The Asus Zenfone 2 is a smartphone with a fast processor, a good display, and a reasonable price tag: for $199 you can get a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, or you can pay $299 for a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
While I was pretty impressed with the Zenfone 2 I reviewed recently, I’m not a huge fan of some of the software that comes with the phone. Now we’re one step closer to being able to replace the Asus Zen UI experience with custom ROMs.
Members of the xda-developers forum have figured out how to unlock the bootloader of the Zenfone 2.
This will make it easier to install custom firmware including replacements for the recovery and operating system that ship with the phone.
Note that Asus is said to be working on an official bootloader unlock tool, so if you’re the cautious type you might want to wait until it’s released.
If you’re the type to throw caution to the wind, you can find instructions at xda-developers. Just note that there’s currently no method to re-lock the bootloader once it’s unlocked, so this might cause problems with future Asus software updates.
In a nutshell, you’ll need to make sure you’re running Asus software version 2.19.40. Then you’ll need to root your phone, connect it to a PC with a USB cable, and run a series of adb commands in a terminal window.
After you do that you’ll be greeted by a white splash screen when the phone boots, but the steps walk you through the process of restoring the original black splash screen as well.
Once all of that is done, it should theoretically be possible to flash custom ROMs or other firmware… assuming you can find (or create) any custom ROMs that will run on the Asus Zenfone 2. The phone is powered by an Intel Atom Moorefield processor based on x86 architecture, and while Android supports x86 chips, most custom ROMs are currently optimized for phones with ARM-based processors.