Asus has launched many budget smartphones in the past couple of years that offer a good amount of features at a decent price, but this time they seem to have changed their marketing strategy by launching the new Zenfone 3 which falls under the mid range price segment and offers elegant design, excellent camera quality, fast and power efficient processor and a long-lasting battery.
Zenfone 3 has the ability to match everyone’s personality and provides outstanding functionality to meet the needs of each user. The earlier models of Zenfone series were less appreciated due to their bulky design, but his phone seems to have a lot of improvement in terms of everything.
We got a chance to use this amazing device for more than a month and our ASUS Zenfone 3 review is based on that experience. Our Zenfone 3 review will help you to know more about the Zenfone 3 design and built, software, camera performance and much more so that it will help you to make your buying decision.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Design and Built
The design of Asus Zenfone 3 is totally different from its predecessor Zenfone 2. Zenfone 3 body is a perfect combination of aluminium metal and glass. It boasts a sleek design and looks very premium at hands. The large 5.5 inch display with 77.3% screen-to-body ratio makes it ideal for watching movies, videos and playing games in the landscape mode.
On the front it has 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla glass which ensures its protection from unwanted scratches and splashes. The spun metal pattern beneath the glass and curved edges of the back panel provides solid grip with a single hand. The dimensions of the phone are 152.59 x 77.38 x 7.69 mm and it weighs around 155 grams so it is thinner than the Zenfone 2 and almost 15 grams lighter as well.
The Zenfone 2 had a rigid volume button on the back and power button at the top which was quite difficult to handle, but the new Zenfone 3 has perfectly placed volume and power button on the right side with spun metal frame. On the left side it has the hybrid SIM tray which includes one Nano SIM and one Micro SIM slot. At the top it has 3.5 mm jack and a microphone. At the bottom you will find another microphone, USB Type-C connector and the loudspeaker.
On the rear side near the top it has a raised front camera which is covered by a sapphire crystal lens to protect it from any accidental damage. The rear camera is accompanied by a dual LED flash on the right and a laser sensor on the left. Below the camera you will see the fast and accurate fingerprint reader. Fine-drawn on the top and bottom of the metal frame on the front side are hard to observe.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Display
Although there are two models available for Asus Zenfone 3 in the market, but our review is based on the model that features 5.5 inch In a plane Switching LCD display with native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 ppi density. The image quality is lifelike and maximum level of brightness up to outstanding 600nits offers clear and sharp visuals in bright outdoors under direct sunlight as well as indoors.
Oleophobic coating used on the 10 finger capacitive touchscreen makes it smudge and Fingerprint resistant. The display calibration is so accurate and the phone flaunts well placed white point along with natural colours for lifelike images. Zenfone 3 also comes with a basic calibration tool which helps users to manage the colour properties and saturation. On the top of that, there is a blue light filter to reduce strain on the eyes as well.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Software
The Asus Zenfone 3 runs on a latest Asus ZenUI 3.0 which is based on the popular Android 6.0.1 operating system and takes full advantage of its capabilities. The new ZenUI seems to have lot more improvement, but includes many needless applications that cause Software bloat. Large number of application and features appearing on the home screen when the you turn on the phone is profuse for a common user.
Some of these apps can be found in other locations as well then why they are displayed on app drawer is a big question. Some of these apps push unwanted notifications that cannot be dismissed which could be really annoying for anyone. However, if you spend some time then you can hide most of these apps on the app drawer and if you can’t, then disable the entire app if it is of no use.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Performance
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chip has been used in the Asus Zenfone 3. The phone is powered by octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2.0GHz, which is responsible for the fast and fluid performance of the user interface. The phone is also equipped with Adreno 506 GPU, which has the ability to give immersive gaming experience while playing high-end graphic games with full HD resolution.
We played games like Need for Speed, SimCity, Nova, etc but phone haven’t lagged or slow down. However, it was somewhat hot while playing these heavy games but you can expect because of the metal design of Zenfone 3.
The phone offers 3GB RAM which makes multi-tasking so smooth and provides enough space to run more than one heavier application at a time. You can see the score in AnTuTu Benchmark app that clearly shows, Zenfone 3 is easily capable of running multiple large apps and supports mid-to high end multitasking.
One thing we do not understand that out of 3GB, there was only 1.1 GB free memory even the only apps running that time were Gmail and Gallery. But, we never found any lagging even opening multiple apps at the same time.
