Asus Zenfone 2E At&t GoPhone Review
What is a Asus Zenfone?
For those of you who do not know the company Asus, they have been around for years now and were only known for their PCs and routers and nice designs. But a few years back, they partnered with Google to create some great affordable Nexus 7 tablets. They did so 2 years back to back from 2012-2013. These tablets had some decent specs with a $200 price tag. Which should have put a dent into Apple's iPad sells. That a different topic to discuss on another note.
But, just not too recently that Asus have joined the smartphone martket (mainly Android phones). This year their Zenfone 2 made a little noise for the most part brining high end specs with plastic build and a midrange price tag. The zenfone 2 has its own series of budget phones such as the Zenfone 2E and Laser (the selfie phone). While I had my Nexus 6 shipped off to be repaired, I decided to take chance on using a low budget midranger device for a week or so. I did have my eyes on Zenfone 2 series for some while now. So below are my thoughts on the Asus Zenfone 2E after one week.
A Phone That Has a Plan?
The Asus Zenfone 2E is on At&t GoPhone network and plans. I bought it on Cyber Monday with a $45 Refill card. Not knowing or maybe I misunderstood something. But At&t and Best Buy had a deal only for that day where you buy any At&t GoPhone and purchase a $45 refill card or higher, that you will get a month of Free Service. Yes you get one month of free service after you purchase the products under the special offer. So the Asus Zenfone 2E cost $99.99 and the $45 refill card. So the total was $160 for this package. So, this month service was paid in full and next month service will be free. Thats how the package works. Now, got that expalining out the way, lets get into the device itself.
The Asus Zenfone 2E is an Android phone. It includes Android 5.0 Lollipop on board. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM. You can add up to 128GB micro SD Card. It has a 5.0 inch screen and 720p ISP display. It comes with LED notification and the volume rocker is located on the back cover. This phone also included an extar back cover so you can swap backs for customization. It has a 8MP rear camera with flash and a 2MP front facing camera. So video quality shouldn't be too bad for some. You have Asus Zen UI and apps and also At&t bloatware, since this device is locked into At&t only. But you can ue Cricket sim card also in this phone. There is a speaker grill in the back. Which will be covered by your hands depending on the angle of how you are using this device. This goes as far with the specs.
The Zen UI
Now this phone not just has Android 5.0 Lollipop (Although Marshmallow has been around for most of the year now), but it also has Asus software and UI on board as well. It comes with Asus latest version of the Zen UI Launcher which also available now on the Google Play Store. This launcher is fast and smarter. It has a new Quick Find for instant access to apps, contacts, or web search. You can enable intuitive Themes preview w/wallpaper toggle. You can apply with or without themes and wallpapers. You can also adjust icon sizes with a sneak preview. You can also add icon packs as well with the Zen UI Launcher.
The battery life is somewhat a little above average for most budget and midrange phones. You save a lot of battery with this device. It has its own battey optimization settings where you can stop apps from running in the background and have the phone running to the minimum while the phone is in sleep mode. Something similar to what Android 6.0 Marshmallow is doing with Doze. So battery life is definitely something you dont have to worry about with this phone.
The Asus software brings its own ram booster to the device. This you can find right in with the shortcuts in the toggle section. Now this is something I that all Android devices should include regardless of a launher or not. You feel your device is running slow or low on RAM, then you can just clean out junk instead of going to settings and then your storage section. Asus has made it easier for you to do this.
Performance on this phone isnt the best and its probably due to the lack ram memory and Zen UI and possibly even Lollipop. Sometimes it can perform smoothly with no lag and studders. Apps do sometimes force close on me and stop responding. Multitasking on this device is somewhat a no-go. At least Asus will allow you to clear all apps in the most recent tabs that everyone should be use to by now on Lollipop. So, your best bet might be to disable some of Asus and At&t apps to clear some memory. High end games might not be your best of choice to use with this phone as I even seen some lag in the game Ingress and Crossy Road. Which arent even high end games at all. Watching movies and Youtube videos shouldnt be a real issue. The only thing you might have annoyance to is the speaker and resolution quality. But the video playback is fair.
Apps and Widgets
The Zen UI will allow you to group your apps together to make them look much nicer and organized. So you will be able to find what you need at the write time. The Asus widgets are some of the coolest on the phone other than Google's own apps. I really like what Asus has done with the weather widget. You can have it to show just the time, location, date, and today's weather or you can have it to show the 7 day forecast. Once you open the weather app up, you can get to see more details about the weather. The only downside to the app is that you can't see the radar. Other than that, it is a well done weather app and widget.
The lockscreen is pretty neat too. It has a shortcut to camera, phone, and message. It also shows the time and date as well. You will still get your app notifications on lockscreen, but you will have to wake it to view them. But another way of knowing that you have notifcations coming through is the LED notification. But it only will blink one color and that is yellow.
At&t GoPhone $45 Plan
This refill plan comes with unlimited talk and text and 1.5GB of data that can roll over to the next month of whatever data you do not use. So your money isn't all wasted with this plan. Plus with this prepaid plan the data speeds wont get throttled if you go over. So you do get unlimited data speeds meaning you wont get slowed down. So if you have happened to pick up this phone and the $45 refill plan you really got a nice package going for some time. Now what I have noticed about this At&t GoPhone service is that the data speeds really arent that great at all. It is actually slower than the speeds I had while I was using my Project Fi service, which has T-Mobile and Sprint. I even think this service is slower than Sprint's network in my area. I also noticed in most areas where Project Fi was strong at, this At&t GoPhone Prepaid was a little weaker than I expected. But i didnt lose signal for the most part of my one week experience with At&t GoPhone and the Zenfone 2E.
Would You Buy the Zenfone 2E?
To Zenfone or No phone?
The Zenfone 2E isn't a bad Android smartphone for the price. But I feel you get more out of a phone that is unlocked and comes with less bloatware for the about the same price range between $100-$150 range and another phone I would prefer over this one is the Moto G 3rd edition. Which you can get for 150 dollars on Consumer Cellular and unlocked for 180 on Motorola official website. But the Zenfone 2E is a good Android phone for consumers who are coming from another mobile OS device that is not Android. It is also good to have it as a back up phone as well. Just make sure you are ok with using At&t's GoPhone services. These are my thoughts on the Asus Zenfone 2E. It hasn't been a bad experience at all. Just a few work arounds and it is still usable. No, it doesnt have Android 6.0 Marshmallow yet, so not sure if Asus is on board with keeping updated with security patches, but At&t does push out their software updates in a timely fashion. You do also have included the Lookout Security app which you can setup right out the box to make sure everything is ok on board and Asus does allow you to encrypt your phone and data. So you really shouldn't have nothing to worry about for the most part. Its a decent phone for the price.