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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  • gijames1225 - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    More precisely, is there any chance this will work on Sprint? Verizon normally blocks most phones from their network anyway.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    It's a GSM/LTE phone, so it will work on any carrier that uses those standards. In the US that would be AT&T and T-Mobile.
  • gijames1225 - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link


    *curses Sprint*
  • appliance5000 - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Just go to the zenfone website and there's a complete International listing of compatible carriers. Feel kind of weird having to say this on a tech website.
  • Ketzal - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Is the LGG4 review coming?
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

  • Thorburn - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    "Depending on which model you get, the ZenFone 2 will come with either Intel's Atom Z3560 or Atom Z3580 SoC. The former has a max boost clock of 1.8GHz, while the latter has a max of 2.33GHz. It's also important to note that the more expensive model with the Z3580 comes with 4GB of LPDDR3 1600 memory, with the Z3560 models only sporting 2GB."

    I think this must depend on the market, since I have a ZenFone 2 here which is Z3560 based, but has 4GB RAM and 32GB storage...
  • kenansadhu - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    It is true. And there is even an even LOWER end zenfone model, around $170, which uses a 720p screen (16gb storage, 2gb ram, z3560)
  • sandy105 - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - link

    Nope both the z3580/3560 based models have a 2gb/4gb ram version. but the z3580 comes only in the 1080p variety.

    basically there's 3 z3560 models :
    2gb ram , 720p
    2gb ram ,1080p
    4gb ram , 1080p

    and 1 z3580 model with 4 gb ram and 1080p screen
  • alin - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    I heard that both cameras take some crappy pictures. It's biggest weakness...

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