32 GB internal storage capacity is enough to compete with other smartphones of similar price segment and can be expanded via a micro SD which is more than enough for every user. In our test, we found that out of 32GB internal memory, 22.91 GB was available and remaining space was eaten by system OS and other bloatware that are many in ASUS Zenfone 3.
The audio quality of the ASUS Sonic Master 3.0 speaker is good and is lower than earlier version of Zenfone series. The phone packs Dual internal microphone with ASUS Noise Zero Talk Technology and we could easily feel the difference from other phones while taking over the phone in terms of background noise. ASUS Zenfone 3 includes large array of sensors such as E-Compass, Accelerator, Proximity, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor etc.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Rear and Front Camera Performance
The camera quality of Asus Zenfone 3 is exceptional and the camera software is also well designed. The phone comes with a 16 megapixel Auto-focus rear camera with 6 P Largan lens to make the most of the exposure and f/2.0 aperture to allow more light. Dual tone LED flash lets users take bright images in dark environment and brings realism in pictures as well. Floating lens elements of the camera uses 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization for still photos.
The camera also offer 0.03 second laser auto-focus and 32 second long exposure for better control on imaging. The image quality of the rear camera is remarkable in low light condition. Pictures taken in day light provided a good amount of details with less noise and nice colour saturation.
There are plenty of modes available such as Back Light (HDR), Real Time Beautification, GIF Animation, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Low Light Mode etc. to enhance your imaging capabilities. You can get DSLR-type detail settings by using Manual Mode and capture up to 4X resolution photos using Super Resolution Mode.
ASUS Zenfone 3 also packs an 8 megapixel front camera with f/2.0 and many useful camera modes such as GIF Animation, Panorama Selfie, Real Time Beautification etc. We will soon be coming up with detailed ASUS Zenfone 3 camera performance review that will go through mostly all the features this device offers when it comes to photography. So, stay tuned for Zenfone 3 camera performance review.
You can shoot up to 4K videos using the rear camera and take stills while recording a video. The camera offers 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization for tilt-free videography too.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Battery and Connectivity
Every smartphone requires a strong battery to provide uninterrupted service and Zenfone 3 does not disappoint its users in this matter. Zenfone 3 comes with a decent 3000mAh non-removable battery which, along with the power efficient processor provides good backup and easily last for the day while using both SIM card simultaneously. I
t can last longer after a single charge with a mixed kind of usage if you use a single SIM card at a time. However, it does give fast charging facility and takes around 2 and half hours to juice up the battery completely. The phone comes with a 5 V-2 A power adapter which provides 10 Watt power.
While doing battery test, it lasts for 16 hours in which 3 hours of games, 2 hours of videos and approx 1 hour of calling was included which we think is pretty decent and could last a day with normal usage.
Zenfone 3 packs advanced connectivity options as per latest standards. For wireless connectivity is sports Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi direct and Bluetooth 4.2. For navigation it equips GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou. Zenfone 3 also supports USB Type-C 2.0 and comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Not only that, Zenfone 3 also has OTG support, it means you can plug and play your USB drives to listen to your favorite music or watch videos while on the move.
Another strong point of the phone is its call quality, the reception was good and voice from the other end was crystal clear. It supports almost all network bands in 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks and even provide VoLTE support. However, the 4G/LTE band compatibility may vary according to region.
ASUS Zenfone 3 Price
The Asus Zenfone 3 has already been released in the global market and is available for Indian consumers too. ASUS Zenfone 3 is priced at INR 27,999 and ships in Sapphire Black, Moonlight White and Shimmer Gold colours.
ASUS Zenfone 3: Whether you should Buy It or Not?
By launching this Zenfone 3, Asus has tried to target those customers who usually look for the quality rather than price. ASUS Zenfone 3 excels in many fronts such as luxury design, solid grip, better camera performance and strong battery.
In our initial tests, we thought ASUS Zenfone 3 is an expensive phone because of the low processor but ASUS actually did a good work in optimising the software and hardware and never feels lacking behind in terms of speed, multitasking, gaming tests in comparison to the phones that are coming with powerful processors.
ASUS Zenfone 3 has everything which can be expected in a phone in this range. Infact, Zenfone 3 exceeds from its competitors in many ways. We believe that this time Asus has proved the world that they can also make flagships and join the group of leading smartphone manufacturers who seem to have good control over the market now.