When Asus first announced the Zenfone 3 at Computex 2016, the expectations of the buyers did turn out into a kind of excitement than an anticipated wait for yet another mid range smartphone launch by a Taiwanese computer and smartphone manufacturing company.
As all the eyes of the premium handset hunters were glued on to the flagship crown bearer, the Zenfone Deluxe with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset and 6GB RAM, majority of the people’s expectations went towards this package of a re-defined piece of art in itself , posing competition to the top brands out there in this segment.
With that said, lets find out if the hefty price tag of 21,999 is worth the buy or not . .
Now coming to the phone , the design looks so elegant and Asus has put it up so seamlessly blended with glass and metal, molding it into perfection that this device truly feels premium . And I should tell this :The zenfone 3 is definitely an attention magnet , pulling all the eyes of the onlookers towards it . And Not only does it looks slim and premium , It also gives you a feel of holding a flagship device .
Both the front and the back are well guarded by rounded 2.D glass from Corning . What actually brings perfection to this design is the 40-degree bevel-cut edge that runs well in hand with the antenna bands that run through the top and bottom of this metal frame.
The front is just a single piece of solid gorilla glass with the receivers , sensors and selfie camera . The Back is just the traditional zenfone design showcasing a camera module that’s aligned at the center top powered by a laser assist on it’s left and a flash to the right.
Now like all the majority android smartphones , this also has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top along with the secondary mic and USB C type port , speaker grille and primary mic on the bottom .
Now these design features does look familiar to us with striking similarities to the I phone 6 / 6s . But let me tell you , this is not the first time that other phone manufacturing companies are drawing inspirations from the iphone . But every time an inspiration like this happens , the manufacturers do ensure to bring out a better version of the existing design with more interesting and power packed design .
Now as we know that there will be a flaw to even the most perfectly built machines in this world , which we can’t deny . So does this stand true to this marvelous design . And the very disadvantage being the design itself , that makes it too much slippery. It just won’t tend to be in your hands with a hold of grip .
The display is a fabulous 13.9 cm ( 5.5 inch ) 1920 x 1080 p full HD . The screen to body ratio is a dramatic 77.3% , which is a relatively descent value in terms of viewing ration when considering the screensize .
So this display is a relatively new kind of display which uses ‘Deep Trench Isolation’ is unique as it also packs in a colour correction sensor. Simply put, these result in better and natural looking colours no matter what the lighting situation. Unlike any other AMOLED screens, the colours remained natural and text appeared sharp and
pixelation free with the display performing decently in both indoors and outdoors.
So this concludes the fact that this is an excellent device for watching movies or as portable media player. Also, the additional positive information that was left out about the screen is that this is just opposite to the back glass in terms of being a fingerprint magnet. The front screen glass features an oleophobic coating and hence manages to resist fingerprint at all cost.
Now under the hood , this piece of beauty is powered by an updated Snapdragon octa-core 625 (64-bit) chipset that is paired with 3 GB RAM and offers 32 GB of internal storage. The zenfone 3 even offers expandable storage and will support microSD cards of up to 2TB, which is definitely massive.
We might be wondering that it’s not as fast as the Snapdragon 821 and obviously not possessing any top notch erformance capacity. But one thing is for sure : this engine does run smoothly without any noticeable lags or roughness and just works like a charm when given some good graphic hungry games .
Now coming the selling point of this device : the Primary camera , that is a 16MP shooter with laser assist – a one of it’s kind in this segment . Now Asus likes to call this magical camera apparatus as the Pixel master 3.0
This 16 MP shooter has the latest start of the art Sony IMX298 sensor, six-element Largan lens with a large f/2.0 aperture, and subject-tracking TriTech auto-focus for variable distance and lighting clarity in just 0.03 seconds — all protected by sapphire glass for literal crystal clarity that’s intensely resistant to scratches and damage.
