The ASUS ZenFone 2 officially goes on sale in the U.S. today May19.
This new Android device could be of benefit to a lot of small business owners who need to stay mobile but only have a mid-range smartphone budget.
And because it’s sold unlocked, it’s an ideal device for anyone who wants the freedom to switch mobile carriers but keep their phone, owning it outright.
The 4GB RAM 2.3GHz version of the ASUS ZenFone 2 will cost $299. You get 32GB storage, expandable to 64GB, an Intel Atom 3580 processor, and 100 GB of free storage on Google Drive (for one year). The base model is even cheaper at $199, but with many compromises, such as only 16 GB of storage and an Intel 3560 processor.
There are several other key features on the ZenFone 2 that make it ideal for small businesses. Most notable among those features is its battery life and ability to multi-task.
For example, fast-charge technology, called BoostMaster, can raise the battery to “60 percent charged” in 39 minutes. If you just need voice calling and the battery is low, a 10-minute charge will provide 4 hours of talk time.
In one stress test, the higher end device ran 26 apps at the same time without any hiccups.
Super Resolution mode on ZenFone 2 allows for shooting and displaying very detailed pictures. This might come in handy for taking pictures of receipts, or if you’ve got apps with finicky optical character recognition. (OCR tech is only as good as what you provide it, right?)
Snapview lets the user have both a business interface and a personal interface on one phone.
The anti-virus and other security features help to ensure any employees you’ve authorized to use a mobile browser do so safely.
One feature included on ZenFone 2 that may draw some criticism is the use of a branded user interface, or UI, on top of Android 5.0.
This is special “skin” that a lot of Android device makers apply to their phones or tablets to make them more than just an ordinary Android device.
Examples include HTC with its “Sense” UI and Samsung with its “TouchWiz” UI.
An ASUS official says the company gets the criticism.
“I can understand this, especially if you’re a long-time Android user,” Erik Hermanson, head of marketing for mobile products at ASUS told Small Business Trends.
“Different brands using Android, including ASUS, can give you the same basic experience, and that’s part of the beauty of Android. But we feel our skin brings value. In one sense, users want a simple interface if going from device to device. But they also want customizability and flexibility within a UI, and so that’s the direction we went, because the ability to customize is something we hear about from a lot of our users. We’d like to give them reasons to keep coming back to the ZenFone in the long run.”