ASUS Zenfone 2 vs. Alcatel Idol 3: Battle for Budget Supremacy

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I recently unboxed two budget smartphone juggernauts on my Youtube channel, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 and the ASUS Zenfone 2. The phones both offer a great value at $249 and $299 respectively. In addition, the phones both feature excellent specs for that price. Overall, I really enjoyed using both of these phones, and the experience was pretty close to what you get from a flagship phone. Naturally a few things were lacking, most notably the camera. I took a look at the pros and cons of each phone in a comparison video:

The video is pretty long (outline is in description) and covers several details of each phone. In the end, I concluded that the Idol 3 is the better overall phone for the average consumer. Alcatel emerged victorious mainly due to the better build, superior battery life, excellent speakers, and better a UI experience out of the box. Now, of course you can throw a third-party launcher on either phone, but the average user experiences the UI on the phone out of the box.  The Zenfone 2 is an excellent phone, and I still think it is the better phone for a certain demographic. Users that require the fastest phone with multi-tasking ability will no doubt prefer the Zenfone 2. There were a few comments I wanted to include in the video but didn’t get to because it got so long. Here a few more thoughts on the Idol 3 vs Zenfone 2:

  1. Battery Life- Although I didn’t mention it in the video, I found the Idol 3 to get much better battery life than the Zenfone 2. I could get almost 5 hours of Screen on Time in an average day with the Idol 3, compared to about 3.5 hours on the Zenfone 2. I also found the standby time was excellent on the Idol 3, I barely lost 2% when letting the phone sit overnight off the charger!
  2. Modification Prospects- While the Zenfone 2 can be rooted, there is currently no development of custom ROMs active on XDA. I have some concerns about the number of ROMs that will emerge for this phone due to the Intel chip inside. There have been other Intel Android devices, but the ROM production seems to be less than phones with Qualcomm inside. The Idol 3 can also be rooted, but there is also no current ROM development over at XDA for this phone. It seems that the Idol 3 is a better candidate for future custom ROMs, but both phones don’t have the same level of developer interest as a big flagship device.
  3. Camera Quality- It seems I was one of the few to pick the Idol 3 camera over the Zenfone 2. The Zenfone 2 does have a low light mode, but I found the Idol 3 to be better in low light on Auto. In addition, the low-light mode on the Zenfone 2 does give a brighter picture, but tends to lose contrast and oversharpen the image to compensate.

Definitely check out the video for more details on each phone, and grab either phone from Amazon (links below) if you’re interested! Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube Channel for more great Android content!

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Jeff Springer

"I am currently a researcher and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. I fell in love with Android with the Nexus One release and realized that it was superior to iOS in all the ways I care about. I still use a Mac (and an iPhone for the camera), but my Apple tech products pale in comparison to my number of Android devices (watches, tablets, and phones). When I’m not rooting/modding one of my many Android phones or doing math/programming, you can find me taking in Phoenix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix, and drinking good beer!"

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