The much-anticipated Asus Zenfone 2 is just one step closer from making its way to our shores. The powerhouse device made its Southeast Asian debut at Jakarta, Indonesia.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen

During our one-on-one interview with Asus CEO Jerry Shen, we asked him about the reception for the device in the countries where they launched the phone already. He gave examples like in Taiwan, they’ve gotten over 500,000 orders, even if the Taiwanese market is small. They got 1.5 million pre-orders from China, using the more tedious pre-ordering process where people had to give their name and mobile number. They’ve also gotten 40,000 orders from Hong Kong and Singapore; 30,000 from France, even though they started from zero over there.

Asus must be doing something right to garner this much attention for the Zenfone 2. Even if the price is almost double from the first Zenfone, the demand is reportedly stronger. The appeal is greater because the price is still decidedly lower than flagships of other companies.

According to Shen, the reason behind that is they’re pushing the idea of “empowering luxury” or allowing a lot of people to own the device at a more affordable price point. And because it combines affordability and performance, they’re banking on people talking about their experience with the Zenfone 2.

“We’re very proud of the device and if they think it’s good, then they’ll share their experience to others,” Shen said.

While we weren’t able to spend too long with it, finally seeing the device in person makes us excited to spend more time with it.

Why all the fuss over one phone? Here are a few reasons and features to get excited over:

Customizability. There are four colors to choose from with the Zenfone 2 (white, black, gold, and red). But aside from that there are custom back covers to choose from. Some even have angular, blocky designs that make the phone look like it was 3D printed.

Asus Zenfone 2

Good feel in hand. It’s not made with aluminum or other tougher substances but it still manages to have a premium feel to it even with its polycarbonate body. It has a good screen-to-body ratio and the slightly curved back makes it sit comfortably in hand. Yes, they might be taking their cues from LG with the volume keys relegated to the back but we like this implementation. We still don’t get why the power button has to be on top of the phone though.

All that power. Having 4GB of RAM in a smartphone is one of the relatively new technologies for smartphones. And Asus is at the forefront with the Zenfone 2. Quick hands on time with the unit shows it could handle app switching and the like with ease. We’re really excited for the time when we can make full use of processors like this.

Asus Zenfone 2 Manual Mode

Low-light master. Asus wants you to “see what others can’t see” with its improved 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera. With PixelMaster 2.0 technology and low-light mode, shots and videos taken in dimly lit areas are said to be 400 percent brighter.

Battery power boost. Rapid charging is always a good feature to have. It has a sizeable 3,000mAh battery but it’s good to know that you can charge the device quickly. You can reach 60 percent in under 40 minutes with the Zenfone 2’s BoostMaster technology. However, this feature is only available with the 4GB ZE551ML.

Here’s a refresher of the available variants for the Zenfone 2 that might make its way to our shores (the ZE500CL will reportedly not be brought in so we took it out of the table):

 ZE551ML (2.33GHz)ZE551ML (1.8GHz)ZE550ML
Display5.5" IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080)5.5" IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080)5.5" IPS HD (1,280 x 720)
ProcessorIntel Atom Z3580 quad-core, 64-bitIntel Atom Z3560 quad-core, 64-bitIntel Atom Z3560 quad-core, 64-bit
Operating system64-bit Android 5.0 Lollipop64-bit Android 5.0 Lollipop64-bit Android 5.0 Lollipop
Memory4GB RAM2GB/4GB RAM2GB RAM
Storage32GB/64GB internal; expandable up to 64GB via microSD 16GB (for the 2GB RAM)/32GB internal; expandable up to 64GB via microSD16GB internal; expandable up to 64GB via microSD
ConnectivityLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPSLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPSLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
SIMDual SIM (with Dual SIM Dual Active technology)Dual SIM (with Dual SIM Dual Active technology)Dual SIM (with Dual SIM Dual Active technology)
Camera13MP rear with Real Tone Dual LED flash; 5MP wide angle front13MP rear with Real Tone Dual LED flash; 5MP wide angle front13MP rear with Real Tone Dual LED flash; 5MP wide angle front
Battery3,000mAh Li-Po with rapid charging3,000mAh Li-Po 3,000mAh Li-Po

The Asus Zenfone 2 is said to be coming to the Philippine market mid-May and prices for the different variants will range between P9,000 – P15,000.