ASUS ZenFone 2 Deluxe Review – Half ZenFone 2, Half Portable Hard Drive

Meet the marriage between a great phone and storage overkill – the ASUS ZenFone 2 Deluxe. It’s essentially the ZenFone 2 (the exact same specs) but with a gargantuan 128GB of internal storage and a prism-design rear cover that’s beautiful to behold (it catches the light in lovely ways) and is “user-eager” to touch (your hand just loves it). When you slide in a 128GB micro SD card, you double the storage size of a phone that’s already a walking hard drive. At P17,995 the ZenFone 2 Deluxe is the most affordable 128GB phone around. If you ever wanted to carry around in one phone most of the movies and music you love, the Deluxe is it.

Not only can the ZenFone 2 Deluxe store your favorite videos, you can also use it as your video marathon device.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) is our Best Smartphone of 2015 in terms of features (great rear camera, fast charging, auto-start manager), price (P13,995), and performance (4GB RAM). While for most usage scenarios, a 32GB internal storage plus microSD are enough, some of us carry around flash drives filled with movies or wireless hard drives that can stream movies into our phones.

So instead of bringing a separate hard disk or flash drives plus a USB OTG cable, you can just save everything on the ZenFone 2 Deluxe. It is, after all, a walking hard drive.


  • The Box.
  • Out of the box: charging cable, earphones, charger, extra ear tips, related literature.
  • Front. Matching default prism wallpaper.
  • Back. The prism-design is gorgeous and helps with grip.
  • Back cover removed, revealing dual SIM trays and micro SD slot. Battery is non-removable.
  • Outdoors, the prism'd back side is so cool.


Never worry about storage space again, ever

#StoragePaMore. With a 128GB internal storage, you just ran out of reasons to delete anything. But wait! There’s more! You still get 100GB of FREE storage from Google.

A ZenFone, too, but better

Since the ZenFone Deluxe IS the ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) but with a larger internal storage and better rear cover, all our insights in our ZenFone 2 review as well as in our 11 Reasons to Buy it also hold for the Deluxe. But we’ll cover some points briefly. Like the ZenFone 2, the Deluxe …

Offers great multi-tasking and gaming experience. The 4GB RAM plus the 64-bit Intel Atom 2.3GHz Z3580 quad-core processor see to that. So just keep launching apps and switching between them.

  • Depth of Field Shot.
  • Outdoor low light scene using Auto Mode.
  • Against the light, low light shot.
  • Here, I used the Deluxe as my coverage camera for a museum event. That's National Artist Ben Cab.
  • Macro food shot under dim yellow lighting.
  • Not zoomed in.
  • Fully zoomed in.
  • Great dynamic range shown here.
  • Medium to low light food shot.
  • Macro shot reveals more details.
  • Remember that the Deluxe doesn't have flash on its front camera, but it pulls of acceptable medium to low light shots like this. That's Pao Oga, me, and Therese Iglesias of EON.

Has great cameras, front and back. Though without the laser auto-focus of the ZenFone Laser and the 13MP front camera of the ZenFone Selfie, the rear camera offers incredible shooting modes (Low Light, Depth of Field, Manual, and Selfie – use the rear cam to take a selfie) while the front cam can hold its own even in backlit and unevenly lit scenes.

Despite not having an AMOLED display, the ZenFone 2 Deluxe offers adequate visibility under direct sunlight – you can still read the text and make out the icons.

Saves time with Fast Charging – only 39 minutes to get to 60% capacity. But if ever you need a tide-over power source, ASUS also offers the ZenPower power bank.

Let’s you check and decide which apps will run in the background (Auto-Start manager), thus saving you battery life and mobile data allocation.

Allows you to change the theme, font, and icons without installing a third party launcher.


ASUS ZenFone Deluxe Specs

5.5-inch Full HD IPS display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor
128GB internal storage, up to 128GB via microSD
13MP PixelMaster rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and real-tone flash
5MP front camera with 85-degree field of view
Dual-SIM/dual active
Wi-Fi ac
Bluetooth 4.0
3,000mAh battery with ASUS BoostMaster fast charging tech
Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZenUI | 170g
Comes in Illusion White, Fusion Blue, and Illusion Purple

SRP P17,995


The Verdict

The ASUS ZenFone Deluxe is a hybrid mega-storage, multi-tasking-champion, and great camera phone. The smooth performance provided by 4GB RAM, great-in-low-light rear camera, convenient fast charging (always a life saver), and now an internal storage with enough room for all your see-and-see-again movies.

You’ll never get bored during a long commute or painfully long traffic, ever again, even if you have no Internet connection. And when you’re connected to a stable Internet connection, and your computer won’t work, the ZenFone Deluxe can be your download station.

At P17995, it’s the most affordable 128GB internal storage phone there is (at the time of this writing), as the iPhone 6s over at Lazada costs more than P50,000. That’s more expensive than one of the most portable 2-in-1 laptops around.

If you feel you don’t need such massive storage, but you need a high-performer, then by all means the ZenFone 2 will do. But if you carry around a flash drive or hard drive with your see and see again movies, the prospect of carrying around JUST THE PHONE MINUS THE EXTERNAL STORAGE can be tempting. And for that, only a Deluxe will do.


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Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for