is the former, but likely not the latter.
  • Ktracho - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Anyone know if there's any chance they might offer a Windows version of it?
  • kspirit - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - link

    I want this to happen so much
  • syxbit - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Very impressive. If Asus commits to keeping the software up to date, this would be a fantastic choice even me.
  • JatkarP - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    There are some descent phones in Asian market at this price range. If this phone pics up in Asian market then it will be a big hit for the mid range makers like Micromax,lenovo,xiomee..
  • BMNify - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Asus has very good sales in Asia-Pacific region, they are targeted to reach 30 Million smartphones in 2015, giving good competition to Xiaomi, Lenovo, Moto and Micromax in India.
  • Shinshin - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the preview!
    In the full review please write about the 2 issues that arose thus far from users:
    1. Battery performance.
    2. Apps compatibility.

    On a side note, ASUS CEO stated last month that the next Zenfone (already in production) will not use SOCs from Intel.

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