The real magic behind the so good to go camera lies in it’s armory : its exclusive TriTech auto-focus technology that has laser, phase detection and continuous auto-focus — into one harmonious system. Resulting a clear focus in just 0.03 seconds in varying conditions, for all scenarios. And it also has this Low Light mode which increases
light sensitivity by up to 400%, thus making the low light shots an skimpy easy task.
So not only does the photos come out well captured , the ZenFone 3 shoots video at up to 4K UHD resolution which means 4x times the quality of Full HD.
These are some shots taken from the rear cam in daylight
Pictures taken outdoors and in broad daylight were excellent, with a great amount of detail and accuracy, thanks to the second-generation laser autofocus technology that was discussed about above, which comes into play. The indoor shots were also decent with vibrant colors, and didn’t lose detail when zoomed in.
The Zen UI is an absolute butter smooth free flow , light weight nonlagging UI when it comes to opening and closing of the apps . This also significantly contributes to the extended battery life of this device.
But what falls back in the UI design aspect is the way it looks . The Zen UI in the zenfone 3 , despite it’s hefty price tag hasn’t changed much in terms of looks from it’s previous versions. It looks bloated overall and doesn’t give an attractive appeal .
And not to mention, the Zen UI always comes with a list of it’s own pre installed apps , the notification for these to be installed is given at the time for first time boot itself .
The following are the list of Asus included Apps :
- ASUS Game Center
- AudioWizard (Equalizer)
- Do It Later (Todo List)
- File Manager
- FM Radio
- Laser Ruler
- Mobile Manager
- Quick Memo
- Share Link (WiFi file transfer)
- Sound Recorder
- Splendid (Screen calibration)
- System Update
- ZenFone Care.
But there were still 8 pre-installed 3rd party apps on the phone, none of which are really useful , if looked at from a practical point of view . The plus point is that these apps can be uninstalled.
Now the best part of the whole UI is the multipurpose facilities it offers such as :
- Double tap home to enter one-hand mode (partially solves the “bigness” issue)
- Long press the app switch button to take a screenshot (beats the pants off volume down + power finger gymnastics)
- Double tap the fingerprint sensor to open the camera; single tap to take a picture
- Double tap the home screen to sleep / wake
- Double-click either volume key to jump into the camera from sleep
- Customizable “ZenMotion” touch gestures for launching apps from wake.
The much more interesting fact is that this UI also accommodates la list of “ZenMotion Motion Gestures”, which you can do without even touching the phone . Now this might sound like something similar to what we have seen in some of the Samsung devices : when you get a call, you can turn your phone face down to silence it, or put it next to your ear to answer.
Now , the ZenFone 3 is fuelled by a non-removable 2650 mAHh battery that ran for 13 hours and 45 minutes under normal usage, which is actually good. With light to medium usage, this beauty easily managed to last through a day with over 40 percent left at the end.
It’s an Obvious thing that heavy gaming watching videos on YouTube or recording 4K videos or any other heavy usage apps are definitely going to drain out more juice from the battery , thereby bringing down the battery life by a few hours .
Also , Its Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology can have it charged from flat to 60% in just 45 minutes. In short , it can take about 90 minutes to go from 4% to 97% charge. It can even charge attached devices as a power bank with a high current of up to 1.5A that makes charging up to three times faster compared to standard charger.
This intelli monster bagged a score of 61572 on AnTuTu , which means that it is at the very top of the food chain on AnTuTu, right next to the Le Max 2, Xiaomi Mi 5, Galaxy S7 and HTC 10.
Overall, the ZenFone 3 is an excellent mid-range, mid-2016 smartphone. At Rs. 21,999, this phone somewhat competes with the OnePlus 3 , which has received rave reviews. The ZenFone 3 will have a tough fight ahead of it in the Indian market, but this phone scores a lot in terms of design and display quality.
It’s definitely fast and smooth, the screen is bright (but could be better in direct sun), the camera shoots 4K video, and some of the ZenUI apps are actually useful. Best thing about it? The Camera.
So , I would say , this is a great buy at this price .