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Asus ZenFone Go takes on Xiaomi's budget smartphones (hands-on)

Powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor, the ZenFone Go isn't the most powerful of devices, but it's aiming for the low-end sweet spot.

The Asus ZenFone Go is yet another ZenFone-branded device from the prolific Taiwanese electronics manufacturer and while its meagre specs may put off smartphone snobs, the phone's really targeted at the budget crowd.

The Go isn't the most mighty of devices -- it's powered by a lower-end quad-core MediaTek processor, the 1.3GHz MT6580 -- but Asus is selling this phone really cheaply in Asia. In Singapore, it retails for just S$179, which converts to approximately $130.

Asus has thrown down the gauntlet to Xiaomi, putting the Go squarely in the same price range as the Chinese smartphone maker's budget Redmi 2 . Its specs aren't too shabby, considering the price. It has more RAM at 2GB than the Redmi 2, and depending on the model, will come with either 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage. Like the Redmi 2, the Go will sport an 8-megapixel rear camera.

That said, it seems to lack 4G LTE capabilities -- a big selling point for the Redmi 2 -- which doesn't bode well. This will however allow Asus to sell this phone in more places without having to worry about network compatibility, and it does have dual SIM slots.

Rounding up the rest of the hardware is a removable 2,070mAh battery, a 5-inch HD display with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution and a microSD card slot, should you need more storage space.

Looks-wise, the Go takes after its more expensive ZenFone brethren and has the same concentric-circle pattern below the display. The one thing I feel that the phone does better is the placement of the power button and volume controls -- these are sensibly located at the right side. This is so much better than the ZenFone Selfie and ZenFone 2 Laser's power button, which is right at the top of the phone and requires an awkward stretch of your fingers.

The ZenFone Go is currently available in Southeast Asia, and there's no word yet on whether the phone will make an appearance in western markets such as the UK or the US. The same goes for Australia as well, despite the country's regional proximity to Asia.

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